Introduction: Extra-Literary Emblematics

  • Debra Barrett-Graves
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


The lives and afterlives of queen consorts and queen regnants held a compelling interest for early modern contemporaries. References to these women appeared frequently in the form of extra-literary emblematics, such as jewelry, miniature portraits, carvings, placards, masques, funerary monuments, and imprese. Sir Roy Strong, among others, has unveiled numerous emblematic details in the iconic portraits of Queen Elizabeth I.1 Iconic aspects of the Ermine and Rainbow Portraits reveal symbolic details that held a wealth of meaning for queen and subject alike, such as “a visual statement on the Elizabethan state, on order, [essentially] the order of the body politic which she animates,” and her “purity.”2 As Peter M. Daly and Mary V. Silcox observe, “The role of the emblem in the visual arts was perhaps even more important [than the manuscript collections] where its impact was arguably both more direct and pervasive.”3


Seventeenth Century Material Culture Early Modern Period Literary Genre Deviceful Setting 
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  1. 1.
    Roy Strong, “The Queen’s Portraits: Depicting Gloriana,” in Elizabeth I and Her Age: Authoritative Texts, Commentary, and Criticsim, ed. Donald V. Stump and Susan M. Felch, A Norton Critical Edition (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 2009), 746–69Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Roy Strong, The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry (London: Pimlico, 1999), 52, 147.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Peter M. Daly and Mary V. Silcox, “‘Extra-Literary’ Emblematics: Painting, Tapestry, Carving, Jewellery, Funerary Monuments, Imprese,” in The Modern Critical Reception of the English Emblem, ed. Peter M. Daly and Mary V. Silcox, Corpus—Librorum—Emblematum (München: K. G. Saur, 1991), 203–37, see especially 203.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Michael Bath, “Mundus significans : The World of Symbols,” in Speaking Pictures: English Emblem Books and Renaissance Culture (London and New York: Longman Group, 1994), 51.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Peter M. Daly, “The Emblem,” in Literature in the Light of the Emblem: Structural Parallels between the Emblem and Literature in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 3–72, see especially 71.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Alastair Fowler, “The Emblem as a Literary Genre,” in Deviceful Settings: The English Renaissance Emblem and its Contexts, ed. Michael Bathand Daniel Russell, Selected Papers from the Third International Emblem Conference, Pittsburgh, 1993.Google Scholar
  7. Jeremy Tambling’s “From Allegory to Symbolism,” in Allegory, The New Critical Idiom (London and New York: Routledge, 2010), 62–69;Google Scholar
  8. Robin Raybould’s “Emblem and Device,” in An Introduction to the Symbolic Literature of the Renaissance (Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2005), 248–95;Google Scholar
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    Peter M. Daly, “How Many Printed Emblem Books Were There? And How Many Printed Emblems Does That Represent?” in IN NOCTE CONSILIUM: Studies in Emblematics in Honor of Pedro F. Campa, ed. John T. Cull and Peter M. Daly, Saecvla Spiritalia: Herausgegbeben von Dieter Wuttke, vol. 46 (Baden-Baden: Valentin Koerner Verlag, 2011), 215–22, see especially, 220.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    John Guy, points out this adaptation in “My Heart Is My Own”: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots (Hammersmith: Harper Perennial, 2004), 83.Google Scholar
  12. Michael Bath’s Emblems for a Queen: The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots (London: Archetype Publications Limited, 2008)Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream (London: 1592) (Lexington: Theophania Publishing, 2012), 96,Google Scholar
  14. David Scott Kastan’s edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost, book 4, lines 701–3 (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 2005).Google Scholar
  15. 18.
    Sabine Mödersheim first brought this information to my attention during her William B. Hunter address, “Ut pictura poesis—Emblems and the Arts,” the First Plenary Address, South Central Renaissance Conference, New Orleans, LA, March 8, 2012.Google Scholar
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    “Introduction” to Natale Conti’s Mythologiae, vol. 1, trans. John Mulryan and Steven Brown, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, vol. 316 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006), xxviii.220. “Introduction,” in Court Festivals of the European Renaissance: Art, Politics and Performance, ed. J. R. Mulryne and Elizabeth Goldring (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2002), 4.Google Scholar
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    Sabine Mödersheim brought to my attention Peter Davidson’s review of Bath’s study in the Innes Review 61 (available online May 2010), 96–98. DOI 10.3366/inr.2010.0007, ISSN 0020–157x.Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    Daly, “The Emblem in Material Culture,” in Companion to Emblem Studies, ed. Peter M. Daly, vol. 20 (New York: AMS Press, 2008), 411–56, see especially, 447.Google Scholar

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© Debra Barrett-Graves 2013

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  • Debra Barrett-Graves

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