Posts tagged ‘lace’

May 31, 2013

William Fiennes

The eighth Baron, first Vicount Saye and Sele, and father of Nathaniel, William Fiennes was one of the prime movers and shakers of the parliamentary cause, both in the political scene in London and in the pursuit of the war. Here he is painted by Adam de Colone in 1628, some years before the war but in a style that would still surely have been worn in the provinces right up to the 1640s. William is wearing a short tabbed black doublet slashed in the body and sleeves, a matching pair of breeches tied with points to the doublet, collar ruff and matching cuffs. Spot also the buckle that fastens the belt across his waist that conforms to the down pointed waistline of his doublet. The original hangs in the gallery of Broughton Castle and the image is copyright Lord Saye and Sele Broughton Castle

Broughton Castle 5-49-1

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 28, 2013

Matthew Babington of Rothley Temple

Painted by Daniel Mytens or one of his followers in 1645, Matthew Babington was a lawyer who was called to the bar in 1639. He must have done well during the war as he is expensively dressed in a black silk doublet slashed in the sleeves and body. The tabs of the doublet are not slashed in the same way and have the appearance of a wide cummerbund across his waist. The silk that remains between the slashes is scalloped at the edges and (as well as that of the tabs and his black breeches) is stamped to make a pattern of figures across the suit. His linen consists of a laced falling band and cuffs as well as a shirt that is decorated with lace at waist level. It has been pulled through the gap between the two central tabs, rather an odd fashion though we have seen this before. The contrast between black and white makes it quite striking in this case. His sword baldric is decorated with a silver buckle and strap end. This picture courtesy of Roy Precious Fine Art and Antiques.



April 30, 2013

Anne, Countess of Pembroke

Painted in the style of Peter Lely around 1650. Anne was in her own right Lady Anne Clifford, she was a diarist, landowner and  twice married, first to Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset and secondly to Philip Herbert 4th Earl of Pembroke. Most of her life was devoted to a legal battle to establish a claim to her father’s estates which had been bequeathed to her uncle for financial reasons. By the time the portrait was painted the court disputes were over and she was a very wealthy woman. It’s tricky to see too many details in this picture, but it’s obvious that her clothes are high quality. The lace edgings on her kerchief and what is visible of her smock are very fine indeed. Picture © National Portrait Gallery, London


Anne, Countess of Pembroke (Lady Anne Clifford)

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April 30, 2013

James Cranfield

James was a politician who sat in the House of Commons until he inherited the title of Earl of Middlesex from his father in 1645. I can find nothing about his politcal allegiance or of he took any part in the wars at all, but here he is in his lacy shirt and some black drapery, painted by Theodore Russell around the time he moved up to the House of Lords. The picture is at the National Trust property, Knowle near Sevenoaks in Kent.

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April 15, 2013

Florence Smyth and her Pageboy

Also thought to by by Gilbert Jackson and probably painted in the late 1630s, this is an arresting picture. Not just because of the black pageboy, (who probably has the honour of the earliest representation in English art of someone of African descent), but also because of the vibrant colours and the contrast between the two figures. The girl is thought to be Florence Smyth who lived at Ashton Court near Bristol with her mother Florence and father Thomas who payed a small part at the beginning of the war on the royalist side. She is dressed in a white satin bodice and petticoat. The sleeves are slashed and gathered with red ribbon which is also picked out in a ribbon across her waist and behind the lace of her coif. The lace of the coif and neckerchief is very high quality. The boy has a striped satin doublet and less (though not in quality) lace than his mistress on the falling band around his neck. The picture is on display in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Why they are playing with a bird’s nest I have no idea. I suspect there is some symbolism involved.

A young girl thought to be Florence Smyth (b.1634), daughter of Thomas and Florence Smyth of Ashton Court, Somerset, with her black page

April 15, 2013

Henry Carey and Wife

Painted by someone from the circle of the artist Gilbert Jackson. Henry was the second Earl of Monmouth and a staunch royalist, though he took little part in the war. This picture came up for sale recently at Sotherbys. It looks slightly earlier than the 1640s but not by many years. Sir Henry is wearing oddly mismatched colours in his doublet and breeches, though his doublet is rather splendidly slashed and set off with a falling band that is mostly lace. Mrs Sir Henry (Martha) has a red dress, the sleeves of which are slashed and gathered at the elbow and with skirts that look to be possibly embroidered. Henry’s shoes are fine with ribbon rosettes, though his hose could do with regartering, though those ribbon ties look too complicated to actually hold anything up!

Henry Carey & Wife circle of Gilbert Jackson



Here’s a detail of the fine lace on his band.


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And the even finer lace worn by Martha which looks more like gossamer than fabric. You can also see the dark over gown she’s wearing in this closer view.

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March 20, 2013

London Merchant’s Wife

Engraved by Hollar as part of his collection of costume images from all over Europe called  Theatrium Mulierum, first published in 1643. The merchant’s wife wears a wide brimmed hat with loose hair, a three-layer lace edged neckerchief over a boned and laced bodice. her under petticoat skirts look like they are lined with some kind of lace or simple embroidery and the outer petticoat of some kind of satin fabric, possibly silk. Her shoes are fashionably high heeled and she has ribbon rosettes over the fastenings. A prosperous lady, though not high class, she is well dressed for the city.

Hollar_London Merchants Wife

March 5, 2013


from the Seven Liberal Arts, etching by George Glover, c 1630. The lady wears a large wide brimmed hat, a waistcoat and overskirt that seem to be figured (or possibly embroidered) all over with a flower motif and a pale under petticoat. The smock which appears through the slashes in her sleeves is edged along the neckline with needlelace. The same lace is also used on her doubled sleeve cuffs and the edge of the over petticoat skirts. I also like the astonished face carved on the chair back. © Trustees of the British Museum

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February 28, 2013

Frances Tradescant

The daughter of John Tradescant the Younger, Frances was painted by an unidentified artist sometime around 1638. She is bareheaded, but has dressed her hair with a blue ribbon that picks out the ribbons and laces on her bodice which whilst not really high quality is nicely embroidered  around the buttons holding the slashes in her sleeves together. The tabs on the bodice look like they are edged with embroidery too. A tidy kerchief edged with wide needlelace covers her neckline. You can see this picture in the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum

Frances Tradescant