Queen Elizabeth I
A loose interpretation of a sleeve detail from
The Phoenix Portrait by Nicolas Hilliard, c.1575
National Portrait Gallery, London
I was so taken with the costuming details in this portrait that I simply had to try my hand at duplicating the beaded motif used throughout. The few motifs I completed gave me pause for thought at just how much time it must have taken to bead the entire gown!
There was an interesting side note in the commentary about this painting and the Queen's gown: "This gown is of blue velvet. Blue was, by the Elizabethan period, considered a color worn mostly by servants, due to the cheap cost of indigo dye. Who knows? Perhaps the queen was trying to make one more symbolic point."
This beaded page was made with antique pearls and five different shades of gold beads. Since the sapphire is September's birthstone, I used deep blue velvet for the background. The silver netted fabric was gathered and sewn to replicate somewhat the lace trim on the gown.