May 18, 2013
an aenigmaticall emblem, or, a modell of these distemper’d times being an apparent body, well proportioned, upright and streight, but yet without any visible head, in this our most unhappy mereridian [sic] of London, lately conceived in a dreame or slumber, and now delineated, penned and produced, to the open view of the world / by I.M., Student of Exon. in Oxon. Poetical tract penned in 1642 as a gentle satire on the state of the country. The author obviously has parliament leanings as he talks about the body:
The Body well composed and well bent,
Portends a Wise Religious PARLIAMENT
and the missing head:
The DIADEM encompast with a Wreath,
Doth show the Crowne is safe though Mars doth breath
In terms that I would expect from a moderate parliamentarian. Remember though that this was 1642, before years of war that would lead to the king actually having his head removed. This is satire, albeit rather prophetic.
The body is clothed in a finely decorated fitted doublet and breeches, falling band and cuffs with lace edging, hose and open latchet shoes. He is trampling on a typical many headed royalist monster, the heads represent a rebel, a cavalier and the Pope.
May 17, 2013
or, A most learned oration disburthened from Henry VValker, a most judicious … iron monger : a late pamphleteere and now, too late or too soone, a double diligent preacher : as it might be delivered in Hatcham barne the thirtieth day of March last. Taken in short writing by Thorny Ailo ; and now printed in words at length and not in figures. Printed in London 1642.
Henry Walker started as an ironmonger in London and gradually moved into writing and selling books from the City. He was also known as a charismatic, though not necessarily learned preacher. Interesting to note that this lecture was taken down in shorthand and then translated into print for publication. Some of the most popular sermons were reprinted in the 1640s particularly, though it was a required skill to pay attention and remember the sermon you had attended, every much as it was for the sermon giver to deliver from memory.
In the top image from the pamphlet we see a group of respectable citizens paying close attention to Henry in his tub. Henry wears a preaching gown and falling band, whilst his flock are tidily dressed in doublet, breeches and fine linen. The ladies in petticoat, apron and kerchief. All apart from the preacher are wearing hats, though it was thought that it was best by those of an independant persuasion to uncover to hear the word delivered. In the lower pane two gents are seen abroad in cloaks and carrying staffs. Perhaps they are pilgrims, or maybe a scene from the parable of Tobias and Gabriel he relates in the sermon.
If you want to learn more about Henry Walker, the best place to look in is Nick Poyntz’s blog Mercurius Politicus.
May 15, 2013
Painted in or around 1643 this picture has been attributed to Theodore Russell. Catherine was the wife of Lord Brooke the prominent parliamentarian and general who was killed by a royalist sniper whilst directing the siege of Lichfield. This portrait must have been finished after his death as Catherine wears widows weeds and holds a posy of significant flowers. She is wearing a black bodice over a white linen smock with a doubled kerchief which is tied at the throat with bandstrings and a gossamer-thin black linen hood or chaperone on her head. She also wears a white linen coif tied with strings under her chin. Picture courtesy of Roy Pretious Antiques and Fine Art. It’s still for sale as as the time of posting.
The posy included pink laurel which was associated with honour, triumph and eternal life. I think there may also be some rosemary here for remembrance. I’m not sure what forms the pinked black edge to the bodice. It looks like a very fine black linen but if it’s part of the bodice it’s tricky to tell. Notice how white and fine her linen is though. This was a wealthy lady.
This close up shows the ties used to keep her coif and kerchief in place. Interestingly you can also see the top of her smock which is much lower than the neck line of her kerchief. Usually both are of about the same height, but in this case the kerchief is tied very high up her throat.
May 10, 2013
The wife of John Tradescant again, painted by an unknown british artist around 1645. No apologies for the repeat as there aren’t that many nice portraits of women from the 1640s and this is another good one. Hester is wearing a broad brimmed felt hat over a lace edged coif. You can only see the edging in the portrait, poking out from under the brim. She has a double layer linen kerchief over a black bodice and her smock has a high collar. Picture © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum
May 9, 2013
Painted by an unknown artist sometime after 1640,Edward Montague was an active commander for the parliament army up until he resigned his commission for various reasons in April 1645. He is pictured very much as a warrior with a gilded breast plate over a braided and slashed doublet and an understated laced falling band. Picture © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum
May 9, 2013
Attributed to Cornelius Johnson. The unknown gentleman with an extremely pointy beard is wearing a black slashed doublet, wide laced falling band and an embroidered sword belt. This picture also courtesy of Roy Precious Antiques and Fine Art.
This detail on this close up is almost photographic. It shows how fine the lace and linen of the falling band actually is and an indication that the slashes have been finished off with very small hems by the tailor to avoid fraying.
May 1, 2013
School of Cornelius Johnson, painted around 1640. The unknown man is wearing a fine doublet and breeches in what looks very much like the patterned velvet of the black Isham doublet in the Museum of London, although of a more up to date shape for 1640. The lower two thirds of his buttons are left open so he can pull out the fine linen of his shirt. He has darted cuffs and a wide plain band that is fine enough to show the contours of the standing collar on his doublet. He’s clutching his gloves and cane in a manner that suggests he’s keen to get outside and stop all this sitting for a portrait nonsense! Picture courtesy of Roy Precious Fine Art. It is at the time of posting still available for sale. Check Roy’s website for details.
April 30, 2013
So excited to have been granted permission from the Ashmolean to post some of their portraits. This one is lovely, painted around 1644 by an unnamed English artist. Hester was the wife of John the Younger Tradescant and the original keeper of what became the Ashmolean Museum. Hester sadly died by drowning in her own pond in 1678 at which point Elias Ashmole inherited the collection. John is wearing a dark grey doublet with smallish tabs at the waist and some nice, though not exceptional linen around his neck. It looks like the lace was tacked on as an afterthought, rather than having been bought for the purpose. Frances seems to be wearing a low-ish cut bodice with lace around the collar of her smock. Hester is wearing a matching bodice and petticoat which could be in brown velvet, edged with what looks like lace made from gilt thread. Her two-layer kerchief is lined with lace as is the coif she’s wearing under her wide brimmed hat. I like the magnifying glass hanging from the left hand point of her kerchief. It’s heavy enough to drag that side of the kerchief lower than the right. They do look very serious though I have to say. Picture is © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum
April 30, 2013
Painted in the style of Peter Lely around 1650. Anne was in her own right Lady Anne Clifford, she was a diarist, landowner and twice married, first to Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset and secondly to Philip Herbert 4th Earl of Pembroke. Most of her life was devoted to a legal battle to establish a claim to her father’s estates which had been bequeathed to her uncle for financial reasons. By the time the portrait was painted the court disputes were over and she was a very wealthy woman. It’s tricky to see too many details in this picture, but it’s obvious that her clothes are high quality. The lace edgings on her kerchief and what is visible of her smock are very fine indeed. Picture © National Portrait Gallery, London
April 30, 2013
James was a politician who sat in the House of Commons until he inherited the title of Earl of Middlesex from his father in 1645. I can find nothing about his politcal allegiance or of he took any part in the wars at all, but here he is in his lacy shirt and some black drapery, painted by Theodore Russell around the time he moved up to the House of Lords. The picture is at the National Trust property, Knowle near Sevenoaks in Kent.