Closet and Cabinet

Mary Dudley (1586-1644), a cousin of Lucy, Countess of Bedford and friend of Lady Ann Clifford, married Alexander, Earl of Home in 1605. Widowed in 1619, she continued to build and extend family townhouses in Edinburgh and London, and collect paintings and bronzes. She was a patron of Nicolas Stone, Isaac de Caus, and the…

Keeping a camel at Holyrood Palace

James VI of Scotland, like other renaissance monarchs, kept unusual or exotic pets. We know a lot about his lion from the complaint made by its keeper, Wilhelm Froelich, who had brought the animal from Denmark.  Not all of these animals were diplomatic gifts with an obvious heraldic tie-in. A skipper from Leith, John Downy…

Three gold lockets in Edinburgh, 1600

  A reference from 1600 to lockets or ‘tablets’ can be found in Edinburgh’s ‘Register of Decreets’.[1] This is the record of a court convened by baillies and burgesses that dealt with debts. Anyone in the town, or anyone owed money by anyone from Edinburgh, could come to this baillies’ court, and obtain a ‘decreet’…

Physic and lace bonnets

Grace Mildmay's interest in physic has been described by Linda Pollock. Her daughter Mary Fane, Countess of Westmorland is rather less well-known, except for her letter to Secretary Windebank in May 1639 urging peace with Scotland, which has been published many times. Her eldest daughter Grace married James, Earl of Home in 1626, after the death of…