THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
In this portrait Lady Mary is depicted wearing fashionable Jacobean accessories – the black strings looped and tied in knots, from which dangle hoops, possibly carved from carnelian stone. Her white neck is also emphasised by the black string of her necklace, the pendant of which is hidden but may possibly have been formed of a stone believed to have protective and healing properties and thus kept close to the skin. Her bracelet is probably made of coral beads (perhaps alternated with pearls), also thought to be amuletic. Lady Mary's dress is embroidered with silver thread, which could be interpreted as caduceus forms: snakes coiled around rods, emblematic of eloquence and love of literature. The honeysuckle she holds signifies love and devoted affection.
It is interesting to note that the inscription on the reverse of the portrait identifies this as the likeness recorded at Hampton Court, Herefordshire, due to its mention of the sitter's relationship to Lord Coningsby.
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