About this artwork

This image of Mary Queen of Scots dates from more than twenty years after her execution in 1587. The artist has based Mary's features on a miniature painted during her imprisonment in England. This type of portrait is associated with the efforts of Mary's son, James VI and I, to rehabilitate his mother's reputation. She wears a crucifix and a rosary hangs from her belt, decorated with a scene showing Susanna and the Elders. This Old Testament story tells how Susanna was condemned to death on false accusations but was found innocent and saved.

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