Blanche Parry

Bacton Altar Cloth

The Bacton Altar Cloth, displayed in Hampton Court Palace 12 October 2019 to 23 February 2020, was exhibited with 'The Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I' as the motifs on the Queen's bodice strongly resemble those on the 'Cloth. I feel very privileged that my research discovered, and instigated the acknowledgement of the importance of, this 'Cloth but it was the superb conservation team that has revealed it in all its original beauty.

Reading a description of a person wearing cloth-of-silver, and even seeing it painted in a portrait, is very different from viewing an actual piece of cloth-of-silver. The silver in the weave of just this section of a dress could have bought a mansion in Elizabethan times...and it has gold thread too! It is the only surviving material from any of Queen Elizabeth's dresses and it is the sole surviving material of this quality with direct embroidery from any collection world‐wide. As such its discovery has a similar importance to that of Tutankhamen's tomb.

It is an international treasure.

This unique dress section is beautiful in its luminosity. However, to the Elizabethans it was so much more. They were motif‐literate, which meant decoration was 'read' for its meaning. Therefore, this 'Cloth with its 5 stages of use, was also Tudor propaganda.

The Bacton Altar Cloth: A dress fit for a Tudor Queen? Article in 'Current Archaeology' Issue 357 ‐ Dec 2019
The Bacton Altar Cloth images and from 'The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I Exhibition' Hampton Court Palace Oct.2019 ‐ Feb.2020
The Blanche Parry Embroidery Article describing the link between The Bacton Alter Cloth and The Rainbow Portrait 2017