An exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, looks at the art of dressing in the royal courts of Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries when royal courtiers were expected to dress in the most luxurious garments to reflect the status of their monarch. A luxurious gown was not just a fashion statement – it was an expression of wealth, marital status, position and even religion. It might also be sumptuously embroidered, pleated or bedecked with pearls and other jewels – it was a work of art in its own right.
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Presents In Fine Style - The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion
The art of dressing in Tudor and Stuart Courts is revealed through paintings, drawings, prints and books together with historical surviving clothing and accessories.
In Fine Style - the Fine Details
In Fine Style: The art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion includes articles loaned by various collections including: The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle; the Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council; The Glove Collection Trust; Historic Royal Palaces; the Museum of London; and Meg Colbourn and Family for additional loans. The exhibition is curated by Anna Reynolds, Curator of Paintings.
Highlights of the Exhibition
In Fine Style showcases portraits and prints by artists such as Marcus Gheeradts, Daniel Mytens, Sir Peter Lely, Simon Verelst, Joos van Cleve, Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicholas Hilliard and many others. Also on show are rare examples of luxuriously decorated clothing, accessories, jewellery, documents and books, all of which would have testified to the wealth and status of their owner.
Elizabeth I when a Princess (c.1546) - Attributed to William Scrots
This painting may have been painted for Henry VIII, but its existence is first noted in the inventory of Edward VI, her half-brother, where it is described as ‘the picture of the Ladye Elizabeth her grace with a booke in her hande her gowne like crymsen clothe’. The portrait is attributed to the Dutch artist, William Scrots (active 1537–1553). The painting successfully captures the details of Elizabeth's gown and jewellery.
It is known that the young Elizabeth sent a portrait of herself to Edward in 1547 although it is not confirmed that it was actually this particular painting. Even so, the portrait shows a very beautiful and dignified Princes Elizabeth before her accession to the throne of England.
Tudors and Stuarts - Royal Courts of England
Charles 1, (1628) Daniel Mytens (c. 1590-1647)
The dutch painter Daniel Mytens was born in Delft in about 1590. He moved to London in 1618 and established himself as a painter of outstanding portraits of English aristocracy. His full-length portrait of Charles I (1628) depicts the king wearing the Riband and badge (the Lesser George) of the Order of the Garter. He is dressed in the most splended clothing, which his right hand resting on a stick. The painting is inscribed ad vivum (from the life) by the Pictor Regius (King’s painter)2. Charles I retained few portraits for himself, preferring to send them to friends and officials, usually overseas. This portrait was presented to the countess of Nassau in April 1628.
Parure with necklace, brooch and earrings
This matched set, featuring necklace, brooch and earrings3 in enamelled gold is set with pearls, rubies and emeralds. It was created in the late 16th century, and added to during the 17th and 19th centuries. The chain consists of various elements including six S-shaped snakes in green enamel coiled around pearls and flanked by white enamel c-scrolls set with rubies, and four scroll-like pieces in white and blue enamel set with rubies. The brooch appears to be the oldest piece in the set, dating from approximately 1600. The Royal Collection Trust gives far more detail relating to the dating of the set.
William Parr by Hans Holbein the Younger
In Fine Style also features drawings by artists such as Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497-1543). His pen and ink drawing of William Parr4 shows a bust length portrait on pale pink paper. William Parr, brother of Queen Katherine Parr, is shown wearing a hat decorated with a feather and badges. His coat is fur-trimmed. The figure is surrounded by drawings of pieces of jewellery.
At the age of eleven William Parr entered the household of Henry Fitzroy, the King's illegitimate son. In 1543 Parr was made a Knight of the Garter and his ssister married Henry VIII a short time later.
Holbein's portrait is accompanied by detailed notes about his subjects clothes and jewellery.
To accompany the exhibition the Royal Collection Trust has released a fully illustrated catalogue. The 300-page publication features more than 250 colour illustrations offering a scholarly, but highly enjoyable, examination of the costumes and fashions of the Tudor and Stuart periods. Who led tastes, and who influenced the fashions of international courts? In Fine Style: The art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion shows us how artists recorded the trends of the day, and in particular how those artists represented the luxurious fabrics favoured by the rich and famous.
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Visit the Exhibition
Visit the Exhibition
In fine Style: The art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion will be open from 10th May to 6th October 2013. Tickets and further information are available from the Royal Collection Trust.