About the artist
Born around 1540 and buried in London on August 30, 1596, this English portrait artist was known for his distinct, if not nuanced, style. In 1581, he was named serjeant-painter to Queen Elizabeth. This role not only allowed him to create portraits of most of England’s noble class but also put him in charge of painting decorations at royal homes, as well as on furniture and carriages. His notable works included a now-destroyed fountain and the astronomical clock at Hampton Court Palace. He also reviewed other artists' portraits of the Queen before official distribution. A gentleman by birth, Gower's Self-Portrait, painted in 1579 and privately owned, shows his family's coat of arms being outbalanced by a pair of dividers, representing the artist's profession.