While the sewing is on hold, the research continues!
I just returned from the U.K. where I finally got to see both portraits in person — and, wow, they are totally different! It’s not merely a difference in image reproduction. The originals may show the same person in the same pose and gown, but the colors are distinctly different in several ways.
First is the smaller portrait, a miniature, no more than three inches long. It is displayed at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is owned by Queen Elizabeth. It can be seen and even zoomed in at this page of the Queen’s Collection. The miniature shows Mary Queen of Scots placing a ring on her right hand; the portrait ends just below her waist.
Her gown is pink with a white forepart and white lining in the high collar. She wears a rope of knotted pearls that have a slightly blue-grey tone. The gown is elaborated trimmed in gold braid, and the miniature has gilt paint denoting this trim. Looking closely, both Thomas and I could see the shine on the gold. That clinched it for me.
However, two weeks later, I got to see the version of this image at the V&A Museum. This portrait is perhaps 12 inches tall and was mounted on the wall at about eye-level, so I could clearly see the details.
In this portrait, Mary Queen of Scots is only shown from above the waist. Her hands are not visible. The gown appears the same, except for the trim color. Just as the high-resolution images available from the V&A showed, the trim in this portrait is definitely silver. I was close enough to the painting that I could see the texture of the paint and even detect a little grey-white in the layer and absolutely no gilt. Also, the pearls were a darker blue-grey in this painting.
So there it is — two distinctly different portraits! Thus, my pink and silver version is still accurate 😉