open.conted.ox.ac.uk (beta)

Open Educational Resources

Fashioning Statements of Sovereignty and Self: The Language of Gloves in Early Modern Elite Society by Jane Rae

Building on the work of scholars who have turned to the glove as a valuable primary object to study, this paper considers two artefacts: Mary Queen of Scots’ embroidered glove gifted to Marmaduke Dayrell before her execution, and The Ditchley Portrait of Elizabeth I. By referencing visual and material culture, it explores our reception of these artefacts through the lens of the material object – the glove – positing questions that provide a more nuanced understanding of sartorial presentations of power and self-agency in elite early modern society. This discourse elevates the role of the glove in The Ditchley Portrait to an important symbol of power and realism for an aging monarch, increasingly presented in ethereal terms. In contrast, moving from a representation to an original, this paper considers Mary Queen of Scots’ glove, its veneration to ‘relic’ status, and the transformative relationship between object and owner. Whether we consider the three-dimensional object, or its two-dimensional representation in art, there is a synergy from the convergence of object and owner that makes the corporeal and the material inseparable and which engenders gloves with a language of their own.

Date created: 
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Attribution for this resource:
Fashioning Statements of Sovereignty and Self: The Language of Gloves in Early Modern Elite Society by Jane Rae, All rights reserved.
Courses using this resource: