The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

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