Saturday, 4 August 2012

Jane Lambard's Mantle

Jane Lambarde by Marcus Gheerhaerts
A portrait of Jane Lambarde painted by Marcus Gheerhaerts, and now in the collection of the Drapers’ Company in London. It dates from about 1620, and is of interest to the lovers of embroidered jackets and petticoats, however the real thing about the painting is that the mantle/cloak she is wearing survives and is also in the Drapers’ Collection . This is so rare at this date, one thinks of Margaret Layton’s jacket and Sir Richard Cotton’s suit, but that is about it. Janet Arnold (1980) wrote an article on the painting and the mantle, putting them in the context of a series of paintings of women wearing mantles which date from the 1590s to 1630s, such as the portrait of Francis Howard, Countess of Hertford, 1611 by the same painter,  Isabella Rich by William Larkin (below) or a lady, thought to be Elizabeth, wife of Sir William Pope (1596-1624)

The mantle itself is made from two pieces of crimson velvet to create a rectangle 53 by 45 inches. It is according to Arnold interlined with cream linen and “lined” with silk shag, in a slightly lighter red,  which is cut larger than the velvet and then turned back to form a edge 2½ inches wide on the front. Shag, (OED)is a material with a long pile used for linings and often of worsted or, as here, silk. There is then a band of plaited bobbin lace in gold and silver thread, 2½ inches wide. This lace is very similar to some of the plaited lace patterns that appear in Le Pompe (Levey, 1983)

Isabella Rich by William Larkin
The mantle is often worn tied, or held together with a brooch over one shoulder.  Arnold has speculated that most are tied of the left shoulder because most people are right handed. The Stowe Inventory of Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe has 94 mantles and veils. (Arnold, 1988)

Arnold, J., 1980. Jane Lambarde's mantle. Costume, Volume 14, pp. 56-72.
Arnold, J., 1988. Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd. Leeds: Maney
Levey, S. and Payne, P. (eds), 1983. Pompe, 1559: Patterns for Venetian Bobbin Lace. s.l.:Ruth Bean.

OED. Oxford English Dictionary Online.

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