The Saltonstall Family

Thought to have been painted by David des Granges in 1636 or 37, this picture hangs in the Tate Gallery. In fact it’s worth checking out the gallery’s webpage on the history and symbolism of this picture. The picture is thought to show Sir Richard Saltonstall and his family. The wan figure in the bed is probably his dead wife Elizabeth. This is a picture of a well-to-do family dressed in their best clothes, designed to impress.

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Sir Richard wears a short textured silk doublet with what looks like embroidery along the seams. The sleeves are slashed revealing a high quality shirt and his cuffs and band are stylishly laced. His breeches are fashionably tight and the ties at the lower end match his doublet. Heeled shoes, high crowned hat and some light gloves finish off the collection.

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The two children, who could be male or female, although the larger child could be a boy, have matching dresses. The smaller one on the left also has an apron to keep the dress clean whilst the elder has a band and cuff with lace to match that on Sir Richard

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The two women, thought to be his two wives are dressed in white. The lady on the bed in what looks like a smock with lace insertions, a very high status item, with a laced hood possibly around her head. The seated woman in a satin dress and layered, laced kerchief.

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One Comment to “The Saltonstall Family”

  1. Fascinating to read about the symbolism and that it was customary to paint the living and the dead together. Thankyou.

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