Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Queen's Wardrobe

Just imagine how many dresses you can collect during a 45-year reign. Like any other renaissance ruler she was expected to show off her wealth and status through her clothes. Of course, everyone at court knew of Elizabeth's love for clothes which made it natural to acquire items of clothes for the Queen on her birthday and at Christmas. Very little of the Queen's vast wardrobe survives to this day; the main reason for this is that the dresses were so expensive that bits and pieces were often reused to create a new look and some gowns were given away as gifts. When Elizabeth died she owned 2000 dresses!

Even with these 2000 dresses Elizabeth spent less than a fifth of some of her male predecessors on clothes. Of course, it helped that many courtiers would gladly give her clothes or jewels to adorn her outfit with, sparing her the expense of buying them herself. Some historians has suggested that her love of clothes is a result of the time after her mother's execution when she struggled to put clothes on her back. What made her dresses so valuable - besides the expensive fabrics - was the ornaments and decorative elements. Tassels, braids and pearls were among the things used to adorn the Queen's wardrobe - and it worked; the constellation of gemstones on her dresses made her sparkle when she moved.

Elizabeth believed that a courtier should dress according to rank but not above it. In times when the economy was poor she would scold her courtiers for their spendings on items of clothing. Surprisingly enough Elizabeth loved to wear black and white dresses - naturally these would be lavishly decorated with ornaments or embroideries. The Queen's clothes was a complex matter. It consisted of a chemise, a corset, a fathingale, stockings, the gown itself, sleeves, a neck ruff and sleeve ruffs!

As it is with almost all the Tudor jewels we can only know them through portraits. Most of Elizabeth's gowns were lost to history but we can still get an insight into the Virgin Queen's Wardrobe (these are just a few of the many portraits of her):

Elizabeth's coronation gown
Elizabeth apparently developed her fashion sense early!

Notice the exquisite embroidery

Pure white for virginity combined with red Tudor roses
One of her favoured black dresses

The King's Jewels

As a renaissance monarch - with a huge ego - Henry VIII had to have the very best. This included his jewels which were considered among his most personal belongings. When the King travelled from palace to palace his jewels went with him; they were transported in coffers. This English King was infamous for his love of jewellery but that was not necessarily a bad thing - during the renaissance a King's wealth was supposed to be displayed in any means possible. It was even said that Henry VIII had more jewels than most other princes in Europe!

But Henry was also known to lavishly bestow large jewels on his wives - at least when they enjoyed his good-will! For example, Henry VIII gave Anne Boleyn a jewel that coat 15.000 crowns.
It was custom for the King to have jewels sewn into his clothes as well as using gold or silver thread. When an inventory was drawn up for the belongings of Henry VIII in 1547 it showed that the King owned no less than 3690 precious gemstones.

Replica of the Tudor crown
Sadly, none of Henry VIII's jewels has been identified as the belonging of the Tudor King. The only piece of jewellery actually worn by Henry VIII which look we can be certain of, is his crown. It was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell when he took over government but ever since then a replica has been created following descriptions from the Tudor age. It is unknown whether the crown was commissioned by Henry VII or Henry VIII but we do know that Henry VIII wore it on certain occasions.
The crown first appeared on an inventory from 1521. And of course, it was extravagantly executed. The gold alone weighed 3,4 kilos! To embellish the crown 58 rubies, 28 diamonds, 19 sapphires, 2 emeralds and 168 pearls were used. A recently discovered mural of Henry VIII shows the King wearing the Tudor crown. The crown was passed on to the King's children and was used for the coronations of Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I. It appeared that Henry VIII actually had the crowned remodelled when he was created Head of the Church of England - he replaced three small kings with three equally small figures of Jesus Christ.

Since no original jewels survive we have to look to other methods to know of the King's jewels looked. There is probably no better option than that of looking at the many portraits of the King in which he wears some of his vast collection. So, these are some of the jewels that appear in portraits of Henry VIII:

                                 Gold necklace with gold
                                  pendant and onyx stone -
                                portrait of Hans Holbein
                             the Younger
Another portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger - the King is
wearing a chain of golden pendants with either rubies or onyxes
linked with four lines of pearls

The upper necklace is of a rather thick gold chain and centres
around an onyx. The chain beneath it is rather strange compared
to the normal style at the time. It would seem to consist of gold, rubies,
small onyxes and a single, large pearl.

Henry wore this on a portrait from the time when he was
married to Catherine of Aragon. The overall expression is more cheerful
than some of the more sombre ensembles. 
                                 This brooch was pinned on a black hat
This brooch is from a portrait of an
ageing Henry VIII. It looks like a lot of
metal-work has gone into decorating the gold.
These ouches or brooches were pinned
on the waistcoat

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Tailoring the Tudors

The Tudors had a taste for luxury and this was definitely also the case when it came to what they wore. Henry VIII is infamous for his dark furs, Mary I loved to change her dresses and Elizabeth had over 60 wigs when she died! These books will guide you through the fashion of the Tudors:

In Fine Style: the Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion
     by Anna Reynolds

The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing Sixteenth-Century Dress
     by Jane Malcolm-Davies and Ninya Mikhaila

Tudor Costume and Fashion
     by Herbert Norris

The Tudor Child: Clothing and Culture 1485 - 1625
     by Jane Huggett,  Jane Malcolm-Davies, Perry Michael and Ninya Mikhaila 

Clothes (Tudor Life)
     by Liz Gogerly

The King's servants: Men's Dress at the Accession of Henry VIII
     by Jane Malcolm-Davies, C. Johnson and Ninya Mikhaila

The Queen's Servants: Gentlewomen's Dress at the Accession of Henry VIII
     by Caroline Johnson

Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlocked
     by Janet Arnold

A Great Fantasy

William Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the greatest authors of all times. So why not gain a little inspiration from the master himself when you are planning your next project?

This is a leather-bound journal for all your little ideas. It features a black ribbon to help you keep track on exactly which page you last worked on. And of course (in true Tudor style) there is a touch of luxury: the pages are made of textured, ivory paper from Italy. The journal contains 122 pages - so there is plenty of room for all your ideas.

Or what about a leather-bound journal inspired by one of Shakespeare's many plays? The quality and the features are the same as the Shakespeare journal - same luxury.

Both can be bought here

While you read ...

Beautiful book-marks made of genuine leather and with close-up of different Tudors depicted on them!

Anne Boleyn
Catherine of Aragon
Henry VIII

Can be found and bought here (external link)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dazed and Confused - a Tudor Inspiration

Kate Shillingford is the stylist behind Trendhunter's November 2009 issue's "Dazed and Confused" - an editorial that clearly has been inspired by the Renaissance and the Elizabethan age. Alexander McQueen (who have already used the Elizabethan ruff in his other collections), John Galliano, Dolce & Gabbana and Junya Watanabe are the designer names that can be found on the labels in this editorial.

 High neck collar - modern twist of the ruff

You can almost hear Shakespeare's tale in this photo!

              A dark, French hood for a Tudor-feeling
Taking the ruff into the 21st century

I can't help but thinking of Catherine of Aragon when I see this picture...

Monday, 15 April 2013

Tudor Cocktails!

Ever wondered what a "Katherine Howard" might taste like? Or a "Henry VIII"? I stumbled over this fun little post when I was browsing through the internet and of course you should enjoy it as well. Have a taste an pick your favourite.

The Henry VII:
Mix a bottle of Shiraz with 1 cup of orange juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 sliced orange, 1 cup of sugar, ½ cup of cardamom and five whole cloves. Serve warm!

The Henry VIII:
Pick up a huge mug and fill it with two scoops of chocolate ice-cream. Pour cool Guinness over and enjoy.

The Catherine of Aragon:
Mix 1 bottle of white Rioja with 1/4 cup of sugar. Add 1 slice of peach, 1 sliced mango, 1 cup of sliced strawberries, 2 sliced apples and 1 sliced lime to a large punch bowl. Remember to cool it off with ice.

The Anne Boleyn:
You'll need a Martini-glass for this. Pour 2 oz of vodka, 2 oz ginger brandy and 1/4 cup of lime juice. Mix it!

The Jane Seymour:
Heat 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of condensed milk with with a pinch of cloves and cinnamon in a saucepan. In a different bowl whisk 2 egg yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar. Now you have to slow down - whisk VERY SLOWLY some of the hot milk into the egg mixture and then let it all float back to the saucepan with a sprinkle of nutmeg and ½ cup heavy cream - remember to whisk constantly!

The Anne of Cleves:
Pour cool Riesling into a tall wine glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.

The Katherine Howard:
Add a single drop of peach nectar to a champagne flute, top it off with either champagne or sparkling wine and let a few raspberries swim around at the top.

The Catherine Parr:
Add ½ cup of Frangelio to a hot cup of coffee. Top it off with whipped cream and add cocoa to the top.

The Edward VI:
Mix ½ cup of lime juice with 1 oz of tequila and a splash of triple sec. To add a special little special, salt the rim.

The Mary I:
Pour a dash of Angostura bitter and the same amount of water over 1 tbsk sugar, add 1½ oz whiskey and lemon peel for the top.

The Elizabeth I:
Pour 1½ oz of peppermint schnapps into a pretty glass. Add 1½ oz of Bacardi 151 and a splash of pomegranate juice.

The Lady Jane Grey:
Mix ½ oz of amaretto with 1 oz of Kahlua and a splash of cream - take as a shot!

Credits to: 

Book Theme: Anne of Cleves

For centuries she has gone down in history as the ugly wife of Henry VIII that he discarded off at the first given opportunity. But new research has cast a new light of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's German Wife who chose to yield to the King's will and accept a divorce - this meant that she would live out her life comfortably and highly regarded as the King's "beloved sister".

Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII's Discarded Bride by Elizabeth Norton

My Lady of Cleves: a novel of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Anne of Cleves: Fourth Wife of Henry VIII by Mary Saaler

The Marrying of Anne of Cleves: Royal Protocol in Early Modern England by Retha M. Warnicke

Anne of Cleves by Julia Hamilton

The Lucky Lady Anne of Cleves - Henry's Fourth Wife by David Lawrence-Young

Book Theme: Mary 1

The only living legacy of Henry VIII's first marriage, Mary was the princess who became a bastard and then restored as a princess. Eventually Mary would even ascend the throne but her reign has gone down in history as one of the worst in English history - horrible decisions, bad weather and an ill-suited marriage would be the destruction of Mary's name and the Queen herself is remembered by the name Bloody Mary.

Mary Tudor: The First Queen by Linda Porter

Mary Tudor: England's first Queen by Anna Whitelock

Bloody Mary: the Life of Mary Tudor by Carolly Erickson

Mary Tudor: the Spanish Tudor by H. F. M. Prescott

Her mother's daughter: a novel of Queen Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee

Mary Tudor: a Life by David Loades

Mary Tudor: Courageous Queen or Bloody Mary? by Jane Buchanan

Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer

Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor by Eamon Duffy

Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen by Anna Whitelock 


Book Theme: Henry VII

Tough he began the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII has always stood in the shadow of his son Henry VIII. Henry VII defeated Richard III and claimed the throne of England - when King, he kept true to his word and married Elizabeth of York. His legacy would become the most notorious dynasty in English history.

Winter King: the Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn

To hold the Crown: the Story of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York by Jean Plaidy

Henry VII by Gladys Temperley

The Life of Henry VII by Bernard André and Daniels Hobbins

Henry VII - the First Tudor King by Bryan Bevan

The Life and Time of Henry VII by Neville Williams

Book Theme: Katherine Howard

Fifth wife of Henry VIII and the second to mount the steps of the scaffold. But unlike her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard was actually guilty of the charges made against her - but she never realized the gravity of the consequences of her actions.

Katherine Howard: A Tudor Conspiracy by Joanna Denny

The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn

The Rose without a Thorn by Jean Plaidy

Catherine Howard: the Queen whose adulteries made a fool of Henry VIII by Lacey Baldwin Smith

No Will but His by Sarah A. Hoyt

The Unfaithful Queen: a Novel of Henry VIII's Fifth Wife by Carolly Erickson

Katherine, the Wanton Queen by Maureen Peters

Catherine Howard: the Adulteress Wife of Henry VIII by David Loades

Book Themes!

These books are arranged by famous Tudor characters - these will be updated regularly, so remember to check back on your favourite Tudor. The individual lists contains both fictional and historically correct novels.

Henry VII

Henry VIII

Edward VI

Mary I

Elizabeth I

Catherine of Aragon

Anne Boleyn

Jane Seymour

Anne of Cleves

Katherine Howard

Catherine Parr

Margaret Beaufort

Elizabeth of York

Margaret Tudor

Mary Tudor

Mary, Queen of Scots

Lady Jane Grey

Other Tudors

Francis Walsingham

Edward Seymour

The Pilgrimage of Grace

One of the greatest rebellions during Henry VIII was undoubtedly the Pilgrimage of Grace.  The King and Thomas Cromwell had set the Protestant Reformation in motion which had meant the closure of many abbeys and convents all through England. Especially northern England was known to be particularly attached to the Catholic faith. But the rebellion was not against Henry VIII as a monarch but at the very changes that swept through the country.

It all began in Lincolnshire at St. James Church on October 1 1536 where the frustration due to the closure of the abbeys became too much for the inhabitant of Louth to bear. The rising spread to other villages nearby  who demanded that the King's Ten Articles should be removed and the monasteries restored. About 40.000 led by minor gentlemen occupied Lincoln Cathedral. But the uprising was short-lived. By October 14 Henry VIII announced that if the rebels did not disperse he would send the Duke of Suffolk (Charles Brandon) and his forces to settle the matter - only a few remained after a threat such as this. The local leaders were hanged, drawn and quartered as was the punishment for treason.

The Lincolnshire rising may have died out but the movement behind it had not. One day before Henry VIII's public threat - October 13 - the Pilgrimage of Grace began. This new uprising was based on several complaints from the northern populace:
First of all the harvest of 1535 had been poor which had increased the food prices and the Statute of Uses did not help to improve the situation.
Secondly, the people was not pleased about the King's marital affairs. They had not liked how the King had discarded Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn but when Anne Boleyn was executed it was the last drop. The charges against her were clearly trumped-up and lacking any real evidence which was too much for the northern people to cope with - one Queen was bad, but two was too much.
Last - but definitely not least - was the issues with Cromwell's religious reform. As stated, the church meant the world to northern England to whom it was the very centre of community life. When rumours began circulating that a new tax on baptism would be enforced the people could no longer ignore it - combined with the dissolution of the monasteries, the Ten Articles and the new prayers it changed too much too fast.

Every uprising have to have a leader and the Pilgrimage of Grace was no exception. Robert Aske was chosen to be the head of the rebellion. In 1536 Robert Aske had gathered 9.000 rioters and headed for York; the city would be occupied by the rebels soon after. Robert Aske also arranged for the previous monks and nuns to return to the monasteries from which they had been evicted - this was a direct defiance of the King's will. Several noblemen who shared the rebels desire to maintain the Catholic faith began to negotiate with Aske who was now supported by 30-40.000 people - the noblemen in question was Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk and George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. King Henry VIII instructed the Duke of Norfolk to offer the rebels a royal pardon from the King himself and the assembly of Parliament at York. The offers were delivered and Robert Aske dismissed his followers - you have to remember that the rebellion was not against the King and that the people still supported him.

But not all of the northerners shared Robert Aske's conviction that the King would be true to his word. A new rebellion broke out in Cumberland and Westmorland and this new rebellion was named the Bigod's rebellion. The King reacted promptly and arrested Aske (Henry VIII was convinced that Robert Aske had known about the new rebellion), Lord Darcy, Lord Hussey and other leaders. To the Duke of Norfolk, King Henry wrote:
You must cause such dreadful executions of a good number of the inhabitants [...] hanging them on trees, quartering them and setting their heads and quarters in every town, as shall be a fearful warning. 
 This meant the end of the rebellion and the end of the rebel leaders' lives.

Lord Darcy and Lord Hussey were beheaded for their involvement. Sir Robert Constable and Sir Francis Bigod were hanged at Tyburn and Thomas Moigne (Member of Parliament) was hanged, drawn and quartered in March 1537. Robert Aske had pleaded the King not to be hanged, drawn and quartered and the King agreed - but Robert Aske's altered punishment was not much better: Robert Aske was hung in chains from York Castle.
In total the rebellion ended with the executions of 216 people including several knights, munks, priests and members of the nobility. Actually, Henry VIII emerged from the rebellion as more powerful than ever - he had successfully struck down a rebellion without losing any of his royal power or authority.

These are some of the nobles that were executed and how they met their ends:

Sir John Bulmer - Hanged, drawn and quartered
Lady Margaret Stafford - Burned at the stake
Sir Edward Neville - Beheaded
Sir Thomas Percy - Hanged
Sir Stephen Hamerton - Hanged
Sir Nicolas Tempast - Hanged

Here are some illustrations of the Pilgrimage of Grace:

This was the badge chosen to represent the Pilgrimage of Grace.
The shield is "adorned" with the five wounds of Christ and is crowned
with his crown of thorns

Court scroll regarding the Pilgrimage of Grace
Here you have it - the pardon from Henry VIII from 1537 including a list of those who
were not pardoned
"Beginning of the Pilgrimage of Grace" by Andrew Benjamin Donaldson 1537
Plaque that hangs outside the church in Lincolnshire where it all began

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Modern Ruffs

Normally the ruff is associated with the Elizabethan court but modern designers have opened their eyes for this peculiar trend. The ruff has been through the haute couture machine which has increased the size dramatically - perhaps even Elizabeth would be jealous of these ruffs?

"Techno Couture" by Junya Watanabe
Styled by Kate Shillingford


By Anna Lycelle Taschini

Alexander McQueen used the Elizabethan ruff as inspiration for his Fall/Winter collection for 2013 - just take a look at how this amazing designer has incorporated the neck-piece into his modern haute couture.

Even men are joining in on the revival of the Elizabethan ruff! 

Jaime Morgan

And lets end this post with a picture of the original ruff by none other than Elizabeth I herself.