Archive for December, 2012

December 18, 2012

Thomas Pope 3rd Earl of Downe

Painted by an unknown artist of the English school, this portrait hangs in the Tate collection. Thomas Pope was nephew of the 2nd Earl and seems to have trodden a middle path, for although his uncle was prominent in the royalist cause, he was imprisoned by the Royalists for six weeks during the war and later in the 1650s, held by the other side for complicity in a “Cavalier Plot”. The portrait is rather old fashioned in style with a turkey carpet and silk drapes, but his clothes are smart and understated. Black doublet and breeches and an off the shoulder cloak, though the details are tricky to see in a photograph. He’s also wearing a needle lace edged falling band. There are some nice details however of his shoes and cuffs.

Portrait of Sir Thomas Pope, Later 3rd Earl of Downe circa 1635 by British School 17th century 1600-1699

His silk hose are very slightly wrinkled, but his shoe rosettes are top notch and if you look closely, you can see the seams of his hose that show the triangular inset to make them fit around the foot. Also notice the inkle braid garters that match his hat band and the height of his shoe heels.

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This detail of his right hand shows nicely his soft leather gloves, the lace on his cuffs that matches his falling band and the turn back on his doublet revealing the lining of the sleeves.


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December 18, 2012

Cookmaid with Still Life of Vegetables

Painted by Nathaniel Bacon in the 1620s. It hangs in the Tate gallery in London. I make no apology for this early picture as it is such a great painting and shows what is thought to be common clothing still current in the 1640s.  The cookmaid is dressed in a smock, edged with simple lace around the neck, with what looks like a petticoat in the style that has a low cut upper body section either sewn or laced in to the skirts below. She also has some fabric sleeves seemingly pinned over the sleeves of her linen smock, and very smartly dressed hair, which would normally be the preserve of a higher status woman. I wonder if this is a real cook maid smartened up, or someone playing a role. Note that if she was going out, rather than sitting coquettishly by the window, she would wear a waistcoat to hide her “modesty”.

The vegetables that appear in the picture, although they would never be all in season at the same time, (making this still life somewhat of a fantasy picture) are also worth a look. Amongst the selection (Bacon was also a keen gardener, or maybe more properly horticulturalist) are some rather modern looking cabbages, (or coleworts as they were also known), artichokes,, some nice purple carrots (the orange variety is a modern cultivar), parsnips, turnips, onions, marrows, pumpkins, apples, pears, plums and figs. I’m sure I’ve missed some, there are so many different types.

Sir Nathaniel Bacon, Cookmaid with Still Life of Vegetables and Fruit c.1620-5

Shame on me, I almost forgot the melons. MATRON!

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December 12, 2012

Marie de Medici meets her son-in-law

Again from ‘Histoire de l’entrée de la Reyne Mère dans la Grande Brétaigne’ by Jean Puget de la Serre published in 1639. The French Queen arrives at an unspecified palace and is greeted at the door by King Charles. Lots more nice little details here.


Here’s a small group of trumpeters and various onlookers, Spot the two  ladies hiding in the crowd and the man with his coat worn off the shoulder. Unless he’s lost an arm that is. Notice it’s on top of a doublet.

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Just on the limit of resolution, these two sergeants guard the postern gate. The foreground figure cuts rather a dash in his posture, hand on his hip and halberd at a rakish angle.

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In the distance a couple promenade in the parterre, oblivious of the goings on below whilst a gardener makes sure they don’t walk on the plants.

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December 7, 2012

Marie de Medici Arrives in Colchester

From the French publication ‘Histoire de l’entrée de la Reyne Mère dans la Grande Brétaigne’ by Jean Puget de la Serre from 1639 that details the Royal visit to England of Charles’ mother in law Marie de Medici. There are some nice details here of soldiers, pike and musket lining the route into the town, though always remembering that these images were probably drawn by a french artist.


A small group here, perhaps local militia, they’re not particularly well dressed apart from the officer who has a  shoulder sash. No armour or fine buff coat here it seems.

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These guys are just standing around chatting, they don’t seem to have spotted that the Queen of France is right in front of them. Notice the sergeant in long boots and the two muskets aimed in the general direction of the carriage!

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Small group of horsemen following the carriage. All strangely bareheaded, maybe they’ve uncovered for the Queen. Nice sleeved cloak being worn by the one on the right.

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Some common people here looking out of upper story windows. Sadly no real detail in the engraving, though all heads are covered even though they are technically indoors.

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December 6, 2012

Thomas Singleton

Painted by Richard Hunt in 1642. Thomas Singleton was a London skinner who bequeathed some money to Christ’s Hospital foundation and on his death in 1653, this portrait was hung on the walls as part of his will. The portrait shows that some older men at least were still wearing ruffs around their collars in the 1640s. He’s also sporting a nicely embroidered linen whitework cap with lace edging and holding what appear to be a fine pair of gloves with gold thread decoration. The picture is still in the Christ’s Hospital Foundation.

Thomas Singleton by Richard Hunt

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December 4, 2012

Portrait of An Unknown Boy II

To complete the trilogy, this boy, painted by Cornelius Johnson is wearing a doublet so similar to that of the unknown Fownes portrait that it could almost be the same garment. It appears to be made of silk and has slashes in the sleeves and body to show the shirt beneath. The slashes look like they have been edged in black bobbin lace. He has again left the doublet unfastened from just below the chest to show more detail in his shirt. He has some expensive looking cutwork lace on his falling band too. This picture is kept by the National Trust at Antony in Cornwall. He is not the Earl of Effingham by the way. The title wasn’t created until 1837.

Portrait of an Unknown Boy

December 4, 2012

Portrait of an Unknown Boy

In a grand setting. Painted in the style of Edward Bower, this is very similar to the portrait in the previous post. The suit worn by the boy is smarter and less showy in style, though still expensively decorated with braid, or lace as it was confusingly called in the 1640s. The sleeves are only slashed along the inside seam this time and, although the lower doublet buttons are unfastened, here there are no lace decorations to pull through. Still, the bobbin lace looks good and is matched again on the cuffs and band. I really like the looped gold decoration on his breeches legs, just above an expensive looking pair of white leather boots. Notice also that the gold decoration on his suit is matched by the hat band around the wide-brimmed example on the table. This picture is in the National Trust collection.

Portrait of an Unknown Boy in a Grand Setting

December 4, 2012

Unknown Member of the Fownes Family

Painted by Edward Bower in 1638. The Fownes family owned and lived in Dunster Castle in Somerset and were broadly Parliamentarian in sympathy. This chap is rather nattily dressed in black doublet and breeches. The sleeves of the doublet have been slashed in several places and the front is unbuttoned from halfway down so that the lacy decoration on the shirt can be pulled through. He’s accessorised with a large lacy falling band, matching cuffs and boothose, and embroidered sword baldrick and high-heeled soft boots. Nice point decoration at the bottom of his breeches legs too. The portrait still hangs in the castle.

A Member of the Fownes Family (?)