Polluted air, power hungry rulers, religious turmoil. The sixteenth century doesn't sound all that different from today, does it? Take a closer look, however, and I think we can all consider ourselves lucky to be living in the twenty-first century.
The Elizabethan era was a time of death and disease, but also great discovery. It was filled with pioneering men of science, exploration, and enterprise. And behind them stood one woman who ruled them all. Take a trip to the National Portrait Gallery before the 5th January, and you'll discover what life was like under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth I & Her People takes you on a journey through forty-five years, in which England had a soaring growth in literacy, a huge population surge, and the birth of middle class society.
Tickets to the exhibit are £13.50 for adults, £12.50 seniors, and £11.50 concessions.
Learn about each member of society, from the lowest of the low to the mighty Queen herself. You can see Queen Elizabeth in all her glory in the same way that her subjects did. A collection of minted coins from 1561 was probably the only glance commoners got of their ruler, but that is more than we will ever be able to see of them. Depictions of working people were rare, and the closest encounter we can get with the poor today is through old rags of clothing.
An increase in writers, artists, and merchants saw a rise in wealth, leading to a middle class society. This came about through the printing of the Bible, which led to wide-spread literacy, plus the discovery of new foods and medicines from the exploration of new worlds.
Tickets to the exhibit are £13.50 for adults, £12.50 seniors, and £11.50 concessions. As well as the main exhibit, you can attend a number of related events. For example, sit in on a choir recital featuring traditional lute music, and songs banned during Elizabeth I reign. You can also see a monologue performance, in which Rebecca Vaughan portrays the Queen, and explores her struggle for balance between power and womanhood.
In the mean time, why not have a go at their online personality quiz and find out what kind of Elizabethan you were. I turned out to be a craftswoman. Good to know I had a job, and wasn't tied down to a husband and kids.