One of my favorite beauty-fashion-fragrance blogs is The Non-Blonde; I read it every day. Gaia, the stylish and smart brunette behind the site, is always discerning and articulate in her product reviews and other commentary.
Her recent review of the vintage fragrance Écusson by Jean d’Albert was, as always, a pleasure to read. It also inspired me to write today’s post here on Tinsel Creation, because one of the vintage Écusson ads in her post set off an art historical spark in my memory.
The unknown artist who worked on the Jean d’Albert ad for Écusson (which translates as “shield”) was obviously inspired by Hans Holbein the Younger’s portrait of Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry the Eighth.
The original portrait dates to 1536-37 (Seymour died from complications after childbirth in October 1537). Holbein emphasized Seymour’s likeness as well as her rich, ornate gown and her various jeweled ornaments.
The Écusson advertisement gave its female figure a more conventionally attractive face, by 1950s standards, but it kept many details of Seymour’s gown, headdress, and pendants (gold, rubies, pearls—fit for a Queen). That style of headdress, I’ve just learned, is known as a “gable hood.”
I’m certainly not an expert on sixteenth-century English portraits, but I’ve also learned that Holbein’s portrait was the probable source for the so-called “Nidd Hall Portrait” of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife. (Since most original portraits of Boleyn were destroyed upon the occasion of her execution for treason, new ones were created later on.)
I thought I’d include it here since we’re having a bit of an Anne Boleyn cultural revival, once again, thanks to Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. (They’re on my to-read list.)
Thanks to Gaia for introducing me to this image!
For more posts in this series, click here.