Archive for March, 2013

March 30, 2013

Richard Baxter

Engraved in 1652 by an unknown artist at age 35, the independent cleric Richard Baxter had taken part in the war as Edmund Whalley’s regimental chaplain for a while until ill health forced him to step down. Baxter wears a segmented daycap with lace or cutwork edging, a doublet and off the shoulder cloak. He also has a plain band with decorative bandstrings and matching cuffs. Picture © Trustees of the British Museum

Richard Baxter

March 30, 2013

Richard Bernard

Engraved by Hollar on the front of his book Thesaurus Biblicus, a concordance of the Bible, published after he had died in 1644. Bernard was a moderate Church of England priest. Although in early life he had rejected the surplice, he returned to the church and wrote many books in support of the establishment. Bernard is wearing a clerical gown over a cassock, a small standing collar and a black day cap. Picture © Trustees of the British Museum

Richard Bernard

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March 27, 2013

Sir John Astley

of Maidstone, Kent. Painted by an unknown artist in the 1630s, Sir John had been Master of the Revels to both King Charles I and his father James and by this time was an old man with grey hair as we can see. He wears a rather splendid white satin doublet that has been slashed or pinked in the body, sleeves and tabs. This was an old fashioned treatment, having been very popular in Tudor times, but I suppose Sir John was an old fashioned type of guy. A white ribbon has been tied where his sword belt should go with a red bow at the centre point. Strangely he is still wearing a sword, though with no visible means of suspension. Maybe it’s just resting against his leg. A very simple plain band and cuffs make up his linen and he has a contrasting pair of red breeches. The picture is under the care of the National Trust at Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland.

Sir John Astley

March 27, 2013

Portrait of a Family

Painting by William Dobson from around 1645, though it was probably finished by another artist after Dobson’s death. The painting is thought to be Richard Streatfield and his family. There are several pointers in the picture to indicate that the family had recently lost members, probably children. The skulls top right and the half clothed child bottom right suggest this, as does the bunch of cherries that the youngest child holds. The two adults are dressed in their best blacks, Richard in a doublet fashionably unfastened at the bottom and a plain band with decorative band strings around his collar. His wife in a black bodice with a lace edged coif, gathered cuffs to her smock and a complicated arrangement of linen around her shoulders fastened with black strings. The child on the left could be dressed in brown doublet and breeches with a cloak, or possibly a dress with hanging sleeves (to be used as leading reins) and plain linen. The smaller child in a kind of all-in-one garment with hanging sleeves and a matching cap. To see this painting you need to go to the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

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This detail shows the understated decoration of the linen on the two grown-ups.

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And here the child in closer detail.

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March 26, 2013


or a Description of the Heretickes and Sectaries Sprang up in these latter times by Ephraim Pagett 1645.  Laying the grammar aside, this book is an exhaustive list of sects that had arisen by 1647 and all the reasons why Mr Pagett didn’t like them. Ephraim was a royalist leaning cleric and his book was a precursor to the more famous Gangraena which was published the following year, though sadly for us without pictures. The engraving on the front page shows representatives of some of the sects in small vignettes down either side. Images © The Trustees of the British Museum


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This fellow in coat, breeches and shoes represents repentance, as you can tell as he has no headgear.

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This guy is a “familist” who were a sect that followed a Dutch mystic called Hendrik Niclaes who were eventually absorbed into the Quaker movement. Short tabbed doublets seemingly were worn too.

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A divorser. Not actually a sect, but according to Pagett:  “That will put away their wives for small offence not regarding the word of our Saviour Mat. 19.9. That whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for whoredome, committeth adultery, and whosoever marrieth her that is divorced committeth adultery.” The divorcer in a coat and his wife wears a petticoat and bodies with a tall hat.

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An antinomian. Whilst also not a sect as such, an antinomian believed that faith alone was necessary for salvation. This guy looks pretty self-righteous in front of the ten commandments, which presumably he is flouting and relying on his true faith. Short tabbed doublet and breeches.

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A seeker. They believed that all organised religion was corrupt and preferred to wait for God’s revelation to come to earth and it has been argued that they were the precursors of the Quaker faith. Not at all sure what he is wearing. A hoodie perhaps? It’s certainly some kind of garment that pulls over the head rather than buttoning up.

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Destruction graphically represented. This kind of scene was playing out all across the country.

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March 22, 2013

An Antodote Against Melancholy

or a Treasury of 53 Rare Secrets and Arts Discovered by an Expert Artist, Richard Amyas. Published in 1659. Another handy book of secret recipes and hints, most of which probably wouldn’t work, but there’s a nice woodcut on the cover showing a chap having a tooth extracted by a dentist seated on a horse. I notice the patient has had the presence of mind to remove his hat in the presence of his better. Anyway the chap on the ground wears a loose doublet and ungathered breeches, basic unheeled shoes, hose and carries a tall hat in his left hand. The “dentist” is more fashionably clothed in fitted doublet, breeches, large falling band and a cloak with buttons all the way down. A good pair of riding boots on his feet and a large brimmed hat on his head.

Maybe the patient would have been better to read the book?

Tooth Ache of a Hot Cause

Boyl the root of Henbane in white-Wine Vinegar; bruise the root, and hold it between the Teeth, as hot as the party can suffer it, and hold your head over the fume of it, and keep your head warm, it wonderfully easeth.

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March 21, 2013

The Kitchenmaid

From an earlier set of engravings by Hollar, Ornatus Muliebris, published in a book in 1640. These were exclusively English women, mostly pretty high class, but this one is supposed to be a servant of the kitchen, although she must be in her Sunday best as there is a lot of decorative edging here. She has a lace edged coif on her head, plain linen neckerchief and a waistcoat with gathered sleeves that have some decoration, possibly applied embroidery or simple lace.  She has two petticoat skirts, the outer one is also decorated along the lower edge. Her shoes are heeled and fashionable and are raised up on pattens to keep her out of the mud. In her basket are artichokes and some kind of root vegetable, possibly purple carrots or radishes.

Is this a servant or someone of higher status pretending to be a kitchenmaid. Who knows?


March 20, 2013

Citizen’s Daughter

Also from Theatrium Mulierum 1643 by Hollar, this is a younger girl also dressed in good quality simply cut clothes. A linen coif edged with lace and folded back to show a fringe of hair on her head, double layer linen kerchief edged with scalloped lace, a boned and front-lacing bodice with plain linen sleeve cuffs, single layer petticoat and a plain apron.

Citizen.s Daughter Theatrium

March 20, 2013

London Merchant’s Wife

Engraved by Hollar as part of his collection of costume images from all over Europe called  Theatrium Mulierum, first published in 1643. The merchant’s wife wears a wide brimmed hat with loose hair, a three-layer lace edged neckerchief over a boned and laced bodice. her under petticoat skirts look like they are lined with some kind of lace or simple embroidery and the outer petticoat of some kind of satin fabric, possibly silk. Her shoes are fashionably high heeled and she has ribbon rosettes over the fastenings. A prosperous lady, though not high class, she is well dressed for the city.

Hollar_London Merchants Wife

March 20, 2013

Eikon E Piste

Or, the faithfull pourtraicture of a loyall subject, in vindication of Eikon basilike. Otherwise intituled, the pourtraicture of His Sacred Majestie, in his solitudes & sufferings. In answer to an insolent book, intituled Eikon alethine: whereby occasion is taken, to handle all the controverted points relating to these times 1649. As the title suggests this was an reaction to Eikon Alethine which declared that the King’s book Eikon Basilike wasn’t actually written by the King. The picture is also an answer to the frontispiece of the previous book. Again a disembodied hand pulls back a curtain to reveal the author of Eikon Alethine as a fool, having a jester’s cap placed on his head. He is trying to whip the King’s crown from his head whilst poised to replace it with a square cap in his right hand, an indication that many people thought (actually not without cause) that the King’s book had been written by a cleric. The King looks particularly fed up, perhaps writer’s block?

All a bit complicated, but not unusual for the times, there were often exchanges in the printed press like this, very much like in the tabloid press we have now. Anyway, the three figures are wearing  doublets, the fool has tabs cut up to the waistline with no obvious waist seam; whilst the chap with the cloak seems to have a longer bodied style, one of those gravity-defying collared cloaks that were the fashion and a nice pair of square toed boots. The jester’s cap is one of the traditional eared ones with bells.

In case you are wondering, the chicken’s head on the cap is quoting Horace the Roman lyric poet: “Spectatum admissi risum teneatis”. If you saw such a thing, could you keep from laughing? This was also the caption over the picture in Eikon Alethine. Image © The Trustees of the British Museum


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