Bio

Qualifications

I hold an MA by Research in History from the University of Hertfordshire, and a BA Hons. degree in English Literature from the University of Southampton.

Research interests

The title of my MA by Research Dissertation:

‘Speaking Stiches, Laughing Flowers: an Emblematic re-interpretation of the ‘Rainbow’ Portrait of Elizabeth I’

Abstract:

‘The imagery of the ‘Rainbow’ Portrait of Elizabeth I which hangs at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire has been the subject of numerous academic investigations. However, few have addressed in satisfactory depth the many emblematic references that appear in the painting. Additionally, little research has been done to interpret the painting through an understanding of the material properties of the objects and clothing which it depicts. Through an interdisciplinary investigation this dissertation draws on evidence from Cesare Ripa’s emblem collection, the Iconologia (first published in 1593), combined with an examination of the Bacton Altar Cloth embroidery, c. 1590 -1600, currently being conserved by Historic Royal Palaces, supported by analysis of contextual source materials including John Gerard’s The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes and other ‘herbal’ texts, a selection of contemporary portraits, and poetry and theatrical dialogues from John Davies and William Shakespeare, to reveal a number of previously un-discussed visual references in the ‘Rainbow’ Portrait. These findings serve to aid our understanding of this enigmatic painting, and the intentions of its probable commissioner: Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury.’

Background

Following my undergraduate degree I worked as a bespoke dressmaker in Southampton for 2 years. I then moved to London to work in fashion design as a sample machinist and hand sewing specialist, making clothes for the catwalk at London Fashion Week and for independent design labels supplying high-street brands. I dealt primarily with embroidery and bead-work embellishment.

In 2014 I set up a small design label of my own, Walker Clothing, which specialised in bead-work, print and embellishment. The design focused on stylised natural forms of animals and plants, and high quality metallic prints with hand-stitched bead-work embroidery.

In 2017 I began sewing reconstruction costume garments for the Tudor Living History group at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. In 2018 I began my MA by Research at the University of Hertfordshire, and in July 2019 I completed this degree.

To find out more about my experience and background, please get in touch via the Contact page.

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