Archive for May, 2013

May 31, 2013

William Fiennes

The eighth Baron, first Vicount Saye and Sele, and father of Nathaniel, William Fiennes was one of the prime movers and shakers of the parliamentary cause, both in the political scene in London and in the pursuit of the war. Here he is painted by Adam de Colone in 1628, some years before the war but in a style that would still surely have been worn in the provinces right up to the 1640s. William is wearing a short tabbed black doublet slashed in the body and sleeves, a matching pair of breeches tied with points to the doublet, collar ruff and matching cuffs. Spot also the buckle that fastens the belt across his waist that conforms to the down pointed waistline of his doublet. The original hangs in the gallery of Broughton Castle and the image is copyright Lord Saye and Sele Broughton Castle

Broughton Castle 5-49-1

May 29, 2013

Nathaniel Fiennes

Second son of the William Fiennes, the 1st Viscount Saye and Sele, Nathaniel had a mixed war on the Parliament side. He was elected MP for Banbury in 1640 and took part in several actions early on and fighting with distinction at Edgehill. Later he found himself embroiled in a political argument following his surrender of Bristol to Prince Rupert’s forces in 1643. He made a spirited defence of his actions for which he was really not at all at fault, but following this he retired from public life for the rest of the first civil war. This rather splendid portrait was painted during the war by Michiel Jansz van Miereveldt and hangs still in the Great Hall of Broughton Castle near Banbury, the ancestral home of the Fiennes family and is copyright Martin Fiennes.

Nathaniel wears clothes that at first sight are understated but if you look closely it’s real quality stuff. The sleeves and skirt of his buff coat are officer thickness. I’ve seen surviving ordinary trooper’s versions and the leather is much thinner. Pay close attention also to the scalloped edges on the over sleeves. His orange parliamentarian scarf is silk, and decorated with a thin stripe of silver thread embroidery. His falling band has been and tied down for action with the bandstrings, but notice the detail on the tassels. That’s not simple work either. The lace on his band is matched with his cuffs. His breast plate and righthand gauntlet are decorated with gilt rivets as is the helmet hanging beside him. Last but not least, his sword is a serviceable mortuary hilt rather than a rapier, but the handle is wrapped with gold wire.

Update. There are, as pointed out by two commenters, a set of tassets or leg protectors peeping out from below his buffcoat at the very bottom of the portrait. This makes no sense at all, you could never sit on a horse as Nathaniel would have done with armour that reached so low. Perhaps the artist began the picture with full armour, in common with a lot of military portraits of the age and for whatever reason changed to a picture that was more representative of what was worn on the battlefield, but omitted to paint out the leg armour?


May 29, 2013

Anne Babington of Rothley Temple

Painted as a companion piece to the previous post, this portrait is also thought to be by Daniel Muytens and from 1645. Anne was the wife of Matthew Babington the lawyer and was 29 when the picture was painted. She bore Matthew  twelve children of whom seven survived infancy and was finally buried in the parish church of Rothley where a memorial commemorates the pair in stone. Anne is wearing an light brown silk bodice and petticoat with the sleeves of her linen smock visible from the elbow. She is wearing what looks like a silk wrap over her shoulders and her hair is elaborately dressed. The two paintings were sold by Roy Precious as a pair. Thanks to Roy again for permission to use this image.


May 28, 2013

Matthew Babington of Rothley Temple

Painted by Daniel Mytens or one of his followers in 1645, Matthew Babington was a lawyer who was called to the bar in 1639. He must have done well during the war as he is expensively dressed in a black silk doublet slashed in the sleeves and body. The tabs of the doublet are not slashed in the same way and have the appearance of a wide cummerbund across his waist. The silk that remains between the slashes is scalloped at the edges and (as well as that of the tabs and his black breeches) is stamped to make a pattern of figures across the suit. His linen consists of a laced falling band and cuffs as well as a shirt that is decorated with lace at waist level. It has been pulled through the gap between the two central tabs, rather an odd fashion though we have seen this before. The contrast between black and white makes it quite striking in this case. His sword baldric is decorated with a silver buckle and strap end. This picture courtesy of Roy Precious Fine Art and Antiques.



May 21, 2013

Portrait of a Young Nobleman

Painted by Daniel Mytens in the late 1630s going by the style of the doublet. This is a high class lad, the clothes are fine and well fitted. He’s wearing a pale pink silk doublet and slightly mismatching buff breeches, though it could be an effect of the light. His doublet is unbuttoned at the lower end to show off the fine linen of his shirt and to draw attention to the top of his breeches. In a decade the fashion would tend to unbuttoning the top of the breeches too, but pre war it was slightly more restrained. His cuffs and falling band are well laced, though if you look closely the types of lace aren’t exactly the same pattern. The portrait was sold by Roy Precious Antiques and Fine Art.

Protrait of a young nobleman RP

He also has a fine pair of soft leather gloves.

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May 20, 2013

A Strange and Lamentable Accident

 that happened lately at Mears-Ashby in Northamptonshire. 1642. Of one Mary Wilmore, wife to Iohn Wilmore rough mason, who was delivered of a childe without a head, and credibly reported to have a firme crosse on the brest, as this ensuing story shall relate.

Lamentable was a popular word for titling this kind of lurid tale that prove our tabloid press has a long history. This one is written by John Locke who is described as ‘a cleric’. This was a parable on the denying of baptism for infants which was a hot topic for those of an independent persuasion in the 1640s. Apparently the father of the child had been heard to say that he would rather his son be born with no head and a cross upon his chest than be baptised a child. Sadly, arguments of doctrine apart it seems that the poor child was actually stillborn with no head.

However, there are some nice details here of common women. Mary Wilmore is sitting up in bed in her smock buttoned (or tied) to the throat. The women in attendance are neatly turned out in waistcoats, petticoats, folded neckerchiefs and coifs. The figure facing away from us has a small triangle on the top of her head that just might be the point of a forehead or crosscloth which was part of the coif head covering.

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May 18, 2013

Corpus Sine Capite Visibili

an aenigmaticall emblem, or, a modell of these distemper’d times being an apparent body, well proportioned, upright and streight, but yet without any visible head, in this our most unhappy mereridian [sic] of London, lately conceived in a dreame or slumber, and now delineated, penned and produced, to the open view of the world / by I.M., Student of Exon. in Oxon. Poetical tract penned in 1642 as a gentle satire on the state of the country. The author obviously has parliament leanings as he talks about the body:

The Body well composed and well bent, 
Portends a Wise Religious PARLIAMENT

and the missing head:

The DIADEM encompast with a Wreath, 
Doth show the Crowne is safe though Mars doth breath

In terms that I would expect from a moderate parliamentarian. Remember though that this was 1642, before years of war that would lead to the king actually having his head removed. This is satire, albeit rather prophetic.

The body is clothed in a finely decorated fitted doublet and breeches, falling band and cuffs with lace edging, hose and open latchet shoes. He is trampling on a typical many headed royalist monster, the heads represent a rebel, a cavalier and the Pope.


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May 17, 2013

A Seasonable Lecture

or, A most learned oration disburthened from Henry VValker, a most judicious … iron monger : a late pamphleteere and now, too late or too soone, a double diligent preacher : as it might be delivered in Hatcham barne the thirtieth day of March last. Taken in short writing by Thorny Ailo ; and now printed in words at length and not in figures. Printed in London 1642.

Henry Walker started as an ironmonger in London and gradually moved into writing and selling books from the City. He was also known as a charismatic, though not necessarily learned preacher. Interesting to note that this lecture was taken down in shorthand and then translated into print for publication. Some of the most popular sermons were reprinted in the 1640s particularly, though it was a required skill to pay attention and remember the sermon you had attended, every much as it was for the sermon giver to deliver from memory.

In the top image from the pamphlet we see a group of respectable citizens paying close attention to Henry in his tub. Henry wears a preaching gown and falling band, whilst his flock are tidily dressed in doublet, breeches and fine linen. The ladies in petticoat, apron and kerchief. All apart from the preacher are wearing hats, though it was thought that it was best by those of an independant persuasion to uncover to hear the word delivered.  In the lower pane two gents are seen abroad in cloaks and carrying staffs. Perhaps they are pilgrims, or maybe a scene from the parable of Tobias and Gabriel he relates in the sermon.

If you want to learn more about Henry Walker, the best place to look in is Nick Poyntz’s blog Mercurius Politicus.

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May 15, 2013

Catherine, Lady Brooke

Painted in or around 1643 this picture has been attributed to Theodore Russell. Catherine was the wife of Lord Brooke the prominent parliamentarian and general who was killed by a royalist sniper whilst directing the siege of Lichfield. This portrait must have been finished after his death as Catherine wears widows weeds and holds a posy of significant flowers. She is wearing a black bodice over a white linen smock with a doubled kerchief  which is tied at the throat with bandstrings and a gossamer-thin black linen  hood or chaperone on her head. She also wears a white linen coif tied with strings under her chin. Picture courtesy of Roy Precious Antiques and Fine Art. It’s still for sale as as the time of posting.

Catherine Lady Brooke

The posy included pink laurel which was associated with honour, triumph and eternal life. I think there may also be some rosemary here for remembrance. I’m not sure what forms the pinked black edge to the bodice. It looks like a very fine black linen but if it’s part of the bodice it’s tricky to tell. Notice how white and fine her linen is though. This was a wealthy lady.

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This close up shows the ties used to keep her coif and kerchief in place. Interestingly you can also see the top of her smock which is much lower than the neck line of her kerchief. Usually both are of about  the same height, but in this case the kerchief is tied very high up her throat.

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May 10, 2013

Hester Pooks

The wife of John Tradescant again, painted by an unknown british artist around 1645. No apologies for the repeat as there aren’t that many nice portraits of women from the 1640s and this is another good one. Hester is wearing a broad brimmed felt hat over a lace edged coif. You can only see the edging in the portrait, poking out from under the brim. She has a double layer linen kerchief over a black bodice and her smock has a high collar. Picture © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum

Hester Pookes Ashmolean

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