The sets of mary queen of scots are a 16th-century-meets-modern-day masterpiece architectural digest gas out


When it comes to royal drama, all it takes to rile the internet these days is—gasp—news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle won’t be staying at Kensington Palace anymore. gas in dogs causes Imagine, then, the Twitter explosions had we been privy to the medieval meltdown of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, a.k.a. gastroparesis Mary Queen of Scots, two cousins whose unforgettable struggle for power in the 16th-century British court lead to one of history’s greatest head-losing tragedies. h gas l gas unterschied While we’re a few hundred years too late to publicly pick apart every tit for tat between the two formidable females, on December 7, audiences will get yet another look inside Elizabeth and Mary’s famous feud care of Mary Queen of Scots, which stars Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth and Saoirse Ronan as Mary, and delves deep into the conspiring underbelly of Elizabethan England.

Written by Beau Willimon and directed by Josie Rourke, the film pulses with typical 16th-century royal drama and grandeur, but the creators were sure to infuse the period piece with equal amounts of modern, almost anachronistic accents. physics c electricity and magnetism The costumes design by Alex Byrne, for example, rely heavily on denim—blue for Mary’s court and black for Elizabeth’s (more on those color combinations later)—and, when it came to the sets, production designer James Merifield (who, like Willimon and Rourke, comes from the theater) identified opportunities to take risks with his decadent environments, shunning traditional historical drama expectations in the process.

“Most of the images that sprung to mind were contemporary—they weren’t of the period,” Merifield recalls of his initial instincts while preparing to meet Rourke for the first time, an encounter he describes as “a meeting of two minds because she was coming from a very modern angle herself.” The result of their efforts became scenes that were at once familiar in their aesthetic but forward-thinking in their physical depiction. When Mary and Elizabeth have an indoor picnic in the autumnal leaf-strewn grand chamber of the main castle, for instance, they also play billiards. “We researched this and actually billiards did exist in the 16th century,” Merifield says, “but somehow bringing it into a period set felt quite modern and interesting and unexpected.” And when it came to Mary’s bedchamber, Rourke often referred to it as a teenage girls’ dorm, thus “it was [designed as] somewhere girls—Mary, the queen, with her ladies-in-waiting—would hang out together,” says Merifield. “It became a language we all adopted referring to these characters in a modern world.”

Indeed, much of the film’s action takes place within the two queens’ bedchambers, as they come to represent important embodiments of the women’s personas. gas efficient suv 2013 Mary’s ladies-in-waiting are her best friends, and because she never slept alone—they were always in the room, even as she welcomed a lover or her husband—Merifield created period versions of futons with scattered cushions, which elicit the feel of a sleepover. “What I devised for Elizabeth," says Merifield, on the other hand, "was setting her in a highly Gothic, symmetrical, vaulted ceiling-ed, all-encompassing world.” Merifield thus referenced Gloucester Cathedral and the Oxford Divinity School (where they filmed her court) for their Gothic construction, and the result is a perfectly octagonal wood-paneled set, with opposing fireplaces and a dividing rood screen, behind which ladies-in-waiting watched Elizabeth entertain Dudley in her royal bed wrapped in swirling Klimt-esque sheers and heavy black and gold-embroidered drapes. Visually, through these elaborately built settings, the film draws many parallels, however opposing, between the two historical figures. “What was very evident was the fact that these two queens, being cousins, could almost be in adjacent rooms, with a party wall,” says Merifield, who thrilled at the task of creating distinctive bedchambers that were poles apart in architectural style.

Where geometry ruled Elizabeth’s set, Mary’s embraced wholly organic notions. Using blacks for the former and blues for the latter “worked very well with my ideas of nature over nurture—nature being Mary’s palette, nurture being Elizabeth’s,” Merifield says. The room is equally textural, with a similar, though distorted octagonal shape adorned with Escher-style spiraling staircases and fertile fabrics, including ombré-dyed bed drapes that grow from a dark lichen green-grey to blue-sage and ocher yellow. “What I wanted to suggest was that the castle walls were alive, literally, and that they are in the middle of the island where there are elements and breezes and the wind’s blowing through the cracks," Merifield says. "Even the fabrics have a dampness to them—a life of their own.”

As for the exteriors, Ronan, when not in the bedchamber, often found herself in a set that grew out of Scotland’s fortresslike Blackness Castle, its immense battlements hewn out of imposing stone. “The architecture [of the castle] was as though it had been chipped out of the stone and turned into the arches and corbels and windows of the castle,” Merifield says. “It’s extraordinary, very organic and quite wonderful.” Initially dwarfed by the dank home, Mary, remembered for her impeccable style as the onetime queen of France, zhushes the interiors by hoisting massive allegorical tapestries, hand-painted on raw, fibrous hessian (burlap), a nod to the denim of their ensembles. “I wanted to use an equally utilitarian fabric to paint tapestries onto, because Mary was renowned for her beautiful objets d’art: tapestries, carpets, fabrics from France.”