ATTRIBUTED TO WILLIAM LARKINPortrait of a lady, half-length, wearing an elaborately embroidered waistcoat with red and yellow ribbons, lace collar and lace cap, holding a prayer book
- Portrait of a lady, half-length, wearing an elaborately embroidered waistcoat with red and yellow ribbons, lace collar and lace cap, holding a prayer book
- oil on oak panel
- 68.5 x 49.6 cm.; 27 x 19 1/2 in.
From whom purchased in 1948 by the late husband of the present owner.
The sitter's elaborately decorated waistcoat is embellished with flowers and strawberries, the colours of which are picked up by the red and yellow ribbons which fasten it at the front.1 The artist has used tiny diagonal strokes of yellow to suggest the gold braid of the branches, achieved in reality by a complicated double plaited braid stitch using silver-gilt filé. It is also clear from this portrait how the embroidery was used to disguise the straight seam lines of the sleeves. Over this the lady wears a gown with blackwork embroidery and scalloped edges, trimmed with spangles – an early form of sequins, which were cut from sheets of gold or silver-gilt, often punched through off-centre so they would hang at angles and catch the light.
1 An extant example of such a garment, richly embroidered, complete with ribbons and remarkably well-preserved, is in the Fashion Museum, Bath, inv. no. BATMC 1.13.132; see A. Reynolds, In Fine Style. The art of Tudor and Stuart fashion, London 2013, pp. 164–68, reproduced in colour.