Portrait of Lady Harington

The true identity of the lady in this portrait is indicated by the small pendant jewel suspended from her hat.

The upper portion of the jewel includes a crouching rabbit or hare in finely detailed three dimensional white enamel work.

It is suspended from the rest of the jewel by means of a small bale and a single link of chain, au tremblant, intended to make the hare a mobile element within the larger jewel.

Immediately beneath the hare lies a small red flower constructed of worked gold set with five tiny red stones and a single central seed pearl.

Behind and partially hidden by the flower can be discerned a bulbous cylinder enameled black, distinguished by curved horizontal lines of white pigment denoting light reflecting off the higher surfaces (not to be confused with the white enamel scrolls on either side of and supporting the cylinder). The cylinder represents a tun, a wooden barrel or cask used for storing wine and ale.

The Harington family of Kelston is known to have engaged with the Tudor fondness for visual and verbal punning and to have used three carefully chosen items combined as a single rebus badge: a hare, a ring, and a tun.

The jewel clearly incorporates both the Harington hare and the tun, while the ‘ring’ is represented by the bale from which the hare is suspended.

Because the jewel can easily be associated with the Haringtons of Kelston, it follows that the woman depicted in this portrait is a member of that Harington family.

via Portrait of Mary Rogers Harington.

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