Little is known of William Larkin's life, although for over a decade he worked for patrons connected with the royal court and he lived in the fashionable area of Blackfriars. Elizabethan and Jacobean court portraiture emphasised the wealth and status of the sitter rather than their character. Larkin's painstaking depiction of beautiful and expensive fabrics explains his popularity with his aristocratic sitters. This young woman's low-cut bodice and long, flowing hair were the height of fashion around 1615. The embroidered flowers include heartsease, roses and thistles; the tendrils that link them are plaited braid stitches in metallic thread. Her lace is Italian needlepoint and was part of a chemise worn under the bodice.
Where to see this painting?
Bristol Museum & Art Galley
Queens Road, Bristol, Bristol, England, BS8 1RL
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.