Sunday, September 6, 2015

Queen Elizabeth I - 1574 decrees who can wear what in her England



1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Schloss Ambras Portrait

Elizabeth's fiscal restraint cleared the regime of debt by 1574.  Perhaps it was this & her decision to up her public image that prompted her, in the summer of 1574, to decide to issue sumptuary laws for all the subjects of England. These laws certainly coincided with the Queen's adoption of a more glamorous public image. She was not the 1st monarch to issue such mandates, these sorts of laws had been enacted in many centuries & countries. Elizabeth I intended these laws to restrict the sumptuousness of dress in order to curb extravagance, protect fortunes, & make clear the necessary & appropriate distinctions between levels of society.

Elizabeth I decided that money spent on frivolous display would be better spent on the state of more important things, such as horses, critical to a society always in peril from its neighbors. Her other concern was that letting anyone wear just anything must lead inexorably to moral decline. If you couldn't tell a milkmaid from a countess at a glance, the very fabric of a heirarchical society might unravel.  And her position & authority might be in question.


c 1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Pelican Portrait, att to Nicholas Hilliard.

Enforcing Statutes of Apparel
[Greenwich, 15 June 1574, 16 Elizabeth I]


c 1574 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 Unknown Artist

"The excess of apparel and the superfluity of unnecessary foreign wares thereto belonging now of late years is grown by sufferance to such an extremity that the manifest decay of the whole realm generally is like to follow (by bringing into the realm such superfluities of silks, cloths of gold, silver, and other most vain devices of so great cost for the quantity thereof as of necessity the moneys and treasure of the realm is and must be yearly conveyed out of the same to answer the said excess) but also particularly the wasting and undoing of a great number of young gentlemen, otherwise serviceable, and others seeking by show of apparel to be esteemed as gentlemen, who, allured by the vain show of those things, do not only consume themselves, their goods, and lands which their parents left unto them, but also run into such debts and shifts as they cannot live out of danger of laws without attempting unlawful acts, whereby they are not any ways serviceable to their country as otherwise they might be:

"Which great abuses, tending both to so manifest a decay of the wealth of the realm and to the ruin of a multitude of serviceable young men and gentlemen and of many good families, the Queen's majesty hath of her own princely wisdom so considered as she hath of late with great charged to her council commanded the same to be presently and speedily remedied both in her own court and in all other places of her realm, according to the sundry good laws heretofore provided.


c 1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 attributed to Nicholas Hilliard

"For reformation whereof, although her highness might take great advantage and profit by execution of the said laws and statutes, yet of her princely clemency her majesty is content at this time to give warning to her loving subjects to reform themselves, and not to extend forthwith the rigor of her laws for the offences heretofore past, so as they shall now reform themselves according to such orders as at this present, jointly with this proclamation, are set forth, whereby the statute of the 24th year of her majesty's most noble father King Henry VIII and the statute made in the second year of her late dear sister Queen Mary are in some part moderated according to this time.

"Wherefore her majesty willeth and straightly commandeth all manner of persons in all places within 12 days after the publication of this present proclamation to reform their apparel according to the tenor of certain articles and clauses taken out of the said statutes and with some moderations annexed to this proclamation, upon pain of her highness's indignation, and punishment for their contempts, and such other pains as in the said several statutes be expressed.


c 1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Phoenix Portrait, att to Nicholas Hilliard.

"For the execution of which orders her majesty first giveth special charge to all such as do bear office within her most honorable house to look unto it, each person in his degree and office, that the said articles and orders be duly observed, and the contrary reformed in her majesty's court by all them who are under their office, thereby to give example to the rest of the realm; and further generally to all noblemen, of what estate or degree soever they be, and all and every person of her privy council, to all archbishops and bishops, and to the rest of the clergy according to their degrees, that they do see the same speedily and duly executed in their private households and families; and to all mayors and other head officers of cities, towns, and corporations, to the chancellors of the universities, to governors of colleges, to the ancients and benchers in every the Inns of Court and Chancery, and generally to all that hath any superiority or government over and upon any multitude, and each man in his own household for their children and servants, that they likewise do cause the said orders to be kept by all lawful means that they can.

"And to the intent the same might be better kept generally throughout all the realm, her majesty giveth also special charge to all justices of the peace to inquire of the defaults and breaking of those orders in their quarter sessions, and to see them redressed in all open assemblies by all wise, godly, and lawful means; and also to all Justices of Assizes in their circuits to cause inquiry and due presentment to be made at their next assizes how these orders be kept; and so orderly, twice a year at every assize after each other circuits done, to certify in writing to her highness's Privy Council under their hands, with as convenient speed as they may, what hath been found and done as well by the justices of the peace in their quarter sessions, of whom they shall take their certificate for each quarter session, as also at the assizes, for the observing of the said orders and reformation of the abuses.

"A brief content of certain clauses of the statute of King Henry VIII and Queen Mary, with some moderation thereof, to be observed according to her majesty's proclamation above mentioned."


c 1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Darnley Portrait, by an unknown artist.

For women's apparel: None shall wear in her apparel:


c 1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 attributed to Nicholas Hilliard

"Any cloth of gold, tissue, nor fur of sables: except duchesses, marquises, and countesses in their gowns, kirtles, partlets, and sleeves; cloth of gold, silver, tinseled satin, silk, or cloth mixed or embroidered with gold or silver or pearl, saving silk mixed with gold or silver in linings of cowls, partlets, and sleeves: except all degrees above viscountesses, and viscountesses, baronesses, and other personages of like degrees in their kirtles and sleeves.

"Velvet (crimson, carnation); furs (black genets, lucerns); embroidery or passment lace of gold or silver: except all degrees above mentioned, the wives of knights of the Garter and of the Privy Council, the ladies and gentlewomen of the privy chamber and bedchamber, and maids of honor.

"None shall wear any velvet in gowns, furs of leopards, embroidery of silk: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, the wives of barons' sons, or of knights.

"Cowls, sleeves, partlets, and linings, trimmed with spangles or pearls of gold, silver, or pearl; cowls of gold or silver, or of silk mixed with gold or silver: except the degrees and persons above mentioned; and trimmed with pearl, none under the degree of baroness or like degrees.

"Enameled chains, buttons, aglets, and borders: except the degrees before mentioned.

"Satin, damask, or tufted taffeta in gowns, kirtles, or velvet in kirtles; fur whereof the kind groweth not within the Queen's dominions, except foins, grey genets, bodge, and wolf: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, or the wives of those that may dispend £100 by the year and so valued in the subsidy book.

"Gowns of silk grosgrain, doubled sarcenet, camlet, or taffeta, or kirtles of satin or damask: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, and the wives of the sons and heirs of knights, and the daughters of knights, and of such as may dispend 300 marks by the year so valued ut supra, and the wives of those that may dispend £40 by the year.

"Gentlewomen attendant upon duchesses, marquises, countesses may wear, in their liveries given them by their mistresses, as the wives of those that may dispend £100 by the year and are so valued ut supra.

"None shall wear any velvet, tufted taffeta, satin, or any gold or silver in their petticoats: except wives of barons, knights of the order, or councilors' ladies, and gentlewomen of the privy chamber and bed chamber, and the maids of honor.

"Damask, taffeta, or other silk in their petticoats: except knights' daughters and such as be matched with them in the former article, who shall not wear a guard of any silk upon their petticoats.

"Velvet, tufted taffeta, satin, nor any gold or silver in any cloak or safeguard: except the wives of barons, knights of the order, or councilor's ladies and gentlewomen of the privy chamber and bedchamber, and maids of honor, and the degrees above them.

"Damask, taffeta, or other silk in any cloak or safeguard: except knights' wives, and the degrees and persons above mentioned.

"No persons under the degrees above specified shall wear any guard or welt of silk upon any petticoat, cloak, or safeguard."


c 1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603


Queen Elizabeth I - 1570s A public relations Goddess - with Ruff



1570s Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 unknown artist

By the 1570s, Elizabeth I had been transformed into an ageless goddess. Gone were the simple, human likenesses. The queen was now an untouchable symbol of power. Roses & prayer book props were joined by tools for building an empire - swords, globes, & crowns - swirling around a timeless depiction of virginity & purity decorated with sieves, moons & pearls. This queen was meant to be revered and to be unquestioningly followed, as she led England into the wider world.

1572 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 miniature portrait on vellum playing card by Nicholas Hilliard.



c 1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Pelican Portrait, attr to Nicholas Hilliard.



1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Darnley Portrait, by an unknown artist


1775 & 1600 Queen Elizabeth portrait based on 1575 original



1575 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Phoenix Portrait, attr to Nicholas Hilliard.



1575-80 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Schloss Ambras Portrait Unknown artist



1575-80 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603



1575-1578 Elizabeth attributed to Nicholas Hilliard



1579 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Plimpton Sieve Portrait by George Gover.  The sieve is a symbol of chastity & purity, originally taken from Petrarch's Triumph of Chastity. In the story, a Roman Vestal Virgin proves her purity by carrying water in a sieve & not spilling one drop. The sieve thus reinforces Elizabeth's image as "the virgin queen."



c 1580 The Kitchner Portrait of Elizabeth I



1580-85 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Peace Portrait, 1580-5, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder.



1580-90 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 In Parliament Robes



1580s Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 by John Bettes the Younger.



1580s Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 the Drewe Portrait



1583 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Sieve Portrait by Quentin Metsys the Younger.



1585 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Ermine Portrait, by Nicholas Hilliard.



1585 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 with a feather fan by an unknown artist.



1585 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 with feather fan by John Bettes the Younger.



c 1585-90 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 with a a reversed Darnley portrait face pattern & a feather fan by an unknown artist



1588 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 by George Gower



1588 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 The Armada Portrait unknown artist sometimes attr to George Gower. Detail



1590 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 Jesus College Oxford



1592 c Queen Elizabeth



1590-1600s Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 Jesus College Oxford



1590s Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 in old age, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.



1595 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 unknown artist English School


Queen Elizabeth I - 1570 Pope Pius V declares Elizabeth I a heretic



Pope Pius V by El Greco (1541-1614)

Pope Pius V (1504–1572) was Pope from 1566 to 1572. His angry response to the Queen Elizabeth I of England assuming governance of the Church of England included his support of the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots, and her supporters in their attempts to take over England "ex turpissima muliebris libidinis servitute." To announce his displeasure to the world, Pius issued a declaration, Regnans in Excelsis, on April 27, 1570, calling Elizabeth I a heretic & releasing her subjects from her. In response, Elizabeth, who had tolerated her subjects choice to excercise the Catholic religion in private, now put her foot down & actively started persecuting them.


1572 Queen Elizabeth I 1533-1603 miniature portrait on vellum playing card by Nicholas Hilliard.

1570 Pope Pius V declares Queen Elizabeth I a heretic

"Pius Bishop, servant of the servants of God, in lasting memory of the matter.

"He that reigneth on high, to whom is given all power in heaven and earth, has committed one holy Catholic and apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, to one alone upon earth, namely to Peter, the first of the apostles, and to Peter's successor, the pope of Rome, to be by him governed in fullness of power. Him alone He has made ruler over all peoples and kingdoms, to pull up, destroy, scatter, disperse, plant and build, so that he may preserve His faithful people (knit together with the girdle of charity) in the unity of the Spirit and present them safe and spotless to their Saviour.

"1. In obedience to which duty, we (who by God's goodness are called to the aforesaid government of the Church) spare no pains and labour with all our might that unity and the Catholic religion (which their Author, for the trial of His children's faith and our correction, has suffered to be afflicted with such great troubles) may be preserved entire. But the number of the ungodly has so much grown in power that there is no place left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines; and among others, Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England and the servant of crime, has assisted in this, with whom as in a sanctuary the most pernicious of all have found refuge. This very woman, having seized the crown and monstrously usurped the place of supreme head of the Church in all England to gether with the chief authority and jurisdiction belonging to it, has once again reduced this same kingdom- which had already been restored to the Catholic faith and to good fruits- to a miserable ruin.

"2. Prohibiting with a strong hand the use of the true religion, which after its earlier overthrow by Henry VIII (a deserter therefrom) Mary, the lawful queen of famous memory, had with the help of this See restored, she has followed and embraced the errors of the heretics. She has removed the royal Council, composed of the nobility of England, and has filled it with obscure men, being heretics; oppressed the followers of the Catholic faith; instituted false preachers and ministers of impiety; abolished the sacrifice of the mass, prayers, fasts, choice of meats, celibacy, and Catholic ceremonies; and has ordered that books of manifestly heretical content be propounded to the whole realm and that impious rites and institutions after the rule of Calvin, entertained and observed by herself, be also observed by her subjects. She has dared to eject bishops, rectors of churches and other Catholic priests from their churches and benefices, to bestow these and other things ecclesiastical upon heretics, and to determine spiritual causes; has forbidden the prelates, clergy and people to acknowledge the Church of Rome or obey its precepts and canonical sanctions; has forced most of them to come to terms with her wicked laws, to abjure the authority and obedience of the pope of Rome, and to accept her, on oath, as their only lady in matters temporal and spiritual; has imposed penalties and punishments on those who would not agree to this and has exacted then of those who perserved in the unity of the faith and the aforesaid obedience; has thrown the Catholic prelates and parsons into prison where many, worn out by long languishing and sorrow, have miserably ended their lives. All these matter and manifest and notorius among all the nations; they are so well proven by the weighty witness of many men that there remains no place for excuse, defence or evasion.

"3. We, seeing impieties and crimes multiplied one upon another the persecution of the faithful and afflictions of religion daily growing more severe under the guidance and by the activity of the said Elizabeth -and recognising that her mind is so fixed and set that she has not only despised the pious prayers and admonitions with which Catholic princes have tried to cure and convert her but has not even permitted the nuncios sent to her in this matter by this See to cross into England, are compelled by necessity to take up against her the weapons of juctice, though we cannot forbear to regret that we should be forced to turn, upon one whose ancestors have so well deserved of the Christian community. Therefore, resting upon the authority of Him whose pleasure it was to place us (though unequal to such a burden) upon this supreme justice-seat, we do out of the fullness of our apostolic power declare the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic and favourer of heretics, and her adherents in the matters aforesaid to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ.

"4. And moreover (we declare) her to be deprived of her pretended title to the aforesaid crown and of all lordship, dignity and privilege whatsoever.

"5. And also (declare) the nobles, subjects and people of the said realm and all others who have in any way sworn oaths to her, to be forever absolved from such an oath and from any duty arising from lordshop. fealty and obedience; and we do, by authority of these presents , so absolve them and so deprive the same Elizabeth of her pretended title to the crown and all other the abovesaid matters. We charge and command all and singular the nobles, subjects, peoples and others afore said that they do not dare obey her orders, mandates and laws. Those who shall act to the contrary we include in the like sentence of excommunication.

"6. Because in truth it may prove too difficult to take these presents wheresoever it shall be necessary, we will that copies made under the hand of a notary public and sealed with the seal of a prelate of the Church or of his court shall have such force and trust in and out of judicial proceedings, in all places among the nations, as these presents would themselves have if they were exhibted or shown.

"Given at St. Peter's at Rome, on 27 April 1570 of the Incarnation; in the fifth year of our pontificate."