Thursday, March 22, 2012

Revisiting the Elizabeth Dress..

This is a reproduction of the original
1588 Water-colour drawing by Isaac Oliver,
 Royal Library, Windsor
The original measures 12 inches by 8 inches.
Most who know me or my work, know that I challenged myself to create the dress that Queen Elizabeth I is wearing in the portrait by Isaac Oliver, 1588.  It is supposed to be the gown that she wore to St. Paul's to return thanks for the defeat of the Armada.

According to historian, Herbert Norris,  Tudor Costume and Fashion, Dover Publication, Inc. 1997,
"It is considered by authorities to be an excellent likeness of Queen Elizabeth...it is the earliest portrait of the Queen showing her dressed in full band or ruff, long stomacher, veil, and wheel-farthingale." (604)

It may appear to some as a bit gaudy but Norris' description sounds quite regal and I wanted to try and reproduce the gown as best I could.

"The farthingale in this picture shows the cart-wheel effect. The bodice, long hanging sleeves, and over-skirt are composed of white satin brocaded or embroidered with a gold scroll design.  The full sleeves, stomacher, and under-skirt with cart-wheel arrangement on top are of cloth of gold, and diagonol puffings of fine white silk: alternate intersections are decorated with groups of five pearls each, and rubies set in gold mounts, and a large pearl in the centre of each lozenge of gold foundation." (604-605)

Here is the beginning stages of my work on the
gown.  This is the over-skirt and bodice.  I have since decided to do the beading and rework the pleating.  It needs more stability for one and the under farthingale will not support the weight so that will be changed as well.