Archive for April 15th, 2013

April 15, 2013

Florence Smyth and her Pageboy

Also thought to by by Gilbert Jackson and probably painted in the late 1630s, this is an arresting picture. Not just because of the black pageboy, (who probably has the honour of the earliest representation in English art of someone of African descent), but also because of the vibrant colours and the contrast between the two figures. The girl is thought to be Florence Smyth who lived at Ashton Court near Bristol with her mother Florence and father Thomas who payed a small part at the beginning of the war on the royalist side. She is dressed in a white satin bodice and petticoat. The sleeves are slashed and gathered with red ribbon which is also picked out in a ribbon across her waist and behind the lace of her coif. The lace of the coif and neckerchief is very high quality. The boy has a striped satin doublet and less (though not in quality) lace than his mistress on the falling band around his neck. The picture is on display in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Why they are playing with a bird’s nest I have no idea. I suspect there is some symbolism involved.

A young girl thought to be Florence Smyth (b.1634), daughter of Thomas and Florence Smyth of Ashton Court, Somerset, with her black page

April 15, 2013

Richard Luther

Painted by Gilbert Jackson or one of his followers in 1639, Richard was 88 at the time and wears what looks like a grey coat cut like a doublet with a pointed waistline and shoulder wings. I would guess that he has a doublet with a high collar  underneath which is holding up his darted linen band and there is a glimpse of points which would be holding up his breeches, an outdated method by 1639 but he is 88 so could be forgiven for being behind the times. This picture was formerly in the collection of Wormsley Park in Essex before it was sold at auction. The image and the details are courtesy of the auctioneers Dreweatts 1759

'Portrait of Richard Luther

Here is a detail showing the falling band, his buttons, buttonholes and a glimpse of what looks like a sumptuous fabric being used on the doublet that I presume is under the coat.

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The points lacing his breeches in place are clearly visible as is some more of that figured fabric on his breeches.

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Shirt and coat cuffs show clearly here and his specs in fine detail.

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April 15, 2013

Henry Carey and Wife

Painted by someone from the circle of the artist Gilbert Jackson. Henry was the second Earl of Monmouth and a staunch royalist, though he took little part in the war. This picture came up for sale recently at Sotherbys. It looks slightly earlier than the 1640s but not by many years. Sir Henry is wearing oddly mismatched colours in his doublet and breeches, though his doublet is rather splendidly slashed and set off with a falling band that is mostly lace. Mrs Sir Henry (Martha) has a red dress, the sleeves of which are slashed and gathered at the elbow and with skirts that look to be possibly embroidered. Henry’s shoes are fine with ribbon rosettes, though his hose could do with regartering, though those ribbon ties look too complicated to actually hold anything up!

Henry Carey & Wife circle of Gilbert Jackson



Here’s a detail of the fine lace on his band.


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And the even finer lace worn by Martha which looks more like gossamer than fabric. You can also see the dark over gown she’s wearing in this closer view.

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