On the website for the Dorotheum auction house, there’s a gorgeous portrait of a lady (identified as possibly Anne of Denmark, who was the wife of James I), in a gorgeous 17th century embroidered jacket.
The embroidered jacket featured in the portrait is a little different from the ones we’ve seen resurrected lately in all kinds of costume & textile history books, as well as in the “Plymoth Jacket” re-creation project. This one has a much more rigid design to it – not a lot of visible scrolly vines and the like – but nevertheless, it’s a beautiful example of 17th century Clothing for the Rich and Famous.
While you’re there, don’t limit yourself to the portrait. Take some time to read the history of it, too. It’s fascinating! The specialist who writes about the portrait, Dr. Mark MacDonnell, presents some wonderful insights about the subject of the portrait, the various elements in the portrait and why they are significant, and an interesting tidbit on the wardrobes of Elizabeth I and Anne of Denmark. I love the fact that the jacket is referred to as “increasingly archaic” in style. And yet, here we are, 400 years later, still gawking at the things in wonder.
When you go to the Dorotheum site and zoom in on the jacket in the portrait, you’ll see that the pattern of the jacket features lots of small elements connecting with interlocking gold circles. The individual elements are worth taking a look at, if you’ve got any interest in 17th century embroidery and are looking for design ideas. There are some nice little motifs in there!
Perhaps not as noticeable to those enamored with 17th century embroidered items, but just as interesting, is the gown underneath – zoom in on that, too! The strips of lace are Italian reticella. If you’d like to know a bit more about reticella lace, you should check out this PDF on the history and techniques of reticella lace, from BayRose.
If this is your Needlework Cup of Tea, do go see the portrait up close on the Dorotheum website. If you click on “full size picture” under the portrait, you will have the option of a high resolution image download, too. Do it today – you never know how long the image will be available on the site, as the auction ended in April.
(And just think, if you had caught the auction and had $113,000.00 or so to spare, the portrait could have been yours, to stare at indefinitely!)