Archive for ‘Women’

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?

 

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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 10, 2017

Strange Nevves from Newgate

…and the Old-Baily: or The proofs, examinations, declarations, indictments, conviction, and confessions of I. Collins, and T. Reeve, two of the Ranters taken in More-lane, at the Generall Sessions of gaol-delivery; holden in the Old-Baily the twentieth day, of this instant Ianuary, the penalties that are inflicted upon them. The proceedings against one Parson Williams for having four wives, and Iohn Iackson a Scots minister, condemned to be drawn, hanged, and quartered, for proclaiming Charles Stuart, King of England, with the strange and wonderfull judgement of God shewed upon one T. Kendall, a Ranter in Drury-lane who fell down dead as he was affirming that there is no God, or hell to punish. Published according to order

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A scurrilous 17th century tabloid, published in London in 1652, although someone has handwritten 1650 on the cover. The text details criminal trials in London the previous week and include John Jackson a Scots minister sentenced to death for supporting King Charles, ‘one Williams’, convicted of multiple bigamy, and two ranters arrested for ‘blasphemy’ in Moor Lane. The scene is pictured on page three along with a rather racy description.

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The text says ‘Collins, Reeves and others were sat at table eating a piece of beef. One of then took it in hand and tearing it assunder said to the others “This is the flesh of Christ, take and eat” The other took a cup of ale in his hand and threw it into a Chimney Corner saying ‘This is the blood of Christ“. And having some discourse of God it was proved that one of these said “That he could go into the House of Office and make a God every Morning“. By easing of his body and blowing through two pieces of Tobacco Pipes he said “That was the Breath of God“. There was also proved many other Blasphemous Words and uncivil behaviour, as the kissing of one another’s Breeches, more lively represented by this figure: (naughty picture alarm, but notice the length of his shirt tails)

 

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The bad people (crime never prospers children) were punished to six months in prison. The chap above has separated the breeches and doublet by unhooking the two and is holding up the long tails of his shirt. The naughty lady has a nice coif, a waistcoat and petticoat plus I suspect an apron and kerchief.

Further on in the text is the story of another Ranter, Mr Kendall who was caught and tried for lewd behaviour in Drury Lane, discoursing with a woman whom he called his Fellow Creature (I think we all know someone like Mr Kendall) and was persuading her to have his pleasure with her and said there was no God or Divell, affirming that all things come through Nature. Here he is in pictures.

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Neither did Mr Kendall prosper, even in his smart suit and cloak, for no sooner had he made the appointment than he was struck dead on the spot. As the text goes on to say, “A Sinner doeth wickedly an hundred times and his Dayes be prolonged yet remember for all this he must come to Judgement“.

Quite

 

February 10, 2017

Puritan Lady

British (English) School; Portrait of a Puritan Lady

Another unnamed portrait by an unnamed artist, this time in the Berwick Museum and Art Gallery. The canvas is dated 1638 and the title it’s been given says she’s a puritan. This was the catch all title for the collection of independent protestant sects, all slightly different from the next that grew up in the first half of the seventeenth century and exploded during the turmoil caused by the war. However she could just as easily be a member of a more established church group, or even a (gasp) catholic, there’s no way to tell from what she’s wearing how she worshipped.

The fine details show her double layer linen cuffs and the layers of fine see-through linen that comprise her neck covering. It’s up for debate, but around this time it could have been called a kerchief or a partlet. Both terms were in use, we just don’t know what (if any) distinction there was between the two. The layers however are so thin that you can see her smock beneath the fabric. The details of her bodice (or maybe waistcoat) are tricky to see as it has been painted so blackly there are no details. She has a coral bracelet on her wrist. These were worn as good luck charms and also were thought to have healing properties. Her hair seems to be undressed. but she has covered it with a magnificent broad brimmed hat.

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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M

February 6, 2015

Portrait of a Lady

By Sir Peter Lely, painted sometime in the 1640s. She’s wearing a black bodice or waistcoat (difficult to see any detail in the way Lely has depicted it) with her smock showing above the neckline and a plain linen kerchief pinned over the top. It’s a very sober portrait, but she has dressed her hair with a string of pearls and at least one drop earring. This picture came up for sale via Phillip Mould and Co who were also kind enough to grant permission for me to use this image.

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April 10, 2014

The history of the Most Vile Dimagoras

An epic poem by John Quarles published in London in 1658. Slightly beyond our time, but this picture caught my eye today because of the cap being worn by the cavalry trooper in the foreground.

He is dressed in a short jump coat with slashed sleeves, breeches and riding boots. On his head he is wearing a montero cap, a woollen peaked cap with skirts that fold down for protection in bad weather. There aren’t many of these caps in illustrations from England, though they do appear in literature and seem to have been reasonably common for soldiers of the period. Nice simple sword too. The lady he is menacing has free flowing hair, often a sign of distress and a petticoat and bodies. The cavalry in the rear may also be wearing montero caps, though it’s tricky to tell.

 

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April 4, 2014

A Catalogue of the Several Sects and Opinions (Part 4)

The Anabaptist. believed that candidates for baptism should be able to make a confession of faith at the same time and as such rejected the accepted method of baptising infants. This was a hot topic in the 1640s and long tracts were written about it putting both sides of the argument. Both the candidate and the baptising minister are stripped to their underclothes, this being one of the only images from the period of a man wearing (under) drawers.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 13.13.56Poore men contrive strange fancies in the braine,

To cleanse that guilt which is a Leopard staine:
‘Tis but a fain’d conceit, contended for,
Since water can but act its outward matter:
Regenerate, new-born; these babes indeed
of watry Elements have little need.

Familists were a mysterious sect founded in the 16th century by Henry Nicholls (HN in the rhyme) and believed that things were ruled by nature, not directly by God as the popular opinion of the times would have it. They also rejected infant baptism and the movement appealed to the cognoscenti; artists, musicians and intellectuals. This chap is looking rather superior in a tall hat and coat.

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Were all things Gospell that H.N. hath said,
A strange confused worke were newly laid:
A perfect state, like Adams, is pretended,
Whilst out wardly each day God is offended:
No Sabboth, but alike all daies shall be,
If Familists may have their Liberty.

Seekers were probably the forerunners of Quakers. They rejected the organised church system, preferring to wait for God’s revelation. Our seeker is wearing a tabbed doublet rather than a coat and is proffering his hat in a respectful way.

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All Ordinances, Church and Ministry,
The Seeker that hath lost his beaten way,
Denies: for miracles he now doth waite,
Thus glorious truths reveal’d are out of date:
Is it not just such men should alwaies doubt
Of clearest truths, in Holy Writ held out.

The Divorcer. Not another sect, but someone who didn’t believe in the sanctity of marriage. The law allowed divorce in certain circumstances but this guy is obviously taking the law into his own hands. Mr and Mrs are wearing nice tall hats, the wife also in a smart petticoat and kerchief whilst the husband has a coat and plain falling band. I trust the staff is no bigger than his thumb!

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To warrant this great Law of Separation,
And make one two, requires high aggravation:
Adultry onely cuts the Marriage-knot,
Without the which Gods Law allowes it not.
Then learn to seperate from sin that’s common,
And man shall have more Comfort from a woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2014

Popular Errours

Or the errours of the people in physick, first written in Latine by the learned physitian James Primrose Doctor in Physick. The Latin version was published in 1638, but the English translation came out in 1651 and featured this image. It was a defence of the arts of the learned physician against quack and untrained doctors written in an entertaining style, presumably so that he could reach the largest audience possible.

The picture shows a poor fellow in his sick bed, being ministered to by a doctor, but also a well meaning goodwife who is trying to help but is being restrained by an angel of mercy. She is wearing a petticoat, waistcoat, long apron, ruff collar and a wide brimmed hat over a linen coif. The doctor in a gown, cap and ruff and the ill fellow in his shirt and night cap.

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Here is a closer image of the woman. I’m still not completely sure what she is wearing on her upper half. Perhaps her apron reaches to her chin and she has tucked it under her stiffened bodies? There is a lovely poem on the facing page which represents the busy body trying to take over:

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 08.40.02Loe here a woman comes in charitie
To see the sicke, and brings her remedie.
You’ve got some grievous cold, alas! (quoth she)
It lies sore in your bones, no part is free.
His pulse is weake, his vrine’s colour’d high,
His nose is sharpe, his nostrills wide, he’le die.
They talke of Rubarb, Sene, and Agaricke,
Of Cassia, Tamarinds, and many a tricke,
Tush, give the Doctors leave to talk, I’ve brought
pepper posset, nothing can be bought
Like this i’th ‘Pothecaries shoppe; alone
It cures the Fever, Strangury, and Stone;
If not there’s danger, yet before all faile,
Ile have a Cawdle for you, or Mace-ale:
And Ile prepare my Antimoniall Cuppe
To cure your Maladie, one little suppe
Will doe more good, and is of more desert
Then all Hippocrates, or Galens Art.
But loe an Angell gently puts her backe,
Lest such erroneous course the sicke doe wracke,
Leads the Physitian, and guides his hand,
Approves his Art, and what he doth must stand.
Tis Art that God allowes, by him ’tis blest
To cure diseases, leave then all the rest. 

January 31, 2014

The manner and form of the Arch-bishops Tryal in the House of Peers

An engraving appended to the end of A breviate of the life, of VVilliam Laud Arch-Bishop of Canterbury: extracted (for the most part) verbatim, out of his owne diary, and other writings, under his owne hand. / Collected and published at the speciall instance of sundry honourable persons, as a necessary prologue to the history of his tryall, for which the criminal part of his life, is specially reserved by William Prynne of Lincolnes Inne, Esquier, published in 1644. The engraving is by Wenceslaus Hollar.

As ever though, the best part of these crowd engravings is the little details that come out when you zoom in.

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At the back of the hall, in the foreground an splendid selection of coats and cloaks, showing the reverse side that you don’t often get in portraits. One or two caps being worn too and a dog seems to have sneaked in on the left hand side.

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An annotated group here. A marks the Archbishop in his gown and a black day cap. Unusual not to see him in his bishop’s robes, the rocket with white sleeves would have stood out had he been wearing it. B is black rod, C the Lieutenant of the Tower, D the council for Laud and E the clark who reads the evidence, looking very pleased with himself in a short cloak and laced band. F is a table.

 

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A small group of women here against the tapestried wall on the right hand side. G is the area reserved for members of the Commons, H is Henry Burton who had had his ears removed for criticising Laud in a pamphlet. Henry looks like he might be wearing a ruff. I marks various witnesses, one of whom was  Susannah Bastwick, smartly attired in linen kerchief and a coif. Susannah was the wife of John Bastwick who had also lost his ears in the pillory.

 

 

 

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