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Attributed to British School, 16th century

Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) c.1550-99

RCIN 404746

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Catherine of Aragon was a talented embroiderer and continued to make shirts for her husband, Henry VIII, during his divorce proceedings against her. Here Catherine’s white linen shift is decorated with blackwork, a style of embroidery believed to have its origins in the geometric Moorish designs found in Spain. The popularisation of both blackwork in England and the so-called Spanish farthingale, a stiffened cone-shaped underskirt, are often credited to the arrival of the Spanish queen and her entourage.