There is a painting I saw about nine years ago that I've never forgotten. Head in hand, body weak and bending under the weight of silk skirts and glittering pearls, sits Elizabeth I. Her nose is unflatteringly hooked, her eyes tired but still captivating in their bewitching intelligence. Her mink coat, the ultimate symbol of her rule, is worn thin and dulled in the light. Above her, a skeleton, death itself, leans over her, almost comfortingly.