Reading Architecture and Elizabethan Allegory in Portraiture

Lau, C. 2015. Reading Architecture and Elizabethan Allegory in Portraiture. Reading Architecture Across the Arts and Humanities (AHRC). Stirling, Scotland 05 - 06 Dec 2015

TitleReading Architecture and Elizabethan Allegory in Portraiture
AuthorsLau, C.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

The notion of ‘reading’ in relation to Elizabethan allegory sees the use of different readings with similar meanings radiating from, and referring to a singular source which in this instance refers to a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. This sixteenth-century painting is more commonly known as the Ditchley Portrait, and didactically alludes to the Queen as ruler of England, as well as the universe.

The argument starts with the assertion that this Portrait is a site and chronologically-specific work of architecture. This includes the use of Elizabethan allegory in the carefully constructed rhetorical narrative, the place where the Portrait was first unveiled, and the imaginary sites of the tilts associated with the work. The discussion of architecture extends even to the construction of the Queen’s costume in the painting. Excavating beneath the painted surface reveals the cultural and political significance of the work in Elizabethan England, and more importantly, the ensuing architectural constructs which were designed to support these readings. Hence this paper explores the story in the Portrait beyond the rhetoric of Queen and country, and focuses on the associated architectural readings which are implied and alluded to in the work. The revealing of the layers of meaning apparent in the visual work further results in a critique of the space in which the currently displaced work is displayed.

The working processes of Elizabethan portraiture can further contribute to the process of architectural design and consequently inform and describe architecture. This enables spatial notions of control to be inventively woven together with different readings, all of which are encouraged to overlap in order to generate allegorical experiences.

KeywordsArchitecture, Allegory, Portraiture
Year2015
ConferenceReading Architecture Across the Arts and Humanities (AHRC)
Web address (URL) of conference proceedingshttps://stirarch.wordpress.com/programme/
Supplementary data or filesReading Architecture CFP.pdf

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Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9zy28/reading-architecture-and-elizabethan-allegory-in-portraiture


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