What construction techniques might have been used to create the “costume” in the Ditchley Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.
The purpose of this study is to investigate what garment construction methods might have been used to create the outfit worn by Queen Elizabeth I in the iconic Ditchley Portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger c.1592. Research is presented on each layer of clothing worn by women of the elite ranks during this time period in order to gain a clearer understanding of how the exaggerated silhouette in this portrait was created. This includes examining each garment’s purpose, what fabrics were used and how they were made. Portraits and extant garments from this era have served as visual aids whilst literature, particularly from clothing historian Janet Arnold’s extensive catalogue has proved invaluable to this investigation. The written element of this dissertation will focus mainly on the four garments which will be constructed in the practical element, these garments include a pair of bodies, a wheel farthingale, a petticoat and a gown. Since the practical element is a costume and not a fashion reproduction, it will demonstrate the use of both modern and historical construction techniques. Research on other articles of clothing which would have been worn is also included although in slightly lesser detail, this includes a smock, bum roll and ruff.