Posts tagged ‘dressed hair’

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


“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):



“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.



October 26, 2014

Elizabeth Holte

Painted in 1635, I guess as a companion piece to the portrait of her husband Edward, and also by Cornelis Janssens van  Ceulen. Elizabeth is pictured in a sober black satin bodice with just a tiny strip of her white smock peeping out above the neckline and a black lace scarf or sash draped across her right shoulder. Her hair is dressed but uncovered and she is staring straight out of the picture with the same gaze as her husband. Picture is in the collection of the Birmingham Museums Trust

Elizabeth Holte (c.1605–after 1670)

September 25, 2013

Cornelianum Dolium

or Cornelius’s Tub, a comedy performed entirely in Latin from Cambridge and possibly written by Thomas Randolph in 1638. The subject was the quest for a cure for syphilis and the frontispiece by William Marshall shows Cornelius our hero in a sweating tub (which was one of the more popular treatments) being observed by three ladies, presumably his previous conquests. He is clad just in his drawers, and a speech bubble coming out of his mouth reads “Farewell O Venus and Cupids”, whilst the caption on the tub reads: “I sit on the throne of Venus, I suffer in the tub” The ladies are high class, dressed hair and fashionable bodices. The right hand Cupid has a collar ruff rather too, not necessarily a common item of neckwear for the period. Notice also the selection of instruments on the table. Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 08.37.13

December 18, 2012

Cookmaid with Still Life of Vegetables

Painted by Nathaniel Bacon in the 1620s. It hangs in the Tate gallery in London. I make no apology for this early picture as it is such a great painting and shows what is thought to be common clothing still current in the 1640s.  The cookmaid is dressed in a smock, edged with simple lace around the neck, with what looks like a petticoat in the style that has a low cut upper body section either sewn or laced in to the skirts below. She also has some fabric sleeves seemingly pinned over the sleeves of her linen smock, and very smartly dressed hair, which would normally be the preserve of a higher status woman. I wonder if this is a real cook maid smartened up, or someone playing a role. Note that if she was going out, rather than sitting coquettishly by the window, she would wear a waistcoat to hide her “modesty”.

The vegetables that appear in the picture, although they would never be all in season at the same time, (making this still life somewhat of a fantasy picture) are also worth a look. Amongst the selection (Bacon was also a keen gardener, or maybe more properly horticulturalist) are some rather modern looking cabbages, (or coleworts as they were also known), artichokes,, some nice purple carrots (the orange variety is a modern cultivar), parsnips, turnips, onions, marrows, pumpkins, apples, pears, plums and figs. I’m sure I’ve missed some, there are so many different types.

Sir Nathaniel Bacon, Cookmaid with Still Life of Vegetables and Fruit c.1620-5

Shame on me, I almost forgot the melons. MATRON!

Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 08.47.27

April 17, 2012

Portrait of a Girl

Painted by Gilbert Jackson in 1638 this painting is in the Birmingham Museums collection. The unnamed girl wears a green silky silver-embroidered bodice (or perhaps it’s braid), trimmed with lace around the neckline and sleeve cuffs. A ribbon bow around her waist is copied by the one in her dressed hair and on the lace collar.

April 3, 2012

Lady Elizabeth Fane 1640

I can’t find anything about this lady, but the painting is in the Brighton and Hove Museums collection. She wears a grey low cut silk bodice dressed with pearls, matching necklace, pearl earrings and her hair is dressed, a substitute for a head covering in an upper class lady.