Archive for ‘Upper class’

February 28, 2017

Anthropometamorphosis Appendix 1

Exhibiting the Pedigree of the English Gallant.

Continuing my discussion of John Bulwer’s book from 1653, I’ve skipped to the back and the appendix where as he says in the text:

“Upon the Relation of this intended Practicall Metamorphosis, I perceived that all men thought me to be necessarily ingaged to touch upon the transformation and deformity of Apparell; the thing offering it selfe so naturally, every Scene almost affording some emergent occasion or other for such a Discourse. Which conceit, I confesse, I had admitted, but that I desired to keep close to my proper Argument. A little therefore to answer expectation, I thought good to annex this Appendix, wherein I shall a little explaine this Proverbe, God makes, and the Tailor shapes.”

It’s strong stuff, but his theory seems to be that whatever strange fashion had been thought up in England, there was a foreign country where it had already been thought of. For instance painting your face, using beauty patches and wearing large earrings.

His captions, not mine by the way, They’re not terribly PC, but then neither is most of this book. The chap with the earrings has also waxed his moustache I suspect and is wearing a smart linen band over his doublet.

He compares slashed doublets (nice 1630s style one in the woodcut) to tribesmen in Africa who use body scars as a tribal marking, and goes on to discuss the mid seventeenth century lowering of the waist line

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“When we wore short-wasted Doublets, and but a little lower than our Breasts, we would maintaine by militant reasons that the waste was in its right place as Nature intended it: but when after (as lately) we came to weare them so long wasted, yea, almost so low as our Privities, then began we to condemn the former fashion as fond, intollerable, and deformed, and to commend the later as comely, handsome, and commendable.”

This all sounds very familiar, fashion seemed to change as much then as it does now.

Then he moves on the the ladies. He’s no less scathing, and yes those are boobies (low cut bodice, nicely dressed hair):

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“That upstart impudence and innovation of naked breasts, and cutting or hallowing downe the neck of womens garments below their shoulders, an exorbitant and shamefull enormity and habit, much worne by our semi-Adamits, is another meere peece of refined Barbarisme, as if it were done in designe, as one saith, whose thoughts were neare upon contemporary with my conceit, to facilitate an accommodation with those American Ladies in the Court of King Atabiliba,or Pocahuncas “

My favourite part still is the shoes, but I will leave that for another post.

 

 

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February 21, 2017

Anthropometamorphosis

=man transform’d: or, the artificiall changling historically presented, in the mad and cruell gallantry, foolish bravery, ridiculous beauty, filthy finenesse, and loathsome loveliness of most nations, fashioning and altering their bodies from the mould intended by nature; with figures of those transfigurations. To which artificiall and affected deformations are added, all the native and nationall monstrosities that have appeared to disfigure the humane fabrick. With a vindication of the regular beauty and honesty of nature. And an appendix of the pedigree of the English gallant. This book was written by John Bulwer and first published in 1650. The second edition in 1653 had added woodcuts. Here is the author from the front page of the second edition looking suitably authorial dressed in one of those artistic cloaks that artists seem to like (maybe it gives good reason not to paint all those messy costume details) with a plain falling band (spot the overlapping edges) and a nice decorative tassel on his bandstring.

John Bulwer. Anthropometamorphosis: man transform'd (London, 1653)

John was a doctor, but took a sabatical to write several books exploring the body and communication by gesture which was a particular interest. This tome as the title suggests is all about how the body can be altered from its natural state by clothes, tattoos, body adornments etc. Some of his information came from Dutch colonial settlers and the work has been described as one of the first studies in comparative cultural anthropology. The fronticepiece is very interesting and some of the characters depicted appear later in the book. For our purposes the lady bottom centre is worth studying as not many rear views appear in contemporary illustrations. You can see the petticoat gathers, the cut of her bodice and the rear of her kerchief. I also quite like the guy on the left with a face in his bum. Perhaps literally talking out of it?

 

anthrometamorphosis-plate

Anyway, what drew the book to me was this image of a girl in a tight laced bodice and the descriptive text. It’s in chapter 20 (he calls them scenes); Dangerous Fashions and desperate Affectations about the Breast and the Waste. The girl is wearing a linen coif on her head, a tightly laced bodice with sleeves and a nice layered kerchief.

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John is pretty forthright in his opinion. He says: ‘Another foolish affection there is in young Virgins, though grown big enough to be wiser, but that they are led blindfold by Custome to a fashion pernicious beyond imagination; who thinking a slender waste a great beauty, strive all that they possibly can by streight-lacing themselves, to attain unto a wand-like smallnesses of waste, never thinking themselves fine enough untill they can span their Waste. By which deadly Artifice they reduce their Breasts into such streights, that they soon purchase a stinking breath; and while they ignorantly affect an august or narrow Breast, and to that end by strong compulsion shut up their Wasts in a Whale-bone prison, or little ease; they open a door to Consumptions, and a withering rottenness.’

Good advice I say. There’s a lot more to look at in this book, particularly the appendix on the English Gallant. I shall return,

 

February 7, 2017

Sir Edward Dering

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Sir Edward’s portrait was painted by Dobson, probably in 1642. He had raised a royalist cavalry regiment at the start of the war but by all accounts, soldiering wasn’t really his thing. He was in ill health before hostilities began and wasn’t too enamoured of the thought of life on campaign. He subsequently resigned his commission in 1643 and died in June 1644. You can see from his world weary look that he wasn’t not too keen when he sat for Dobson. He wrote a book, Discourse of Proper Sacrifice in 1640 that was published shortly before he died. He had long been keen on the King’s church reforms and the thrust of the text was his hope for peace and the return of the King to Parliament. He wrote “In the meantime, I dare wish that he would make less value of such men both lay and clergy who, by running on the Canterbury pace, have made our breaches so wide and take less delight in the specious way of cathedral devotions”

Sir Edward stares into the distance with a well furrowed brow and his plain linen band and understated strings suggest he’s in his campaign clothes. It’s also been creased somehow since it was last washed and (presumably) pressed The pale taffeta scarf is edged with a small amount of lace too. The plain linen cuffs on his shirt look like they are stained from action and a black or dark brown doublet will also hide the dirt. The turn-back cuffs on the doublet show a red lining. Even the sword belt is a plain serviceable one. This picture hangs in the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh in Brecon

November 17, 2015

The Humerous Tricks and Conceits

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.

 

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November 16, 2015

Dorothy Bonham

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 Bonham

Dorothy was some looker, forty years earlier. Both paintings are at Ightham Mote House  in Kent.

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February 6, 2015

Charles I, Studio of Daniel Mytens

King Charles painted in a smaller version of the picture that would eventually become the famous portrait in his robes for the Order of the Garter. It’s earlier than our period, but worth looking at for the detailing of his clothes which I’m pretty sure are accurate given the way Mytens (or one of his followers) has also rendered the texture of the carpet and the sheen on the table covering.

His hat is generously plumed and his falling band (that is almost completely lace) lies over the red and white robes of the order. His shot silk doublet is high waisted and of the 1630s style with sharply angled tabs and ribbon points. You can see how stiff the tabs are by the fact that the right hand edge of his robes are held back behind the right front tab. The sleeves are slashed and gathered in a way that accentuate his slender arms but also shows the fine linen of his shirt beneath. His matching breeches are quite closely cut and the silk seems to have been slashed or pinked as an extra decoration. He’s also wearing a very fine pair of white shoes with jewelled rosette ties and some oddly mismatched blue hose on his lower legs. Yet again many thanks to Phillip mould and Co for permission to use this copywrite image from their website

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February 3, 2015

Portrait of a Gentleman

Painted by a follower of Gilbert Jackson in 1634. This unnamed dapper gentleman of 30 is looking at us with a real ‘devil may care’ gaze, with his hand securely in the pocket of his breeches, an unusual stance in a painting from this date. He is wearing a neatly tailored grey doublet. If the painter’s depiction is accurate, this is a well made garment with sharp lines and very neat seams.  The sleeve seams are open to display his shirt and ribbon points around his waist presumably hold his breeches up, though at this point, cord points were becoming decorative. The attachment to the breeches was more often than not achieved with metal hooks and eyes with the eyes being sewn to a girdle-stead fixed inside the doublet. He’s also wearing a plain-ish wide falling band with a narrow lace decoration (with matching cuffs) and pom pom decoration on his bandstrings. Nice row of closely spaced buttons down the front. The picture is in the Chequers Collection.Portrait of a Gentleman aged 30 Gilbert Jackson

October 27, 2014

Sir John Stanhope

Painted sometime before 1638 by an unknown British artist, Sir John Stanhope of Elvaston Castle was member of parliament early in the King’s reign and active in politics right through the 1630s until his death in 1638. He incurred the wrath of the Sherrif of Derbyshire John Gell by refusing to pay Ship Money. Gell revenged himself in the Civil War by defacing Stanhope’s monument in Elvaston Church.

Sir John is wearing a black doublet slashed both in the body and sleeves so the linen of his shirt is easily seen. His falling band is neatly darted and adorned with some sober lace and subtle bandstrings. Notice the wedding ring worn on a string around his neck. The painting is kept at the National Trust property of the Old Manor Norbury in Derbyshire.

Sir John Stanhope of Elvaston, Derby

June 3, 2014

Richard Lovelace

The poet and soldier for the Crown, painted by John de Critz in college robes. Lovelace was educated at Oxford where he was granted the degree of Master of Arts. Despite being described in wikipedia as having fought for the King, it turns out that his military career was all on the continent and he was not involved in the Civil War at all. His most celebrated verses are  from his poem entitled “To Althea, From Prison”:

“Stone walls do not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage;

Minds innocent and quiet take

That for an hermitage”

 

Richard is wearing his masters gown over what looks to be a doublet and waistcoat beneath, as there are definitely two layers, both heavily buttoned. On his head he wears a scholar’s square cap and a plain linen band around his neck.

 

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The tassels on his band strings appear to be made of tiny knots, rather like an example in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4.

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In this detail you can see the intricate work on the buttons and also the embroidery on his glove cuffs.

 

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May 29, 2014

The Military discipline

………wherein is martially showne the order for driling the musket and pike : set forth in postures with ye words of comand and brief instructions for the right use of the same.  Sold by Thomas. Jenner (at the foot of the Exchange in London) 1642.

An eight page drill book showing the standard pike and musket positions, published just before the war and including some nice plates of soldiers drilling in various costumes. These four caught my eye as they are all wearing the peaked cap with a folded outer skirt known at the time as a montero. There are scant few images of these hats from England in the 1640s, making these pictures quite rare to say the least.

 

The first chap seems to be dressed as an officer in long boots, nice breeches, gauntlets, armour consisting of back, breast and tassets and laced a falling band. His cap is decorated with plumes and conforms to the officer’s style with little room in the side skirt for folding. Why would you need protection from the cold when you could just go indoors?

 

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The second figure, a musketeer is dressed more plainly. Shoes instead of boots, though his hose have a turn down that echoes boot hose. His breeches are decorated with some kind of top stitching and extravagant ribbon bows. He also appears to be wearing a doublet with slashed sleeves beneath a buff coat and plain linen collar and band. The montero is also plumed, but there is more room in this one for folds in the skirt. If you look closely, there are also some stitches drawn in around the peak.

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The last guy, getting ready to spit his ball down his musket barrel has quite a lot of decoration on his kit, from the ribbon rosettes on his shoes, up the laced and pointed legs of his breeches to the slashed sleeve of his doublet and laced falling band. He’s quite a dapper fellow. His montero is again six panes and some sewing is visible on the crown this time.

 

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