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.

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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.

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