The Charterhouse unveils its own commissioned reproduction of the Elizabeth I ‘Sieve’ portrait by Quentin Metsys the Younger

The Charterhouse is delighted to present a special newly-commissioned addition to its Great Chamber – a fine copy of Quentin Metsys the Younger’s portrait of Elizabeth I painted by the artist and painting conservator Ying Yang.  It now hangs on the end wall of the newly refurbished Great Chamber, where Elizabeth I herself was frequently a guest, alongside the Charterhouse’s original and recently restored stored portrait collection.

There have been many renowned noblemen, clergymen and lawyers associated with the Charterhouse many of whom feature in the imposing portraits in the collection.  It was felt that, with so many prestigious men on display, it was important to also ensure a powerful woman in the Charterhouse’s history was properly acknowledged and promoted.  This led to the commission from Ying Yang and the choice of this particular version of the Queen’s image holding a sieve.  The decision to commission a copy also reflects how common this would have been in the 16th century.

The original painting (dated c 1583), now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena, depicts the Virgin Queen holding a sieve – a symbol of chastity, and also of wisdom and discernment. Artist Ying Yang spent some time studying the portrait in Siena to analyse the painting style, materials, pigments and varnishes used and capture the way it had aged.

The frame for the portrait was also specially commissioned and created by Peter Schade, the Head of Framing at the National Gallery, London.

An interview with Ying Yang, by eminent landscape designer and collector Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, with fascinating details of Ying Yang’s training both in China and in Europe, and the illustrious history of copying Old Masters, can be found in the forthcoming book telling the Great Chamber story – due to be published in 2021.


For further information and images (including images of the portrait in progress0 please contact

Editors’ notes

The Charterhouse

After the dissolution of the Carthusian monastery, the Charterhouse became a grand Tudor mansion, where Elizabeth I was a frequent guest after she stayed there in preparation for her coronation in 1559.  In 1611, with a legacy bestowed by Thomas Sutton, the richest commoner in England at the time, the Charterhouse became a school for poor boys and an almshouse, which it remains to this day.

For more about the Charterhouse, the almshouse, museum and its history visit

YING YANG  (Ying Sheng Yang, born in China in 1961)

Ying Yang is a painter, painting conservator and a professor at the Nanjing Normal University. He attended Nanjing College of Art from 1981-1985 before working as a lecturer at Xuzhou Normal University. In 1986, he came to England and studied at the Wimbledon College of Art. In 1989, he graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Master’s Degree in Painting. He then studied painting conservation under Clare Wilkins from 1992 to1996 and worked as a painting conservator for many public and private collections afterward. His paintings have been exhibited extensively both in China and abroad and have previously been collected by the British Museum (2015), Fitzwilliam Museum (2014) and other public bodies and institutions. He has won many awards and scholarships, such as the Fagus Anstruther Award (1987), the D.H.L Educational Foundation Scholarship (1988), the Burston Award (1989)and the J. Andrew Lloyd Travel Scholarship (1989). He was also short listed for British Airways New Artist Award (1990), Art’91 Young Artist of the Year Award (1991) and The Arthur Andersen Art Award (1993). His early works have also been included in several art books such as History of 20th Century Chinese Art, Contemporary Chinese Art History and 85 New Art Movement.

He currently lives in England and works in both England and China

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