March 12, 2015
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.
May 29, 2013
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?
April 8, 2013
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
April 8, 2013
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
March 4, 2013
of the Red Regiment London Trayned bands, painted in 1644. I can’t find anything about this painting or where it is now, but I do know a little about the good Captaine who was a leading member of the London Company of Plaisterers before and after the war. He fought in at least one battle during the war and maintained his interest in all things military after the war as a member of the Honourable Artillery Company, (the oldest regiment in the Army which continues to provide reservists for HM Forces right up to today), rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Captaine Stanyan is dressed in his military buff coat which has some gold thread decoration on the seams of the sleeves and decorative clasps up the centre closing. He has plain but serviceable gauntlets and a splendid silk scarf tied at the shoulder, a practical arrangement that keeps the knot out of the way. His collar band is interesting too, seemingly a double layer of linen, each lined with narrow lace. I don’t usually comment on weaponry, but Stanyan has a pole axe or war hammer head on his pole arm and a short flintlock pistol suspended from his coat.
February 5, 2013
The cousin of the more famous Thomas Fairfax, Sir William also fought with distinction on the Parliament side during the war. Here he is painted, possibly by Edward Bower in an outrageous black taffeta scarf in front of his campaign tent, a typical battle scene in the background. He’s wearing a sleeved buffcoat and armour ready for war, but his accessories are just a bit too over the top for action. The picture hangs in the National Trust property Hatchlands, near Guildford.
Look at the metallic threads in the ribbons decorating his grey breeches and the end of his scarf, not to mention the perfectly starched linen double-layered white boot hose and spotless boots.
This detail shows clearly the thickness of leather in his buff coat and the gilding on the fixings of his armour. You can also see the butt joined seam on the coat sleeve.
Plain gauntlets agreed, but spot the metallic fringes.
And just outside the battle rages on. He’s not been near a battle in this get up. I’d put money on it!
November 19, 2012
Painted by Edward Bower. I can’t find anything about the good Colonel, apart from the fact that he came from Dunham Massey where this splendid picture hangs. Presumably he was a Parliamentarian as Bower generally painted like minded subjects. Let me know please if you know any more. He is arrayed in military splendour, but looks more like he’s just taken a break from a hunt in the woods. If you compare him with the picture of Denzil Holles you’ll see what I mean. Lovely candy stripes of braid or embroidery on his doublet and breeches, a fine pair of soft boots with spurs, buff coat with back and breast armour, fur lined glove on one hand and an armoured gauntlet on the left to protect the hand that holds the reins.The ensemble is finished with a black taffeta scarf (sash) tied at the rear, red ribbon bows on his breeches and a pair of outrageous tassels on the cord holding his tiny powder flask at the hip. Hopefully his firelock isn’t loaded. He may get a nasty shock if it goes off half-cock!
Update, from the NT website: The sitter was the fifth son of Sir George Booth (1566-1652) and Catherine Anderson, the daughter of Sir Edmund Anderson, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. He married twice: firstly to Dorothy St John, daughter of Sir Anthony St John, the younger son of Oliver, Earl of Bolingbroke; and secondly, in 1659, to Anne, widow of Thomas Legh of Adlington. In 1651 he was accused of conspiring with the Scots to restore Charles II and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He is buried in Chester Cathedral.
November 7, 2012
Painted by Edward Bower c1640. Denzil Holles was a prominent parliamentarian and fought during the war. He is mainly remembered as one of the five members that Charles tried to arrest at the House of Commons in 1642. This painting has a kind of gritty realism, the linen shirt and falling band are grubby and the sitter looks dishevelled, almost as if he’s just come from Edgehill. His armour is highly polished though and his doublet sleeved are banded with gold braid.
April 23, 2012
Videlicet The Parliament Goes On. Political poem on a single sheet from 1641. This guy has such tightly fitted breeches and hose that you can see the definition of his leg muscles! Very neatly tied scarf around his waist mark him out as a military man. Tailored doublet and heeled shoes finish the ensemble.
February 24, 2012
Painted by by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen, also known as Cornelius Johnson. This Colonel Hammond wasn’t the one who was for a while govenor of Carisbrooke Castle and jailor of Charles I whilst he was kept there before being moved to London for trial, but actually a Royalist officer from Kent who took part in the Kentish rising of the second civil war in 1646. Smart lace edged band and a lot of braid decorating his doublet. The Colonell also wears an ebrroidered orange scarf around his waist. His example is not plain, but finely embroidered. Portrait hangs in Canterbury. Thanks to Jan Toms for pointing out my mistake.