February 7, 2017
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
May 16, 2014
Senior tutor at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, painted by an unknown artist in 1653. Matthews is wearing standard academic clothing, black cap, a gown with hanging sleeves over a doublet with linen cuffs and falling band. The work on his doubled cuffs and the intricate band strings are particularly fine. The doublet buttons are enormous!
November 13, 2013
I’m going to annoy the professional historians for a while with some more pretty pictures, starting with this portrait hanging in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. It was painted by Anthony van Dyck in 1633, and is more naturalistic somehow than most of the other portraits of the French Queen of England, showing her supposedly dressed ready to go hunting, though I’m not sure how practical a taffeta petticoat would be on horseback. Henrietta was twenty four years old when van Dyck made this picture and Sir Jeffery, the court dwarf and great friend of the Queen only fourteen.
Henrietta is wearing a blue taffeta tabbed bodice and matching petticoat with a laced neckerchief and falling band confection around her throat. She has a wide brimmed hat ready to go abroad on the hunt and her linen is picked out with contrasting pink ribbon. Sir Jeffery wears a red velvet doublet and breeches, lace edged falling band and soft leather gloves and riding boots.
If you look closely at the fabric of her bodice you can see lots of tiny holes punched in the silk, the decorative process known as pinking. It is also continued across the petticoat skirts. Notice also the complicated gathers of her laced cuffs.
And in the modern vernacular, to be fair, a close up of Mr Hudson and his monkey.
September 24, 2013
Painted by an unknown artist in 1633, Captaine Bushell was a naval officer and something of a dashing rogue who captured the royalist pinnace Henrietta Maria in a night raid without a shot being fired in 1642. Later in 1643 he used his knowledge of artillery in the successful defence of Scarborough Castle, but changed sides the same year. He led several daring raids on parliament shipping after that and eventualy fell foul of his opponents, being executed in 1651, on the same block and using the very axe that was used for the King.
Here he is, well before those exploits at the time he married the girl he met in the Low Countries, bareheaded in a black doublet with red lining, cuffs and matching laced falling band with a black waist scarf and and embroidered baldric holding up his splendid mortuary sword. The picture hangs in Whitby Museum.
September 6, 2013
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.
August 13, 2013
Agnes was the wife of Sir Jacob Astley the royalist commander. They had met whilst he was on the continent serving as part of the Anglo-Dutch brigade around 1619 and stayed together until Jacob died in 1652. Interestingly the BBC paintings website gives the date of her death as 1647, whilst Sir Jacob’s biography states that she outlived him. Note the anglicised spelling of her maiden name on the portrait.
The picture shows Agnes in her mourning clothes, a black coif on her head, black waistcoat, petticoat and various black accessories; earrings, bracelet and black ribbons on her kerchief. The starkness of the black really brings out the white of her lace edged cuffs and many-layered neck linen, also showing every crease and dart in the construction.. The original hangs in the National Trust property Seaton Delaval in Northumberland.
July 15, 2013
Painted by Edward Bower, sometime before he died of an infection resulting from a gangrenous foot in 1648. Ferdinando second Lord Fairfax of Cameron was member of parliament for Boroughbridge and fought on the side of Parliament during the war. His son Thomas was the famous parliamentary commander. He has put aside his armour in this picture and seemingly embraced peace in his civilian clothes, although it could also symbolise the fact that he was relieved of army duties by the Self Denying Ordinance of December 1644. He is wearing a sleeved cloak which has a complicated arrangement of buttons and loops allowing it to be worn as a coat or a cloak with a hanging collar which you can see unbuttoned on his right side. Presumably it’s just about to fall off. He’s wearing it over a white doublet with plain cuffs and band of good quality linen. The portrait hangs in the York Museums Trust collection.
May 1, 2013
School of Cornelius Johnson, painted around 1640. The unknown man is wearing a fine doublet and breeches in what looks very much like the patterned velvet of the black Isham doublet in the Museum of London, although of a more up to date shape for 1640. The lower two thirds of his buttons are left open so he can pull out the fine linen of his shirt. He has darted cuffs and a wide plain band that is fine enough to show the contours of the standing collar on his doublet. He’s clutching his gloves and cane in a manner that suggests he’s keen to get outside and stop all this sitting for a portrait nonsense! Picture courtesy of Roy Precious Fine Art. It is at the time of posting still available for sale. Check Roy’s website for details.
April 4, 2013
I think Sir Edward was briefly High Sherrif of Norfolk and son of Jacob Astley the royalist general, but it’s tricky to work out from the info available via google. The painter is anonymous and the picture hangs in the National Trust collection at Seaton Delaval in Northumberland. Sir Edward is wearing what looks like a pinked satin doublet with a falling band decorated with wide lace that is also used on his cuffs. He’s also wearing a nice wide, either embroidered or embossed sword baldrick.
March 6, 2013
Deeply embroiled in the political machinations of the pre war period. Lord Finch of Fordwick and Francis Windebank are lampooned in this 1642 engraving by George Glover. Both eventually escaped to the continent, though at this point it seems just Finch had flown. Finch wears a well cut doublet with a plain linen band and three layer cuffs. Windebank in doublet and cloak (you can just see the hanging collar and one edge) with a similar band and closely darted cuffs. © Trustees of the British Museum