On my adventure to London United Kingdom in 2019, I visited Hampton Court, one of the Royal families historical estates. Hampton Court’s history includes having served as the home of Henry VIII and all his marital bliss! Such a divorce lawyer’s delight he must have been. In a small dark room that I almost walked right past, was a display of embroidered fabric which had been recently found in old storage, believed to have been a discarded alter cloth. On closer inspection, based on the odd “pieced together” nature of the alter cloth, historians believed the cloth was in fact made from embroidered fabric that had been repurposed from a previous garment. With more research it was recently declared the alter cloth has been repurposed from a dress bodice that had belonged to Elizabeth I.
On display was the painted portrait of Elizabeth which solved the mystery. There in the painting, Elizabeth was wearing the beautifully embroidered bodice on her dress. Historians had believed all of Elizabeth’s wardrobe had been sold over the years and any remaining garments lost in fires, so this was an incredible find!
This totally fascinated me – not only were the designs and skill extraordinary, but the mystery had been solved by looking at artwork of the era, demonstrating how important art is in the maintenance of a cultural history.
I was then struck by the potential of these designs to create quilt blocks and to celebrate this wonderful story.
May I present to you Elizabeth’s Lost Dress.
Here is a link to see more eye candy. https://youtu.be/Qk30DBroQsw
For more historical information on the piece, here is a video link.