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Panel - The Oxburgh Hangings
  • The Oxburgh Hangings
    Talbot, Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury, born 1527 - died 1608
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The Oxburgh Hangings

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Sheffield (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1570 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Talbot, Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury, born 1527 - died 1608 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered linen canvas with silk, gold and silver threads

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by The Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    T.33K-1955

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 57, case 5

Object Type
Making up large decorative hangings from a number of smaller panels which were then applied to a sympathetic background material, was a popular pastime of well to do ladies in the 16th century. This allowed for a group of women to work on individual panels at the same time. If required, the hanging could be dismantled at a later stage and the panels re-used. In the case of this hanging it seems likely that the panels were left unused until the 17th century.

People
It is very rare to be able to identify surviving embroideries as having been owned or worked by royalty. Unfortunately for the doomed Mary, Queen of Scots, she had plenty of time while imprisoned to work on numerous embroideries, some of which have her initials or cipher. This activity must have both filled her time and occupied her mind as many of the emblems or mottoes used have more significance than is immediately apparent.

A signed monogram with the initials ES indicates that this piece was made by Elisabeth, Countess of Shrewsburv.

Subjects Depicted
From C. Gesner, Icones Avium Omnium.

Physical description

Textile panel of embroidered linen canvas with silk, gold and silver threads in cross stitch.

Place of Origin

Sheffield (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1570 (made)

Artist/maker

Talbot, Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury, born 1527 - died 1608 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered linen canvas with silk, gold and silver threads

Marks and inscriptions

A.PEA:COCKE
Embroidered

'EB'
signed

Dimensions

Height: 28 cm, Width: 30 cm, Depth: 1 cm

Object history note

Embroidered by an unidentified member of the household of Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury. Probably made in Sheffield Castle where Mary was imprisoned. The Oxburgh Hangings. Hanging with applied panels of embroidery, formerly at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk.

Descriptive line

Textile panel 'The Oxburgh Hangings' of embroidered linen canvas with silk, gold and silver threads, possibly made by Elizabeth Talbot, probably made in Sheffield, ca. 1570

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587)

Mary Queen of Scots' troubled reign in Scotland ended in 1568 when the Scottish Lords forced her to flee across the border into England. As Elizabeth's cousin Mary had long claimed the English throne, leading Elizabeth to see Mary as a threat and place her in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Mary was held captive in various English country houses for 19 years. She was finally executed in 1587.

Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) embroidered these panels with Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick) and ladies of the household, during her imprisonment. Mary may have intended the large central panel as a cushion for Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel (1557-1595), an English Catholic courtier imprisoned in London by Elizabeth I. Mary's emblem of the marigold turning towards the sun (lower right) has been combined with various coats of arms and emblems representing courage in adversity. Many other panels from the same group are now at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk. [27/03/2003]

Subjects depicted

Peacock

Categories

Wall coverings; Textiles; Embroidery; Royalty; British Galleries; Scotland

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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