Rats, Milk and Collyflowers

From an etching dated 1655, part of the Cryes of London series by Robert Pricke. The rat catcher displays his prowess on a board and is dressed smartly in doublet, breeches and shoes with a wide brimmed hat and sober falling band.

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The milk seller has perched a bucket of milk on her head. She’s dressed in a waistcoat and petticoat over which she has sensibly added an apron and neckerchief. She is also wearing a hat and coif combo on her head, presumably to help her cope with the weight of the milk.

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This lady is selling nice ripe colly-flowers. They don’t look quite like our cultivated ones, though they’re not that far off. I wonder if they were as white as modern cultivars? She is dressed identically to the milk seller. Compare her shoes with the rat catcher. They are the same style.

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