Apr 152011

Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch auf Deutsch.

In case you came here looking for the fabric that you can see on the skirt in the portrait:
I have made a reproduction of that fabric available here on Spoonflower.
And in case you’re generally interested in Tudor / Elizabethan reproduction fabrics, browse my Medieval / Renaissance / Tudor / Elizabethan design collection on Spoonflower.
Then again you could also browse all the fabric collections I’m offering on Spoonflower 😉

Before I start analyzing the portrait and then go on to my planning, let me have a lecture on proportions in Elizabethan portraits for the people who are not aware of the following first.

Look at this picture. What do you see?

I can tell you what you *think* you might see: That the Queen was painted with an overly long torso, her legs being too short to be in proportion, and the shoes sticking out at the bottom make her look as if she would fall backwards any minute – right?

You’re right about the shoes.
That’s a painter’s mistake – Elizabeth herself probably never stood too long for the painter, if at all, in that position. After that the painter had the clothes laid out for him – on a bed or over a chair, perhaps – and the shoes were positioned under the skirt, half sticking out, to show them; and that’s how they were painted. It’s impossible to stand like this naturally without leaning to something.

However, you’re wrong about the proportions; that’s an optical illusion created by the pointed bodice and the dark, front split overskirt.

I have created a virtual ‘Elizabeth’ to show you what I mean:

In this image, you can see the real Queen and the virtual Elizabeth, dressed in modern workout clothing as an overlay to the original painting:

If it wasn’t obvious in this one, here’s one with a few lines in it:

Note that all lines run straight horizontal, except the one from left hand to left hand – which must result from the fact that the painter painted the Queen’s left arm too long.

And if *that* wasn’t obvious enough, here’s an animation:

So… this was the proof that the overly long torso is just an optical illusion, the Queen is perfectly in proportion in the painting.
Knowing that the proportions are correct is important for everything that will follow in the planning, as it’s based on pure maths…

Now… let’s analyze the costume first in a short overview on what we can see in the picture on the next page of this dress diary.

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