Bess of Hardwick’s gynocracy in textiles

in Bess of Hardwick
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This chapter focuses on Bess’s textile production, starting with the textile hangings she produced for Chatsworth, which constitute the most ambitious known artwork produced by an Englishwoman in the early modern period. Although these textiles are in many ways distinct from the emblematic embroideries that Bess produced working alongside Mary, Queen of Scots, her royal prisoner during this period of time, there are also areas of overlap in style and subject matter. These areas of connection between Bess’s textile work and Mary Stuart’s support the assertion that Mary was a catalyst in Bess’s transformation from able embroiderer to what today we would call a textile artist. The chapter pieces together the story of her workshop at Chatsworth, located in the guarderobe there and in its attached room.

Bess of Hardwick

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