Archive for elizabethan

A bit of Ruff, a bit of smooth, good patches and a golden eggstravaganza

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN with tags , , , , , , , on May 31, 2012 by echostains

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I have  not featured any jewellery on Echostains for quite a while.  I have been looking for something really unusual – something that can inspire me into flights of fancy.  I am writing this on the birthdate of the Faberge egg (29th May  1885 – 1917) The Faberge egg is instantly recognisable – sumptuous, bejewelled and opulent.  The eggs were  developed by  the House of Faberge (1885 – 1917) in Russia and the miniature eggs were Easter gifts, that were given singly or were worn on a neck chain.

The Karelian egg

The larger more famous eggs (also known as the ‘imperial’ eggs)were originally made for Alexander 111 and Nicholas 11 of Russia.  Only 50 of these eggs were made, and 42 have survived.  The Karelian and Constellation eggs, planned for 1918 were destined never to be delivered.  Nicholas 11 and his whole family died in an assasination that year and  the year before Nicholas had  abdicated.  The eggs themselves are gorgeous, opulent and seen as a symbol of luxury – jewellers masterpieces.  But it is not these little baubles which once hung from necklaces which caught my eye, but this strange face distorting jewelery by Burcu Buyukunal.   

My first question is ‘why?’  How does this enhanse the face?  By  distorting her face, do we then notice how attractive the woman really is?  They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different ‘looks’ have their admirers, as do fashion, design ect. Maybe one day ‘beauty’ will be played down to be the new beauty. It is this example which  reminded me of how Elizabethan ladies used to pain their faces white and how patches made of velvet were used on the face in the 18th century to disguise blemishes, make the face appear even whiter or draw attention to certain facial features.

circa 1780 patch box

‘Her patches are of every cut,
For pimples and for scars;
Here’s all the wandering planets’ signs,
And some of the fixed stars.’

 In this very short video we see the owner of the painting ‘Une Dam a sa Toilette’ by French painter Francois Boucher (  1703 –  1770)  explain the delicate operation of patch application.  Boucher ‘s art is known for his  voluptuous and idyllic subject matter which is well suited to the Rococo style.  His patroness was  the famous Madame Pompadour, he painted many portraits of her.

Whirls of cigarette smoke envelop ing beautiful women in black and white movies  lend such mystique and intrigue to the silver screen.  The actuality is rather different.  Cigarette Smoke permeates everything it touches including, flesh, clothes and hair – there’s nothing mysterious about that, but I was quite tickled about this cigarette collAr – though I think they missed a trick by not making it a prisoners or slave’s collar to emphasis the entrapment of the noxious weed.  The ‘chain’ association is still there though, and ther is something of the chain smoking beagle about this collar.  These types of collars are not new though – the actual shape of  the ruff collar goes back to the sixteenth century and was worn by men, women and children.  The pleats of the ruff was accomplished by the use of  cone-shaped goffering irons. which were heated.  Ruffs were made from a lot of material.  Elizabeth1 had a ruff of ‘ten yards for the neck and hand’.  During starching, ruffs could be coloured with vegetable dyes, though Elizabeth herself disapproved of the light blue colour;-

“Her Majesty’s pleasure is that no blue starch shall be used or worn by any of her Majesty’s subjects, since blue was the color of the flag of Scotland”

Stiff collars, smooth complextions, disguises used as enhancements – beauty will always be subjective and is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

Karelian egg image here

Lots of these beautiful eggs here

Distorting jewlery from here

Patchbox from here

Video by AndSper with thanks

More about Boucher here

Smoking Dietrich from this article

Elizabeth1 image here

The verse and the source of a lot of delightful information about the history of the patch can be found in Chambers Book of Days