The reign of Queen Elizabeth I, which spanned over forty years, was a time of economic stability, with outstanding successes in the fields of maritime exploration and defence. The period also saw a huge expansion in trade, the creation of new industries, a rise in social mobility, urbanisation and the development of an extraordinary literary culture. Elizabeth I & Her People explores the stories of those individuals whose achievements brought about these changes in the context of an emerging national identity, as well as giving a fascina ting glimpse into their way of life through accessories and artefacts. The book, which accompanies a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, features portraits of the Queen and her courtiers, including explorers and sea captains such as Francis Drake and Martin Frobisher, statesmen and soldiers such as William Cecil, Lord Burghley and Christopher Hatton and enchanting portraits of the Queens female courtiers such as Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury, and Elizabeth Vernon, Countes s of Southampton. However, from the mid - sixteenth - century interest in portraiture broadened, as members of a growing wealthy middle class sought to have their likenesses captured for posterity. The book includes intriguing lesser - known images of Elizabeth an merchants, lawyers, goldsmiths, butchers, calligraphers, playwrights and artists all of whom contributed to the making of a nation and a new world power.