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In 1615, Elizabeth Watson was married to Sir William Pope of Wroxton in Oxfordshire. She may be wearing a costume that relates to a masque – a court entertainment participated in by aristocrats. Her draped black cloak, or mantle, embroidered (like her hat) with pearls in a pattern of ostrich feathers, has classical precedents. So does her partly bared breast, a feature seen in surviving drawings of masque costumes by the court designer Inigo Jones (1573–1652). Like the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard, Peake originally trained as a goldsmith. From 1607, Peake was joint court painter to James I.

May 2007