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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.

Brenda M. King

simplified silhouette, focused interest on the designs of textiles, helping silk maintain its popularity for certain items of clothing in the face of robust competition from cotton. The increased demand for fluid, plainly woven silks, with hand-dyed and printed rather than woven designs, accessories and lace, ribbons, braid and embroidery thread in soft tones, contributed to the demand for

in Silk and empire
Brenda M. King

The silk textiles of India were and still are, some of the most widely admired and skilfully produced in the world. Although other nations produced excellent silks, the expertise of Indian makers lay in all fields of textile production; the weaves, prints and embroideries could all attain the same extraordinarily high standard. Professional makers catered for

in Silk and empire
Susan Frye

needlework skills taught by Catherine de Medici; the reliance on a portrait artist with the skills in textiles of a tapissier; and a practised knowledge of taillure, the appliqué process by which luxurious textiles were repurposed, which Bess used to create her room-sized hangings. While Bess had long employed artisans in a number of crafts, including embroidery, the artisans who formed part of Mary’s court as portrait artists/ tapissiers would have been able to provide Bess’s workshop with the expert draughtmanship and execution along current continental models visible in

in Bess of Hardwick
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Brenda M. King

Manchester, for example, currently houses magnificent and representative collections of Indian silks from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century. These silks were collected for specific purposes. They reflect the size and diversity of India’s handmade silk industry and are testimony to a wide range of traditional and complex weaving, printing, dyeing and embroidery skills. What then was their

in Silk and empire
Subversive practices from écriture féminine to soft art
Rakhee Balaram

art made by women within and outside the male-dominated tendances such as Nouvelle Figuration and Supports-Surfaces, while also taking into account the focus on corporeality in art made by women. Trends such as écriture féminine will be examined in light of avant-garde practices in writing and authorship while ‘soft art’, or the use of materials such as embroidery, knitting, weaving and other soft materials, will be looked at in relation to ‘hard’ contemporary institutional policies and politics and the conscious insertion of women's ‘traditional’ forms of art

in Counterpractice
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Brenda M. King

AND 12 William Morris designs printed by Thomas Wardle on Indian silk cloth, c.1878 Leek embroidery

in Silk and empire
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Snow in Arcadia: redrawing the English lyric landscape, 1586–95
Author: Anne Sweeney

It has traditionally been held that Robert Southwell's poetry offers a curious view of Elizabethan England from the restricted perspective of a priest-hole. This book takes apart that idea – and the poetry – word by word and discovers layers of new meanings, hidden emblems and sharp critiques of Elizabeth's courtiers, and even of the ageing queen herself. Using the most recent edition of Southwell's poetry and manuscript materials, it addresses both poetry and private writings, including letters and diary material, to give context to the radicalisation of a generation of Southwell's countrymen and women. The book shows how the young Jesuit harnessed both drama and literature to give new poetic poignancy to their experience. Bringing a forensic approach to Southwell's ‘lighter’ pieces, it shows the extent to which Southwell engaged exclusively through them in direct artistic debate with Spenser, Sidney and Shakespeare, placing the poetry firmly in the English landscape familiar to Southwell's generation. Those concerned with early modern and Elizabethan culture will find much of interest in this study, including insights into the function of the arts in the private Catholic milieu, touched by Southwell in so many ways and places, from William Byrd's holy music to Mary Stuart's coded embroideries.

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Jenna C. Ashton

Manchester: Something rich and strange Thread – Jenna C. Ashton The needle is used to repair the damage. It’s a claim to forgiveness. It is never aggressive, it’s not a pin. Louise Bourgeois1 I am in the Alice Pitfield archive at the Royal Northern College of Music (see also ‘Hair’, p. 156). The archivist brings out two wrapped artefacts, one soft, the other with a hard edge. Two textile pieces produced by Alice – a smaller embroidery sampler in a thin wooden frame and a larger linen piece, the latter likely created to be hung on a wall, the former a hobbyist

in Manchester
Women and the work of conversion in early modern England
Claire Canavan and Helen Smith

conversion, whether understood as the kindling or intensification of religious feeling or as a change in confessional affiliation and devotional practices. ‘SANCTIFY MY CUSHIONETS’: NEEDLEWORK, DEVOTION, AND CONVERSION Biblical stories predominate in seventeenth-century English embroideries, making up 43 per cent of the

in Conversions