Rainbow for a Reign: The Colours of a Queen's Wardrobe

Rainbow for a Reign: The Colours of a Queen’s Wardrobe

By Jane Lawson

Costume, Volume 41 (2007)

Abstract: This paper evaluates the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth I on the basis of the colours that she wore. The author takes an often quoted comment, that Elizabeth I stated ‘these are my colours’ of black and white, and using evidence collected from the New Year’s gift rolls provides details of over thirty different colours worn by the queen. The article examines the colours in groups to see if they were associated with a particular time in Elizabeth’s life, a particular occasion or activity. The paper is supported by appendices providing a glossary of colour and dress terms, the years when particular colours were worn, how they were used, if they were used in combination with other colours and a list detailing the locations of the extant gift rolls.

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