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Depictions of Elizabeth Woodville

The image of Elizabeth Woodville most commonly seen is the one below, one of four paintings of her at Queen’s College Cambridge. Queen’s College was re-founded by Elizabeth in March 1465, after it was first founded by Margaret of Anjou on 15 April 1448. Elizabeth had become the patroness of the College “as true foundress by right of succession.” She gave the College its first Statutes in 1475.

Elizabeth Woodville, Queen's College Cambridge


Elizabeth wears a black gown with a patterned collar and cuffs on all paintings. It is a dress typically worn in England between 1475-1485. She wears a butterfly Henin, which had wires arranged on both sides to lift up the veil higher on the back of her head. All of the paintings probably derive from the same portrait but even the earliest known portrait dates from the early 16th Century and very likely is a copy of a picture that was painted during Elizabeth’s life. The paintings do differ in detail, some have a ring less or more, or on another finger, the patterns on the golden fabric are slightly different and the features on the face as well.

The same as for some other portraits of her that are in the possession of the Royal Collection at Windsor, the Ashmolean Museum, The Deanery at Ripon Cathedral and the National Trust.

  1. Elizabeth Woodville Queens College Collection

  2. Elizabeth Woodville Queens College Collection

  3. Elizabeth Woodville Queens College Collection Kerrich around 1800

  4. Elizabeth Woodville, the Earliest known portrait, painted around 1513-30 Royal Collection

  5. Elizabeth Woodville, c. late 16th Century Royal Collection

  6. Elizabeth Woodville, origin unknown

  7. Elizabeth Woodville Ripon Cathedral Deanery

  8. Elizabeth Woodville Ashmolean Museum

  9. Elizabeth Woodville Dunham Massey National Trust, Formerly in the collection of the Grey family, Earls of Stamford

There are also several contemporary images of Elizabeth seen in stained glass and illuminated manuscripts.

Stained glass depicting Elizabeth Woodville and three daughters, 1480-82

This window is from Little Malvern Priory Church and can be firmly dated to 1480-82. It was made by a Malvern workshop headed by Richard Twygge and Thomas Woodshawe.

Stained glass depiction of Elizabeth and Edward IV with their five daughters and Prince Edward, Canterbury Cathedral

Detail of the Stained glass window in Canterbury showing Elizabeth Woodville

Joan Luyt presents the book to Elizabeth Woodville, Liverpool Cathedral MS Radcliffe 6, Hours of the Guardian Angel.

The woman (Joan Luyy) presents the golden Guardian Hours to the queen ‘with euerlastyng ioy’.

Elizabeth and Edward IV, The Luton Guild Book. Frontspiece, c 1475

Elizabeth Woodville in her coronation robes Worshipful Company of Skinners’ Fraternity Book) c 1472

Based on the lovely background of the above illuminated manuscript image and the portraits of Elizabeth Woodville, artist Dmitry Yakhovsky painted the beautiful oil painting of Elizabeth which you can see below. Prints and postcards will be available of this painting in the shop update of July.

Elizabeth Woodville, Dmitry Yakhovsky 2022

The marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Illuminated miniature from Vol 6 of the Anciennes Chroniques d'Angleterre by Jean de Wavrin, c 1471

Not quite depicting the secret marriage with just Elizabeth's mother Jacquetta present.

Presentation miniature from Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers, the first printed book in the English language, translated by en:Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, younger brother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville, and printed by William Caxton. The miniature shows Rivers presenting the book to his brother-in-law King Edward IV, accompanied by his consort Queen Elizabeth Woodville and her son Edward, Prince of Wales. Lambeth Palace Library, MS 265.


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