exploring recipe books from the seventeenth-century

Lady Elizabeth Grey Countess of Kent (1582-1651)

Frontispiece to Grey's manual with her portrait

Frontispiece to Grey’s manual with her portrait

Many of the remedies I use in my research are from Elizabeth Grey’s ‘A choice manual in physick and chyrurgery(surgery)’. Elizabeth Grey (1582-1651) collected medicinal remedies which were published posthumously in this book. It was common for noble women of the time to take an active interest in illness and remedies and to use their knowledge to give medical aid to the poor. This was seen as part of their duty. Her husband died in 1639, she was childless, she knew Anne of Denmark (Charles 1’s mum). In my future research I want to find out more about the woman behind the recipes so I got quite excited to find this portrait below from the tate.

Lady Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent

Lady Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent circa 1619 by Paul Van Somer

“The present painting is known to have belonged to Charles I (1600-49) the son of James and Anne, as it appears in the inventory of his collection made in about 1639. Lady Grey had been a favoured attendant of Anne of Denmark and had walked in her funeral procession as a ‘Countess Assistante’. The fact that she is attired in black, including wearing black jewellery in the form of expensive egg-shaped jet beads, suggests that this portrait may relate to the mourning period after the Queen’s death. Under her heart, she wears a jewel – possibly a closed portrait-miniature case – with the crowned monogram ‘AR’ – standing for the Latin ‘Anna Regina’ (meaning ‘Anne the Queen’)[…] Her extremely low decolletage is a fashion paralleled in other Jacobean female portraits, including those of Queen Anne herself. Such exposure, even for ladies of mature years, was evidently considered entirely acceptable, although presumably confined to an elite court circle only.” Karen Hearn  http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/van-somer-lady-elizabeth-grey-countess-of-kent-t00398/text-summary



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The Recipes Project

exploring recipe books from the seventeenth-century

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