A Reflection on the Jacobean

English Arts & Crafts Mirror Frame with Jacobean Influences (LEO Design)

King James of England and Scotland inherited both of his thrones from women.  He became James VI of Scotland, at 13 months of age, when his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate.  Some 36 years later, when Queen Elizabeth of England died without an heir, James became the King of England and Ireland as well.  It was on this day in 1603 that he inherited the English crown and became James I of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

The name “James” is Anglicized from the ancient Hebrew name “Jacob.”  Thus the era of James is known as the Jacobean Period and his supporters are called The Jacobites.  His reign saw a flourishing of the arts, poetry and literature—including an English translation of the Holy Book, commonly called The King James Bible.  In the decorative arts, luxurious materials and virtuosity of craftsmanship ruled the day.  Rich colors, deep carving, and grand heraldry all came together in a masculine and understated way.  Recently-established trade with the East ensured a constant supply of new, beautiful and exotic materials to be used in the commission of handsome, stately woodwork, metalwork, and textiles.

James died on 27 March 1625 after 22 years on the English throne.  His overlapping reign as King of Scotland lasted nearly 58 years, making him the longest-reigning Scottish monarch until relatively recent times (George III, Victoria, and Elizabeth II have outlasted him).  He is buried in Westminster Abbey in London

The Arts & Crafts mirror, pictured above, is actually Victorian, not Jacobean.  Nevertheless, it references the same dark, romantic inspiration which influenced the Jacobean Period. 


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