Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs

Past display archive
19 February 2016 - 16 July 2017

Room 3

Free

Clothing in Britain has often seen fantastical extravagance and distortion. This small display of paintings and miniatures explores the collars and ruffs that were such a striking feature of sixteenth and seventeenth-century dress. Their design and scale changed continually over the period, with each decade heralding a new fashion that allowed sitters to demonstrate their wealth and style. From the clean folds of starched linen to the intricate patterns of French and Italian lace, collars and ruffs offered men and women the perfect means with which to frame their faces for the world.

 

Follow the changing fashions in this slideshow of works from the Gallery’s collection

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton
by an unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
oil on panel, circa 1562
NPG 3800

The ruff developed from a small decorative frill on the edge of a collar to become an entirely separate article. 

Throckmorton wears a neat ruff typical of the 1560s.  It is decorated with blackwork embroidery, with matching cuffs. 

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton
by an unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
oil on panel, circa 1562
NPG 3800

The ruff developed from a small decorative frill on the edge of a collar to become an entirely separate article. 

Throckmorton wears a neat ruff typical of the 1560s.  It is decorated with blackwork embroidery, with matching cuffs. 

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton
by an unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
oil on panel, circa 1562
NPG 3800

The ruff developed from a small decorative frill on the edge of a collar to become an entirely separate article. 

Throckmorton wears a neat ruff typical of the 1560s.  It is decorated with blackwork embroidery, with matching cuffs.