Ouch! Brits repatriate Lost Colony’s Queen Elizabeth I

“A rare 16th century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I resided for nearly 60 years at the Lost Colony site in Manteo. Proud locals dubbed it ‘the Manteo Queen.’

“Late last year, however, the North Carolina garden club that owned the portrait shipped it quietly to Britain where a buyer acquired it for a reported $51,000 at Sotheby’s, although it had a $100,000 appraisal.

“The buyer, Philip Mould, a London dealer in historic portraits, said he has since resold it to a private collector ‘enthusiastic of royalty.’  ‘It will be staying in England,’ said Mould, who stars in a BBC television show called ‘Fake or Fortune?’

“The abrupt loss of the monarch’s portrait to an overseas dealer – there are only a few of her portraits in the United States – has outraged the American scholars who helped bring international attention to the painting in 2010 after a battery of scientific tests.

“ ‘I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut,’ said Larry Tise, a historian at East Carolina University, who spearheaded the analysis of the painting. ‘This unique portrait – both as a work of art and as a historical artifact – was a great treasure to North Carolina.’ ”

— From “The Lost Colony of Roanoke loses its portrait of Queen Elizabeth I” by Andrew Lawler in the Washington Post (Dec. 21)