Nicholas Lanier

Nicholas Lanier was an musician and art dealer who dabbled in many things. Apart from anything else, he was a talented artist as this self-portrait shows, painted around 1644 whilst at court with the King in Oxford. He is simply dressed with a narrow brimmed hat and ribbon hat band of a colour that matches his doublet. The doublet appears to be of a green russet (russet was a type of woollen cloth) and simply cut with cloth or thread wrapped buttons. It’s tricky to tell which kind they are, but if you look closely you can see the knots that hold the buttons together and provide an anchor to the doublet. A neat falling band completes the wardrobe as it were. It’s very much a common man’s suit of clothes, perhaps Lanier is slumming it, or maybe he was down on his luck. He has painted a skull by his left elbow as a memento mori, which may indicate that he was struggling financially. He left England shortly after this, in Spring 1645 and didn’t return for several years. The music is one of his own compositions in case you were wondering. The picture hangs in the faculty of Music in Oxford.

nicholas Lanier

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