Monday, 11 February 2013

Dressing the Queen

Queen Elizabeth I was the centre of her court and country and was consequently dressed in the very best. Thankfully some of her clothes has survived till today and gives us an insight into the most famous Queen of England and the fashion of her time.

These silk stockings belonged to Queen Elizabeth and are embroidered at the top. The Queen was fond of embroidered stockings and shoes - preferably made of silk. This particular pair of stockings was a Christmas present to the Queen from Robert Dudley and was given to her during the first New Year's celebrations of her reign.

The boots (to the right) also belonged to Queen Elizabeth and was used by the Queen when she went hunting. The boots are made of leather and shows how thin her calves were.

The Effigy Corset. This corset was taken from the Effigy of Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey for examination and study of the Queen's effigy. The edges of the corset are lined with fine leather that originally was apple-green. The corset itself was made of a fabric called fustian (a mixture of cotton and linen) and is woven in a twill pattern.

The reason for why the corset is in such a good condition is that is was not worn by a living woman - instead it was used for the effigy of Elizabeth after her death; that is a statue-like likeness of the Queen that was dressed as she would have been dressed when she was alive. If she had worn it the corset would probably have been in a worse condition because it would have been exposed to sweat and movement through its use.

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