Wednesday, 9 November 2011

pearl diving - such a general sighing, groning, and weeping, as the like hath not beene seene or knowne in the memory of man


With respect to the rich pearl earrings above mentioned, it may not be uninteresting to remark, that Elizabeth seems to have been particularly fond of pearls, and to have possessed the same taste for them from youth to even a later period than "her sixty-fifth year." The now faded wax-work effigy preserved in Westminster Abbey (and which lay on her coffin, arrayed in royal robes, at her funeral, and caused, as Stowe states, "such a general sighing, groaning, and weeping, as the like hath not being seen or known in the memory of man") exhibits large round Roman pearls in the stomacher; a carcanet of large round pearls, &c. about her throat; her neck ornamented with long strings of pearls; her high-heeled shoe-bows having in the centre large pearl medallions. Her earrings are circular pearl and ruby medallions, with large pear-shaped pearl pendants. This, of course, represents her as she dressed towards the close of her life. In the Tollemache collection at Ham House is a miniature of her, however, when about twenty, which shows the same taste as existing at that age. She is here depicted in a black dress, trimmed with a double row of pearls. Her point-lace ruffles are looped with pearls, &c. Her head-dress is decorated in front with a jewel set with pearls, from which three pear-shaped pearls depend. And, finally, she has large pearl-tassel earrings. In the Henham Hall portrait (engraved in vol. vii. of Miss Strickland's Lives of the Queens of England), the ruff is confined by a collar of pearls, rubies, &c., set in a gold filagree pattern, with large pear shaped pearls depending from each lozenge. The sleeves are ornamented with rouleaus, wreathed with pearls and bullion. The lappets of her head-dress also are adorned at every "crossing" with a large round pearl. Her gloves, moreover, were always of white kid, richly embroidered with pearls, &c. on the backs of the hands. A poet of that day asserts even that, at the funeral procession, when the royal corpse was rowed from Richmond, to lie in state at Whitehall,—

"Fish wept their eyes of pearl quite out,

And swam blind after,"

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