Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

The Color Red

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

The Color Red The Color Red
The color and material used in Elizabethan Clothing was extremely important. People who could wear the color Red was dictated by English Law. These were called the Sumptuary Laws. The colors of Elizabethan clothes, including the color Red, provided information about the status of the man or woman wearing them. This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing.

The meaning of colors during the Elizabethan era represented many aspects of their life - the social, religious, biblical and Christian symbolism was reflected in the color Red.

The Symbolic and Religious Meaning of the color red
Some interesting facts and information about the symbolic, religious, Christian and Biblical meaning of the color Red

  • The symbolic meaning of the color red was was of fire and associated with power and importance - a color which stood out
  • Also associated with 'Will Scarlet' in the medieval legends of Robin Hood
  • Strongly associated with the 'Redcoats', used for the British army uniform, in later English history
  • Described as clothing for valiant men
  • Cheap dyes, made from the madder root, were used to produce the color red
  • The Madder root produced the whole spectrum of red based colors including pink, coral, light red, dark red, russet and brown.
  • The red dye produced by the madder root dye was not colorfast and red clothes were worn by the lower classes and not to be confused with the brilliant color crimson which was produced by using the expensive kermes and cochineal dyes producing cloth which could only be afforded by the wealthy
  • People who were allowed to wear the color red during the Elizabethan era, as decreed by the English Sumptuary Laws, were lower and upper classes

The Dye used to produce the color Red
Some interesting facts and information about the dyes used to produce the color. Madder was a European herb (Rubia tinctorum) the root of which was used in dyeing cultivated as a source of red dye. Used to produce cloth dyed in various shades of red based colors including orange, russet, pink, coral, light red, dark red, russet and brown.

Elizabethan Clothing
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