Anna of Denmark: Costume, Colours, and Identities in Scotland

This is a transcript of a talk I gave at Riddles Court in Edinburgh and Jesus College, Oxford, in 2019 about Anna of Denmark in Scotland, 1589 to 1603 Introduction In Scotland Anna of Denmark had her own household separate from the kings’. These people lived with her and worked with her. An ambassador called…

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…

Young aristocrats in Paris

Scottish aristocrats went to France to learn French conversation and the accomplishments of dancing, fencing and riding horses in manège in the Parisian riding academies. Meeting and making friends with French aristocrats was a bonus and tutors hoped their pupils would get an audience with the king and kiss his hand. Antoine de Pluvinel’s L’Instruction…

At Coldingham Abbey in 1592

In 1890 William Fraser recorded a household and teind income account book for Coldingham Abbey in 1592. Fraser noted the physical condition of the booklet as 'partly decayed' or 'much mutilated at the beginning'. He printed a brief summary of the contents and the historical background, and while 'none of the entries contain special historic…

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…