web analytics

Nice hat.


An altar covering in a little parish church in Herefordshire may originally have been a dress worn by Elizabeth I. This is important because no other dress of hers exists.

Or, it probably does, but one hasn’t turned up yet. Clothes (particularly fancy ones) were so expensive in Tudor times that they were frequently re-purposed. And Cromwell sold off all the royal togs in the early 17th C, so before that date we’ve got this one dress (maybe) and Henry VIII’s hat.

Someone researching something totally else ran across the thing and realized it was made of cloth of silver. In Tudor times, only the monarch and immediate fambly could wear cloth of silver. Other stuff was embroidered on it afterwards (one embroidered bear exactly matches one that appeared in a picture book in 1594).

My tame historians are very excited about this.

The best article I found was this one in the Telegraph, but their articles sometimes get stuck behind the paywall. If that happens, here it is in the Mail (the article is old; I think this has drifted to the top of the news because the dress is about to go on display at Hampton Court after extensive refurb).


Comment from Niña
Time: January 9, 2017, 9:42 pm

The neighborhood I live in is called Hampton Oak, and I’m miffed they didn’t just call it Hampton Court. Hmmmmpf.

But I’d love to see this fabric, no matter where I live!

Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: January 9, 2017, 10:32 pm

And what is it with the British ladies and really weird hats?

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: January 9, 2017, 10:52 pm

I watched a doc on english medieval embroidery. It was all by hand and often with gold and silver threads. It’s hard to explain but it had “shading”. Really beautiful. It was found on a lot of religious vestments. Most of it was destroyed during the Reformation and much that was saved was due to it being hidden and smuggled out of the country.

According to Andrew Graham-Dixon, art historian, in England the Reformation destroyed 95% of the art while in Scotland it destroyed 99%.

Comment from Niña
Time: January 9, 2017, 11:20 pm

Both Henry VIII and Cromwell have a lot to answer for on the cultural heritage front.

And what Elizabeth I did to the Irish…I could go on, but I won’t. I like the romanticized version better.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: January 9, 2017, 11:34 pm

What’s that she’s got in her right hand? I looks like something you’d need if you had a constipated horse.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: January 9, 2017, 11:56 pm

What I always wondered is how they kept those dresses clean. I know they wore white muslin underneath that could be washed and boiled but how did they wash these fine silks and embroideries? You see their dresses dragging on the ground and I know if they walked on grass the moisture would “wick”. So, how did they clean their clothes?

In Elizabeth’s court expensive ornate armor in cool colors was en vogue. They cost the equivalent of 60k pounds today. They really competed fashion wise and if you were seen in last year’s fashions, they laughed at you.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: January 9, 2017, 11:59 pm

This historian posts some nice photos of clothes:


Comment from Veeshir
Time: January 10, 2017, 2:15 am

Check out Liz’ dress, it was just made for motorboating but it’s from 400 years before the motorboat was invented.
I wonder what they called it back then.

Comment from Nina
Time: January 10, 2017, 5:35 am

It’s a rainbow in her right hand…it’s called the Rainbow Portrait, I think.

People I know who wear gowns like that clean them by spraying them with vodka.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: January 10, 2017, 2:40 pm

Wonderful that Blanche Parry repurposed the fabric into an alter cloth, thus preserving it. As a tangent story line—I’d like to know how the craftsmen made the needles, scissors, and other sewing notions used to produce such beautiful fabrics.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: January 11, 2017, 1:30 am

@Nina – So the horse was gay!?!

Comment from Nina
Time: January 11, 2017, 5:15 am

Hahahah, Al!

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny