February 9, 2017
I can find no biographical information about Thomas, but his portrait (by an unknown artist) hangs in the collection of the Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service. He’s an oddly modern looking cove staring out at us with his raffish moustache and short hair, but his clothes are straight out of the late 1630s, early 1640s. His doublet is nicely figured black velvet and he has the kind of decorative point decorations around his waistband that were a remnant of the old fashioned method of tying your breeches to your doublet with ribbon points. I wouldn’t mind betting that underneath his tailor has sewn the more modern hooks and eyes. The sleeve seam is open to show off his shirt linen and the other visible linen, falling band and cuffs is superb.
The lace on his band is exquisite and the tassels of his band-strings are just magnificent in the detail. Also not the fineness of the linen of his cuffs and the tiny darts that shape them to his sleeve.
This detail is lovely too, the crispness of the linen is obvious and the work on the darts around his neck show this was made by an expert seamstress. You can also see where the artist has tried to show the gathers of the lace around the right angle of the band on his right hand side so it lays nice and flat.
November 17, 2015
of Prince Roberts malignant she-monkey, discovered to the world before her marriage. Also the manner of her marriage to a cavaleer and how within three dayes space, she called him cuckold to his face, London 1643
One of those anti-royalist pamphlets referring to Prince Rupert’s selection of pets. His poodle Boye was also the subject of some derision but here is his monkey, presumably about the blow smoke cheekily in the face of her cuckolded husband.
She is wearing a hood tied beneath her chin, a short petticoat effort hiding her simian modesty (this is not standard 1640s fashion as far as I can tell) and a shoulder belt for her sword. The cavalier is wearing a long buttoned coat with turn back sleeves over a short doublet and tapered breeches. His linen band is smart with a modest lace edge and his riding boots (spot the spurs) are folded in the common style to show off his boot hose.
November 16, 2015
And an unknown boy, painted by an unknown artist around 1638-41. Dorothy, or more correctly Dame Dorothy may or may not have been Lady in Waiting to Elizabeth I in her youth and was also rumoured to have played a part in foiling the Gunpowder Plot, though later investigation revealed that her part was choosing the story as the subject of a tapestry that she made after the event! Dorothy died in 1641 apparently from being pricked by an infected needle (though this may have been fabricated too to attract visitors to the Hall) shortly after this portrait was completed. A popular story has her body walled up and her ghost walking the corridors of Ightham Mote. Sadly also not true, the grand Dame was safely interred in the local churchyard, but why let the facts get in the way of a cracking story?
Anyway, this picture caught my eye because Dorothy is not dressed in the latest fashion unlike the rather sad little boy in pink stood next to her. She is wearing a black petticoat and bodice over which she seems to have a red partlet or (perhaps a sleeveless waistcoat) covering her body and a large starched ruff around her neck. She’s keeping her head warm with a black hood and possibly a lace coif underneath. The boy is in a fashionable pink suit; matching doublet (slashed sleeves to show his shirt), breeches (trimmed with ribbon) and short cloak with a laced linen falling band and cuffs with matching ribbons on his shoes and pink hose.
Dorothy was some looker, forty years earlier. Both paintings are at Ightham Mote House in Kent.
October 5, 2015
The royalist mayor of Devizes who kept the Swan in the town was painted by an unnamed artist in 1643 He’s wearing a tall crowned felt hat and what looks like (from the cuffs) a brown coat over a black doublet. On top of the whole layered ensemble is a paler brown cloak and a neat linen falling band. The portrait is in the Wiltshire Museum collection
October 26, 2014
Painted in 1635, I guess as a companion piece to the portrait of her husband Edward, and also by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen. Elizabeth is pictured in a sober black satin bodice with just a tiny strip of her white smock peeping out above the neckline and a black lace scarf or sash draped across her right shoulder. Her hair is dressed but uncovered and she is staring straight out of the picture with the same gaze as her husband. Picture is in the collection of the Birmingham Museums Trust
October 23, 2014
Painted by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen in 1635, Edward was Groom of the Bedchamber to the King, wounded at Edgehill and died of fever during the Siege of Oxford in 1643. He is pictured in some kind of drapy velvet thing, t(he kind of clothing that artists like for composition, but which do nothing for the wearer) over his gatherd shirt of fine, almost see-through linen tied at the neck by a black ribbon. The picture is in the collection of the Birmingham Museums Trust.
April 3, 2014
..…..and other nations With a briefe rehearsall of their false and dangerous tenants. A single page broadsheet from January 1646 which amounted to a spotter’s guide of the various religious groups that were springing up all over England during the confused times. Each picture has an accompanying piece of doggerel to go with it. I shall go through one by one as the details are worth pointing out.
The Jesuit is wearing a cloak over a longish coat with a broad brimmed hat. His linen falling band is laid over his cloak
By hellish wiles the States to ruine bring,
My Tenents are to murder Prince or King:
If I obtaine my projects, or seduce,
Then from my Treasons I will let them loose:
And since the Roman Papall State doth totter,
I’le frame my sly-conceits to worke the better.
One Evins a Welch man was lately commited to Newgate for saying hee was Christ. He’s sporting a coat (which is buttoned all the way down), breeches and is bareheaded. The cuffs of his coat are turned back, or faced in a contrasting colour
By cunning art my way’s more nearly spun,
Although destructive to profession;
Obscuring truths, although substantiall,
To puzle Christians or to make them fall:
That precious time may not be well improv’d,
Ile multiply strange notions for the lewd.
November 28, 2013
From 1655. Refer to part one for a description of the book. Suffice to say these images are securely dated to this publication.
This picture relates to a despute over tobacco duty. Arthur Hessilrige was involved in one case, interceding over a consignment that had supposedly been labelled as foreign and liable for duty when it wasn’t. Here Isabel Orde has her roll of tobacco confiscated whilst she was selling it on the local market.
Isabel is wearing a hat over a coif with a petticoat and apron and a smart kerchief. The ruffian trying to make off with the tobacco has a short-tabbed doublet, breeches and a broad brimmed hat. The chaps around the pack horse are similarly dressed though the guy holding the reins is dressed for the saddle with long boots and nice button decoration on the seams of his breeches.
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