The New World Tapestry

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cene Three
         1595-6 PANEL

The lower scene shows Sir Walter Raleigh on the right of Queen Elizabeth extolling the potential wealth of Guiana to her and predicting that his next expedition will bring back the riches that will curb the power of Spain and smash its empire. However Her Majesty, as is patently obvious by her thoughts of money is making up her mind between Raleigh’s high-flown ideas and plans and those of the peer standing to her left, Lord Charles Howard of Effingham the Lord High Admiral of England (coat-of-arms shown here).

Howard’s advice on money-raising ventures whilst also damaging the Don is to raise an expedition and have a return match with her old enemy. In other words, send a return Armada to sack Cadiz and destroy as many Spanish ships as possible.

Despite her affection for Raleigh as her Court favourite she wisely chooses Howard’s plan as having the better chance of achieving both aims so gives her royal consent and blessing so that a fleet is prepared and aboard goes Raleigh, together with a number of gentlemen seeking fame and fortune. These include two whose coats-of-arms are shown here, John Donne the poet Dean of St Paul’s in London and Sir Anthony Ashley.

Ashley’s home in Wimborne St Giles in Dorset is featured in the top scene. He stands on one side of the house with a huge cabbage in his hand for he is famed for introducing the vegetable into England. The cabbage has attracted the cabbage white butterfly flitting nearby whilst a number of caterpillars are making their way towards him looking for a leafy meal.

On the other side of Ashley’s house stands his wife, proudly holding a magnificent jewel. This alludes to the later rumour that when he returns from the attack on Cadiz, part of his undeclared loot was this diamond. The Queen apparently thought that if the rumour was true the gem should be rightfully hers as her share of the spoils but she could never prove the story.

tapestry photo 1595-6 scene three

ORPINE   Sedumtelephium.  ‘being laid on with vinegar it taketh away the white morphew’. Dioscorides

BELL HEATHER  Erica cinerea.  ‘The tender tops and floures are good to be laid upon the bitings and stingings of any venomous beast:  of these floures do gather bad hony’. Dioscorides.

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