1592 Elizabeth "Ditchley Portrait" by Marcus Gheerraerts the Younger (National Portrait Gallery - London UK)

This, the "Ditchley" portrait, is THE classic Elizabethan wheel farthingale image!

Marileecody has this description: "This is the largest surviving full-length portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, despite having 7.5 cm cut from each side. It is also one of the earliest works by Gheeraerts. His name may seem familiar; his father, Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, painted the 'Peace Portrait' above. This famous work can be viewed at the NPG. There are numerous copies as well; in most, the queen's features are considerably softened.

In 1592, Elizabeth's former champion, Sir Henry Lee, sought to regain her favor with lavish entertainment at his home in Ditchley, Oxfordshire. He had retired from court two years earlier, having offended the queen by living openly with his mistress. He commissioned this portrait to commemorate Elizabeth's visit and forgiveness. The queen stands upon a map of England, with one foot resting near Ditchley.

As a result of the cutting mentioned above, the sonnet on the 'Ditchley Portrait' lacks the final word of each line. It celebrates Elizabeth's divine powers; a jeweled celestial sphere hangs from the queen's left ear, signifying her command over nature itself. The sphere had been Lee's emblem when he fought as Elizabeth's champion in the annual Accession Day tilts. The background of this portrait appears odd - it is split between blue and sunny sky on the left, and black and stormy sky on the right. This continues the theme of royal authority over nature.

Tudor / Renaissance fashion buffs should note that the queen wears her lovely gown over a wheel farthingale. This style briefly continued after Elizabeth's death, largely because James I's wife, Anne of Denmark, wore some of Elizabeth's gowns in portraits painted by, among others, Gheeraerts."

The Wikipedia article for Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger is here.

1592 Elizabeth "Ditchley Portrait" by Marcus Gheerraerts the Younger (National Portrait Gallery - London UK)

Norris describes this dress in Tudor Costume and Fashion, pp.606-607 (Dover re-issue 1997), The costume is of "white satin diagonally cross-barred with white silk puffings, having roses superimposed with ornaments of goldsmith's work set at the intersections. These gold ornaments vary in design; some have groups of four pearls, others oval rubies, and others again rectangular sapphires. The long-pointed bodice and sleeves are decorated in the same manner, but the hanging sleeveshave these ornaments set along the edges. The wired-out portions are the only parts of the veil visible. The headdress of crown-shape is a mass of rubies, pearls, and some spherical jewel of a brilliant red, with a pearl apex surmounting the whole structure. Other interesting details are the ropes of pearls hanging from the neck and the pearls on the wig, the pink rose set on the ruff, the decorated brown leather gloves in the left hand, and the Chinese fan, made to open and shut, attached by a coral-colored ribband to the waist girdle."

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