How Vast was Queen Elizabeth I Pearls Collection?

Well....pretty extensive and Queen Elizabeth I pearls wielded quite a power punch too.



Elizabeth I, Armada Portrait, c.1588
Elizabeth I, Armada Portrait, c.1588
Gower, George
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Queen Elizabeth I Pearls

A side note about Kunz and Stevenson's report is that when they wrote this...there was no Queen Elizabeth II...so the first Queen Elizabeth is simply referred to without the qualifying "I".

Although in her youth she is said to have had a distaste for personal decorations, in her later years Queen Elizabeth entertained an extravagant fondness for pearls. In speaking of her portraits, Horace Walpole says: "A pale Roman nose, a head of hair loaded with crowns and powdered with diamonds, a vast ruff, a vaster fardingale, and a bushel of pearls, are features by which everybody knows at once the pictures of Queen Elizabeth." (Walpole, "Anecdotes of Painting in England," London, 1849, Vol. I, P. 151.) And to the end, her love for them was unabated, for in the last tragi-comic scene of her life, to meet the Angel of Death himself, she was dressed up in her most splendid jewels with great pearl necklaces and earrings and pendants, as Paul Delaroche so successfully picured in his remarkable painting in the Louve.

The faded waxwork effigy of her, long preserved in Westminster Abbey in that curious collection of effigies (An interesting account of this collection was given in a little book, now quite rare, published in London in 1793 by John Roberts, entitled "A View of the Waxen Figures in Henry VII's Chapel.")--the "Ragged Regiment," as Walpole called them--has a coronet of large spherical pearls in wax, long necklace fo them, a great pearl-ornament stomacher, pearl earrings with large pear-shaped pendants, and even broad, pearl medallions on the shoe-bows. In accordance with that singular custom which prevailed from the time of Henry V (1422), to that of the Queen Anne (1714), (Bolton, "Curious Relics of English Funerals," Boston, 1894, p. 233.) this effigy lay on her coffin at the funeral and caused, says Stow in his Chronicle, "such a general sighing, groning, and weeping, as the like hath not beene seene or knowne in the memory of man." A contemporaneous poet wrote that when the corpse with the effigy passed down the Thames to lie in state at Whitehall:

"Fish wept their eyes of pearl quite out,
And swam blind after."

As told by George Kunz and Charles Stevenson in "The Book of the Pearl".

Queen Elizabeth's dealings with Ireland...were they so perfect?

Photos of Queen Elizabeth I Pearls

Queen Elizabeth I's Speech at Tilbury Before Spanish Armada Battle.

Go to main famous pearls and collections after Queen Elizabeth I Pearls.


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Kari


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