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The material and visual culture of the Stuart Courts, 1589–1619
Author: Jemma Field

This book analyses Anna of Denmark’s material and visual patronage at the Stuart courts, examining her engagement with a wide array of expressive media including architecture, garden design, painting, music, dress, and jewellery. Encompassing Anna’s time in Denmark, England, and Scotland, it establishes patterns of interest and influence in her agency, while furthering our knowledge of Baltic-British transfer in the early modern period. Substantial archival work has facilitated a formative re-conceptualisation of James and Anna’s relationship, extended our knowledge of the constituents of consortship in the period, and has uncovered evidence to challenge the view that Anna followed the cultural accomplishments of her son, Prince Henry. This book reclaims Anna of Denmark as the influential and culturally active royal woman that her contemporaries knew. Combining politics, culture, and religion across the courts of Denmark, Scotland, and England, it enriches our understanding of royal women’s roles in early modern patriarchal societies and their impact on the development of cultural modes and fashions. This book will be of interest to upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses on early modern Europe in the disciplines of Art and Architectural History, English Literature, Theatre Studies, History, and Gender Studies. It will also attract a wide range of academics working on early modern material and visual culture, and female patronage, while members of the public who enjoy the history of courts and the British royals will also find it distinctively appealing.

Jemma Field

Highlights the transformative powers - and concomitant anxieties - of bodily display by examining how Anna’s choices of jewellery and apparel could visualise her aims, allegiances, and networks of belonging. It critically examines the queen’s fashion and display as she moved between the courts of Denmark-Norway, Scotland, and England negotiating national and dynastic identities. It presents new evidence concerning Anna’s relationship to the almost mythic sartorial legacy of her predecessor, Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), and it uncovers Anna’s use of clothes and jewels in the political world of gift-giving, which extended beyond the Stuart courts into Europe. Particularly marked within Anna’s natal network, and her female court circle, it was an essential tool for showing favour, cementing alliances, and maintaining subject loyalty and kinship bonds.

in Anna of Denmark
Jemma Field

Nuances the male-dominated history of collecting and display at the Stuart court, and the use of the “Italianate” as the benchmark of cultural erudition. Confirms that Anna’s palaces were largely filled with Flemish and Dutch artworks and argues that, far from being a sign of her disinterest or naïveté, these goods were a tool for building affinity with her Danish ancestors and siblings while highlighting the continued currency of artistic centres outside of Italy. It further shows the queen facilitating cultural transfer between the Stuart and Oldenburg courts as numerous parallels link Anna's tastes, interests, and patronage, with those of her brother, King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), which are particularly noticeable in the realms of painting and music.

in Anna of Denmark
Jemma Field

Rather than the everyday or calendrical, the focus is on events in the life cycle that fundamentally articulated and confirmed Anna’s position as a woman, as queen consort, and as a figurehead of the national religion: the births and baptisms of her children, her churching ceremonies, the betrothal and wedding of her daughter Elizabeth, and her position in England during James’s progress to Scotland. The book finishes with an examination of Anna’s last performance: her death and funeral. Consideration is given to the space chosen for her laying-in-state, the material goods provided for her mourning, the form and nature of the procession, and the socio-political hierarchy of her household as seen through the funerary accounts.

in Anna of Denmark
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Jemma Field

Concluding remarks that highlight fertile avenues for future/ongoing study in the area.

in Anna of Denmark
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Jemma Field
in Anna of Denmark
Jemma Field

Sets the stage for the thematic chapters that follow, outlines the importance of Anna’s natal identity and remaps her political and marital dynamic with James. It discusses related issues of material agency, confessional identity, and power-brokering, together with the notable influence of the ongoing ties within her family network. Introduces the types of archival evidence used throughout the book.

in Anna of Denmark
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Jemma Field

Provides a critical evaluation of Anna of Denmark's historiography and introduces the key methodological pathways and central arguments of the book. It critically engages with concepts of patronage, self-fashioning and display, gender roles, labels and identities, and transcultural exchange in the early modern period. Drawing on insights from feminism, and social and economic history, together with untapped archival material, it presents a new conceptualisation of the Stuart marriage; traditional concepts of patronage, ownership, and political power are examined; the importance of Anna’s directorial role is highlighted.

in Anna of Denmark
Jemma Field

Examines the ways in which Anna conceived of, and transformed, her court spaces in Scotland and England. It moves beyond the narrow focus of earlier scholarship - the modernisation of Somerset House, or commission of the Queen's House (Greenwich) - and takes a wider view of Anna’s building activities at all of her favoured residences - Dunfermline, Somerset House, Greenwich Palace, and Oatlands Manor. It rehabilitates the importance of Anna’s upbringing as a source for her knowledge of, and interest in, innovative gardens and buildings. In particular, her father, King Frederik II (1534-1588), is shown to be a fertile source of inspiration and emulation in his patronage of classical design, elaborate waterworks, and figurative structures. The detailed examination of Anna’s jointure, income, and mobility furthers our understanding of the financial, geographic, and hierarchic structures that made up the Stuart court.

in Anna of Denmark
Jemma Field

Examining portraits of Anna - both easel and miniature - this chapter tracks the queen’s increasing control over her own image in the development of a highly personalised iconography formed around familial pride, court networks, and personal interests. Patronising European artists - notably Isaac Oliver (1565-1617), Marcus Gheeraerts (1561-1636), and Paul van Somer (1577-1621) - Anna secured a cosmopolitan mode of representation that radically contrasted with the artists and styles supported by James and his court, and those favoured by Queen Elizabeth. In portraiture, as in her building and garden projects, Anna helped establish a new direction for royal patronage, aligning England with its European counterparts, and setting an important precedent for Prince Henry, who was quick to patronise the same artists as his mother and to adopt a comparative manner of presentation.

in Anna of Denmark