I am researching Elizabeth I’s wardrobe, and cosmetics for a future children’s book project and I came across something that has got me stumped. In one of Ben Johnson’s antidotes of Queen Elizabeth he wrote, “Queen Elizabeth never saw herself, after she became old, in a true glass : They painted her, and sometimes would vermilion her nose.” (The “they” he is referring to are her ladies-in-waiting)
Obviously, Johnson was no fan of Elizabeth. Could he be the source for the rumor that Elizabeth I destroyed all her mirrors in her old age? Is that really true? A clueless Elizabeth with a red nose would sure make a funny illustration, but I find it hard to believe that her ladies-in -waiting would dare to mock their queen. Plus, I really can't trust Johnson as a source. Does anyone know of any other sources mentioning Elizabeth or any other Elizabethan lady putting red on her nose?
Or was putting vermillion on your nose considered attractive?