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GLORY AND HONOUR The Renaissance in Scotland Andrea Thomas 4th October 2013 9781841588728

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opposite. The Fetternear Banner, made in Edinburgh c.1520.This is a very rare surviving piece of pre-Reformation ecclesiastical embroidery. above. An embroidered hawking pouch made for James VI c.1610. The clasp was probably made by George Heriot of Edinburgh.

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palaces of honour

The King’s Knot at Stirling Castle: the relic of a Renaissance pleasance.

cism. The religious images were later defaced by 50 Covenanters and the castle is now ruined. One of the greatest builders of the period was Alexander Seton, 1st earl of Dunfermline and chancellor of Scotland. He had been educated in Italy and France, and was described by Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington as ‘a great humanist in prose and poetry, Greek and Latin; well versed in mathematics and with great skill in architecture and 51 heraldry’. His family home, Seton Palace, was one of the finest houses of Renaissance Scotland and was capable of hosting visits from the royal court, but was demolished in 1789. Alexander Seton was sensitive to Scottish architectural traditions and

tory frieze in giant Roman letters celebrating his marriage (of 1588) to the king’s French-born kinswoman Henrietta Stewart. He may also have built a loggia at the castle, now lost. At the same time he also added a splendid heraldic frontispiece (ceremonial entrance) which presented in an ascending sequence the combined arms of himself and his marchioness, the combined arms of James VI and Anna of Denmark, a representation of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, and a depiction of St Michael subduing the devil. The sequence of panels was topped by a statue of St Michael, and the religious imagery clearly emphasised his defiant (if not entirely consistent) Catholi39


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above. One of the original Stirling Heads, c.1540. The winged cherub on her breast might indicate that the lady is deceased. The sequence of ‘0s’ and ‘1s’ in the border is thought to be a form of early musical notation. opposite. A modern replica of the same Stirling Head, carved by John Donaldson. This and other replica roundels are now set into the ceiling of the king’s presence chamber (or inner hall) in the restored palace block at Stirling Castle.

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