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This is one of the earliest known works by Marcus Gheeraerts II. It is dated 1592 (top left). It is thought to show a member of the Harington family of Kelston, near Bath. She may be Mary Rogers, wife of the author and translator Sir John Harington, Elizabeth I’s godson.In her left hand she holds strings of pearls threaded into four knots. These, and the distinctive black and white pattern on her sleeves and bodice, echo the Harington heraldic arms. Her body is defined by her long, slender, stiffened, pointed bodice, evident in many of Gheeraerts’s portraits of the 1590s.

May 2007