Posts tagged ‘armour’

March 12, 2015

Colonel Francis Hammond

Painted by an unknown artist, Francis Hammond was a career soldier who had fought on the Continent and even though he was getting on, in the Civil War, noteably leading the royalist Forlorn Hope at Edgehill in 1642. We have already seen his brother, Robert Hammond who was involved in the Kentish Uprising.

He’s clad in what looks like full armour with gilt rivets, though often this was something that was reserved for portraits rather than something you’d wear on the field. His scarf is nicely embroidered and fringed and his falling band, though plain has very fine hems and a nicely knotted bandstring tassel. The portrait is part of the Canterbury Museums Collection.

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June 4, 2014

Captain Robert “One Eye” Charnock

Painted sometime before 1650 by an unknown artist, One Eye (as he was presumably known to his friends) fought on the royalist side during the war and reputedly lost an eye at the Siege of Lathom. Consequently his roguish gaze has nothing to do with his character and everything to do with his war service.


He is bareheaded (with a thin comb-over) in this portrait and is wearing a leather lined gorget around his throat over a brown doublet that is decorated with some kind of cord piping around his waist echoing an earlier fashion of decorated points that would originally have connected to the breeches. His falling band is decorated with a thin edging of bone lace and an understated set of strings. The picture hangs in the Astley Hall Museum, Chorley.


Captain Robert 'One-Eye' Charnock

February 4, 2014

Charles I and Sir Edward Walker

Painted by an unknown artist shortly after 1650, this is a study of Charles and his Secretary at War Edmund Walker, ostensibly on campaign. The poses are staged in a tableau of Charles dictating a despatch, or maybe a proclamation to go to the printers. It’s such a static scene that it almost looks like a wax work, though notice all the subtle differences, not just in the poses, but also the clothes they are wearing that mark Charles out as the leader and Sir Edmund as the follower

Both men are wearing the blue ribbon as members of the Order of the Garter. They are both also oddly colour coordinated with each other, wearing blue doublet and breeches embroidered with gold thread, though the King’s doublet is more finely figured. Their buff coats match, though again Charles’s is more highly decorated. Edmund’s linen is plain whilst the King’s is edged with lace. He is also sporting a gilded breastplate. The picture hangs in the NPG in London and is © National Portrait Gallery.

Charles & Walker

September 6, 2013

Colonel, Lord Charles Cavendish

We’ve already met Charles Cavendish, the dashing Royalist officer in a painting held at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. This portrait also hangs there and is in many respects identical to the first one, but here Charles is a bit older and presumably more experienced in battle than his younger counterpart. He is wearing the same short buffcoat and breastplate, the sword is still there and oddly his hair style is identical (though I wouldn’t have expected a flattering portrait to show any grey hairs that had resulted from his military service). There is no waist scarf now and the braid on his sleeves runs vertically rather than horizontally with the large cuff turn-backs showing a rather nice red silky lining. His sword now hangs from a shoulder baldrick rather than a waist belt, and his falling band and cuffs are edged with lace instead of the plain ones he wore previously.

The main difference is the look he’s giving us from the picture. That’s the look of a man who has seen things he’d rather not have I feel. Not quite the hundred yard stare but definitely the effects of war.

Colonel, Lord Charles Cavendish (1620-1643)

August 13, 2013

Sir John Pennington

This portrait was painted by Gerard Soest sometime during the war. Sir John was Admiral of the Fleet to Charles I which meant that he wasn’t over taxed for the most past of  the civil war, because by the time he had returned with the Queen from the Continent, the King had lost most of the navy to Parliament. He did manage to maintain a fleet in the Bristol Channel for a time but that was about the extent of Sir John’s war.

He is pictured in front of a naval engagement in black day cap and back and breastplate over a grey silk doublet. His matching scarf is tied around the waist and patterned with gold threads. He’s also wearing a plain band with a bunch of grapes tassel on the bandstring.


I can’t find the whereabouts of the portrait. it was exhibited in the 1800s but since then has disappeared. I presume it is in private hands.


Sir John Pennington

May 29, 2013

Nathaniel Fiennes

Second son of the William Fiennes, the 1st Viscount Saye and Sele, Nathaniel had a mixed war on the Parliament side. He was elected MP for Banbury in 1640 and took part in several actions early on and fighting with distinction at Edgehill. Later he found himself embroiled in a political argument following his surrender of Bristol to Prince Rupert’s forces in 1643. He made a spirited defence of his actions for which he was really not at all at fault, but following this he retired from public life for the rest of the first civil war. This rather splendid portrait was painted during the war by Michiel Jansz van Miereveldt and hangs still in the Great Hall of Broughton Castle near Banbury, the ancestral home of the Fiennes family and is copyright Martin Fiennes.

Nathaniel wears clothes that at first sight are understated but if you look closely it’s real quality stuff. The sleeves and skirt of his buff coat are officer thickness. I’ve seen surviving ordinary trooper’s versions and the leather is much thinner. Pay close attention also to the scalloped edges on the over sleeves. His orange parliamentarian scarf is silk, and decorated with a thin stripe of silver thread embroidery. His falling band has been and tied down for action with the bandstrings, but notice the detail on the tassels. That’s not simple work either. The lace on his band is matched with his cuffs. His breast plate and righthand gauntlet are decorated with gilt rivets as is the helmet hanging beside him. Last but not least, his sword is a serviceable mortuary hilt rather than a rapier, but the handle is wrapped with gold wire.

Update. There are, as pointed out by two commenters, a set of tassets or leg protectors peeping out from below his buffcoat at the very bottom of the portrait. This makes no sense at all, you could never sit on a horse as Nathaniel would have done with armour that reached so low. Perhaps the artist began the picture with full armour, in common with a lot of military portraits of the age and for whatever reason changed to a picture that was more representative of what was worn on the battlefield, but omitted to paint out the leg armour?


May 9, 2013

Edward Montague 2nd Earl of Manchester

Painted by an unknown artist sometime after 1640,Edward Montague was an active commander for the parliament army up until he resigned his commission for various reasons in April 1645. He is pictured very much as a warrior with a gilded breast plate over a braided and slashed doublet and an understated laced falling band. Picture © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum

Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester

April 8, 2013

Francis Willoughby 5th Baron of Parnham

Etched by RS in 1647, Lord Willoughby was a Parliament General whose finest hour was the capture of Gainsborough in 1643. His doublet is neatly piped along the sleeve seams, he has a shoulder tied scarf and lace edged falling band over a neck gorget. Image © National Portrait Gallery, London

NPG D8613; Francis Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby of Parham by R.S.

April 8, 2013

John Robartes 1st Earl of Radnor

Engraved in 1647 by RS who was a prolific engraver, though seemingly quite modest as I can find no other credit than these two initials. John Robartes was a prominent member of Parliament and fought on the Parliamentary side with distinction until the self denying ordinance was enacted in 1645. This in theory relieved MPs of army service and formed the foundation of the New Model Army. The good Lord Roberts wears a well laced (in the sense of braid) doublet, shoulder-tied scarf, gorget and a falling band edged with cutwork lace. Image © National Portrait Gallery, London

NPG D27157; John Robartes, 1st Earl of Radnor by R.S.

March 4, 2013

The Vaulting Master

or, The art of vaulting reduced to a method, comprised under certaine rules. illustrated by examples, and now primarily set forth by Will Stokes. Printed for Richard Davies in Oxford 1652. Kind of a Karma Sutra for jumping over horses, there are some choice engravings in the book by George Glover who was a prolific illustrator of the time.

The First Figure. A fellow in tightly cut doublet, breeches and long boots holds the horse’s head whilst the chap in  three-quarter armour works out how he’s going to mount and keep his dignity


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Over the Head of the Horse. The vaulter, now stripped to shirt and breeches defies gravity and still has time to wave at the artist. Nice shoes and leg ties.


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The Hercules Leave. This must have been tricky before yoga was invented. I hope he can get his hands out of the way or he’s heading for a nasty fall! That’s a quality shirt he’s wearing, judging from the gathers in the body.


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The Mistress Command. The horse doesn’t look impressed, and the lady seems a tad concerned too. Looks to me like he’s going to kick her in the teeth and get caught on his rapier in one sweeping comedy move. Smart four or six-tabbed doublet, breeches to match, embroidered baldric and long boots pulled up to the thigh. M’lady in a (possibly) embroidered petticoat and dressed hair with a lace edged kerchief.



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