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Isabella Clara Eugenia and Catharina, Daughters of Philip II, King of Spain

c. 1569-70

RCIN 404331

The two sisters are dressed almost identically – only the floral decoration in their hair is different. Each wears a bodice and skirt of green fabric, with sleeves of cream silk decorated with applied braid. Clearly shown is the ‘al forza’, a tuck of fabric around the bottom of the skirt which was a distinctive feature of dress in Spain and served as a modesty device, allowing the feet to be concealed when seated. It possibly also served the practical purpose of allowing the skirt to be lengthened for a growing child.

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