Food, Clothes, People, Entertainment, Books/Films

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Elizabeth Still Reigns

Most recently a portrait minature of Elizabeth was up for sale at the auction house Bonhams. The portait was by one of Elizabeth's favorite painters, Nicholas Hilliard. One can see that the painting highlights Elizabeth's clothing and jewelery, while keeping her face much more simple. This indicates that she was probably toward the end of her reign when this was painted, since ornate gowns and jewels were used more and more often to deflect attention from Elizabeth's aging beauty. The miniature sold for $63, 411. 36 (40,800 pounds).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Black Friday traditionally marks the first shopping day for Christmas, and to help you find the perfect Elizabethan or Renaissance gifts, I've compiled a list of stores and items that would be perfect for the ones you love.

The Shakespeare Folger Library is not only the largest source of Shakespeare's work, but they also have a fantastic museum shop (see
here) with Shakespeare themed items or Elizabethan items. Here's some of my favorites below:

Henry VIII and His Disappearing Wives Mug

"We Are Such Stuff as Dreams are Made of" pillow

Queen Elizabeth Sieve Poster

The British National Portrait Galley is another great museum, and also has another great museum gift shop (see here), some things they offer:

Great Music from the Court of Elizabeth I

Music for the Six Wives of Henry VIII [I own this and it is great, highly recommend!]

The National Portrait Galley Book of Tudors

Postcards: 16th Century portraits [including Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, and Richard III]

And of course I couldn't forget my favorite store, Etsy! I've found many great things there over the past few years and here's some of my favorites:

Elizabethan Ruff: Sonnet to Delia

Tudor French Hood

Anne Boleyn "B Necklace" shirt

For those who want to give a gift to the younger children, here are some items to think about:

Queen Elizabeth Barbie

Princess of Portuguese Empire Barbie

Renaissance 'Go Fish'

Medici vs. Strozzi Board Game

And Finally, the fun and quirky gifts for just about anyone (from

Quill pen and ink set

Catapult and Trebuchet kit

BBQ sword

Sword Handle Umbrella

Happy Shopping!

Ailments Cured by Tobacco

Nicholas Monardes (1493-1588) was a a Spanish physician and botanist who wrote an influential book on the wonders of the "New World." His work was then translated into Latin, then into English by John Frampton. The English translation is known as Joyfull Newes Out of the Newe Founde Worlde. Here are some of the ailments that Monardes believed tobacco could cure.

1. Cancer

2. Shortness of breath

3. Chest Colds

4. "The grief of women" (labor pains)
5. Kidney stones

6. Scurvy

7. Stomachaches

8. Constipation

9. Toothaches

10. Arthritis
11. Absceses

12. Worms

13. Boils

14. Venomous bites

15. Cuts and wounds

16. Headaches

17. Cold sores

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Elizabeth's Suitors

With all the buzz over Prince William and Kate Middleton's recent engagement, I thought it oh-so befitting to mention the many suitors of Elizabeth. Many men vied for her hand for several decades, even as the ability for her to have children became less and less sure. Marriages tended to be political, in order to create alliances or strengthen nations, and Elizabeth played the game exceptionally well (consider this: Elizabeth was born in 1533 and her first offer of marriage was in 1534, when she was one years old!). She was able to juggle numerous suitors, and use them to her advantage in order to use their country for a purpose without officially declaring an engagement. Here is a list of her suitors who were considered to be Elizabeth's husband:

1534: Duke of Angouleme (third son of Francis I)

1544: Prince Phillip of Spain (Phillip II)

1547: Sir Thomas Seymour

1553: Edward Courtenay

1554: Emanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy

1554: Prince Frederick of Denmark

1556: Prince Eric of of Sweden

1556: Don Carlos (son of King Phillip II)

1559: Phillip II

1559: Sir William Pickering

1559: James Hamilton, Earl of Arran

1559: Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel

1559: Lord Robert Dudley, Lord of Leicester

1560: King Eric XVI of Sweden

1560: Henry de Valois, Duke of Anjou

1563: Lord Darnley

1568: Archduke Charles of Austria

1570: Henry, Duke of Anjou

1572: Francois, Duke of Alencon and then Anjou

But alas, in the end Elizabeth declared that she was married to England.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Elizabeth and Pearls

Pearls were the Queen's favorite adornment because they were a symbol of virginity. Here she wears them as "teardrops" sewn to her clothing and in her hair, as well as around her neck in ropes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Burghley House

Burghley House was the country home built by Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley, who was the Lord High Treasurer to Elizabeth. The house is located just within Cambridgeshire, England. The main part of the house has 35 major rooms, and 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas. In one room (the Pagoda room) hangs a portrait of Elizabeth I (as well as the Cecil family, Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell). Now that's what I call a country house!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All Hail the Queen!

November 17th 1558 marks the beginning of the Elizabethan Era: Queen Mary I was dead and was succeeded by our dear Elizabeth I.

An account from Elizabeth Jenkins biography "Elizabeth The Great" has this to say on Mary's death and Elizabeth's accession: "Cecil noted: 'In June [they were still using the Julien calendar] now burning in Smithfield seven at one fire.' The last martys were burned on Novemeber 11, and after their names, the Register exclaims: 'Six days afters these were burned to death, God sent us our Elizabeth.' At Hatfield, in the excrutiating excitment of the hour, ELizabeth had not let go of caution. She had told Sir Nocholas Throckmorton that he was to bring her the black-and-gold betrothal ring that would never leave Mary's hand until she was dead. Meanwhile Cecil came and went, with draft proclamations and plans to take over the government in the new Queen's name...At daybreak on November 17 Mary died, and Throckmorton set out for Hatfield with the ring, but he was outdistanced on the road by the Lords of the Council. When they arrived Elizabeth was walking in the park and they came up with her as she stood beneath a leafless oak. At their words she knelt on the grass and exclaimed: 'A domino factum est et mirible in oculis nostris!' ['This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes']. "

On November 23 Elizabeth left her home of Hatfield for St. James palace in London. She was attended by the Lords of Council, her ladies in waiting and a royal household retinue which numbered "a thousand and more." Along the way she was met with loud acclamations and Elizabeth would stop to recieve the her Subjects greetings and oaths of allegiance, graciously extending her hand for each to kiss.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Elizabethan Food and YouTube Unite!

I found the most pleasant discovery on YouTube, a BBC production called "The Supersizer Go...[insert time period here]" which is a food program that recreates dishes from different periods in British history, and yes they have an Elizabethan episode! It's a very funny show, with lots delicious as well as atrocious looking food which the two hosts (restraunt critic Giles Corin and broadcaster and comedian Sue Perkins) must endure, all while wearing the traditional outfits of the time. Check it out here!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Luftwaffe spy photo reveals lost Tudor garden

I recently found an article on a German spy plane in 1944 taking secret photos of a lost Tudor garden. Obviously the Luftwaffe cameraman thought/hoped the oddly marked fields would have military significance. The reason this has come up now is because the National Trust requested copies of the photos from the U.S national archive within the last 6 months. There's a very interesting story behind this garden, which you can read here, even involving Catholicism and the Gunpowder Plot.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Elizabethan Public Relations

With all the buzz over Queen Elizabeth II now having a Facebook page (as well as a YouTube channel, Flickr account, and Twitter account), it got me thinking about how Elizabeth I reached out to the people of her realm. It is very well known than Elizabeth I aimed at presenting herself as a capable monarch, full of all the splendors and riches of her positions, as well as later the image of an ageless regal queen. But what about the real "grass roots" way of connecting to people? Elizabeth I was a times on unstable ground in terms of her retaining the crown, and she felt the best way to preserve her position and the future of England, was to play to the people to gain their loyalty. Let's break down some methods she used.

1. She often traveled throughout England on her progresses; this was not only because it was fiscally reasonable to do so (since the nobles she visisted would have to pay for everything) or because of sanitary issues (because there were hundreds of courtiers, and no indoor plumbing) but also so Subjects would find Elizabeth a familiar sight. Sometimes mid-travel she would stop the carriage she was in and get out to wave and greet Subjects, and thank them for their loyalty.

2. In a time when few could read, the Queen still regulated the use of printed material in order to make sure no slanderous things were said about her/her reign/or anything that would inspire rebellion. As early as 1557, Queen Mary instituted the Company of Stationers—–the printers and booksellers guild—–creating a restricted membership which had the sole right to publish books. The Crown granted itself the authority to ensure that no printed materials “should be either heretical, seditious, or unseemly for Christian ears.” Any new books were to be licensed, prior to printing, either by the Queen herself in writing, or by six of her Privy Council, (or by one of the following: the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishop ofLondon, or the Chancellors of both universities).

3. Since literacy was not obtainable by every Subject of England, they turned to plays as entertainment, and Elizabeth certainly used them as an opportunity to heighten her image while degrade her enemies. So many productions often took aim at England's key enemy Spain, that Bishop Quadra (Spanish Ambassador to England from 1559 to 1563) complained "As I was tired of complaining to the Queen of the constant writing of books, farces, and songs prejudicial to other princes, and seeing that notwithstanding her promises, no attempt was made to put a stop to it." And Elizabeth did not interfer with plays so long as they were directed against her enemies. Historian David Bevington notes that "in the 1560s and 1570s is the vogue of “mirror” plays exploring the nature of tyranny and the proper attitudes of subjects under its cruel sway: Cambises, Appius and Virginia, Virtuous and Godly Susanna, Jocasta, Promos and Cassandra, and Damon and Pythias . . . obviously dare[d] not hint at dictatorial abuses in Elizabeth herself. Instead, they implicitly or explicitly flatter Elizabeth by the contrast between her and the conventional tyrant." This is the kind of anti-foreign sentiment whichElizabeth may have influenced.