ca. 1590 Mary Kytson, Lady Darcy Chiche later Lady Rivers daughter of Elizabeth Cornwallis by British school (Tate Gallery - London UK)

Queen Elizabeth of England was not the only Lady wearing colorful clothes with wheel farthingales and grotesque puffed sleeves as shown by this 1590 portrait of Mary Kytson. A biographical sketch of her, a member of the Cornwallis family, can be found here.

The ribbon tied around her sleeve shows the sleeve had some sort of bracing within. Ashelford states in The Art of Dress, pp. 34-35, "As every part of female dress was stiffened at this time, an extremely unnatural shape was created, but it presented endless opportunities for embellishment and decoration... Sleeves were also distended, with wire and whalebone, and padded so they reached an enormous width..." Ashelford noted that these styles look odd to us, but were the height of fashion at that time. The cage crinoline offered similar opportunities for embellishment about three-centuries later.

Keywords:  1590, Mary Kytson, Countess Rivers, Kytson family, Darcy family, Countess, English, frizzy coiffure, framing headdress, hair jewelry, square neckline, neckline ruff, lace, hanging sleeves, long puffed sleeves, arm bands, back-flared cuffs, girdle, deep vee waistline, French farthingale, maxi-length skirt, necklace, pendant, bracelets, shoes, fan


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