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New perspectives
Editor: Lisa Hopkins

Bess of Hardwick was one of the most extraordinary figures of Elizabethan England. She was born the daughter of a country squire. By the end of her long life (which a recent redating of her birth suggests was even longer than previously thought) she was the richest woman in England outside the royal family, had risen to the rank of countess and seen two of her daughters do the same, and had built one of the major ‘prodigy houses’ of the period. While married to her fourth husband, the earl of Shrewsbury, she had been gaoler to Mary, Queen of Scots, and her granddaughter by her second marriage, Lady Arbella Stuart, was of royal blood and might have been succeeded to the throne of England. This wide-ranging collection, which draws on the recent edition of her correspondence, brings out the full range of her activities and impact. It contains a biography, analysis of her language use, consideration of the roles of her servants and the management and nature of her households (including the complex and allegorical decorative scheme of Hardwick and its famous embroideries), and a new appraisal of the relationship between Bess and her granddaughter Arbella.

The countess of Shrewsbury and the Lady Arbella Stuart
Sara Jayne Steen

8 A difficult and volatile alliance: the countess of Shrewsbury and the Lady Arbella Stuart Sara Jayne Steen Like many early modern women, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of Shrewsbury, and the Lady Arbella Stuart, her granddaughter, have been assessed negatively over the centuries, and often in gendered and oppositional terms: Bess of Hardwick was too ambitious and single-minded for a woman, and Arbella was too romantic and naive for a claimant. With increased access to their letters in recent decades, however, more complex portraits are emerging. Because the two

in Bess of Hardwick
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Continental powers and the succession
Thomas M. McCoog, SJ

treaty between England and Spain, and a marriage between Albert’s brother Matthias and James’s cousin Lady Arbella Stuart, James accelerated his campaign by consolidating his Scottish base and 262 A view from abroad: continental powers and the succession seeking foreign assistance. In November he proposed an oath to his Scottish subjects that they would advance his claims to the English throne without, in any way, jeopardizing Elizabeth’s rights. Charles Paget, an English Catholic exile, went to Paris allegedly to push James’s claims at the French court. Within

in Doubtful and dangerous
Elegies on Arbella Stuart, Sir Thomas Overbury, and Sir Walter Ralegh
James Doelman

For five months in the middle of 1613 the Tower of London served as the prison home of three well-known historical figures: Lady Arbella Stuart, 2 Sir Thomas Overbury, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Overbury was murdered that year, Stuart died in captivity of natural causes in 1615, and Ralegh was executed in 1618. Each death prompted a significant outpouring of elegiac verse, which raises intriguing

in The daring muse of the early Stuart funeral elegy
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Lisa Hopkins

Bess which I think speaks louder than any of these. In 1603, Bess’s ‘bad son’ Henry arrived at Hardwick Hall, planning to remove Arbella Stuart from the premises. Hardwick, ‘more glass than wall’, is the most indefensible of houses; Arbella was desperate and determined; and Henry had armed men at his back. Bess, already a very old lady by the standards of the time (indeed by any standards), outfaced them both, stopping Henry from coming in and Arbella from going out by sheer force of personality. Edmund Lodge may have called her ‘proud, furious, selfish and unfeeling

in Bess of Hardwick
Stephen Orgel

discussed two of these in my book Impersonations , 3 and I return to one of them now for a closer look. The cases concern Lady Arbella Stuart and Elizabeth Southwell. Both these aristocratic women escaped the bondage of patriarchy and arranged their own marriages through successful transvestite disguises – disguises as impenetrable, and impenetrable in

in Spectacular Performances
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Lisa Hopkins

thus haue brought all England vnder awe.13 ‘Dame Arbella’ is Bess’s granddaughter, Arbella Stuart, so the ‘Uncle’ is Gilbert Talbot, and the ‘Grandame’ Bess herself, who is thus imagined as either Lepidus, Octavius or Mark Antony, meeting after the assassination of Caesar to seize power for themselves and decide which of their opponents should die. Bess also did business as a man might, particularly after the death of her third husband Sir William St Loe. Mary Lovell, who has done much to shed light on the hitherto rather shadowy figure of St Loe, comments that ‘In

in Bess of Hardwick
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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.

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Building a woman’s house
Sara L. French

that lead to the northern, subsidiary stairs and the southern main staircase. The ground-floor rooms include most of the service areas to the north of the hall while the nursery, housekeeper’s room and audit room lie on the south side.25 Bess’s suite of rooms on the first floor is accessed via a short set of steps off the main staircase. Bess’s withdrawing chamber, bedroom and a maid’s chamber occupy most of the area in the south-west corner. Bess’s granddaughter, Hardwick Hall: building a woman’s house 127 Arbella Stuart, had a room in the same area, along

in Bess of Hardwick
Jessica L. Malay

relates to the disinheritance of Arbella Stuart and Henry Cavendish, making present a dynastic as well as a family crisis.38 A later codicil in the fourth year of the reign of James I (1606) affirms the will, but also reveals a key disruption in Elizabeth Hardwick’s associative networks – the death of Elizabeth I, a woman whose presence had profoundly shaped her life. Anne Clifford, writing soon after the death of Elizabeth, noted that in the court of James I there was ‘showed no favour to the elderly Ladies’.39 Elizabeth Hardwick’s close connection to the monarch was

in Bess of Hardwick