Archive for June 25th, 2013

June 25, 2013

A Description

Of the Passage of THOMAS late Earle of STRAFFORD, over the River of Styx, with the conference betwixt him, CHARON, and WILLIAM NOY. A small eight page satire written by an anonymous author in 1641 after the execution of Strafford. William Noy was a lawyer who was associated in the popular consciousness with the King’s attempt to raise money without calling parliament by reinstating ancient crown rights for financial gain. He had in fact just been doing his job, but by 1641 he was dead, and he is pictured on the other side of the river Styx waiting for Strafford’s arrival. Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford had been caught up in the political wranglings between King and Parliament and basically was sacrificed by Charles in a vain (as it turned out) attempt to keep the peace.

Noy is wearing a tabbed doublet, breeches and a heavy cloak over all and possibly a ruff that seems to have been as much a lawyer’s uniform then as a wig is now. Strafford looks to be clothed in a similar fashion though his hat seems smarter somehow. Charon the legendary ferryman to Hades of Greek myth has a doublet presumably and an odd almost brimless tall crowned hat.


Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 14.42.26

June 25, 2013

The English Improver Improved Part 2

Further into the 1652 book on agriculture and husbandry there are two more interesting illustrations. On page 65 we see the author Walter Blith with his surveying instruments and further on a labourer demonstrating a spade amongst pictures of other tools.

Walter is dressed in a quality doublet with slashed sleeves, beribboned unconfined breeches and some splendid soft riding boots. The sleeves of his shirt appear to be gathered into a small cuff but pulled through the ends of his shortened doublet sleeves to emphasise the amount of linen used. He’s also wearing a jauntily cocked hat and some kind of wrap around his stomach that is possibly artistic licence as it looks more classical than Early Modern. I’m not sure how you’d stop something like that from falling down.┬áHe’s not dressed for surveying I suspect. This is the supervisor at work.


Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 22.23.33



And on page 69 an echo of the labourer on the frontispiece using what we are now told is a trenching spade. Sadly he’s ditched (no pun intended) his intriguing hat and unbuttoned his coat but we can now see better details of the breeches that are gathered at the knee and count the number of buttonholes on a working man’s doublet. Notice for a working man in the dirt he’s actually wearing shoes, not boots. His left hose seems to have a clock, (or gusset) in the front of the foot. They are usually found on the side. Interesting.


Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 21.57.45