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Video Archive: Bacton Altar Cloth - part of a dress worn By Queen Elizabeth I

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Golden Valley




Video Archive clip prepared for Historic Royal Palaces in connection with an exhibition in Autumn 2019 at Hampton Court Palace. The author’s description is as follows:

The only surviving example of Elizabeth I's dresses

Following new research and conservation, Historic Royal Palaces Curators believe that the Bacton Altar Cloth once formed part of a dress worn by Elizabeth herself.
The high-status silver chamblet silk, professional embroidery including gold and silver thread, and distinct evidence of pattern cutting all suggest that the item was once an item of elite court dress. Tudor law meant that only the very highest levels of nobility and royalty were allowed to wear dress that contained gold and silver.
New research supports the theory that this was intended for the highest level of customer and that it is an item of dress from Elizabeth's own wardrobe, making it the only known surviving example of Elizabeth I's clothing.
It seems likely that the embroidered silk cloth found its way to the small village of Bacton by association with Blanche Parry, Elizabeth's most faithful servant and almost life-long companion. It is likely that it was sent to Bacton by the Queen or her ladies-in-waiting in memory of Blanche.
It was then kept safe as an altar cloth for centuries, before being identified as a rare piece of 16th-century clothing.

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