ADFAS talk tackles decoding dress in Shakespeare’s time

British art expert and educator Jacqui Ansell will present the upcoming ADFAS lecture in Coffs.

PINS and Poking Sticks: Decoding dress in Shakespeare’s time is the title of the upcoming presentation by Australian Decorative Fine Arts Society Coffs Coast.

Taking place on Monday 17 July at 6pm, the venue is the National Cartoon Gallery.

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The lecturer is British art expert and educator Jacqui Ansell who is currently touring Australia on the ADFAS circuit.

Giving a glimpse of what the talk will cover, Cath Fogarty, on behalf of ADFAS Coffs Coast, told News Of The Area, “if you have ever gazed at a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I or other paintings of nobility and VIPs, you may have wondered how long it took them to get dressed given the complicated, heavily embroidered and bejewelled layers of clothing.

“In fact, a contemporary of Shakespeare informs us that ‘a ship is sooner rigged by far than a Gentlewoman made ready’.”

In Shakespeare’s comedy The Winter’s Tale the character Autolycus peddles “pins and poking sticks of steel, seductive smocks, perfumed gloves, bugle beads and other irresistible items”.

What were these objects and what was their role in the ‘art’ of dress?

Jacqui’s talk will explore the moral messages and secretive signals in emblematic jewellery and embroidery that contributed to Elizabeth I’s image as the ‘Virgin Queen’ as well as Elizabethan and Jacobean portraits.

Through this Jacqui will enable her audience to decode the dress worn by the courtly elite, and their monarchs.

Visiting from the UK, Jacqui lectures on aspects of art history and dress history 1450-1950, with particular interest in portraiture.

Her specialist research and publications focus on ‘European Courtly Cultures’, ‘The Grand Tour’ and ‘Traditional Welsh Costume’.

She is a senior art lecturer with Christie’s in London and has lectured at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in London.

ADFAS is a national network of art lovers providing audiences with an opportunity to connect with a wide variety of arts, design and conservation-related lectures and activities at local, regional and international levels.

The group launched in Coffs Harbour with its first talk in January this year.

“People in Coffs appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house, away from their screens and immerse themselves in an evening of fascinating and sometimes obscure topics in the visual arts, literature and cultural histories,” said Cath.

“Our audiences keep growing which is fantastic.

“Even if the topics sound obscure, you can’t help but be drawn in by the fascinating information.

“It really lights up your mind,” she said.

For more information see the ADFAS Coffs Coast website


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