Cholmondely Ladies

ca. 1600-1610
Physical Description:
88.6 x 172.3 cm
Date Depicted:
1500 AD - 1699 AD
oil on panel
Shaped like fans, these open double ruffs isolate the faces in a sea of lace. The line of the open ruff is repeated in the hair, which is filled out in a heart shape at the sides.
Elizabethan hair is pulled straight back, then frizzed into a pompadour which is slightly wider at the sides. Pads increase the height. A widow's peak and high arching temples are considered marks of beauty. Hat styles are largely determined by individual taste. Most popular are the steeple or sugarloaf, a small-brimmed hat which is perched on the side of the head. A lace-covered, heart-shaped frame, closely associated with Mary, Queen of Scots, dips in the center front and flares over the temples. There is a variety of small fitted caps. At the neck is a separate ruff, replacing the small shirt ruffle of the previous period. It has many styles and sizes. Two of the most common are the neck ruff and the standing ruff. The average neck ruff is four inches wide by three inches thick. Usually made of sheer fabric and edged in lace, it is pleated in several ways, most typically in the shape of a figure eight. The neck ruff frames the face and is slightly higher in back. Large ruffs are often supported by an under-propper, a wire arrangement set across the back of the shoulders. Normally ruffs are white; sometimes they are colored with starches in pastel shades or red. Another ruff style, primarily associated with Queen Elizabeth, is a large standing ruff which is wired into the shape of a double wing or trefoil.
Variant Titles:
Cholmondely Sisters
Costume -- Europe -- History -- (LC)
Painting -- Britain -- 17th century -- (YVRC)
Accession Number:
costume (mode of fashion) (AAT)
paintings (AAT)
Content Type:
Clothing & Accessories
Paintings & Drawings
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Access Restrictions:
Yale Community Only
Source Creator:
Button, Jeanne and Sbarge, Stephen
Source Title:
History of Costume, In Slides, Notes and Commentaries: Volume 3
Source Created:
New York, NY
Theatre Arts Slide Presentations
Call Number:
GT513 +B87 3 (LC)
Orbis Barcode:
Yale Collection:
Visual Resources Collection
Digital Collection:
Visual Resources Collection
Original Repository:
London, England: Tate Gallery