Saturday, September 7, 2019

Gown from the 'Rainbow Portrait'

 From The Daily Mail:
An image on the internet showed the material at the 13th-century church of St Faith, Bacton, in 2015.  A tweaked version of the dress panel resided on the alter until 1909 when it was framed and hung in the church.  Rev Charles Brothers noted at the time that it may once have been 'worn by Queen Elizabeth'. It was sent on loan to Hampton Court Palace for analysis and its provenance was confirmed. A high-quality photographic replica now hangs in its place in the church. 

Extensive analysis found traces of Mexico-sourced red and indigo dyes which helped manufacture the material. These would have been obscenely expensive in the 17th century and would only have been available to the wealthy and the noble. What took the material to Bacton remains somewhat of a mystery but the most prominent theory is that it was given to the church either by Elizabeth herself or one of her ladies-in-waiting. It is speculated it was a gift in memory of Blanche Parry, a Bacton native, who was a close friend of Elizabeth for 57 years. Her funeral was financed by the queen and she was a regular recipient of her clothing gifts.   

Ms Lynn writes in the the journal Costume: 'There is no documentary evidence or definitive link to prove that this was one of Elizabeth's own garments, or that it belonged to Blanche. 'However, the very strong inference to be drawn is that this late 16th-century, elite, professionally embroidered court gown entered the small church of Bacton by gift of the queen in memory of Blanche Parry for use as a ceremonial textile. 

'It is a rare example of royal Tudor dress that has survived for centuries.' (Read more.)

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