Artful Musings: The Making of a Duchess

In this pictures-with-captions documentary I assemble a recent doll art figure. She is based on a real 15th century duchess, Margaret of York/Duchess of Burgundy. She is holding a book of hours and is set on a stand made of a hardcover book.

During the last half of the 15th century, she was the sister of three Plantagenet English Kings, including Edward IV. In 1468, at the age of 22 and as the most marriageable woman in England, she became the wife of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. Their grand wedding, which took place in Bruges, was so massive and wildly extravagant it is still re-enacted there each year. The crown she wore that day is one of the only English medieval crowns to survive intact. To find out more about Margaret of York, click the links I've provided at the bottom of the page.

This figure is made of materials I gathered from around the house such as an outdated skirt, a sheer curtain panel, mismatched and broken jewelry, repurposed styrofoam, broken paintbrushes, scraps of velvet, floral tape, and wooden kabob skewers. Her face is hand painted with oils and her necklace is made of pools of acrylic paint which I dried, peeled and cut into the roman numerals and white and red roses seen in her iconic portrait.

Iconic portrait of Margaret, ca. 1468.

Artist not known.

Some of the materials used in assembly: outdated skirt, up-cycled poly- and styrofoam, dried acrylic paint pools, broken and mismatched jewelry, skewers, tinker toys, chopsticks, sewer's interfacing.

Scalp is made of a scrap of sewer's interfacing, pinned into place.

I don't throw anything away. The embroidery floss I've used for hair is leftover from a project I did 14 years ago. It is sewn to the scalp. Then the scalp is glued to the head.

A full head of royal hair and a face.

Broken paintbrushes are wired and taped at the joints to make her arms.

I added a styrofoam pelvis. Foam material was cut and taped to the paintbrushes for hands. I have also started to create her dress and headdress out of velvet scraps, reused ornamental trim, and broken costume jewelry.

This photograph shows the cover of a medieval book of hours which I used as a reference for the one Margaret holds.

Here are materials with which I made the book of hours: an old purse with its studs, a magazine, gold acrylic paint chips, mismatched earrings and broken costume jewelry.

Not quite complete. Shoes will be added as well as her book of hours and stand.

Complete and on her stand, she is 2' tall.

Here are links if you would like more information about this very interesting 15th century duchess:

#Folkart #MargaretofBurgundy #Plantagenet #15thcentury #medievalcostume #artdoll

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