Archive for November, 2019

November 15, 2019

Alcester Benefaction Board part 2

The second panel from the benefaction board from Alcester Church that has been sent for conservation, and tweeted by @DrClaringtons. Thanks again to Claire for permission to use her photos. The board has been dated to 1632.


This board represents a verse from Proverbs:19:17 ‘He that hath pittie upon the poore lendeth unto the Lord’ and shows a blind man and a cripple receiving food, drink and clothing. The poor cripple doesn’t even have a shirt on his back and has covered himself partially with some sort of tatty cloak. On his one good leg he’s wearing one of those heel-less boots that shepherds and other agricultural chaps seem to favour. The advantage in the 17th century would be that he could buy a pair of boots and get twice the wear as left and right sided footwear was a thing of the future!  The blind man however seems a lot more well to do with a decent doublet and falling band, over the top of which he wears a gown with hanging sleeves. Maybe he’s a lawyer who can’t practice now he’s lost his sight?

The benefactors look a rather smug lot, and they seem to be offering drinks rather than clothes. Our poor cripple doesn’t look like a shirt will be forthcoming  for a while yet!

November 13, 2019

Alcester Church Benefaction Board


The benefaction board from Alcester Church has been sent for conservation and Dr Clare Strachan has tweeted about it. Go to @DrClaringtons to see more details about the piece and its origins. Here I will look at the four paintings which caught my eye. There aren’t many primitive portraits from the period with nice clothing details so I wanted to put them up and add my thoughts. It’s dated to 1632 and looking at the clothes I think it’s about right, though its quite likely to be slightly earlier. Definitely no later.


The first panel is based on Psalm 41: ‘Blessed is he that considereth the poore and needy’ Here we have donors handing out aid to a barber, a carpenter & a butcher.

The workmen are holding the tools of their trade and wearing doublets and generously cut breeches, hose and latchet shoes. They both have linen aprons to keep their clothes clean. Notice the apron overlaps the tabs of the doublet. The butcher has a wide stiff collar and the carpenter a ruff at the neck. The barber is wearing a long buttoned coat (or maybe cloak) over his doublet, holding scissors and a comb and sporting what looks like a longish, rather ‘blinged up’ apron.

The benefactors are dressed similarly The guy with the money bags on the left is the only person that isn’t bareheaded, not sure why but he’s wearing a felt brimmed hat and a ruff collar.

Thanks to Dr Clare for permission to use the photos. There’s more stuff on her excellent twitter feed. Here’s a picture of the whole thing. More to follow.