August 13, 2013
This portrait was painted by Gerard Soest sometime during the war. Sir John was Admiral of the Fleet to Charles I which meant that he wasn’t over taxed for the most past of the civil war, because by the time he had returned with the Queen from the Continent, the King had lost most of the navy to Parliament. He did manage to maintain a fleet in the Bristol Channel for a time but that was about the extent of Sir John’s war.
He is pictured in front of a naval engagement in black day cap and back and breastplate over a grey silk doublet. His matching scarf is tied around the waist and patterned with gold threads. He’s also wearing a plain band with a bunch of grapes tassel on the bandstring.
I can’t find the whereabouts of the portrait. it was exhibited in the 1800s but since then has disappeared. I presume it is in private hands.
August 13, 2013
Agnes was the wife of Sir Jacob Astley the royalist commander. They had met whilst he was on the continent serving as part of the Anglo-Dutch brigade around 1619 and stayed together until Jacob died in 1652. Interestingly the BBC paintings website gives the date of her death as 1647, whilst Sir Jacob’s biography states that she outlived him. Note the anglicised spelling of her maiden name on the portrait.
The picture shows Agnes in her mourning clothes, a black coif on her head, black waistcoat, petticoat and various black accessories; earrings, bracelet and black ribbons on her kerchief. The starkness of the black really brings out the white of her lace edged cuffs and many-layered neck linen, also showing every crease and dart in the construction.. The original hangs in the National Trust property Seaton Delaval in Northumberland.
August 12, 2013
Self portrait of the Flemish artist who lived many years in England and painted several portraits of the great and good. This picture was finished in 1645 and shows two interesting items of clothing. He seems to be wearing a black peaked cap on his head, rather like a montero without the folded skirt piece. Peaked caps aren’t particularly common in the 1640s, only appearing in two contemporary pictures as far as I know and being referred to in writing almost as infrequently. He also has a narrow piece of quite high quality linen or maybe silk looped and tied around his neck like a cravat. This is also unusual for the period as far as portraits go. It is nicely finished with a fringe at both ends. The original hangs on Oxford. © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum
August 8, 2013
Painted by an unknown artist sometime between 1650 and 1660, this is a full length portrait of a small boy strapped into a wheeled baby walker. The coral of the title refers to the teether he is holding the end of which is made from pink coral. His necklace is also made from coral. Many thanks to Brenda Price and Greg Marshall for the explanation.
He’s wearing the full length petticoat of a boy who is not yet old enough to wear breeches with the hanging sleeves down his back that act as leading reins on the small toddler. He also has a white triangular linen bib or apron over a full length smock and a linen edged coif on his head. The picture is in the Norwich Castle Museum collection.
August 5, 2013
The independant cleric engraved posthumously in 1635 for a publication of some of his sermons catchily entitled “Bowels Opened or A Discovery of the Neere and deere Love, Union and Communion betwixt Christ and the Church, and consequently betwixt Him and every beleeving soule.” His objection to the surplice, signing the cross in baptism and kneeling in church puts him firmly in the puritan category, but he stayed resolutely within the established church, something I suspect might not have proved possible had he lived to see the civil war.
Sibbes is wearing a gown over what is probably a cassock with an elaborate collar ruff and a black day cap edged with lace, perhaps showing his tendencies in his dress, the austere preaching gown for the independents and the lace edging for the established church, though the canons prescribing outdoor wear for clergy specified plain caps only!