This is Lady Diana Cecil, Countess of Oxford, in an early 1600's portrait attributed to William Larkin. A close-up was featured on the cover of the December 2007 issue of The Magazine Antiques, so there was no missing what is going on with her dress. What exactly IS going on there? The front of the skirt and the over-sleeves appear to be slit, but obviously not left with raw edges. I want to know how they did that! I don't know a great deal about period dress, but still, I found this both fascinating and bizarre, especially for the time period. Any specialists out there that can enlighten us?
The article featuring this painting, by the way, was about the evolution of the wearing of rings. This portrait was chosen to show how a valuable or too big of a ring was secured by a cord tied to the wrist so it wouldn't slip off and be lost. The original oil painting is part of the Suffolk Collection on view at Kenwood House in London. Click on any picture for a larger view.