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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 31 March 2016
The tomb of Mary Queen of Scots is widely recognized as one of the most important visual symbols of dynastic power that can still be viewed in Britain today. Although art historians had originally regarded the strongly Catholic depiction of Mary in captivity, the so-called Sheffield portrait, as the model for the effigy, for more than a century the consensus is that it was based on one of Nicholas Hilliard’s miniature portraits. In this essay a study of the images as well as related documents in the exchequer and Hardwick Hall accounts reestablishes that the Sheffield type was indeed the specific model for the tomb. This does more than simply settle a long-standing question. It also opens the way for an exploration of the content of this most popular portrait of Mary, which was fraught with significance not only for King James VI, Mary’s son, but also the crypto-Catholic nobleman Henry Howard, first earl of Northampton, who was in charge of the tomb’s completion.
1 Sir Scharf, George, ‘Observations on the Principal Portraits of Mary I, Queen of England and Mary, Queen of Scots’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, 2nd ser., 7 (1876): 49-66 Google Scholar at 66.
2 As to the reasonable question of whether one (or several) model portrait(s) was used at all as a source for the tomb, most commentators have simply assumed a single picture was involved, given the visual congruity of the images they compared. It is possible, however, to ground these assumptions in contemporary documentation. In his thorough study Funeral Monuments in Post-reformation England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 164, Nigel Llewellyn finds consistent evidence in contracts that showed ‘patrons carefully explained their wishes to tomb-makers … setting clear conditions for cost, time, location, materials, and iconography’. This condition, he argues, must have ‘severely constrained the tomb-makers’ creativity[,] since even costume details are specified’; and, yet, to view the same type of transaction from a different perspective, those tomb makers were thereby relieved of the responsibility to supply or describe the model image, as this was their patron’s obligation. In Mary’s case that duty fell to her royal son, this study will argue, who assigned the task to his privy counselors Henry Howard, earl of Northampton (1540-1614) and William Cecil, earl of Salisbury (1563-1612).
3 Historical Portraits Image Library, Philip Mould Ltd., http://www.historicalportraits.com/ (accessed 25 March 2015).
4 Smith, Jeremy L., ‘Revisiting the Origins of the Sheffield Series of Portraits of Mary Queen of Scots’, Burlington Magazine 152 (2010): 212-218 Google Scholar. Proper attention has not been paid, however, to the Blairs Jewel, a decidedly Catholic, martyrological, reliquary, which contains a miniature image of Mary that has also long been attributed to Hilliard. In her will of 24 April 1620 (proved 10 May 1620) (Edinburgh, Scottish Catholic Historical Archives, SCA/CA2/2/2) Isabel (Elizabeth) Curle, the queen’s gentlewoman in waiting, mentioned that, on the day of her execution, Mary had given her a jewel of this basic description, which Curle then left as a bequest to the Scots College in Douai. Mary’s facial features in the Blair Memorial Portrait, which Curle later commissioned and also left to the college, bear a likeness to the miniature within the jewel, although the two ‘other’ Hilliard renderings of Mary better accord with the Sheffield itself. Those who have compared all three miniature images have in fact tended to report distinct aspects of the jewel, attributing Mary’s plumper features and different colored attire there to a later period of her captivity, see, for example, Lang, Andrew, ‘Portraits and Jewels of Mary Stuart’, Scottish Historical Review (hereafter SHR) 3 (1906): 274-275 Google Scholar and John McIntyre, ‘The So-Called Blairs Jewel: Notes for a Talk’, unpublished, undated, paper (I wish to thank Ian Forbes of the Blairs Museum for kindly sending me this informative study on the jewel’s provenance). If there is, then, a distinct possibility that this culturally important Blairs Jewel miniature was painted in Mary’s lifetime, there is less certain evidence that Hilliard was the one who executed it. For present purposes it must be noted that all available evidence suggests, in any case, that it was not available in London at the time Mary’s tomb was in construction. For an in-depth discussion of the memorial portrait and its martyrological purposes, see Tassi, Marguerite A., ‘Martyrdom and Memory: Elizabeth Curle’s Portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots’, in Debra Barrett-Graves, ed. The Emblematic Queen: Extra-Literary Representations of Early Modern Queenship (New York: Palgrave, 2013), 101-132 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
5 To visually assert his claim to rule, James apparently altered the layout of the monuments as well as their expected heraldic elements. As Julie M. Walker has influentially argued, for example, James ‘marginalized’ Elizabeth in moving her tomb to a position where her barrenness (and that of her sister Mary Tudor) would be emphasised, see ‘Reading the Tombs of Elizabeth I’, English Literary Renaissance 26 (1996): 510–30; and The Elizabeth Icon, 1603–2003 (London, Palgrave, 2004), 25-37. In ‘The Monuments of Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart: King James and the Manipulation of Memory’, Journal of British Studies 46 (2007): 263-89 at 282, Peter Sherlock explores the extent to which James ‘usurp[ed]’ the heraldic symbols displayed on Elizabeth’s tomb to promote the royal blood of his father, Henry Stuart, lord Darnley (King of Scots).
6 Woodward, Jennifer, The Theatre of Death: The Ritual Management of Royal Funerals in Renaissance England, 1570-1625 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1997), 135 Google Scholar.
7 Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli to the Doge of Venice, 24 March 1603, Brown, H. F. ed. Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts Existing in the Archives and Collections of Venice, vol. 10, 1603-1607 (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1900), 9-10 Google Scholar. On Scaramelli’s and other reports about Elizabeth’s death, see Goldring, Elizabeth, Eales, Faith, and Clarke, Elizabeth, eds. John Nichols’s The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I: A New Edition of the Early Modern Sources, 5 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)Google Scholar, 4:211-49.
8 Sherlock, ‘Monuments of Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart’, 272.
9 Ibid., 276.
10 Ibid., 277.
11 Sir William Cavendish’s Account Books, Hardwick Hall, vol. 29, fol. 149, Chatsworth archives, Devonshire.
12 Ibid., fol. 320.
15 On the Cure family of sculptors see White, Adam, ‘A Biographical Dictionary of London Tomb Sculptors, c. 1560–c. 1660’, Walpole Society 61 (1999): 1–162 Google Scholar at 36-48.
16 Exchequer payment to Cornelius Cure, ‘master mason’, 26 November 1607, The National Archives (hereafter TNA), Public Records Office (hereafter PRO), E 403/2727, fol. 39v.
17 Although the contract for the tomb was lost in the 19th century, three specific types of stone—white marble, rance and touchstone— were mentioned in an order of 19 April 1606, see Sherlock, ‘The Monuments of Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart’, 272, n.43.
18 Exchequer payment to William Cure, ‘his majesty’s master mason’, 17 January 1610, TNA, PRO, E 403/2729, fol. 91v.
19 Exchequer payment to William Cure, ‘his majesty’s mason’, 31 August 1613, TNA, PRO, E 403/2732, fol. 228r.
20 See David Howarth, Lord Arundel and his Circle (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985), 22-3.
21 Woodward, The Theatre of Death, 136.
22 ‘To my La. Lumley’s man who brought yor honr a picture of the Queene mother of Scotland[,] xls’, Cecil MSS, Accounts 160/1, 5.12.1609, Hatfield House, Herfordshire.
23 Auerbach, Erna and Adams, C. Kingsley, Paintings and Sculpture at Hatfield House: A Catalogue (London: Constable, 1971), 61-64 Google Scholar. Lumley was a co-conspirator of Northampton’s at the time of the Ridolfi plot and, as Auerbach and Adams point out, a portrait of Mary was listed in a Lumley inventory of 1598. Auerbach and Adams’s theory that the painting in question was the full length Sheffield type of Hatfield has recently been challenged by Mark Evans, who notes that the portrait of Mary was not listed among the full length portraits in the Lumley inventory, see The Lumley Inventory and Pedigree: Art Collecting and Lineage in the Elizabethan Age: Facsimilie and Commentary on the Manuscript in the Possession of the Earls of Scarbrough ([S.I.]: Roxburghe Club, 2010), 163. For further on the Lumley and Cecil collections see Barron, Kathryn, ‘The Collecting and Patronage of John, Lord Lumley (c. 1535-1609)’, in Edward Chaney, ed. The Evolution of English Collecting: Receptions of Italian Art in the Tudor and Stuart Periods (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003), 125-158 Google Scholar; and Bracken, Susan, ‘Robert Cecil as Art Collector’, in Pauline Croft, ed. Patronage, Culture and Power: The Early Cecils, 1558-1612, Studies in British Art 8 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002), 121-138 Google Scholar.
24 Llewellyn, Nigel, ‘The Royal Body: Monuments to the Dead, for the Living’, in Lucy Gent and Nigel Llewellyn, eds. Renaissance Bodies: The Human Figure in English Culture, c. 1540–1660 (London: Reaktion, 1990), 220-221 Google Scholar.
25 See Smith, : ‘Revisiting the Origins’; ‘Mary Queen of Scots as Susanna’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Society 73 (2011): 209-220 Google Scholar; and ‘Lassus, Ferrabosco the Elder, Byrd, and the Identification of Mary Queen of Scots as Biblical Susanna’, Musical Times 156 (2015): 5-16.
26 Mary’s Bed of State has not survived, but the gold and silk embroidered emblems it featured are described in detail in four documents, including descriptions in two separate hands taken at the time of her execution (TNA, PRO, SP 53/21, fols. 108-9) and twice after the bed was removed to Scotland (National Library of Scotland, Hawthornden MSS, vol. XII, Fowler’s Papers and Scrolls, MS 2064, fols. 21, 50-2). All of these (and other) documents having to do with Mary’s emblems have been discussed extensively by Michael Bath, see his Emblems for a Queen: The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots (London: Archetype, 2008) (especially at 153, on the Undique); his ‘Embroidered Emblems: Mary Stuart’s Bed of State’, Emblematica 15 (2007): 5-32; and Bath, Michael and Craig, Jennifer, ‘What Happened to Mary Stuart’s Bed of State?’ Emblematica 18 (2010): 279-288 Google Scholar.
27 Frye, Susan, Pens and Needles: Women’s Textualities in Early Modern England (Philadelphia and Oxford: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 54 Google Scholar. I wish to thank Professor Frye for kindly sharing with me her views on the significance of this particular device. Although it was associated with Mary, a well-known emblem depicting a hare inside swords and the motto mala undique clades (destruction awaits the wicked on every side), does not fit the image of Mary as described on her Bed of State. For an image of this emblem (although without the motto) and a description of its purpose in anti-Mary propaganda, see Barrett-Graves, Debra, ‘Mermaids, Sirens, and Mary Queen of Scots: Icons of Wantonness and Pride’, in Emblematic Queen, 69-100 Google Scholar at 70.
28 Bath, ‘Embroidered Emblems’, 17, 20.
29 On Susanna’s prayer and its relationship to Daniel, see, inter alia, Garlington, Don B., The Obedience of Faith: A Pauline Phrase in Historical Context (Tübingen: Mohr, 1991), 188 Google Scholar and Clanton, Dan W., Jr., The Good, the Bold, and the Beautiful: The Story of Susanna and its Renaissance Interpretations (London: Bloomsbury, 2006), 77-79 Google Scholar. In discussing the treatment of the Susanna story in late-Medieval plays, Jane Stevenson makes the point succinctly in stating, ‘Daniel is God’s answer to Susanna’s prayer’, see Women Latin Poets: Language, Gender, and Authority, from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 136.
30 Mary to Michel de Castelnau, Sieur de la Mauvissière, 2 September 1577, in Labanoff, Alexandre, ed. Lettres inédites de Marie Stuart: accompagnées de diverses dépêches et instructions, 1558-1587, 8 vols (Paris: Merlin, 1839)Google Scholar, 4:391-3; Mary to James Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, 5 November 1577, ibid., 4:397-403.
31 Mary to Beaton, 9 November 1577, ibid., 5:8-9, ‘… n’ayant ma liberté si chère, ny mon contentement particulier en telles recommandation que la réduction de ceste isle á l’Eglise catholique, et la conservation de mes droits pour mon filz: quy sont les deux points pour quy je désyre vivre, et suis contente de souffrir le traictement que je reçoy en ceste captivité’, translation by Turnbull, William, Letters of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland (London: Dolman, 1845), 267 Google Scholar.
32 See Lockie, D. McN., ‘The Political Career of the Bishop of Ross, 1568-80: The Background to a Contemporary Life of Mary Stuart’, University of Birmingham Historical Journal 4 (1953): 119-120 Google Scholar.
34 David Moysie, ‘Ane abbreuiat off these things Incident wt in ye Realme of Scotland, ye tyme of his Mties Minoritie, & governement necessar to be remembred’, Adv. MS 31.7.5, fol. 1v, 4v, National Library of Scotland; Moysie, , Memoirs of the Affairs of Scotland, MDLXXVII- MDCIII: From Early Manuscripts, ed. James Dennistoun (Edinburgh: Maitland, 1833)Google Scholar, 1, 5. Dennistoun’s edition is based mainly on the so-called Wishaw MS, the whereabouts of which is currently unknown. I wish to thank Shelia Mackensie, Senior Curator of the National Library of Scotland, for her kind assistance with these manuscripts.
35 Mary, Queen of Scots to John Lesley, Bishop of Ross, 30 April 1578, British Library (hereafter BL), Cotton MS, Caligula C.V, fols. 130r-31r.
36 Mary, Queen of Scots to the Duke of Bavaria, 30 April 1578; Mary to the Holy Roman Emperor, TNA: PRO, SP 53/11 fol. 8r-v.
37 John Lesley, ‘Du statu Reginae Scotiae Principia ejus filii et totius Regni brevis narratio ab anno 1542 usque ad 78’, BL, Add. MSS (Yelverton MSS 54) 48049, fols. 105r-112v, transcribed in Lockie, ‘The Political Career of the Bishop of Ross’, 138-45. See also Lesley, , Mary Queen of Scots and the Prince her Son: Transcribed from a Contemporary Venetian Manuscript, ed. Robert McClure (Glasgow: McClure, 1913)Google Scholar. Although never printed in Lesley’s lifetime, his contemporary, the Italian scribe Francesco Marcaldi, translated the work and distributed it widely. Today there are as many as forty copies held in repositories from Edinburgh to Perugia and in Paris, Rome, and New York (among others), see Richardson, Brian, ‘A Scribal Publisher of Political Information: Francesco Marcaldi’, Italian Studies 64 (2009): 296–313 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Margaret J. Beckett, ‘The Political Works of John Lesley, Bishop of Ross (1527-96)’, PhD diss. University of St. Andrews, 2002, appendix two, ‘List of Manuscript translations of Lesley’s Relatio made by Francesco Marcaldi’, 262-63. The latter is based, with permission, on D. McN. Lockie’s unpublished ‘Brief Bibliography of the Works of Francesco Marcaldi’. Richardson seems to have been unaware that Lesley’s work was Marcaldi’s source. Beckett describes the translations as ‘grossly inaccurate’, but suggests, nonetheless, that they reveal, ‘the potential importance of Lesley’s writing in forming opinion on the continent’, ‘The Political Works of John Lesley’, 147. For a recent appraisal of Lesley’s political writings, see Beckett’s introduction to a new edition of Lesley’s controversially obsequious encomia to Elizabeth of 1574, Oratio, which is followed by Patrick Collinson’s edition of John Nichols’s short assessment of the ‘relations between Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots’, in Goldring, Eales, and Clarke, John Nichols’s The Progresses and Public Processions, 2:128-90.
38 Lockie, ‘The Political Career of the Bishop of Ross’, 99.
39 Smith, ‘Mary Queen of Scots as Susanna’.
40 See Wurmbrand, Max, ‘A Falasha Variant of the Story of Susanna’, Biblica 44 (1963): 38-42 Google Scholar.
41 Ibid., 40; Pennacchietti, Fabrizio A., Three Mirrors for Two Biblical Ladies: Susanna and the Queen of Sheba in the Eyes of Jews, Christians and Muslims, Biblical Intersections 14 (Piscataway: Gorgias, 2006), 51 Google Scholar.
42 Turville-Petre, Thorlac, Alliterative Poetry of the later Middle Ages: An Anthology (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1989), 136 Google Scholar.
43 Clanton, Dan W., Jr., The Good, the Bold, and the Beautiful: The Story of Susanna and its Renaissance Interpretations (London: Bloomsbury, 2006), 82 Google Scholar; Gnilka, Christian, Aetas Spiritalis: Die Überwindung der natürlichen Altersstufen als Ideal frühchristlichen Lebens (Bonn: Peter Hanstein, 1972), 123 Google Scholar, 236-38.
44 Moysie incorrectly claims that James was ‘of the age of 12 yeares’ on 8 March 1577/78. See ‘Ane abbreuiat’, fol. 1v.
45 Burne, Nicol, The Disputation Concerning the Controuersit Headdis of Religion (Paris: T. Brumen, 1581)Google Scholar, sig. A2r-v.
46 See Lewis, Jane E., Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 60-71 Google Scholar, pl. 4.
48 Doran, ‘Revenge her Foul and Most Unnatural Murder?’: 598-99.
49 Thomas Pounde to James I, 1604, Bodleian Library, Oxford, Rawlinson MS, D.320, fol. 7r. For a full transcription of this letter and discussion, see Tutino, Stefania, “‘Makynge Recusancy Death Outrighte”? Thomas Pounde, Andrew Willet and the Catholic Question in Early Jacobean England’, Recusant History 27 (2004): 23 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Tutino, , Law and Conscience: Catholicism in Early Modern England, 1570-1625, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 87-92 Google Scholar; and Thomas M. McCoog, ‘Pounde, Thomas (1539–1615)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (hereafter ODNB), ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, Oxford 2004, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/69038 (accessed June 20, 2015).
50 Hawarde, John, Les Reportes del Cases in Camera Stellata, 1583 to 1609, ed. William P. Baildon (London: privately printed, 1895), 183 Google Scholar. Along with Potiphar and the magistrates (judges) who persecuted Susanna, Haman was the third greatest exemplar of the cardinal sin of bearing false witness in the Old Testament, see James Nohrnberg, Like unto Moses: The Constituting of an Interruption (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995), 116-17.
51 Northampton’s nephew, Philip Howard, thirteenth earl of Arundel, was also convicted of treason. Although not executed, he died under suspicious circumstances in the Tower, see Elzinga, J. G., ‘Howard, Philip [St Philip Howard], Thirteenth Earl of Arundel (1557–1595)’, in ODNB, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/13929Google Scholar (accessed July 17, 2010).
52 Alford, Stephen, Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), 165 Google Scholar.
53 Peck, Linda L., Northampton: Patronage and Policy at the Court of James I (London and Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1982), 6-11 Google Scholar. Peck notes ‘Howard always belonged to the faction around Mary urging caution’. Another crypto-Catholic closely involved with James’s image making throughout the period was Alexander Seton, first earl of Dunfermline (1555-1622). Stationed in the king’s native Scotland at the same time Mary’s tomb was being created at Westminster, Seton designed the richly emblematic ceiling of the long gallery at Pinkie Hall, Musselburgh, where Mary’s Bed of State may have once been located, see Bath, Michael, Renaissance Decorative Painting in Scotland (Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland, 2003)Google Scholar; his ‘Philostratus Come to Scotland: A New Source for the Pictures at Pinkie’, Northern Renaissance 5 (2013), http://www.northernrenaissance.org/philostratus-comes-to-scotland-a-new-source-for-the-pictures-at-pinkie/accessed 16 May 2015; and, on the possibility of the bed’s location at Pinkie, Bath and Craig, ‘What Happened’, 284-5. Peter Davidson’s recent discovery of an extensive inventory of Seton’s books has shed important new light on Seton’s deep-seated Catholic sentiments, see ‘Alexander Seton, First Earl of Dunfermline: his Library, his House, his World’, British Catholic History 32 (2015): 315-42.
55 Will of Henry earl of Northampton, 14 June 1614, TNA, PRO, Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Prob 11/123, fol. 1r; Shirley, Evelyn P., ‘An Inventory of the Effects of Henry Howard, K. G., Earl of Northampton, Taken on his Death in 1614, Together with a Transcript of his Will; Prefaced by a Letter to Charles Spencer Perceval, Esq., LL.D., Director’, Archaeologia 42 (1869): 347-378 CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 375.
56 Pettigrew, Thomas J., Chronicles of the Tombs: A Select Collection of Epitaphs (London: Bell, 1902), 308-310 Google Scholar.
57 Phillips, James E., Images of a Queen: Mary Stuart in Sixteenth-Century Literature (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1964), 227 Google Scholar. Northampton’s epitaph drafts appear in BL, Cotton Titus C, VI, fols. 207-11 and Sloane MSS 3199, fols. 336-9.
58 Phillips, Images of a Queen, 227; on the evolving conception and political function of martyrdom in post-reformation Europe see Gregory, Brad, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999)Google Scholar and Dillon, Anne, The Construction of Martyrdom in the English Catholic Community, 1535-1603 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002)Google Scholar.
59 See Sherlock, ‘The Monuments of Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart’.
60 See Tassi, ‘Martyrdom and Memory’, 102.
61 Scharf, ‘Observations on the Principal Portraits of Mary I’, 66.
62 Ibid. In his Notes on the Authentic Portraits of Mary Queen of Scots: Based on the Researches of the Late Sir George Scharf, Rewritten in the Light of New Information (London: Murray, 1903), 72, Lionel Cust further explains that ‘from the front edge of her ruff hang four white strings, two on each side, each terminating in tassels, consisting of small white balls clustered’, and he goes on to characterise the whole assembly as a ‘peculiarity to be noticed hereafter’. Its ‘peculiarity’ is indeed notable. Cust lists only two further examples in contemporaneous depictions of Mary, both of which he describes as ‘Class 2, or adaptations from the Sheffield portrait’, 83-4, namely the Morton portrait and the tomb. My own search for further examples in Llewellyn’s Funeral in Monuments produced only negative results. In Strong’s copiously illustrated National Portrait Gallery I found some examples of ruffs with four strings and sometimes four tassels, although hardly enough to suggest it was a standard type (see 2: pl. 67, 70, 81, 471, and 484). Nor, finally, did I discover any models of the type in Huang, Helen Q, Hoem, Emily, and Hunt, Kelsey, Elizabethan Costume Design and Construction (Burlington, MA: Focal Press, 2015)Google Scholar.
63 All of the following Sheffield types contain the four-tassel feature: National Portrait Gallery of Scotland, National Portrait Gallery of London, Hardwick Hall, Hatfield House, Private Collection of the Duke of Berwick & Alba (Madrid).
64 Cust, Notes on the Authentic Portraits, 72.
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