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Floral embroidery Border

Floral Border 06

Hardwick is one of the many fine man-
sions erected by Elizabeth, Countess of
Shrewsbury, the famous " Bess of Hard-
wick." Within, it is full of the memorials
of this remarkable woman, and of another
who claims a higher place in history, the
ill-fated Queen of Scots. Elizabeth was the
daughter of John Hardwick, and was born
in the year 1518. She was married succes-
sively to John Barlow, Sir William Caven-
dish,* Sir William St. Loe, and George
Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. Shortly after
this last marriage, the custody of Mary Queen
of Scots was confided to the earl by Elizabeth.

Mary is well known to have been an
expert needlewoman, and the tradition that
some of the embroideries now at Hardwick
are her handiwork, is corroborated by the
examples themselves. The mansion was not
completed until s after 1590, and consequently
could never have been her prison-house ; but
it replaced an older mansion, the ruins of
which are still standing hard by.


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Both sides are
broken up into small panels with a curious
combination of devices. On one side may
be seen a lady wearing a ruff, a mermaid, and
a man surrounded by stags and rabbits. On
the other are lions, unicorns, a rose, a crown
and the letters I R (Jacobus Rex). There are
also clasped hands, fleurs-de-lys, honeysuckle,
pansies, acorns, strawberries and interlacing
and geometrical patterns, on embroidered
grounds of different colours.

A piece of work in the Maidstone Museum
belongs to the beginning of the century. It
is evidently intended to illustrate the progress
of the Reformation in England. King
Henry VIII. is seated in the middle with his
foot on the prostrate figure of a friar. On
his right stands his son and successor
Edward VI., crowned and holding a sceptre
in his right hand and a Bible in his left.
Beyond is Queen Mary holding a rosary, with
a dragon at her feet.