An exciting and innovative new exhibition, ‘We are Bess’ retells the story of Bess’s life through the prism of modern women. She may have lived 400 years ago, but Bess’s experiences are akin with many women today.
In the late 16th century, Bess became the second richest woman in the country after Elizabeth I.
Along the way she experienced great loss and hardship – two children and four husbands died, at times she had massive debts and lawsuits against her, while her last, broken marriage became a national scandal.
Yet, throughout history she has been portrayed as greedy, overbearing, and controlling, a view that derives largely from comments made by the disinherited family of her third husband and those of her estranged fourth husband.
‘We are Bess’ is an exhibition featuring 16 modern women who have responded to Bess’s story and consider the similarities between the challenges she faced in the sixteenth century and their own experiences.
Portraiture has been used for centuries to provide a representation of a person beyond their physical characteristics. Hanging in the Long Gallery at Hardwick are Tudor portraits of Bess’s family as well as important and imfluential people of the day. And, now, the portraits of sixteen modern women hang alongside.
We are truly excited about this and you should be too! Go visit the exhibition at Hardwick Hall. You’ll be gifted with stunning surroundings, cultured stories and a breathtaking exhibition, what more could you ask for?