Painted Pomp

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Painted Pomp: Art and Fashion in the Age of Shakespeare

One of the most important groups of Jacobean portraits in the country forms the centrepiece of this exceptional exhibition. Nine sumptuous full-length portraits by William Larkin, painted around 1613-18, will be displayed alongside rare survivals of dress from the period with live interpretation to reveal the heights of the art and fashion of four hundred years ago.

The portraits depict members of an extended family, relatives of Thomas Howard, the first Earl of Suffolk and may have been made to mark the marriage between the Cecil and Howard families, the cream of Jacobean courtly society during a turbulent period of intrigue and social change. The paintings come originally from the collection of the Earls of Suffolk and Berkshire at Charlton Park, Malmesbury, not far from Bath.

To help bring the portraits alive, they will be accompanied by a gorgeous selection of early seventeenth century clothing and accessories. These include exceptionally rare fans, shoes, beautiful punto in aria – literally stitches in the air – lace, remarkable gloves and gauntlets embroidered in silks and trimmed with fabulously expensive gold and silver, and elaborate men’s shirts of fine blackwork embroidery and cutwork.

This was a time when both men and women dressed to impress and when men’s clothes were often even more extravagant than those of their wives. To accompany the historic clothing we are borrowing two beautiful replica outfits from Shakepeare’s Globe that were made for Mark and Juliet Rylance by leading historic dress designer Jenny Tiramani.

Visitors will be able to see the extraordinary handiwork that went into shirts, lace, shoes, an exquisite floral bodice, embroidered gloves, and a fan. Lenders include the Royal Collection, the Ashmolean Museum, the Worshipful Company of Glovers and Bath’s Fashion Museum.

Sponsored by

Supported by
Friends of the Holburne

In partnership with



Roper Gallery


Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays 11am to 5pm


£6.95 / Concessions