Monday, December 10, 2007

Question from Lis - Black cloth or ribbon on portraits

I have come across a couple of portraits (and have heard of more) where the sitter is portrayed wearing a piece of black cloth or ribbon tied around the upper arm. Was this a sign that the wearer was in mourning - similar to the black arm bands worn in later times and even up to the present day. If it was not a sign of mourning, does anyone know what it was? Many thanks.

2 comments:

PhD Historian said...

It would be very helpful to know ther period in which the portraits you are looking at were painted. Mourning customs changed with the years, so that a black ribbon around the arm in the early 20th century usually did mean the individual was in mourning, but the same ribbon in the 1600s might mean something totally different.

Lis said...

Sorry - should have been more specific; the portraits I referred to are exclusively from the Tudor period; most of them from Elizabethean. Lis