Reading the Hidden Meanings

To fully understand the uses and re-uses of the Bacton Altar Cloth we must attempt to see the plants, animals, and figures that decorate every piece of its surface not just a beautiful motifs, but as symbols that communicated an intricate and complex narrative to the wealthy and educated Elizabethans for whom the embroidery was created. 




Plant Symbolism in the ‘Rainbow’ Portrait and the Bacton Altar Cloth

By | Our WorkWhat It Means

Flowers in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras could mean lots of things, some of them quite complex. Many portraits from these periods depicted sitters holding or wearing fresh flowers and plants, and/or wearing clothing that was decorated with floral designs. Some scholars have looked at their meanings and interpretations, and the way that the imagery of flowers generally, and even of specific species of plant, can relate to the sitter. If we apply these ideas to the embroidered plants that