1565 Elisabeth de Valois by Sofonisba Anguissola (Prado)

An overall view of Sofonisba Anguissola's 1565 portrait of Isabel Valois in a somber black dress. The Wikipedia article for Sofonisba Anguissola is here.

She wears the constricting high-neck Spanish style. The twin tassels hanging from a loop of cloth are "aiglets." The band of jewels separating bodice from skirt is a "girdle." Vertical columns of jewels and the vee of her girdle emphasize the slenderness of her bodice. She appears to be carrying a jeweled pomander suspended from a jeweled chain. Personal hygiene not being essential in that era, pomanders were necessary. Wikipedia has this about pomanders:  "A pomander, from French pomme d'ambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet. The pomander was worn or carried in a vase, also known by the same name, as a protection against infection in times of pestilence or merely as a useful article to mollify bad smells. The globular cases which contained the pomanders were hung from a neck-chain or belt, or attached to the girdle, and were usually perforated and made of gold or silver. Sometimes they contained several partitions, in each of which was placed a different perfume. Pomanders were used in the late Middle Ages through the 17th century." The full article about pomanders is at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomander.

According to Norris, "Tudor Costume and Fashion, pp. 578-560 (1997 Dover re-issue) - "The dress is of black velvet or some deep color, having the bodice cut to fit the normal figure well in at the waist and finishing at a point in front. There are three rolls on the shoulders, and three rows of jewels in gold mounts descend from the neck and shoulders and converge to the point of the waist where the belt of jewels (girdle - gogm) encircles it. The hanging sleeves are in true Spanish type,,,they are a little more shaped on the curve at the back, and are caught together  at the wrist and finished with small tabs. On the sleeves and down the front of the skirt distended by the Spanish farthingale (verdugado - gogm) are set loops of silk with two elaborate jeweled aiglettes on each. This type of decoration became most popular during the second half of the sixteenth century and is seen in many portraits of all nationalities. The close-fitting under-sleeves are of light-colored satin, probably matching the silk loop decorations, and have small cuttes alternating with groups of pearls. At the wrist the sleeve is cut into small tabs. Attention is drawn to the sable skin with head and feet garnished with goldsmith's work and jewels carried on the right forearm ready to place round the shoulders. A ring is passed through the golden nose of the animal to which is attached a gold and often jeweled chain..."

Keywords:  1565, Isabel de Valois, Valois family, Habsburg family, Queen, Spanish, Anguissola, straight coiffure, high enclosing neckline, jeweled feathered hat, jeweled headdress, neck ruff, lace, cuffs, carcanet necklace, necklace, girdle, jeweled bodice, aglets, false sleeves, hanging sleeves, vee waistline, farthingale, jeweled pendant ,jeweled pendant chain


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