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Elizabeth Cornwallis (1546/7-1628) married Sir Thomas Kytson in 1560. His portrait hangs nearby, as does a later full-length of their daughter Mary. As Roman Catholics under a Protestant ruler, Elizabeth I, the Kytsons were regularly fined. Indeed, Lady Kytson was briefly imprisoned for her faith. The couple were painted in London in 1573 by Gower, the foremost portraitist of the day. Subsequently, in 1584, Gower and the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard tried to gain a monopoly to produce Elizabeth I’s portraits. As this painting demonstrates, Gower worked in the linear, shadowless style that the Queen is known to have preferred.

May 2007