Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Rare and remarkable Elizabethan costume survivals

Unlike ecclesiastical vestments or textiles virtually nothing survives in this country of secular clothing from the medieval or early modern era. When something is identified as a surviving example considerable interest is generated.

The Press Association had a report recently that on a visit to film The Antiques Roadshow at Wollaton Hall near Nottingham one of the programme’s experts was delighted to be shown by the Hall staff a portion of a sleeve and the support or farthingale which produced the puffed-out profile for the sleeve that was fashionable when the house was built. It had been passed down through the family who built and owned Woollaton.

Items of clothing from the period which can be linked to specific individuals excite great interest, such as what is claimed to be Mary Queen of Scot’s’ shift which is preserved at Coughton Court, let alone the interest generated by the very persuasive case for the altar cover from Barton church in rural Herefordshire being the sole surving known portion of a dress worn by Queen Elizabeth I. This has now been conserved and on loan and display at Hampton Court Palace.

I posted last year about the Bacton frontal in Historic treasures in Herefordshire Churches and that gives some links to further information about this fascinating survival.

There are now many online pieces about the frontal - it is of the type often described as Laudian - and notable amongst these are that from Wikipedia at Bacton Altar Cloth, and for more detail and illustrations those from The Crown Chronicles at The Bacton Altar Cloth - Elizabeth I's only surviving dress - now at Hampton Court Palace, from Just History Posts at Treasures of the Tudors: The Bacton Altar Clothfrom Tudor Embroidery at The Mistry, Arte and Science of the Bacton Altar Clothfrom Seventeenth-century Fashion at The Bacton Altar Clothand from the Costume Society at In Glistening Glory: Queen Elizabeth I’s Dress at Hampton Court Palace

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