February 9, 2017
I can find no biographical information about Thomas, but his portrait (by an unknown artist) hangs in the collection of the Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service. He’s an oddly modern looking cove staring out at us with his raffish moustache and short hair, but his clothes are straight out of the late 1630s, early 1640s. His doublet is nicely figured black velvet and he has the kind of decorative point decorations around his waistband that were a remnant of the old fashioned method of tying your breeches to your doublet with ribbon points. I wouldn’t mind betting that underneath his tailor has sewn the more modern hooks and eyes. The sleeve seam is open to show off his shirt linen and the other visible linen, falling band and cuffs is superb.
The lace on his band is exquisite and the tassels of his band-strings are just magnificent in the detail. Also not the fineness of the linen of his cuffs and the tiny darts that shape them to his sleeve.
This detail is lovely too, the crispness of the linen is obvious and the work on the darts around his neck show this was made by an expert seamstress. You can also see where the artist has tried to show the gathers of the lace around the right angle of the band on his right hand side so it lays nice and flat.
January 6, 2014
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
November 29, 2013
From the Bridgeman Art Library (hence the watermark). I can see no reason why this has been labelled as Royalist or cavalry, but there you are. It is undated, though to my eye, the clothes and the style of the portrait set it firmly in the Civil War period. The picture is in private hands somewhere and is © Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts, New York.
The officer is staring out of the picture quite nonchalantly and is standing defiantly foursquare in his buff coat and breeches. He looks like he’d rather be off out than stay indoors having his portrait painted.
The perfectly white sleeves of his doublet contrast with the black of his breeches and are brocaded (or perhaps embroidered) in an intricate pattern whilst his buff leather coat is also extravagantly laced at the front. His falling band is edged in a wide band of lace, though his cuffs don’t actually match, being ruffled but not edged with lace. Note also the line of buttons down the side of his breeches and around the bottom edge too. His boots are lined with red leather and the boothose edged with lace, though again not the same pattern as his band, which is either sloppy dressing or indicates that as a soldier he didn’t care too much! He is wearing spurs to indicate that he is off to ride a horse, though not necessarily in a cavalry regiment. His baldric and sword seem to be quite plain and businesslike which suggests that they have seen action.
November 29, 2013
This painting came up for auction in 2008 at Gorringes Auction House in Lewes and has been attributed to John Souch. It certainly looks like the style of the portrait painter from Chester and the clothes worn by the officer are spot on for the period. He is wearing a thick leather buff coat laced together down the front with silk satin sleeves seemingly laced in to the coat rather than attached to an underlying doublet. His falling band and cuffs are neat with matching lace edges and his sword hangs from a nicely embroidered baldrick. The magnificent plume on the helmet beside him nicely matches the colours of his lacings and the edges of his baldrick.
November 25, 2013
Painted, it is thought by Gilbert Jackson, this portrait came up for auction at Sotherbys and presumably is in private hands. William was Marquis of Hertford and later the second Duke of Somerset. He fought in the West for the royalist cause, at Lansdown and with Rupert in Bristol , later being recalled to Oxford to hold the city in the King’s absence while he was on campaign. He was also foremost in trying to reach agreement between King and Parliament through his brother-in-law the Earl of Essex.
William is pictured in a plain black short tabbed doublet, laced falling band and cuffs. The doublet is cheekily open at the bottom to show a small piece of lace poking out from his shirt.
Here is a detail showing the lace on his band. Notice also the braided decoration on the seams of his doublet.
October 10, 2013
Second of the set of prints by William Marshall published in 1637. Here the verse reads:
“I was not at my birth with beauty blest, But I as coy and proud am as the best.” and the text in the picture says (interestingly) “Black and Proud”
The sanguine lady standing in front of a set of musical instruments (that Salvador Dali would have been rather proud of) is wearing another boned bodice tied at the waist with a ribbon over a rather untidily gathered petticoat. Her collar is a multi layered one with the lower layer edged with lace. She is also wearing a rather amorphous black veil over her fave that is blown back in the wind. © The Trustees of the British Museum
This close up shows the decoration of her bodice and the slashing of the sleeves.
October 10, 2013
One of a set of prints engraved by William Marshall and published in 1637, this image shows a high class woman, though seemingly (from her expression) not quite as sad as the title would suggest.
The verse below says:
“When I am forced to work my Shoulders droop, for I am tall and doe not like to stoope”
I can’t see anyone forcing this lady to work and anyway in the boned bodies she is wearing it would be almost impossible to bend very far. The tabbed bodies she is wearing are attached to a large set of slashed sleeves on top of which are some over-sleeves fastened at the elbow. Her cuffs and the rather old fashioned layered and stiffened collar are edged with wide lace. Her under petticoat is embroidered, certainly as far as we can see and she has a second petticoat open at the front and fastened around the waist with a tie, possibly a matching ribbon. © The Trustees of the British Museum
In this detail of her upper body, you can see how low the fashionable neckline was and notice the edge of her smock visible at the top of her bodies. This smock obviously doesn’t have a collar!
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.
June 19, 2013
The famous writer and diarist painted in 1641 by the Flemish artist Hendrick van der Borcht the Younger, possibly when Evelyn was in the Low Countries with Mary the Princess Royal. He returned in 1642 in time to witness the Battle of Brentford but soon went back to the continent to continue his Grand Tour, returning after the war. From what we can see in the picture, John is wearing a black slashed doublet with a linen shirt beneath and a falling band with cutwork lace around the edge. The picture is in a private collection but is on permanent loan to the National Portrait Gallery. © National Portrait Gallery, London 2013
And here is a close up detail of the lace on his band and the strings attached.