2 Pages

Boissard's Costume-Book and Two Portraits

In the portrait, however, the Thessalonian fancy-dress is worn with a court dress and a ruff, and, moreover, this lady is not in the character of a 'Thessalonian Bride' but of a Queen, for a large jewelled crown has been inserted in the head-dress, surmounted by a jewel in the shape of a crescent moon. The last detail confirms that this is indeed intended to be a portrait of Elizabeth, for it indicates her role of Diana, the moon-goddess, the Virgin Queen. The allegories of the picture are also highly applicable to Elizabeth: the rainbow shows her as peace-bringer; the eyes and ears with which the robe is covered allude to her fame;3 the serpent on the sleeve indicates her wisdom; and above the serpent's head is a celestial sphere, encircled with the band of the zodiac, which is a symbol elsewhere found in connection with Elizabeth (for example in the ear-ornament which she wears in the Ditchley portrait).