Plant Symbolism in the ‘Rainbow’ Portrait and the Bacton Altar Cloth

Flowers in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras could mean lots of things, some of them quite complex. Many portraits from these periods depicted sitters holding or wearing fresh flowers and plants, and/or wearing clothing that was decorated with floral designs. Some scholars have looked at their meanings and interpretations, and the way that the imagery of flowers generally, and even of specific species of plant, … Continue reading Plant Symbolism in the ‘Rainbow’ Portrait and the Bacton Altar Cloth

The Bacton Altar Cloth

The Bacton Altar Cloth is an extraordinary example of what appears to be very high quality English late 16th or early 17th-century embroidery, in polychrome silks and gold wrapped threads worked upon a cream-coloured silver chamblet silk (or cloth-of-silver). This textile, which may once have formed part of a garment of some kind, has been cut and reworked at some point in its long life … Continue reading The Bacton Altar Cloth

Restoration-style (1660s-1680s) Shift, Smock or Chemise

The shift (or smock, or chemise) was a basic linen undergarment worn by women throughout the early modern period. Some examples of seventeenth-century shifts survive in museums and collections, and you can find examples and details about a few of them in books like Patterns of Fashion 4 and Seventeenth-century Dress Patterns. However, so far there is very little surviving physical evidence known to scholarship … Continue reading Restoration-style (1660s-1680s) Shift, Smock or Chemise