Archive for ‘Common people’

May 21, 2012

These Tradesmen

…are Preachers in and about The City of London. A single page publication from 1647 that complains of all the untrained preachers who were adding their voices to the general hubbub of independent religion in the period following the initial cessation of hostilities. Several trades are represented here, much in the style of the Cries of London, showing some nice details of common people’s dress.

May 17, 2012


or, THE DRUNKARD, Opened, Dissected, and Anatomised. Published by Thomas Heywood in 1635, this anti drinking tract starts with this remarkable image. Six figures with animal heads are on a binge, served by a woman on the left. All the animals are dressed in doublets and breeches, but notice the belt around the duck’s waist, the ribbon decoration on the goat’s doublet (there is a similar one in the V&A costume collection), his shoes that the pig is throwing up on and the lion’s disarrayed collar.

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May 15, 2012

Strange, True and Lamentable

Newes from Exceter and other parts of the Western countreyes shewing how cruelly the resolute Cavaliers have dealt with the inhabitants since the departure of that Right Noble Commander the Earl of Stamford. Published in 1643, this almost tabloid sheet accuses the Royalists of several war crimes committed by in the West Country. The images are crude but quite detailed, the woman pictured with her hair astray in petticoat, bodice and apron. The bareheaded soldier beating his victim is ragged but obviously in his soldier’s coat. The poor man being beaten wears the kind of loin cloth often shown on undressed characters in period woodcuts.

May 8, 2012

A Dog’s Elegy

A familiar image from a parliament pamphlet from 1644 which is worth a closer look. Following the royalist defeat at Marston Moor, Prince Rupert’s lost his dog in the ensuing chaos. The dog Boye, a poodle was widely held to be his familiar, the witchcraft implied presumably explaining his military prowess in the war. Notice the musketeer on the right hand side, a rare picture of an English soldier from this period, though oddly he seems to be firing left handed and has his bandolier of charges hanging where a right handed soldier would hang his sword. Good evidence of a coat though and some understated lace decoration down his left leg. The woman on the left, presumably meant to be a witch dressed in bodice (or possibly a waistcoat) and petticoat with an untied coif.

April 28, 2012

The Vindication of Christmas

Small book from the part of 1653 that they called 1652, as the new year in this period came on Lady Day at the beginning of April. Not only lamenting the abolition of Christmas, but lampooning taxes and opressive government. Some nice details here. The soldier on the left is wearing a tied buff leather coat I think, though it could be a soldier’s wool coat. His breeches are unconfined and decorated with ribbons at the lower end. The guy on the right has a small brimmed cap with a band that just might be a knitted monmouth cap from the droopy brim. Note the belt around his waist too. Both have obvious hose details evident and the shoe detail is good too.

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April 24, 2012

“A Monstrous Shape

..or A Shapeless Monster” A description of a female creature born in Holland, compleat in every part save only a head like a swine. Printed in London 1639, this is another story of a pig faced woman. This time, she’s well dressed with a tabbed bodice, fancy collar,  full petticoats and nicely heeled shoes. Hopefully she made enough money to keep the wolf from the door!

April 20, 2012

“The High and Mightie Commendation..

..of a pot of good ale. Full of wit, without offence, of mirth without obscenitie, of pleasure without scurrilitie, and of good content without distaste”. Poem from 1642. The woodcut is poorly reproduced, but here is a group of revellers sat outside the alehouse, quaffing their beer and smoking up a storm. The tapster is bringing another jug of ale out and doffing his hat. While most seem to be dressed in standard doublet and breeches, it’s the fellow in the foreground facing away from us that I’m interested in. I suspect he’s wearing a montero, though it would be tricky to prove, it does look very much like the segmented crown and (poorly folded) skirt of the fashionable cap worn by soldiers and huntsmen.

April 17, 2012

The Lamentable Complaints..

Of Nick Frost the Tapster and Rulerost the Cooke, Concerning the restraint lately set forth against drinking, potting and piping on the Sabbath day and against selling meate. Printed in 1641 as a backlash against government controls on eating and drinking. The tapster and the cook wear standard doublet and breeches with some nice little waist aprons to catch the drips/grease. Rulerost the cook has what looks like a day cap with folded back brim, though this may be a 17th century version of the cook’s hat.

April 10, 2012

Chairs to Mend

Another image from The Manner of Crying Things in London, 1640. This guy carries his raw material on a stick over his shoulder. His doublet is rather down-at-heel with patches on his elbow and underarm but he has decorated his bonnet with feathers and has a largish falling band at his throat.

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April 8, 2012


Also from The Manner of Crying Things in London printed in 1640. Very similar bodice and petticoat to the bandstring seller, but a lower crowned hat and a large leather purse peeking out from the tabs of her bodice. There is no visible fixing on the front of the bodice opening, neither buttons nor laces, so it must have been closed with hooks and eyes. Notice also the length of the radish roots. Obviously this vegetable was longer and thinner in the 1640s.

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