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27 May 2020Pins and Poking Sticks: Decoding dress in Shakespeare's time
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Pins and Poking Sticks: Decoding dress in Shakespeare's time Jacqui Ansell Wednesday 27 May 2020

This lecture has been postponed.

Because of the continuing Government guidance on the Coronavirus epidemic, to ensure all our members, visitors, volunteers and lecturers remain safe, we are postponing the April, May and June lectures, as well as the 6 May Special Interest Morning. Those who have bought tickets for the latter event are receiving refunds. We are also postponing the Shoreditch visit. Once the way ahead is clear, these events will be rescheduled. We are reviewing the situation daily and will update you as soon as there are any further changes to the programme. Thank you for your understanding.  Please keep an eye on the website for the latest information or email

A contemporary of Shakespeare informs us that ‘a ship is sooner rigged by far than a Gentlewoman made ready’. In The Winter’s Tale 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?  Moral messages and secretive signals in emblematic jewellery and embroidery contributed to Elizabeth I’s image as the ‘Virgin Queen’. Elizabethan and Jacobean portraits will be decoded, focusing on the life (and untimely death) of Prince Henry, and the sartorial splendour of his sister’s wedding in 1613.

Jacqui read History of Art and Theory at the University of Essex before going on to gain an MA in History of Dress from the Courtauld Institute. Formerly an Education Officer at the National Gallery, London, and a tutor and writer for the Open University, she has a wide range of teaching experience. She continues to lecture regularly on the public programmes of the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery and to publish on court dress, Grand Tour portraiture and Welsh Costume as well as dress as a cultural marker and indicator of class, gender, national and professional identity. Jacqui is a senior lecturer at Christie's Education, London.