by Larry Neild
LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Britain's reigning Queen Elizabeth II has been in the limelight this year for the occasion of her 90th birthday. But the spotlight Friday was on her namesake, Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned more than four centuries ago.
A public appeal has enabled London's Royal Museums Greenwich to acquire an oil painting of Queen Elizabeth I, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.
Grants from public bodies and donations from more than 8,000 members of the public have raised almost 13.6 million U.S. dollars to save the painting for the nation.
The painting, measuring 1.1 meters by 1.25 meters, known as the Armada Portrait, is regarded as a masterpiece of the English Renaissance period.
The portrait commemorates the most famous naval conflict of Queen Elizabeth I's reign, the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588, regarded as one of the greatest military victories in English history.
The painting is among the most famous images of Queen Elizabeth I.
A spokesman for the Arts Fund said: "This remarkable historic portrait will enter public ownership for the first time in its 425-year-history."
It will go on public display on Oct. 11, following major restoration work, at the Queen's House, the birthplace of Queen Elizabeth I.
The painting was once owned by one of Britain's most famous sailors, Sir Francis Drake. Drake was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588.
The painting was put up for sale by descendants of Drake and attracted a groundswell of public support from people wanting to ensure that the painting never left the shores of Britain.
Kevin Fewster, director of Royal Museums Greenwich, said Friday: "The support enables us to bring the painting into the national collection thus safeguarding its future, and also allowing us to make it the centerpiece of future displays, talks, tours, and education initiatives."
Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: "This campaign has been a triumph of popular will. The painting captured the national imagination in 2016...Record numbers of donors, large and small, stepped forward with determination and generosity."