|Elizabeth I when a Princess|
I was dithering about how to spend my free afternoon, unable to drum up sufficient enthusiasm for The Great Gatsby to get myself out of the house, when I came up with a plan B that should have been plan A in the first place. Because this exhibition In Fine Style, The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion at the Queen's Gallery is sumptuously, stunningly, absolutely fabulous. Or as Brian Sewell put it: 'Do not dismiss this as a treat for members of the Women's Institute. It is an exhibition of high seriousness.' (What a longstanding grudge he has against the WI. Perhaps they sold him mouldy jam?)
Anyway, forget Brian Sewell ... What I say is that this is possibly the best fashion exhibition that you will ever see in your life.
It isn't simply the sumptuous silks and jewels, and cloth of silver tissued with gold (see Princess Elizabeth's sleeves and skirt above). It isn't seeing Holbein's drawing of Queen Anne Boleyn in her nightcap, looking quite frumpy and double-chinned and surely not sexy enough to cause a King to fall out with the Pope. (Much as I loved seeing this so soon after reading Bring Up the Bodies.)
Just look at Henrietta Maria's frothy pinked sleeves ... can't you just hear the swish of silk as she moves.It was fascinating to see surviving examples of clothing, Queen Henrietta's embroidered slippers, exquisite lace collars, Charles I's doublet .. and when you turn around, he is wearing that very same doublet in a portrait. There was so much to absorb ( and I'd started out rather late, blast The Great Gatsby) that I'm definitely going back for a second visit. I was the last one out of the gallery and if I'd dawdled any longer, the Queen would have to shout down the stairs and invite me to tea. But for those who can't get to the exhibition, which is on until October, the zoom feature on the website is excellent.
|Anne of Denmark|