My project examines the visual representation of wives and widows in portraits and other imagery in England and Wales from approximately the mid-sixteenth to mid-seventeenth centuries. Much has been written about the imagery of women whose lives were either in or revolved around the royal courts or who were otherwise associated with the aristocracy. Their portraits, for example, was generally undertaken by highly skilled immigrant artists, especially in the earlier part of the period under consideration. I am interested specifically in the construction of identity of those of the ‘middling sort’, many of whom were the subjects of invariably anonymous native English vernacular artists who worked in the provinces away from London and the city’s surrounding areas. I am looking for ways in which women’s identities evolved to reflect changes in society and in the status of women over the period.