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Marie de Guise and Cultural Transfers

Looking at Marie de Guise

Regards sur Marie de Guise
Sally Rush

Résumés

Cet article, qui étudie la valeur symbolique des coiffes portées par les femmes françaises à la cour d’Écosse après le mariage de Jacques V et de Marie de Guise en 1538, utilise comme preuves matérielles des portraits gravés sur des médaillons de bois ornant le palais Renaissance du château de Stirling et connus sous le nom de Stirling Heads. Alors que plusieurs des femmes sont représentées portant le chaperon français ordinaire, d’autres, à commencer par Marie de Guise portent des « chafferons » beaucoup plus sophistiqués réalisés à partir de fil d’or. Le chafferon est un choix insolite de coiffe pour un portrait : il fait écho à l’idéal féminin pétrarquiste et renvoie à la métaphore visuelle qui résulte de la combinaison du métal précieux et de la brillance des cheveux. Les comptes royaux montrent que les chafferons portés par les femmes nobles à la cour d’Écosse étaient des cadeaux exceptionnels réalisés par les orfèvres royaux à partir d’or écossais provenant des mines du roi et extrait par des mineurs envoyés par le duc et la duchesse de Guise. Ces chafferons ont donc des niveaux de sens multiples qui éclairent sous des angles divers la transformation du destin de l’Écosse par le biais d’un mariage dynastique et de la promesse d’un nouvel âge d’or fait de paix et de prospérité.

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  • 1 Stirling Head No. 40. The identity of this Stirling Head as Marie de Guise was proposed by the auth (...)

1This paper focusses on the only surviving portrait of Marie de Guise that had agency at the Scottish court before the death of James V in December 1542 – one of the Stirling Heads from Stirling Castle Palace. The individual identity of some of the Stirling Heads remains speculative but one that is unique on account of the subject holding a gillyflower (a fragrant flower but especially a carnation) as a token of betrothal has been proposed as her portrait.1 It would have played an active role within the ceremonial life of the Scottish court, in both the physical presence and absence of Marie de Guise herself. James V, Marie de Guise and three other female subjects among the Stirling Heads form a distinct group on account of each being depicted wearing a gold headdress or “chafferon” in Scots. As, in each case, the chafferon would have been an exceptional rather than characteristic item dress, this paper explores the layers of meaning it might have carried. With reference to the use of simile and metaphor within contemporary poetry, it explores the wearing of gold headdresses at the Scottish court not as items of fashion but as potent signs or symbols. It considers their place within the performance of Stewart dynastic success and magnificence, and how they were closely linked to the material reality of Scotland’s natural abundance in gold and the Stewart-Guise interest in goldmining.

The portrait as symbol

  • 2 Andrea Thomas, Princelie Majestie: the Court of James V of Scotland, 1528-1542, Edinburgh, John Don (...)
  • 3 John Macky, A journey through Scotland. In familiar letters from a gentleman here, to his friend ab (...)

2While it was the great stronghold of the Scottish kings, Stirling Castle had traditionally formed part of the marriage jointure of their queens and the palace within its walls was built in honour of James V’s two French brides, Madeleine de Valois and Marie de Guise. 2Travellers visiting in the eighteenth century reported that two of the rooms, and specifically the King’s Presence Chamber, had finely carved wooden ceilings displaying, they presumed, portraits of the kings and queens of Scotland. 3(Fig. 1)

Fig. 1: The King’s Room (Presence Chamber) in the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle, etching by W. and D. Lizars after Edward Blore, for Jane Ferrier Grahame, Lacunar strevelinense : a collection of heads, etched and engraved after the carved work which formerly decorated the roof of the King's room in Stirling Castle, Edinburgh, William Blackwood, London, John Murray, 1817. © National Museums Scotland

  • 4 Jane Ferrier Grahame, Lacunar strevelinense: a collection of heads, etched and engraved after the c (...)

3The Stirling Heads are medallions, carved in oak, depicting the Stewart dynasty and members of the Scottish court alongside virtuous exempla. They were taken down in 1777 because they had become unstable and the thirty-four that survive are those that made their way into antiquarian collections.4 With the exception of three in the collection of the National Museums of Scotland, they are once again on display at Stirling Castle. The painted finish has been lost but, as in a portrait miniature, the name of the subject might have been painted on the background panel. As a form of architectural decoration, carved in wood and required to be legible across architectural space, portrait likeness was not the main intention of the Stirling Heads and the subject is recognised by key features and signs. The true likenesses were the lost models the carvers worked from. Each Stirling Head, however, can be read as an accumulation of visual metaphors, beginning with the classical associations of the medallion format itself.

  • 5 The Stirling Heads: An Account of the Renaissance Wood-carvings from the King’s Presence Chamber at (...)
  • 6 J. Grahame, op. cit., Fig. 4.

4Problematically, the Stirling Head proposed as a portrait of Marie de Guise was taken to Dunstaffnage House in Argyll in the eighteenth century and lost to a fire in 1940.5 It survives only as a drawing made c. 1777 by Jane Graham, wife of the governor of Stirling Castle.6 (Fig. 2)

Fig. 2. Anonymous female portrait among the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle depicting a woman wearing a chafferon or caul and holding a gillyflower. Drawn by Jane Ferrier Grahame for Lacunar Strevelinense. (1817). © Crown copyright HES

  • 7 David Taylor, “A Derbyshire Portrait Gallery: Bess of Hardwick’s Picture Collection” in David Adshe (...)

5The surviving double portraits of James V and Marie de Guise at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire and Blair Castle, Perthshire, both dated c.1538, are also secondary images, used by noble families to demonstrate their close connection to the Scottish crown. Accordingly, all three images of Marie de Guise can be read as essentially symbolic rather than a true likeness taken from life. What they share is the gillyflower held in the right hand. The Hardwick double portrait has recently been reviewed by David Taylor and so this paper ends with a review of the Blair Castle double portrait using the Stirling Head of Marie de Guise to unlock new meanings.7

The French hood and the chafferon

  • 8 The French women in Marie de Guise’s household were - Lady in Waiting/Lady: Mahaut des Essartz, Mad (...)
  • 9 Rosalind Mearns, “Material Messages: A Reassessment of the Double Portrait of Mary Tudor and Charle (...)

6Marie de Guise and the women who accompanied her to Scotland formed a new female presence at the heart of the predominantly male Scottish court.8 Day to day, Scotland’s political dependence on France was signalled by these women continuing to dress in the French style, with a particular emphasis on the French hood. This was a flat, close-fitting headdress made up of superimposed layers: a caul with a chin strap, a stiffened crescent arching over the head and down to the chin which could be ornamented with jewelled bands or ‘billements’, and a lined black velvet hood either falling down the back or piled in folds on top of the head.9 Both ways of wearing it are evident in two of the Stirling Heads. (Figs. 3-4)

Figs. 3 and 4. Anonymous female portraits among the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle, depicting women wearing French hoods (c. 1538), oak. © Crown copyright HES

  • 10 Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, eds. T. Dickson and Sir J. Balfour Paul, Edinburgh (...)
  • 11 Jamie Cameron, James V, the Personal Rule, 1528-1542, East Linton, Scotland, Tuckwell Press, 1998, (...)
  • 12 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 137, 192-194 and 211; Elizabeth Bonner, “French Naturalization of the Scot (...)
  • 13 Alexander Teulet, Relations Politique de la France et de l’Espagne avec l’Écosse au XVI siècle, (15 (...)
  • 14 E. Bonner, op. cit., p. 1090; Alexander Teulet, Inventaire Chronologique des Documents Relatif à1'H (...)

7While the women within Marie de Guise’s household were French, in February 1539 she took charge of the two sisters of Matthew, 4th Earl of Lennox.10 It is difficult to determine their ages but Matthew is thought to have been about nineteen years old in 1536.11 The sisters were the great-nieces of Robert Stewart, Lord of Aubigny and their service within the household of Marie de Guise mirrored that of their two elder brothers to Francis I, continuing the traditional role of the Lennox-Stewarts as the “buckle” linking Scotland and France. The young siblings were in need of royal protection following the murder of their father John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox on 4 September 1526.12 The following year, at the request of Robert Stuart, Francis I intervened, writing to James V regarding the safety and financial welfare of John Stewart’s children, named as Matthew, Robert, John and Helen.13 Two of the brothers, Matthew and John, travelled to France to commence military careers in the company of 100 lances and garde écossaise, both commanded by their great-uncle. They were naturalised as French citizens in January 1537.14

  • 15 Marie de Guise’s own accounts are incomplete and those that survive do not include wardrobe items. (...)
  • 16 TA 7, p. 136-139.
  • 17 TA 7, p. 328 and 438; TA 8, p. 63-64 and 93.
  • 18 William Fraser, The Lennox, ‘Memoirs’, Edinburgh, 1874, 1, p. li; Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots (...)
  • 19 TA 7, p. 166-168. A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 46. The king also provided the bride’s dowry, see TA 7, p (...)

8Because of the singular status of the Lennox sisters, under the protection of the king but placed within the household of the queen, with their clothes being paid for by the Treasurer rather than by Marie de Guise, the entries relating to them in the Treasurer’s Accounts provide a valuable documentary record of the sartorial identity of the French women at the Scottish court.15 The Treasurer’s Accounts detail the clothes made for “thair first intering to the Quenys grace” [when they first joined the household of her Grace the Queen] and they evidently stayed in close proximity to Marie de Guise.16 When they were dressed identically as sisters seen together at court they are not named but elsewhere one, identified as “Margaret Stewart, sister to the Earl of Lennox” was given clothes, bedding and medicines on her own account.17 Margaret, however, is invisible in the Lennox genealogies which name only one sister, Helen or Eleanor, suggesting that the former might have been illegitimate and that they were actually half-sisters.18 Helen and Margaret were provided with the black and red livery of Marie de Guise’s household and, beyond colour signalling collective identity, significant details were French hoods of black velvet lined with black satin. When in June 1539, Johanna Gresmour, one of Marie de Guise’s ladies-in-waiting, married Robert Beaton, 4th Lord of Creich at Saint Andrews, the Lennox sisters were in attendance. The bride’s crimson velvet wedding gown was a gift from the king and as the Lennox sisters were dressed in gowns of red “in-grain” (deep-dyed, dyed in the yarn) velvet they may have been her bridesmaids. Again, they required new French hoods of black velvet lined with black taffeta.19

  • 20 Janet Cox- Rearick, “Power-Dressing at the Courts of Cosimo de' Medici and François I: The ‘moda al (...)
  • 21 TA 6, p. 87 and 97.
  • 22 There are issues of terminology and definition here: “chafferon” only appears in a courtly context (...)

9The netted gold headdress had a deep and constantly evolving history across Europe but, with regard to female dress, there was a clear north-south divide: northern Europe continuing to favour structural lined headdresses and southern Europe adopting lighter and more open styles with the hair visible through the gold mesh. 20It was not a gendered item of dress and was worn by men and women of high status across Europe. There is documentary evidence that James V occasionally wore what was termed a “chafferon” in Scots before his French marriages21 and he certainly wore one for his marriage to Marie de Guise. 22His surviving portraits, however, consistently show him wearing a short Roman haircut symbolic of his sovereign status and imperium. The Stirling Head of James V is unique within his portrait iconography in that his hair is completely covered by a netted gold caul while an ornamented bonnet with multiple plumes sits on top of this at an angle. Taking this into account, does it record the magnificence and political significance of his second marriage in dialogue with the Stirling Head of Marie de Guise? (Fig. 5)

Fig. 5. King James V of Scotland, one of the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance Palace at Stirling Castle, (c. 1538-42), oak. © National Museums Scotland

10As both Henry VIII and Charles V are present among the Stirling Heads, Francis I must have been too and there may have been a similar correspondence between the headdress of the Scottish and French king. Crowned king of France aged twenty on 25 January 1515, Francis immediately proved himself to be a heroic bringer of change by reclaiming the duchy of Milan on 4 October (lost in 1512) following victory at the Battle of Marignano (13-14 September) where the French were supported by German landsknechts in their defeat of a Swiss army fighting on behalf of the Sforza, Swiss Confederation and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I. A report from the Mantuan ambassador in Milan, dated 6 November 1515, draws attention to the place of dress as a symbol of national identity, in this case German military dress and French headdress, within Francis I’s public performance of triumph:

  • 23 Raffaele Tamalio, Federico Gonzaga alla Corte di Francesco I di Francia nel carteggio privato con M (...)

On Sunday morning the King (François I) dressed in a doublet and stockings fit for armour and a German dress of cloth of gold and white, lined in black, short and tight; and he had a gold hairnet on his head with a beret of velvet decorated with feathers all around. Dressed in this manner he went to mass at the Grazie on foot.23

  • 24 Terminology is fluid across dress history. In Scots a “kell” can mean a netted caul as well as a pl (...)
  • 25 Mary Rogers, “The Decorum of Women’s Beauty: Trissino, Firenzuola, Luigini and the Representation o (...)

11In the four female portraits among the Stirling Heads where the subject wears a chafferon this comprises a ‘kell’, a netted caul, made of gold wire or gold thread and with or without a textile lining, held in place by a crespine, a rigid ornamental band framing the face, and finished with elaborate attachments in the form of acanthus leaves curling over the head.24 Braids of hair play over the shoulders which while symbolic of virgin or bridal status also, as will be shown, conjure a poetic ideal of chaste beauty. 25(Figs. 6-8)

Figs. 6-8. Three of the anonymous female portraits among the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle, (c. 1538), oak. Each is wearing an elaborate chafferon or caul and a gown with full Italian-style sleeves. Fig. 8. has a cherub’s head on her breast and may represent the recently deceased Madeleine de Valois. © Crown copyright HES

Hair like golden wire

  • 26 The Poems of William Dunbar, ed. Priscilla Bawcutt, 2 volumes, Glasgow, Association for Scottish Li (...)
  • 27 King James I of Scotland, The Kingis Quair Together with the Ballad of Good Counsel, ed. Walter Ske (...)

12The idea for this paper began with noting the use of the simile hair like golden wire within the conventional personification of beauty in medieval and Renaissance poetry and the coincidence with the use of gold wire to fabricate headdresses worn by the elite. This simile was used within the vernacular poetry heard at the Scottish court, for example by William Dunbar (c. 1460- c. 1530), a poet-priest in the service of James IV (1488-1513). In his comedy on marriage, The Tretis of the Twa Mariit Wemen and the Wedo (line 19), he describes the hair of the ironically beautiful but ferocious women as: “So glitterit as the gold wer their glorius gilt tressis” [Their glorious gilt tresses glittered like gold wire].26 King James I (1394-1437) opens the love poem he wrote while captive in England, The Kingis Quair (c. 1423, lines 3 and 4), with a vision of Venus washing her hair as the planet passes through the sign of Aquarius, the water carrier: “And, in Aquary, Citherea the clere/ Rynsid hir tressis like the goldin wyre” [And in Aquarius, shining Venus/ Rinsed her tresses like golden wire]. 27

  • 28 D. S. Brewer, “The Ideal of Feminine Beauty in Medieval Literature, Especially "Harley Lyrics,” Cha (...)
  • 29 Carol Kaske, “Neoplatonism in Spenser Once More,” Religion & Literature, 32.2, Summer 2000, p. 157- (...)
  • 30 Agnolo Firenzuola, Of the Beauty of Women, trans. Clara Bell, London, Osgood, 1892, p. 105-109; Eli (...)
  • 31 Gabrielle Langdon, “A “Laura” for Cosimo: Bronzino’s Eleanor of Toledo with her Son Giovanni” in Ko (...)

13The origins of the simile lie in the metaphor of golden hair as the radiant but transient manifestation of eternal beauty of soul most closely associated with the poetic pictorialism of the Petrarchan love sonnet (Francesco Petrarca, Italian, 1304-74) and its imitation or ridicule (petrarchismo) by later poets, but actually of earlier origin.28 Behind this was the association of beauty and light and the neoplatonic concept that human beauty is “the translucence of the soul’s divine origin.”29 So, within the Petrarchan canon of lambent female beauty, for hair truly to be like gold it should be abundant, long, fine, soft, naturally slightly curling and stirred by the air so that light played across its undulating and inter-weaving form. In the sixteenth-century, this was most clearly articulated in terms of colour and light by Agnolo Firenzuola in his Dialogo delle bellezze donne, (completed 1542).30 Analysis of Petrarchan poetic pictorialism does not, however, recognise the coincidence of the simile hair like golden wire with the practice of dressing of hair with gold wire or gold thread and the place of gold within the symbolic systems of medieval and Renaissance material culture. Gabrielle Langdon argues persuasively that wearing an open netted gold caul studded with pearls allegorized Eleanor of Toledo (1522-1562) who married Cosimo I de’Medici by proxy on 29 March 1539, as Laura, Petrarch’s imaginary and unobtainable love object. She reads the netted gold caul, however, as merely giving physical form to Petrarch’s verbal description of Laura’s hair as being twisted with pearls and gems and the net as a metaphor for the snares of love.31 (Fig. 9)

Fig. 9. Agnolo Bronzino, Eleonora di Toledo with her son Giovanni de’ Medici, (1544-45), oil on panel, w 960 x h 1150 mm. Le Gallerie degli Uffizi. Google Art Project.

14Most simply, the simile might recall the tension, play and brightness of fine gold wire by itself. If, however, a gold headdress was woven from gold wire or gold thread and the hair was visible either through or adjacent to it, or long tresses were bound with gold, was this a meaningful juxtaposition? Was this a neoplatonic conceit where the hair was understood as the imperfect copy of gold? Golden hair was a metaphor for the eternal beauty of soul, cleansing of the soul was compared to the refining of gold, and unchanging gold participated in the abstract platonic Idea of the Beauty:

  • 32 Plotinus (Egypt, 205-270), ‘On Beauty’, Ennead I. 6.5. Plotinus was a founder of Neoplatonism and a (...)

This is the soul's ugliness, not being pure and unmixed, like gold, but full of earthiness; if anyone takes the earthy stuff away the gold is left, and is beautiful, when it is singled out from other things and is alone by itself.32

  • 33 John Bender, Spenser and Literary Pictorialism, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1972, p. 70- (...)

15In Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen (1590, 4.6.19-21), an allegorical poem in praise of Elizabeth I, a description of Britomart, a female knight and embodiment of Chastity, is particularly relevant in its reference to material culture. Transfixed by the light radiating from her golden form, her lover Artegall sees her as an earthly revelation of the divine.33 Her hair frames her face like a headdress intricately worked by a goldsmith from fine gold wire:

And round about the same, her yellow heare/
Hauing through stirring loosd their wonted band,
Like to a golden border did appeare,
Framed in goldsmithes forge with cunning hand:
Yet goldsmithes cunning could not vnderstand
To frame such subtile wire, so shinie cleare.

16That gold hair and an open netted gold caul may have been understood to work together as a neoplatonic conceit at the Scottish court is evidenced by, in 1564, Sir James Melville the Scottish ambassador to the English court, reporting to Mary Queen of Scots on the dress of Elizabeth I. Through Melville’s gaze, the two queens engaged in a playful discussion as to which style of dress was the most becoming. The English queen changed her style of dress each day and asked Melville to judge, luring him into a discussion on golden hair and beauty. It is important to note his emphasis on the “apparently” natural curl of Elizabeth I’s red-gold hair and how the wearing of an Italian-style open netted gold caul allowed this to be seen:

  • 34 Sir James Melville of Halhill, Memoirs of His Own Life, M.D.XLIX-M.D.XCIII, Edinburgh, Bannatyne Cl (...)

I said the Italien weid; quhilk plesit hir weill, for sche delyted to schwa her golden coloured hair, wairing a kell and bonet as they do in Italy. Hir hair was reder than yellow, curlit apparently by nature. Then sche entrit to discern what kind of colour of hair was reputed best; and inquired whither the Quenis or hirs was best, and quhilk of them twa was fairest. [I said the Italian style of dress; which pleased her well as she delighted in showing her golden-coloured hair, wearing a caul and bonnet as they do in Italy. Her hair was more red than yellow, apparently with natural curls. Then she wanted to know which colour of hair was thought best; and if the Queen’s or hers was best and which of them was the more beautiful.] 34

Beauty, virtue and power

  • 35 Codex 2159 Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan.
  • 36 Codex 2159, Fol. IV; Stephanie Buck, “Beauty and Virtue for Francis I: Iohannes Ambrosius Nucetus a (...)
  • 37 Ibid., p. 197-198, 201 and 208-209.

17If the gold headdress or chafferon is serving, at its simplest, as symbol of virtue what does understanding this add to the reading of the Stirling Heads as a whole? A remarkable manuscript dated c. 1517-18 and dedicated to Francis I by the obscure northern Italian artist Johannes Ambrosius Nucetus (Giovanni Ambrogio Noceto) offers a comparative model.35 Nocetus tells the French king that he is “powerful by virtue, even stronger by arms” and the legitimacy of his rule over Milan is confirmed by the tribute of Milanese female beauty.36 Between brief panegyric texts at the beginning and end, twenty-seven ladies from high-status Milanese families present compliments to him. They appear one by one, each on a separate folio, as a medallion portrait concealed under a hinged paper lid, as if the viewer were opening a miniature enclosed within a case. The first seven are modestly veiled widows and each given the title of one of the four Cardinal Virtues or three Theological Virtues, while the remainder (as far as illustrated by Buck) are depicted wearing elaborate gold headdresses of different regional types.37

  • 38 Ibid., p. 203-7. The Commentaires de la Guerre Gallique, 3 vols : British Library, Harley 6205; Bib (...)
  • 39 Francis I and Julius Caesar, Harley 6205, f.3
  • 40 Bryony J. Coombs, “Distantia Jungit’: Scots Patronage of the Visual Arts in France, c. 1445- c. 154 (...)
  • 41 Ibid., p. 110-114; E. Bonner, “Stewart [Stuart], Robert (c. 1470–1544), soldier,” Oxford Dictionary (...)

18The manuscript has been examined as a vehicle of cultural transfer within the development of the portrait miniature at the French court and as the precursor to another celebration of Francis I as the victor of Marignano, the Commentaires de la Guerre Gallique (exchanges between Francis I as the inquirer and Julius Caesar as the responder) by Francois Demoulins de Rochefort and illustrated by Godefroy le Batave and Jean Clouet (1519/20).38 The latter creates a new iconography of heroic virtue by juxtaposing miniature medallion portraits of Francis and his companions at Marignano, the Preaux de Marignan, in life-like three-quarter profile, including both head and shoulders, with a full-profile medal or cameo of Julius Caesar.39 Both manuscripts together can be used to contextualise the Stirling Heads and the presentation of James V as also “powerful by virtue” through his ancestry and chivalric accomplishments, with female virtue paying tribute to this. A possible link between them may have been the building programmes of Robert Stuart, Lord of Aubigny (c. 1470–1544), at the château de La Verrerie near Oizon (Cher department, Centre-Loire Valley region, France). Pertinently, the emblem of the Stuart of Aubigny was a buckle signifying their agency in the alliance of Scotland and France against the hostile forces of England that threatened both equally.40 As a soldier in the King’s garde écossaise (appointed Captain 4 October 1512) and then a Marshall of France, Robert was continuously involved in the Italian Wars from 1499, was present at the Battle of Marignano and then captured along with Francis at the Battle of Pavia in 1525. Illness prevented him from undertaking ceremonial duties at the wedding of James V and Madeleine de Valois in Paris on 1 January 1537.41

  • 42 Ibid., Appendix 2e; p. 131-135, 189.

19An important precedent for the Stirling Heads within a royal Stewart context are the painted medallions in the chapel at La Verrerie which display a similar combination of male and female Stewart/Stuart portraits, household members and virtuous exempla.42 It is the symbolic value of the glazed terracotta medallions formerly in the courtyard, however, which are of most interest here. (Fig. 10)

Fig 10. Bas relief depicting an anonymous young woman with a border displaying the Stuart of Aubigny emblem, the buckle, (c. 1525) from the Gallery of Robert Stuart, Château de La Verrerie near Oizon (Cher department, Centre-Loire Valley region, France). IVR24_77180890

  • 43 Ibid., p. 127-128. The originals have been replaced by resin copies and are now on display in the C (...)
  • 44 Ibid., p.128-9 and Appendix 2d.. Nineteenth-century copies of four of these can be seen in the lowe (...)
  • 45 Ibid., p. 114, n. 204

20These were placed above the columns supporting the Gallery of the Stuarts and depict eight young women. A possible connection with the Nucetus manuscript through “the aesthetic ideal of youthful beauty” has already been noted by Bryony Coombs.43 As three of the subjects are framed by stone borders displaying the emblems of France and the Stuarts of Aubigny, the fleur de lis, cockle shell and buckle, it is most likely that these represent contemporary French women and there is some correspondence with the portrait heads in the chapel (Anne Stuart, Jacqueline de Queuille and Marguerite de Navarre?). All the young women portrayed in the glazed terracotta medallions have Italian-style headdresses and three have braids laid over their shoulders. Given the chivalric display inside the upper gallery through a parade of Stewart/Stuart worthies on horseback headed by James IV (now lost), it can be further suggested that the busts played the same role as the Nucetus Milanese beauties in that they offered a tribute of beauty and virtue to the male heroes.44 Robert married his second wife Jacqueline de Queuille in the mid- 1520s, possibly after his release from captivity following the Battle of Pavia (1525), and the gallery displays their coat of arms.45 The gallery and its decorative features, therefore, may have served a similar function for Robert as Francis I’s programme of palace building: the recovery of authority through cultural display: Italian territories may have been lost but the cultural acquirements remained and the La Verrerie medallions could be compared, for example, to the glazed terracotta decoration by the Italian sculptor and ceramist Girolamo della Robbia (1488-1566) at the Château of Madrid.

The abundance and purity of Scottish gold

  • 46 Sally Rush, unpublished internal report for Historic Environment Scotland.
  • 47 Jamie Cameron, James V, the personal rule, 1528-1542, East Linton, Scotland, Tuckwell Press, 1998, (...)
  • 48 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 262, 268 and 351.

21The sculpture on the north elevation of Stirling Castle Palace presents an allegory of James V ruling over a new golden age in Scotland and terminates with a figure of Abundance.46 This golden age was a direct result of his two dynastic marriages. The material quality and delicate crafting of the chafferons seen in the Stirling Heads continued this allegory visualising Scotland’s new-found strength through the display of magnificence. Not only were they paid for out of the royal purse, more importantly, they were made by the royal goldsmiths using, at times, gold from the king’s own mines at Crawfordmuir in the Lowther Hills, South Lanarkshire. The Stewart-Guise dynastic alliance literally promised a new golden age of peace and prosperity and, the king used the fruit of his lands to present his queen as the embodiment of abundance and the security of the Stewart succession. James V’s personal rule began in 1528 with the banishment of his stepfather Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and the forfeiture of his earldom. Historically, the crown owned the mining rights at Crawfordmuir and the Treasury purchased gold from the license holders.47 The land, however, was part of the barony of Crawford Douglas and so the Angus earldom, almost all of which was redistributed in 1534 to James’s infant illegitimate son, also James (senior), aged only four.48

  • 49 TA 6, p. 415.
  • 50 TA 6, p.408 and 414; A Collection of Inventories and Other Records of the Royal Wardrobe and Jewelh (...)
  • 51 Giovanna Guidicini, “The Political and Cultural Influence of James V’s Court on the Decoration of t (...)
  • 52 Jean d’Arras, Melusine, or the Noble History of Lusignan, Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox, tran (...)

22The royal goldsmiths were John Mossman and Thomas Rhynd and their work on chafferons using ‘gold of mynd’[mine] begins at the time of the wedding of James V and Marie de Guise at Saint Andrews in June 1538. While wardrobe items, new velvet-covered chairs and Madeleine de Valois’s silver plate, along with jousting gear, were being packed and dispatched from Edinburgh, work was underway on the king’s personal appearance. Mossman reconditioned an existing and exceptionally magnificent “great” chafferon set with large diamonds for James.49 The chafferon may not have been new but Mossman also made an extraordinary hat badge or “target” in the form of a mermaid using “the Kingis awne gold” [the King’s own gold], diamonds for her tail, a table diamond for her mirror and a ruby for the rock on which she sat. This was for a black velvet bonnet with a brim already glittering with eighteen “sets” of gold buttons and horns each framing either a large ruby or two large pearls. Presumably, the bonnet was worn on top of the chafferon.50 The mermaid on the fountain at Linlithgow Palace (c. 1538) has been read as Melusine, the mythical fairy ancestress of the Lusignan dynasty and Marie de Guise through her mother Antoinette de Bourbon.51 In the romance of Melusine as told by Jean d’Arras (completed 1393), she is identified as the daughter of King Elinas of Alba (northern Scotland) and so perhaps was also understood to have a place in the origin myths of the kings of Scotland.52 James’s hat badge, therefore, may have acknowledged, through his marriage to Mary, a new beginning for two dynasties with a shared mythical ancestry.

23Exceptional royal gifts were paid for by the Treasurer and the next two years see chafferons being gifted to the gentlewomen in Marie de Guise’s household. Three chafferons were ordered two months before the wedding of Johanna Gresmour at Saint Andrews in June 1539: one may have been part of the king’s gift to the bride with the other two worn by her attendants, possibly the Lennox sisters. This supports the suggestion that the chafferons seen in the Stirling Heads of James V and Mary de Guise are symbolic of their marriage. Each of the chafferons made for Joanna Gresmour’s wedding required approximately four ounces or 113 grams (or twelve ‘crowns’) of gold to make it:

  • 53 TA 7, p. 159.

April 1539.
Item, deliverit to Johnne Mosmanne xxxvj cronis of wecht weyand foure unce to mix with gold of mynd to mak gentill wemennis chafferonys with – xxxvj li [Item, delivered to John Mossman thirty-six crowns weighing four ounces to mix with gold from the mine to make gentlewomen’s chafferons with – thirty-six pounds]53

  • 54 TA 7, p. 197.

3 June 1539
Item, for the making of thre chawfferonis of gold to gentill wemenne weyand xij uncis iij grot wecht, delivered the third day of Junii - xij li [Item, for the making of three chafferons of gold for gentlewomen weighing twelve ounces and three groats, delivered on 3 June – twelve pounds]54

24The wearing of a chafferon, however, was not exclusive to the bride and her attendants. While the bride was preparing for the wedding at Pitlethie near Saint Andrews, Marie de Guise seems to have been tempted by Thomas Rhynd to review her own headdress and purchased some ready-made ones paid for by the king:

  • 55 TA 7, p. 163 and 168.

sald be him to the quenys grace in Petlethy the last day of Maii, chafferonis and chenzeis of gold extending to – lviij li” [sold by him to the queens grace in Pitlethie on the last day of May, chafferons and chains of gold amounting to fifty-eight pounds]55

  • 56 Felicity Heal, The Power of Gifts: Gift Exchange in Early Modern England, Oxford, Oxford University (...)

25The inclusion of a “great” chafferon within the ritual gift exchange among high status members of the royal household at New Year also required advance planning.56 It is tempting to think that this was James V’s gift to Marie de Guise and part of the preparations for the coronation of the pregnant queen the following February:

  • 57 TA 7, 400-401.

October 1540
Item, the xix day of October, gevin to Thomas Rynde for ane grete chaiffroune of gold, ane litill chaiffroune, two pair of braslettis, ane pair of bedys, vj buttonis, and a litill hand ring, all of gold, Parys wark, as his compt bers, deliverit to the Kingis grace in Striveling, to be gevin in New Years gifts, away, price all ic xxxiij li xix s [Item, on 19 October, given to Thomas Rhynd for a large and a small chafferon of gold, two pairs of bracelets, a pair of beads, six buttons and a small ring, all of gold, Paris work, as his account states, delivered to his Grace the King at Stirling to be given away as New Year’s gifts – total one hundred and thirty-three pounds nineteen shillings] 57

  • 58 R. W. Cochran Patrick, “Notes on the Annals of the Scottish Coinage, 4,” The Numismatic Chronicle a (...)
  • 59 TA 6, p. 97.
  • 60 A. M. Hacke, C. M. Carr and A. C.Brown, “Characterisation of Metal Threads in Renaissance Tapestry, (...)
  • 61 Janet Cox-Rearick and Mary Westerman Bulgarella, “Public and Private Portraits of Cosimo de' Medici (...)
  • 62 Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlocked: the Inventories of the Wardrobe of the Robes Prepared in July (...)

26The identification of the chafferons made by Thomas Rhynd as “Parys wark” [Paris work] refers to the quality of the gold and the amount of alloy it contained rather than a French style of workmanship.58 When the weight is measured in “cronis” [crowns], the gold used was French gold coins, couronnes, melted down. This suggests that the careful noting of the use of “gold of the mynde” by John Mossman was also a reference to fineness or purity. The purer the gold the softer and more malleable it is. In 1533, the goldsmith Patrick Lindsay was paid for adding a small amount of “fynor gold” [finer gold] to that he had been supplied with for making a chafferon for James V.59 Although much has been said about the wearing of gold headdresses, history seems silent as to how they were made. As Scottish chafferons required the services of a goldsmith and four ounces of fine gold, the netted caul was most likely made from gold wire. The goldsmith would have undertaken the whole fabrication process beginning with the drawing of the wire. As seen, they took several months to fabricate. Eleanor of Toledo’s gold netted cauls, meanwhile, were made from plaited gold thread or “d’oro filato” (thin beaten gold was applied to a substrate, cut into narrow strips and wrapped around a silk core)60 and were the skilled work of one of her Spanish ladies-in-waiting.61 A clear distinction is made between a caul and a crespine among the items of headwear made for Elizabeth I; both were made of plaited gold thread, here ‘Venice gold’, by silk artificers but the crespines are consistently described as “French” and sometimes as ‘double’, and made of gold and/or silver.62 There may have been a timelessness to the more complex “great” chafferons made by Scottish goldsmiths as descriptions of those worn by Margaret Tudor as James IV’s queen compare with those seen in the Stirling Heads, verifying that were indeed embellished with gold leaves as well as pearls and precious stones:

  • 63 A Collection of Inventories …, p. 19-28, here p. 24 and 27. When Margaret Tudor fled to England in (...)

Item ane faferon with xxi rubies xxxiii perlis & levis of gold eftimat to iic crownis of the fone of wecht [Item a chafferon with twenty-one rubies, thirty-three pearls and leaves of gold estimated at 200 crowns of the sun in weight]
Item ane cheffroun with levis of gold with viii rubies & xviii perle [Item a chafferon with leaves of gold, eight rubies and eighteen pearls] 63

  • 64 J. Moir Porteous, God’s Treasure House in Scotland: The History of Times. Mines and Lands in the So (...)
  • 65 A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 177-181.
  • 66 TA 4, p. 273 and 442; TA 5, p. 19-20.
  • 67 TA 7, p. 182

27Crawfordmuir has historically been one of Scotland’s richest sources of gold. This was extracted by washing the alluvial deposits in the valley bottoms and the gravel in the riverbeds, but the bedrock source was never found.64 As Andrea Thomas has outlined, James V’s need to participate in the “symbolic panoply of Renaissance kingship” required the full exploitation of this resource. Contracts were awarded to a succession of foreign miners with advanced expertise in the extraction and refining of alluvial gold.65 In 1515 the Duke of Albany, while acting as Regent for James V, sent the Frenchman John Drane who was “callit ane fynour, weschear and meltar of gold” [called a refiner, washer and smelter of gold] to work there.66 Presumably the two “minouris” [miners] sent by the Duke and Duchess of Guise and another from England who arrived together in 1539 to “vesy” or inspect the mines were also expert refiners and smelters.67 They may also have been tasked with looking for the bedrock source. One of the outcomes was a medal struck in 1524 to mark the end of Albany’s regency that was noted for the exceptional fineness of the gold used. (Fig. 11)

Fig. 11. The Albany Medal, struck for John, Duke of Albany in 1524, gold, Scotland, diameter 36 mm. Obverse: Dove of the Holy Spirit; Reverse: Crowned arms of Albany on a cross. © Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow

  • 68 R. W. Patrick, op. cit., p. 43, 46-48; State Papers, King Henry VIII, 5.4, London, Eyre and Spottis (...)

28Later, in 1546 during the so-called Rough Wooing and the English invasion of Scotland, Thomas Wharton, deputy Warden of the West Marches (the English western borderlands), sent one to Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII, as evidence of the quantity and quality of the gold potentially to be found at Crawfordmuir and its value to the English Crown.68

  • 69 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 198-199; TA 7, p. 495-497.
  • 70 TA 7, p. 182.
  • 71 TA 7, p. 193, 194, 256 and 289; Foreign Correspondence with Marie de Lorraine, Queen of Scotland (1 (...)
  • 72 TA 7, p. 254 and 278.
  • 73 Caron Ann Cioffi, “ ‘Dolce color d'orïental zaffiro’: A Gloss on Purgatorio 1.13,” Modern Philology(...)

29James V secured the possession of the barony of Crawfordjohn, Lanarkshire in February 1536 where he renovated the tower house as a hunting lodge and residence from which to oversee the adjacent mine at Crawfordmuir.69 The two miners sent by the Duke and Duchess of Guise arrived in Scotland in July 1539 and, with the assistance of a Scottish boy who could speak French, they worked alongside another from England.70 John Mossman, the royal goldsmith, had charge of their brief stay, 17 August to 17 September, before they departed for France on 9 October. Although the search for miners began in 1538, the timing of their arrival allowed James V and the Guise to realise their shared ambitions for magnificent dynastic display occasioned by the coronation of the pregnant queen on 22 February 1540. 71That month, as a token of their success, Mossman sent the Duke and Duchess of Guise a piece of unwrought gold worth forty-four shillings. On 5 October 1539, he was paid forty-five pounds for his work on a crown for Mary de Guise using thirty-five ounces of ‘gold of mynde’. Nearer the time of the coronation, on 6 January, he was paid fifteen pounds for a girdle using nineteen and a half ounces of Scottish gold. This would have encircled the queen’s womb and a large sapphire costing five pounds was used for the central clasp. The precious stone was symbolic of chastity and so the legitimacy of her child, and being blue, the vault of heaven and the journey of the soul.72 Evidently, this was a carefully considered detail and as such the allegorical intention of pure gold and precious stone in combination deserves more thought. Turning to the writings of Dante and the Divine Comedy (1308-21), the sapphire belongs to the allegory of salvation through the mediation of Beatrice, the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Was Mary de Guise being presented to the Scottish people as, like the sapphire, a repository of grace and bringer of peace and hope? 73

The Blair Castle double portrait of James V and Mary de Guise

30As it is the only painted image of her wearing a chafferon, and as her hair was red-gold in colour, this paper examines whether the double portrait of James V and Marie de Guise at Blair Castle in Perthshire supports the discussion of golden hair and gold headdress working together as a combined symbol. (Fig. 12)

Fig. 12. James V and Mary de Guise, oil on panel, (c. 1538?). Blair Castle, Perthshire. Photograph author’s own.

  • 74 Atholl Picture Catalogue, Unpublished, Blair Castle, Perthshire, c. 1880-1900, Item 118, p. 30-31.

31Being a double portrait, it is generally presumed that it was painted to mark their marriage and dates from c. 1538. It should be remembered, however, that it has survived because it is important to the history of the earls of Atholl and has always had a specific place within the visual display of a noble family aligning themselves with the royal Stewarts. While the first record of the double portrait being in the Atholl collection is 1844, traditionally, the family has believed it to be a copy of one painted to celebrate the royal marriage of 1538 and gifted by James V to the 3rd Earl.74 One key detail, however, suggests that it might have been painted after the death of James V in 1542: the double portrait only displays the coat of arms of Marie de Guise as Queen Consort or, more likely, Queen Dowager and Regent, making her the primary subject. (Fig.13)

Fig. 13. Detail of Fig. 12, Mary de Guise’s coat of arms.

  • 75 J. Cameron, op. cit., p.146-147. John Lesley, The History of Scotland from the Death of James I in (...)
  • 76 Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, The Historie and Chronicles of Scotland, ed. Æ. J. G. Mackay, Edinbur (...)
  • 77 Alexander Teulet, Papiers d’État, Pièces et Documents Inédits ou Peu Connus Relatif a l’Histoire de (...)
  • 78 G. Hewitt, ‘Stewart, John, fourth earl of Atholl (d. 1579), magnate’, Oxford Dictionary of National (...)
  • 79 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 73-75.
  • 80 J. Lesley, op. cit., p. 253-254 and 256-257.
  • 81 Charles McKean, The Scottish Chateau, Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 2001, p. 107-112

32John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Atholl (1507–1542) was a young nobleman valued by James V for maintaining law and order in his native Perthshire.75 He was not a significant political figure but is remembered for staging a magnificent event which changed the foreign perception of Highland life. Either in 1529 or 1532 (the dates are uncertain) the earl hosted a three-day hunting party attended by the papal ambassador, James V and Margaret Tudor. Rather than tents, the guests were luxuriously accommodated and lavishly entertained in a temporary palace which seemed to have grown up by itself within a meadow. It was regularly planned with four corner towers and a barbican but the walls were made of woven green birch branches, the turf floors strewn with rushes and fragrant flowers, and the deep moat stocked with fresh-water fish of many kinds. To preserve the sense of an unearthly interlude in the abundant wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, once the hunting was over the palace was set on fire.76 John Stewart, 4th Earl of Atholl (d. 1579), was known for his unwavering Catholicism and supported both Marie de Guise and Mary Queen of Scots in their resistance of the protestant ascendancy in Scotland.77 When, in 1554, Marie de Guise sought the transfer of power from the Governor of Scotland, James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran and Duke of Châtelherault, Atholl was among the nobles who supported her and this offers a political and religious context for the painting of the double portrait.78 The younger John Stewart was as assiduous as his father in the hunting down of self-serving trouble makers in the Highlands but Marie de Guise’s initial policy of clemency failed to change their behaviour. More drastic measures were necessary and, in 1566 Atholl accompanied the Queen on a royal progress intended to assert her authority in the north-east of Scotland, the “justice ayres” (itinerant court of justice). As under James V, clan chiefs were held responsible for the actions of their clansmen and expected to deliver them for trial.79 At Inverness in July, she imposed the “most extreme and rigorous punishment” and witnessed “great executione of mennis bodeis” [the execution of many men].80 Atholl later hosted Marie de Guise in the newly-built palace block at his castle of Balvenie near Dufftown in Moray. The building itself was symbolic of the new “Marian” order having a French-inspired oversized round corner tower to accommodate the bedrooms and a spectacular display of glazed oriel windows.81 It is easy to imagine the Blair double portrait as a portable symbol of royal authority at the justice ayres, or a gift to a loyal subject in reward for his service and hospitality, or on a wall at Balvenie as a mark of allegiance and welcome. Although the details are finely painted, it is evidently a clumsy bringing together of two individual and self-contained portraits copied from earlier lost originals, even drawings from life. James laying his hand over Mary’s is misleading: the double portrait is painted on three horizontal oak panels and, on close inspection, it is obvious that the bottom one has been replaced relatively recently. The gillyflower which floats incongruously over Mary’s right sleeve was painted across the join of the two lower panels and what is seen is half original and half restoration. If she is imagined holding the gillyflower in her right hand, as in the Stirling Head, the composition makes more sense. Indeed, the model for the Stirling Head and the Blair Castle portrait may have been the same.

33While the likeness of Marie de Guise is presumably a mechanical copy of a lost original, the details of her dress and chafferon are executed with some technical skill and create an illusion of radiance. (Fig. 14)

Fig. 14. Jean Clouet (after), A young woman wearing a gold caul set with pearls and precious stones, thought to be Mary Stuart but with the inscription “Mademoiselle de Guise,” (undated), pencil and w/col on paper.© Bridgeman Images © direction des musées de France, © musée Condé, 1999.

  • 82 R. Marshall, op. cit., p. 1 and n. 6.

34The trimming at her neckline is painted as plaited gold thread but, in contrast, the chafferon seems to be a net of gold wire, possibly lined with cloth of gold, and set with square-cut diamonds, rubies and pearls. The “bateau” neckline of the cloth-of-gold garment with a jewel-encrusted stomacher edged with ermine reflects the traditional surcoat worn at royal coronations, including that worn by Marie de Guise as an attendant of Eleanor of Austria in 1531.82 (Fig. 15)

Fig. 15. Hugo van der Goes, Trinity Altarpiece, (c. 1478-79), detail of one of the wings depicting King James III of Scotland’s queen, Margaret of Denmark and Saint George. © The Royal Collection 2001, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

  • 83 R. Pitscottie, op. cit., 2, p. 113-116. It is uncertain whether or not the ceremony that took place (...)
  • 84 TA 7, p. 284; A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 240.
  • 85 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 12.1, ed. James Gairdner, Lon (...)
  • 86 For example, A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 187.

35Presumably Marie wore one at her coronation as Queen Consort and may have done so again when she was acknowledged as Queen Regent on 12 April 1554.83 The only documentary reference supporting this, however, is the delivery of five elns of cloth-of-gold to Mahaut des Essartz, Madmoiselle de Curel, lady in waiting to Marie de Guise on 7 February, 1540, shortly before her coronation as Queen Consort.84 The description in the English State Papers of the wedding procession in Paris on 1 January 1537 focusses on the Queen of Scotland walking on the arm of the King of Navarre (and proceeded by the English ambassadors) wearing “a precious close crown of gold upon her head, and under it a coif (caul) of gold set with stones very precious with other sumptuous apparel according to her degree”.85 So far, it has been assumed that this is a description of the bride, Madeleine de Valois, but as she was never crowned, it is more likely a description of Margaret Tudor, as Queen Dowager.86 If so, it confirms the magnificence of the ceremonial dress worn by a Queen Dowager or Queen Dowager and Regent of Scotland, including a gold chafferon set with precious stones.

  • 87 The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland (1424-1567), ed. Thomas Thomson, London, 1814, 2, 600-602. (...)
  • 88 A collection of Inventories, ed. cit., p. 70.

36As Governor of Scotland following the death of James V, Arran made full use of the royal wardrobe and jewel house. When he surrendered the governorship on 12 April 1554 he was required to return the rightful inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots.87 Some of the more exceptional items had been removed to Châtelherault in France and these included a large number of diamonds, rubies and pearls, the mermaid hat badge and a dagger and sheath given to James V by Francis I; the latter was a kingly treasure and was possibly displayed in the lost lower third of the Blair double portrait.88 They were evidently important symbols of royal authority and Stewart patrimony but it was two years before these final items were returned to Mary Queen of Scots in France on 3 June 1556. If a date of c. 1556 for the Blair double portrait is accepted, this raises the question as to whether it visualised of the transference of power from James V, via Arran, to Marie de Guise, acting as Regent on behalf of her daughter Mary Queen of Scots, through the prominence given to the pearls and precious stones. (Fig. 16)

Fig. 16. Detail of Fig. 12, Mary de Guise’s jewelled surcoat

  • 89 Ibid., p. 61 and 117.

37The majority of the rubies and diamonds listed in the inventory made on the death of James V and that of the items returned on 3 June 1556 were set into finger rings and not loose stones, and so their appearance in the Blair portrait could be nothing more than symbolic. 89

Conclusion

38The Blair double portrait brings the full symbolic armoury of beauty and virtue into play arguably because its intention was to assert Marie de Guise’s authority as Regent. As it is not a compelling and perceptive likeness, however, attention has not been given to the complexity of its symbolic language. When compared to the drawing from life most likely made during her return to France in 1550-1551 (Fig. 17) the contrived distance from her day to day appearance is clearly apparent.

39Fig. 17. François Clouet (after), Mary de Guise, inscribed: “La mere de la Royne descose/de la mesant de guise,” (undated), black chalk with red chalk on paper, height 302 mm, width 224 mm. © British Museum.

  • 90 Jean de Beaugué, L’Histoire de la Guerre d’Écosse, Paris, Gilles Corrozet and Estienne Groulleau, 1 (...)

40As the Stirling Heads are evidently signs and symbols more than they are likenesses, interpreting their intended messages has shown how new meanings can be found within the Blair double portrait. Recognising the gold headdresses seen in both as extraordinary items of dress and tracing their stories through the documentary evidence of their commission and making has linked them directly to the deeply symbolic occasions of marriage and coronation. The potential metaphoric associations of the gold used for these headdresses have brought the Petrarchan canon of beauty and related neoplatonic concepts of beauty of soul into play. This allows the Blair double portrait to be read as an accumulation of visualised poetic metaphors and saturated with the idea of being powerful by virtue. Marie de Guise’s red-gold head is crowned by a gold and bejewelled chafferon and aligned with the imperial crown over her coat of arms immediately alongside. Remoteness is suggested by her cold, averted gaze, the exaggeratedly long and slender neck and the marble-like paleness of her skin. Stiff with lambent cloth-of-gold and jewels, her surcoat flattens her form and negates any sense of living presence. Altogether, this chaste and radiant image presents her as a “Princess born with all the virtues, and whose merit alone induces respect and commands obedience.” 90

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Notes

1 Stirling Head No. 40. The identity of this Stirling Head as Marie de Guise was proposed by the author in an unpublished internal report for Historic Environment Scotland. See also, Sally Rush, “The Stirling Heads: an Essay in Nobility” in Birgitte Bøggild Johnannsen and Konrad Ottenheym (eds.), Beyond Scylla and Charybdis: European Courts and Court Residences Outside Habsburg and Valois/Bourbon Territories 1500-1700, Studies in History and Archaeology 24, Copenhagen, National Museum, 2015, p. 225-235.

2 Andrea Thomas, Princelie Majestie: the Court of James V of Scotland, 1528-1542, Edinburgh, John Donald, 2005, p. 49-50. For the construction dates of the palace see John Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces: the Architecture of the Royal Residences during the Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Periods, East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 1999, p. 50.

3 John Macky, A journey through Scotland. In familiar letters from a gentleman here, to his friend abroad, London, 1723, p. 187-188; John Loveday of Caversham, Diary of a Tour in 1732, Edinburgh, 1890, p. 124.

4 Jane Ferrier Grahame, Lacunar strevelinense: a collection of heads, etched and engraved after the carved work which formerly decorated the roof of the King's room in Stirling Castle, Edinburgh, William Blackwood; London, John Murray, 1817, p. 18.

5 The Stirling Heads: An Account of the Renaissance Wood-carvings from the King’s Presence Chamber at Stirling Castle, Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1960, p. 7 and 18.

6 J. Grahame, op. cit., Fig. 4.

7 David Taylor, “A Derbyshire Portrait Gallery: Bess of Hardwick’s Picture Collection” in David Adshead and David Taylor (eds.), Hardwick Hall: A Great Old Castle of Romance, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2016, p.71-86, here p. 80-83.

8 The French women in Marie de Guise’s household were - Lady in Waiting/Lady: Mahaut des Essartz, Madmoiselle de Curel, Renee d’Antigny, Madmoiselle de al Touche, Joanna Gresmour, Madame Sowsy; Maids of Honour: Jeanne de la Rainville, Jeanne Pieddeser, Guillemine Dupont, Francoise de la Touche; Gentlewomen of the Chamber: Marguerite Pignon, Jacquette Poiteville, Marie Villeneuve, Marguerite Roussine; launderess: Jeanee Pasguiere. See A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 240.

9 Rosalind Mearns, “Material Messages: A Reassessment of the Double Portrait of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon,” Textile History, 50. 2, 2019, p. 128-142, here p. 131-135.

10 Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, eds. T. Dickson and Sir J. Balfour Paul, Edinburgh, 1877-1916, 7, p. 137. The standard abbreviation is TA and will be used below.

11 Jamie Cameron, James V, the Personal Rule, 1528-1542, East Linton, Scotland, Tuckwell Press, 1998, p.137.

12 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 137, 192-194 and 211; Elizabeth Bonner, “French Naturalization of the Scots in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,” The Historical Journal, 40. 4, 1997, p. 1085-1115, here p. 1091 n.26.

13 Alexander Teulet, Relations Politique de la France et de l’Espagne avec l’Écosse au XVI siècle, (1515-1560), Paris, 1862, 1, p. 72-73.

14 E. Bonner, op. cit., p. 1090; Alexander Teulet, Inventaire Chronologique des Documents Relatif à1'Histoire de l’Écosse (1263-1666), Edinburgh, Abbotsford Club, 1839, p. 81.

15 Marie de Guise’s own accounts are incomplete and those that survive do not include wardrobe items. See Rosalind Marshall, “ ‘Hir Rob Ryall’: the Costume of Mary of Guise,” Costume, 12. 1, 1978, p. 1-12, here p. 3.

16 TA 7, p. 136-139.

17 TA 7, p. 328 and 438; TA 8, p. 63-64 and 93.

18 William Fraser, The Lennox, ‘Memoirs’, Edinburgh, 1874, 1, p. li; Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage, 5, Edinburgh, David Douglas, 1908, p. 353.

19 TA 7, p. 166-168. A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 46. The king also provided the bride’s dowry, see TA 7, p. 328.

20 Janet Cox- Rearick, “Power-Dressing at the Courts of Cosimo de' Medici and François I: The ‘moda alla spagnola’ of Spanish Consorts Eléonore d'Autriche and Eleonora di Toledo,” Artibus et Historiae, 30.60, 2009, p. 39-69, here p. 40, 43, 47, 53, 56 and 61. Cox-Rearick identifies both Eleanor of Austria and Eleanor of Toledo’s hairnets as Iberian in origin, referring to one as a coiffe Fr. and the other as a cuffia It..

21 TA 6, p. 87 and 97.

22 There are issues of terminology and definition here: “chafferon” only appears in a courtly context and may refer to particularly elaborate and expensive headwear; with female headdress it may have been a combination of a netted gold “kell” or caul, and a “crespine.” The term “crespine” is not used in Scots and its meaning in English is unclear. See: http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/chafferon; https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/kell_n_1 (accessed September 2018).

23 Raffaele Tamalio, Federico Gonzaga alla Corte di Francesco I di Francia nel carteggio privato con Mantova (1515–1517), Paris, Champion, 1994, p. 105–108 and 112. Quote and reference taken from: Evelyn Welch, “Art on the Edge: Hair and Hands in Renaissance Italy,” Renaissance Studies, 23.3, 2008, p. 243-268, here p. 254-255.

24 Terminology is fluid across dress history. In Scots a “kell” can mean a netted caul as well as a plain linen cap. For a discussion of the netted caul and crespine see Katherine Lester and Bess Viola Oerke, Accessories of Dress, an Illustrated Encyclopaedia, New York, Dover Publications, 2004 (first published 1940), p. 122-126.

25 Mary Rogers, “The Decorum of Women’s Beauty: Trissino, Firenzuola, Luigini and the Representation of Women in Sixteenth-Century Painting,” Renaissance Studies, 2.1, 1988, p. 47-88, here p. 63-65 and 69.

26 The Poems of William Dunbar, ed. Priscilla Bawcutt, 2 volumes, Glasgow, Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1998, 1, p. 41; 2, p. 286.

27 King James I of Scotland, The Kingis Quair Together with the Ballad of Good Counsel, ed. Walter Skeat, William Blackwood, Edinburgh and London, 1884, p. 3.

28 D. S. Brewer, “The Ideal of Feminine Beauty in Medieval Literature, Especially "Harley Lyrics,” Chaucer, and Some Elizabethans,” The Modern Language Review, 50.3, July 1955, p. 257-269; Victoria Kirkham, “Poetic Ideals of Love and Beauty” in David Alan Brown et al (eds.), Virtue and Beauty : Leonardo’s Ginevra de’ Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women, Princeton, New Jersey, National Gallery of Art Washington in association with Princeton University Press, 2001, p. 49-61.

29 Carol Kaske, “Neoplatonism in Spenser Once More,” Religion & Literature, 32.2, Summer 2000, p. 157-169, here p. 164.

30 Agnolo Firenzuola, Of the Beauty of Women, trans. Clara Bell, London, Osgood, 1892, p. 105-109; Elizabeth Cropper, “On Beautiful Women, Parmigianino, Petrarchismo, and the Vernacular Style,” The Art Bulletin, 58.3, Sep. 1976, p. 374-394, here p. 374 and 383. Cropper introduced the now general understanding of the relationship between the Petrarchan ideal, neo-platonism and Renaissance painted portraits of beautiful women, for example, Luke Syson, “Witnessing Faces, Remembering Souls,” Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian, eds. Lorne Campbell and et al, London, National Gallery, 2008, p. 24.

31 Gabrielle Langdon, “A “Laura” for Cosimo: Bronzino’s Eleanor of Toledo with her Son Giovanni” in Konrad Eisenbichler (ed.), The Cultural World of Eleanora di Toledo, Duchess of Florence and Sienna, Farnham, Ashgate 2004, p. 40-70, here p. 55-59.

32 Plotinus (Egypt, 205-270), ‘On Beauty’, Ennead I. 6.5. Plotinus was a founder of Neoplatonism and an influence on Marsilio Ficino. See Stephen Gersh, “Marsilio Ficino as a Commentator on Plotinus: Some Case Studies” in Stephen Gersh (ed.), Plotinus’ Legacy: the Transformation of Platonism from the Renaissance to the Modern Era, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019, p. 19-43, here p. 19.

33 John Bender, Spenser and Literary Pictorialism, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1972, p. 70-74.

34 Sir James Melville of Halhill, Memoirs of His Own Life, M.D.XLIX-M.D.XCIII, Edinburgh, Bannatyne Club, 1827, p. 123-4.

35 Codex 2159 Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan.

36 Codex 2159, Fol. IV; Stephanie Buck, “Beauty and Virtue for Francis I: Iohannes Ambrosius Nucetus and the Early Portrait Miniature,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 71, 2008, p. 191-210, here p. 193 and 196.

37 Ibid., p. 197-198, 201 and 208-209.

38 Ibid., p. 203-7. The Commentaires de la Guerre Gallique, 3 vols : British Library, Harley 6205; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Fr. 13429; Musée Condé, MS 388.

39 Francis I and Julius Caesar, Harley 6205, f.3

40 Bryony J. Coombs, “Distantia Jungit’: Scots Patronage of the Visual Arts in France, c. 1445- c. 1545,” unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh, 2013, p. 69, 79-80.

41 Ibid., p. 110-114; E. Bonner, “Stewart [Stuart], Robert (c. 1470–1544), soldier,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2005. Retrieved 23 Oct. 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-26503.

42 Ibid., Appendix 2e; p. 131-135, 189.

43 Ibid., p. 127-128. The originals have been replaced by resin copies and are now on display in the Chapel. The author has not seen the originals and the identification of the material as glazed terracotta has been made using photographic evidence only.

44 Ibid., p.128-9 and Appendix 2d.. Nineteenth-century copies of four of these can be seen in the lower gallery.

45 Ibid., p. 114, n. 204

46 Sally Rush, unpublished internal report for Historic Environment Scotland.

47 Jamie Cameron, James V, the personal rule, 1528-1542, East Linton, Scotland, Tuckwell Press, 1998, p. 199 and 262; A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 177-178; TA 6, p. 332.

48 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 262, 268 and 351.

49 TA 6, p. 415.

50 TA 6, p.408 and 414; A Collection of Inventories and Other Records of the Royal Wardrobe and Jewelhouse; and of the Artillery and Munition in Some of the Royal Castles MCCCC.LXXXVIII-MDCVI, ed. Thomas Thomson, Edinburgh, 1815, p. 68 and 119.

51 Giovanna Guidicini, “The Political and Cultural Influence of James V’s Court on the Decoration of the King’s fountain in Linlithgow Palace” in Sarah Cardarelli et al (eds.), Art and Identity: Visual Culture, Politics and Religion in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012, p. 167-190, here p. 70-77.

52 Jean d’Arras, Melusine, or the Noble History of Lusignan, Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox, trans. Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012, p. 22-26,194, 198-199, 200-201 and 224-226.

53 TA 7, p. 159.

54 TA 7, p. 197.

55 TA 7, p. 163 and 168.

56 Felicity Heal, The Power of Gifts: Gift Exchange in Early Modern England, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 94.

57 TA 7, 400-401.

58 R. W. Cochran Patrick, “Notes on the Annals of the Scottish Coinage, 4,” The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society, 13, 1873, p. 43

59 TA 6, p. 97.

60 A. M. Hacke, C. M. Carr and A. C.Brown, “Characterisation of Metal Threads in Renaissance Tapestry,” Proceedings of Metal, National Museum of Australia, 2004, p. 415-426, here p. 415-416. http://www.nma.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/346069/NMA_metals_s4_p01_characterisation_metal_threads.pdf

61 Janet Cox-Rearick and Mary Westerman Bulgarella, “Public and Private Portraits of Cosimo de' Medici and Eleonora di Toledo: Bronzino's Paintings of His Ducal Patrons in Ottawa and Turin,” Artibus et Historiae, 25. 49, 2004, p. 101-159, here p. 133 and n. 123.

62 Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlocked: the Inventories of the Wardrobe of the Robes Prepared in July 1600, ed. Janet Arnold, Leeds, Maney, 1988, p. 205-6, p. 205 n. 355 and 358, p. 206 n. 363 and 369. Arnold’s glossary is unable to explain what a “crespine” is.

63 A Collection of Inventories …, p. 19-28, here p. 24 and 27. When Margaret Tudor fled to England in 1516, she left a coffer at Tantallon Castle containing, among other precious items, eight chafferons made of gold and set with pearls and precious stones.

64 J. Moir Porteous, God’s Treasure House in Scotland: The History of Times. Mines and Lands in the Southern Highlands, London, Simpkin Marshall; Edinburgh and Glasgow, John Menzies, 1876, p. 33-37.

65 A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 177-181.

66 TA 4, p. 273 and 442; TA 5, p. 19-20.

67 TA 7, p. 182

68 R. W. Patrick, op. cit., p. 43, 46-48; State Papers, King Henry VIII, 5.4, London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1836, 593, p. 574-575.

69 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 198-199; TA 7, p. 495-497.

70 TA 7, p. 182.

71 TA 7, p. 193, 194, 256 and 289; Foreign Correspondence with Marie de Lorraine, Queen of Scotland (1537-1548) from the Balcarres Papers, ed. Marguerite Wood, Edinburgh, Scottish History Society, 1923, 1, p. 18, 20, 25, 27 and 33. Mossman’s exact relationship with the mine is unclear.

72 TA 7, p. 254 and 278.

73 Caron Ann Cioffi, “ ‘Dolce color d'orïental zaffiro’: A Gloss on Purgatorio 1.13,” Modern Philology, 82. 4, 1985, p. 355-364, here p. 361-4.

74 Atholl Picture Catalogue, Unpublished, Blair Castle, Perthshire, c. 1880-1900, Item 118, p. 30-31.

75 J. Cameron, op. cit., p.146-147. John Lesley, The History of Scotland from the Death of James I in the year MCCCCXXXVI to the year MDLXI, ed. Thomas Thomson, Edinburgh, Bannatyne Club, 1830, p. 107.

76 Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, The Historie and Chronicles of Scotland, ed. Æ. J. G. Mackay, Edinburgh, William Blackwood & Sons, 1899, 1, p. 335-338; The Chronicles of the Atholl and Tullibardine Families, ed. John 7th Duke of Atholl, Edinburgh, Ballantyne Press (privately printed), 1908, 1, p. 31-34. Pitscottie (c. 1532-1580) was writing after the event and may have written a romantic account of it.

77 Alexander Teulet, Papiers d’État, Pièces et Documents Inédits ou Peu Connus Relatif a l’Histoire de l’Écosse au XVIe Siècle, Paris, Bannatyne Club of Edinburgh, undated, 2, p. 76.

78 G. Hewitt, ‘Stewart, John, fourth earl of Atholl (d. 1579), magnate’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2006. Retrieved 23 Oct. 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-26491.

79 J. Cameron, op. cit., p. 73-75.

80 J. Lesley, op. cit., p. 253-254 and 256-257.

81 Charles McKean, The Scottish Chateau, Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 2001, p. 107-112

82 R. Marshall, op. cit., p. 1 and n. 6.

83 R. Pitscottie, op. cit., 2, p. 113-116. It is uncertain whether or not the ceremony that took place on 12 April 1554 was a coronation. See Lucinda Dean, “In the Absence of an Adult Monarch” in Kate Buchanan et al (eds.), Medieval and Early Modern Representations of authority in Scotland and the British Isles, London and New York, Routledge, 2016, p. 152-154.

84 TA 7, p. 284; A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 240.

85 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 12.1, ed. James Gairdner, London, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1890, 12, p. 11.

86 For example, A. Thomas, op. cit., p. 187.

87 The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland (1424-1567), ed. Thomas Thomson, London, 1814, 2, 600-602. The title Governor rather than Regent may have been used by the heir presumptive. See L. Dean, op. cit., p. 152-153.

88 A collection of Inventories, ed. cit., p. 70.

89 Ibid., p. 61 and 117.

90 Jean de Beaugué, L’Histoire de la Guerre d’Écosse, Paris, Gilles Corrozet and Estienne Groulleau, 1556, in translation as The History of the Campagnes of 1548 and 1549, trans. Patrick Abercromby, 1707, p. 31-34.

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Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1: The King’s Room (Presence Chamber) in the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle, etching by W. and D. Lizars after Edward Blore, for Jane Ferrier Grahame, Lacunar strevelinense : a collection of heads, etched and engraved after the carved work which formerly decorated the roof of the King's room in Stirling Castle, Edinburgh, William Blackwood, London, John Murray, 1817. © National Museums Scotland
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Légende Fig. 2. Anonymous female portrait among the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle depicting a woman wearing a chafferon or caul and holding a gillyflower. Drawn by Jane Ferrier Grahame for Lacunar Strevelinense. (1817). © Crown copyright HES
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Légende Figs. 3 and 4. Anonymous female portraits among the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle, depicting women wearing French hoods (c. 1538), oak. © Crown copyright HES
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Légende Fig. 5. King James V of Scotland, one of the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance Palace at Stirling Castle, (c. 1538-42), oak. © National Museums Scotland
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Légende Figs. 6-8. Three of the anonymous female portraits among the Stirling Heads from the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle, (c. 1538), oak. Each is wearing an elaborate chafferon or caul and a gown with full Italian-style sleeves. Fig. 8. has a cherub’s head on her breast and may represent the recently deceased Madeleine de Valois. © Crown copyright HES
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Légende Fig. 9. Agnolo Bronzino, Eleonora di Toledo with her son Giovanni de’ Medici, (1544-45), oil on panel, w 960 x h 1150 mm. Le Gallerie degli Uffizi. Google Art Project.
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Légende Fig 10. Bas relief depicting an anonymous young woman with a border displaying the Stuart of Aubigny emblem, the buckle, (c. 1525) from the Gallery of Robert Stuart, Château de La Verrerie near Oizon (Cher department, Centre-Loire Valley region, France). IVR24_77180890
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Légende Fig. 11. The Albany Medal, struck for John, Duke of Albany in 1524, gold, Scotland, diameter 36 mm. Obverse: Dove of the Holy Spirit; Reverse: Crowned arms of Albany on a cross. © Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow
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Légende Fig. 12. James V and Mary de Guise, oil on panel, (c. 1538?). Blair Castle, Perthshire. Photograph author’s own.
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Légende Fig. 13. Detail of Fig. 12, Mary de Guise’s coat of arms.
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Légende Fig. 14. Jean Clouet (after), A young woman wearing a gold caul set with pearls and precious stones, thought to be Mary Stuart but with the inscription “Mademoiselle de Guise,” (undated), pencil and w/col on paper.© Bridgeman Images © direction des musées de France, © musée Condé, 1999.
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Légende Fig. 15. Hugo van der Goes, Trinity Altarpiece, (c. 1478-79), detail of one of the wings depicting King James III of Scotland’s queen, Margaret of Denmark and Saint George. © The Royal Collection 2001, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
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Légende Fig. 16. Detail of Fig. 12, Mary de Guise’s jewelled surcoat
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Sally Rush, « Looking at Marie de Guise »Études Épistémè [En ligne], 37 | 2020, mis en ligne le 01 octobre 2020, consulté le 17 janvier 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/8092 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/episteme.8092

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Auteur

Sally Rush

Sally Rush is a Senior Lecturer in the department of History of Art at the University of Glasgow, specialising in architectural history, the decorative arts and, specifically, the history of glass painting. Most recently she has contributed a chapter on the stained-glass windows to Durham Cathedral: History, Fabric and Culture, ed. David Brown, (Yale University Press, 2015). Her research collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland at Stirling Castle and Linlithgow Palace has redirected her attention to the Scottish Renaissance. She has been the first to propose thematic interpretations for the sculptural and decorative programmes seen at both sites and is now working on the Renaissance fountain in the central courtyard at Linlithgow Palace. Since 2003, she has completed a number of research reports for Historic Environment Scotland and is currently working with them on the publication of these. Some of her thinking on the Stirling Heads has been published as ‘The Stirling Heads: an Essay in Nobility’, in Beyond Scylla and Charybdis: European Courts and Court Residences outside Habsburg and Valois/Bourbon Territories 1500-1700, eds. Birgitte Bøggild Johannsen and Konrad Ottenheym, (National Museum of Denmark, 2015).

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