Archive for February, 2013

February 28, 2013

Frances Tradescant

The daughter of John Tradescant the Younger, Frances was painted by an unidentified artist sometime around 1638. She is bareheaded, but has dressed her hair with a blue ribbon that picks out the ribbons and laces on her bodice which whilst not really high quality is nicely embroidered  around the buttons holding the slashes in her sleeves together. The tabs on the bodice look like they are edged with embroidery too. A tidy kerchief edged with wide needlelace covers her neckline. You can see this picture in the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum

Frances Tradescant

February 27, 2013

The Olde, Old, Very Olde Man

or The Age and long Life of Thomas Par. John Taylor 1635. Note the variety of spelling in the title. Taylor was never slow to jump on the bandwagon. There was quite a rumpus when the old boy was brought to London by stages from his home in Gloucestershire. Tom claimed to be 152, having been born (so he said) in 1483. The book details the journey that William Harvey thought had killed Tom and ends with a poem about his life. Tom wears probably the same doublet he was painted in, but also wears a lined day cap and small collar band.

Here’s a flavour of John Taylor’s poetry

AN Old man’s twice a child (the proverb saies)
And many old men nere saw halfe his daies
Of whom I write; for he at first had life,
When Yorke and Lancasters Domestique strife
In her owne bloud had factious England drench’d,
Vntill sweet Peace those civil flames had quench’d.
When as fourth Edwards Raigne to end drew nigh,
Iohn Parr (a man that liv’d by Husbandry)
Begot this Thomas Parr, and borne was Hee
The yeare of fourteen hundred, eighty three.

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February 27, 2013

Old Tom Parr

Reputedly the oldest man in England when he died in 1635, Tom Parr claimed to have been born in 1483 which made him 152. The cause of death was declared by William Harvey to have been overexposure. The pressures of fame. Tom wears a simply cut, possibly russet doublet with shoulder wings and a small collar band. He’s also knotted something around his waist to act as a belt. There are several versions of this picture. This one hangs in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.


Tom Parr

February 25, 2013

Robert Dingley

Pictured on the front page of his tome The Spiritual Taste Described and a Glimpse of Christ Discovered, published in 1649 and engraved by Thomas Cross.  Dingley wears a black doublet with a collared cloak, small falling band and black day cap. Note the buttons on the collar and all the way down the front for fastening the cloak for inclement weather, though for the picture, Robert wears it in the off the shoulder manner of religious portraits of the time. Presumably the garment is held on by some kind of strap that fixes around the arms. Although it looks like a coat and it has neck shaping, I believe the wide flap collar at the back marks it as a cloak. Coats at this time generally had no collar or a short stiffened band.


February 20, 2013

Walter Strickland

Painted by Dutch artist Pieter Nason in 1651, Walter Strickland was for the whole of the war English ambassador to the Netherlands and recalled in 1650, returning in 1651 when presumably this picture was painted. Walter wears what looks like a silk brocade doublet with slashed sleeves, black unconfined breeches (notice the ribbon decoration), and a velvet cloak. He is also wearing some fine leather gloves, and outrageously long black leather shoes. Picture hangs in Sewerby Hall Museum in Bridlington

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February 13, 2013

A Manual of Directions

 for the Visitation of the Sick with sweet Meditations & Prayers to be used in time of sickness by Lancelot Andrewes late Bishop of Winchester. Andrewes was one of the more moderate independant clergy and had some influence on the young Charles, though he was dead long before war broke out. In the frontispiece by Hollar from the 1642 edition, we see two professional gents (either could be doctor or priest) visiting a poor soul in his sickbed with a serving girl busying herself behind a table.

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Looking at the picture in more detail we can see the woman on the left is dressed in a laced bodice, over which she wears a neckerchief and linen coif on her head. The two gents are dressed professionally, on the left in a cloak, ruff and wide brimmed hat and on the right in a gown and day cap. It’s almost impossible to decide which is doctor and which is clergy as both professions would have worn either garb, though maybe the vicar is the one on the right with his hand raised in blessing. The patient has a fringed night cap on his head and presumably a shirt, though the detail is a bit scratchy when you look closely. It does look however that he’s thrown his doublet over the top of his bed. Nice collection of living history objects on the table.

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February 13, 2013

Edward Calver

Etched by Wenceslaus Hollar in 1644, Calver was a poet, but not a very good one. In fact his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography says his was “a meagre talent dedicated towards unremarkable moral themes”. Oh dear. Not much is known about him either, apart from his poetry and the fact that he came from Suffolk. Anyway here is Edward, presumably stuck for a rhyme dressed in a smart doublet with narrow shoulder wings and a darted linen falling band. Nice clear view of his doublet buttons too.

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February 11, 2013

Robert Davies of Gwysaney

Painted again by Thomas Leigh in 1643. Robert was High Sherriff of Flintshire and fought for the King during the war, though he was imprisoned by Parliament forces in 1645. He is dressed in a gold silk doublet which has been pinked, or slashed across the body, sleeves and shoulder wings. I’ve not seen a lot of this kind of decoration from the 1640s, it was more a Tudor decoration, though in Wales, it may have not been quite as old fashioned as it would have been in London. His buttons are a nice detail too, seemingly wrapped with the same thread that makes up the doublet and he has a smart, though understated falling band. He does need to do something with his hair though! The portrait can be found in the National Museum in Cardiff.


Robert Davies of Gwysaney

February 9, 2013

Thomas Heyton

Also painted by Thomas Leigh in 1634, Thomas is derssed in a similar fashion to his wife Isobel, though we can only see his shirt and the fur lined wrap over his shoulders. We can see however that the shirt is of fine linen and that the collar is integral to the shirt. The lace is small but really good quality and if you look closely you can see a dart in the band on his right hand side. This picture also hangs in Trerice, Cornwall. I hope they’re still together.

Thomas Heyton

February 8, 2013

Isobel Heyton

Painted in 1634 by Thomas Leigh, Isobel was wife of Thomas Heyton. Sadly I can find nothing about Isobel or Thomas,or even the artist, but Isobel is painted in a low cut silk waistcoat over a linen smock with a high collar, edged in lace. The waistcoat is edged with spangled lace as is the silk, embroidered wrap or mantle draped over her shoulder. The picture hangs in Terice, Cornwall and is kept by the National Trust

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