Archive for ‘Women’

January 15, 2014

Mercurius Civicus

Londons intelligencer, or, Truth really imparted from thence to the whole kingdome to prevent misinformation …A parliament propaganda newsletter produced roughly once a week from 1643 to 1646 which gave all the news from a London perspective, a bit like the seventeenth century Evening Standard. This is the front page from the April 4th-11th 1644 issue. The bye line at the top was:

The general Rendezvouz, the Oxford Junto frighted.

Waltham house taken by the London Brigade.

The Hamlets and the Southwarke Regiment advanced.

Several Speeches made at the Common Hall on Tuesday last

It’s not obvious however to which story in the text that the image depicts. It is particular to this edition, but doesn’t really correspond to any of the reports. It may be the Oxford Junto story, as there were several Digbys on the Royalist side, but I can’t be sure nor why they were so keen for help.

Anyway, it’s a nice image, (though not particularly detailed) of a group of men sat around a table in doublet and breeches with the ubiquitous wide-brimmed hats and those funny little triangles that look like falling bands but which I believe are the linings of their cloaks as they hang back off the shoulders. In the right hand side, there is a gentleman and a lady seated in a balcony. Although it’s a rough woodcut, you can see they are finely dressed and the lady is wearing a black hood or chaperone tied at her throat. Possibly the King and Queen? Who knows?

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January 13, 2014

London’s Lamentation

Or a fit admonishment for city and countrey, wherein is described certaine causes of this affliction and visitation of the plague, yeare 1641. which the Lord hath been pleased to inflict upon us, and withall what meanes must be used to the Lord, to gaine his mercy and favor, with an excellent spirituall medicine to be used for the preservative both of body and soule.

Printed in London 1641, this little book was an exhortation to the people of London to act more responsibly in view of another of the periodical visitations of the plague in London. The city had been free of the plague for eleven years and I suspect most people had though it had gone for good. What the text reveals is the deep seated belief that any natural disaster was as a direct result of a lack of piety in the populace. The remedy for making sure the disease didn’t return is particularly telling:

…let the Patient that is in danger of any infection or any other disease take and use this spiritual medicine, first in the morning when thou arisest out of thy bed, fall down on thy knees, and give God thanks, that he hath preserved thee the night past from all dangers, and desire him of his mercy, to preserve thee the day following, bless his holy name and magnify him, for her is thy maker, and thou art his creature, thus passé away the day in the service of the Lord and at night , when thou list down to sleep, desire the Lord be thy keeper and defender.

This is the picture on the front cover. The top image shows how London still honoured the dead, even during the plague; (the one at the top dressed only in his shirt) bodies being carried to the burial grounds in coffins by workmen in short doublets and breeches and followed by mourners, the men in cloaks, the women in waistcoats and petticoat skirts. Graves were still dug by grave diggers (wearing caps). The lower pane shows a more rough and ready method of disposing the dead possibly used outside the city, with the dead being dragged to a communal pit on sleds or just by their boots.

 

British Library   E 166  (10)    tp

 

Good people all pray, fast and pray,

That is the chief and only way,

’twill cause the Lord his wrath to stay,

Let this be done, use no delay

 

Now death doth play an envious part,

He strikes full many to the heart,

Yet from grim death ne’re seeme to start,

 ’tis God that may release our smart

January 6, 2014

Elizabeth, Lady Coventry

Painted by Cornelius Janssens van Ceulen in the 1630s, Elizabeth was wife to Sir Thomas, first Baron Coventry who was a career lawyer and involved in several high profile legal cases through the years before the wars, though treading a politic central line between the King and parliament, he managed to keep his position for many years.

Elizabeth is wearing a black dress, presumably bodice and petticoat skirt, though it is tricky to see any details, a black coif on her head, with a triple-layered kerchief around her neck and matching lace on her cuffs.

The painting is in the collection of the Sheffield Museums

Lady Coventry

 

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January 6, 2014

Elizabeth Murray, Countess of Dysart

with her first Husband Sir Lionel Tollemache and her sister, Margaret Murray, Lady Maynard, painted by Joan Carlile in 1648. Elizabeth was a royalist sympathiser and a prominent member of the Sealed Knot during the Commonwealth but also numbered amongst her regular house guests the Protector Oliver Cromwell. Suffice to say, Elizabeth was a formidable woman, Countess Dysart in her own right and a regular traveller to the continent to visit exiled royalists, including Charles II.

Elizabeth and her sister are wearing the wide sleeved, low cut bodices with attached petticoat skirts that were popular in the late 1640s whilst Sir Lionel (who is characteristically in the background) is dressed in a long coat with a pair of long boots over matching black hose.

The picture hangs in the National Trust property Ham House, in Richmond-upon-Thames

Elizabeth Murray (1626–1698), Countess of Dysart, with Her First Husband, Sir Lionel Tollemache

December 2, 2013

The Loyall Sacrifice

…..presented in the lives and deaths of those two eminent-heroick patternes, for valour, discipline, and fidelity; the generally beloved and bemoaned, Sir Charls Lucas, and Sir George Lisle, knights. Being both shot to death at Colchester, five houres after the surrender. This is the frontispiece of an anonymous sixteen page pamphlet by someone calling himself Philocrates published in 1648 shortly after the siege of Colchester was raised and the two Royalist commanders summarily executed in the aftermath. The booklet is a potted history of the siege and execution from the royalist perspective.

Both officers are depicted in buffcoats (though the account details Lucas pulling open his doublet to expose his breast to the aim of the firing party), hats, boots and unconfined breeches. The four musketeers who look rather uncomfortable with their weapons are bareheaded with soldier’s coats, breeches and shoes.

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November 29, 2013

Family Portrait

This picture came up for sale at Christies in London in 2011, and is described as “Family portrait, small three-quarter-length, in black, red and white dress”. It has scant provenance, and in fact is inscribed on the frame with a story of how it turned up: ‘This oil painting washed ashore at Rottingdean with other wreckage from the Australian ship “Simla”,: Run down by the ship City of Lucknow, Feb 25th 1884’. It’s a lovely picture of a typical family from the seventeenth century and has the look of those Dutch master paintings of ordinary folk that hardly ever turn up in portraits by English artists

The people in the picture are dressed in clothes that place the time of the picture in the 1640s or thereabouts, and seem to be as described, a family group. They mostly look at us from the picture, though the three figures on the right look across the picture at the eldest member of the family.  He is presumably the grandfather of the family and is dressed in a gown and ruff collar with a lace edged day cap. The husband and wife (I imagine) are in their best blacks. The wife with a neat plain layered kerchief and a black hood over hers (perhaps this refers to a lost child), whilst the man of the house is in a plain black doublet and a neat falling band. If you look closely though, he has left the lower buttons unfastened so you can see his shirt. The three children are all dressed in petticoats and aprons and there is no way to tell if they are boys or girls from what they are wearing. The seventh figure  is partly hidden by an open door and seems to be wearing a red waistcoat over petticoat skirts and an apron and kerchief.

Family portrait, small three-quarter-length, in black, red and white dress

November 27, 2013

Catherine Lucas, Lady Pye

Painted by Henry Giles in 1639, Catherine was the sister of Margaret Cavendish Duchess of Newcastle and spent at least some part of the Civil War in Oxford.  She certainly looks pretty well to do in this painting which is in the National Trust’s care in Bradenham Manor.

She is dressed in her finest black petticoat and bodice over what looks like a brocaded underskirt. Her linen kerchief is layered and like her cuffs is made from very fine see through linen, through which you can see the details of her smock. She is also wearing an outrageously wide brimmed hat over a lace edged coif. Only subtle adornments, a black ribbon holding her kerchief down and an understated coral bracelet on each wrist.

Catherine Lucas

October 31, 2013

A Pleasant Comedy

Called a Mayden-head Well Lost. As it hath beene publickly acted at the Cocke-pit in Drury-land with much Applause by her Majesties Servants. Written by Thomas Heywood. First published in 1634 this was a popular play that was reprinted several times. The plot was typically labyrinthine and involved Julia the daughter of the Duke of Milan who discovers she is pregnant just before she is supposed to be marrying the Prince of Parma.

The introductory ‘Letter to the Reader’ is interesting as in sounds a note of caution to indicate that innocent entertainment like this might become a bone of contention: ‘this can be drawn within the critical censure of that most horrible Histriomatix, whose uncharitable doome having damned all such to the flames of Hell, hath itself already suffered a most remarkeable fire here upon earth’. Histriomatix was written by the puritan William Prynne and was a scathing attack on the Rennaissance theatre and festivals such as Christmas. It was a foretaste of the religious turmoil that was just around the corner.

The image is an engraving from the front page and shows a scene from the play. Most of the men are dressed in doublet, hat and falling band, but note the clown on the right of the table in a long checkered petticoat and striped hat. This was the uniform of the fool; Tom Skelton of Muncaster Castle, the original Tom Fool was roughly contemporary and was painted in a similar garb. Julia is pictured in a petticoat, bodice and a decorated collar.

 

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October 23, 2013

Rats, Milk and Collyflowers

From an etching dated 1655, part of the Cryes of London series by Robert Pricke. The rat catcher displays his prowess on a board and is dressed smartly in doublet, breeches and shoes with a wide brimmed hat and sober falling band.

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The milk seller has perched a bucket of milk on her head. She’s dressed in a waistcoat and petticoat over which she has sensibly added an apron and neckerchief. She is also wearing a hat and coif combo on her head, presumably to help her cope with the weight of the milk.

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This lady is selling nice ripe colly-flowers. They don’t look quite like our cultivated ones, though they’re not that far off. I wonder if they were as white as modern cultivars? She is dressed identically to the milk seller. Compare her shoes with the rat catcher. They are the same style.

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October 21, 2013

Lady Ann Fanshawe

Painted by Cornelius Johnson, Lady Ann was wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe the royalist courtier and diplomat. After the war she wrote an account of their adventures and travels during the hostilities. Here, in a more peaceful time she is painted in a black silk bodice and wrap over a fine low cut linen smock with lace edging to the collar. The linen and lace is so fine as to be transparent. The painting is kept at Valence House Museum in Barking, Essex.

Ann Fanshawe (1625–1680), Wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe