Posts tagged ‘shirt’

August 9, 2013

Richard Boyle 1st Earl of Burlington

Painted by Anthony van Dyck shortly before the war. This picture hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and shows the Royalist officer in casual mood with the top of his doublet open, showing the linen of his shirt and the attached falling band with a nice edge of lace. Boyle fought in the war mainly in Ireland but with little distinction according to his biographer on the Oxford Dictionary of Biography.

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June 25, 2013

The English Improver Improved Part 2

Further into the 1652 book on agriculture and husbandry there are two more interesting illustrations. On page 65 we see the author Walter Blith with his surveying instruments and further on a labourer demonstrating a spade amongst pictures of other tools.

Walter is dressed in a quality doublet with slashed sleeves, beribboned unconfined breeches and some splendid soft riding boots. The sleeves of his shirt appear to be gathered into a small cuff but pulled through the ends of his shortened doublet sleeves to emphasise the amount of linen used. He’s also wearing a jauntily cocked hat and some kind of wrap around his stomach that is possibly artistic licence as it looks more classical than Early Modern. I’m not sure how you’d stop something like that from falling down. He’s not dressed for surveying I suspect. This is the supervisor at work.


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And on page 69 an echo of the labourer on the frontispiece using what we are now told is a trenching spade. Sadly he’s ditched (no pun intended) his intriguing hat and unbuttoned his coat but we can now see better details of the breeches that are gathered at the knee and count the number of buttonholes on a working man’s doublet. Notice for a working man in the dirt he’s actually wearing shoes, not boots. His left hose seems to have a clock, (or gusset) in the front of the foot. They are usually found on the side. Interesting.


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June 22, 2013

John Evelyn 1648

Painted by Robert Walker in 1648, by which time John had returned to England from his grand tour of the Continent. Evelyn recorded in his diary that he sat for Walker on 1st July. The painting was to accompany a treatise on marriage which he had written for his wife and originally he was painted holding a miniature of her and the skull was added in later years together with the greek motto that reads “Repentance is the beginning of wisdom”.

This is a much more informal portrait than the 1641 version and at first glance there are fewer costume details, but if you look closely, you can see some construction points in his shirt. This is a quality shirt, fine linen cut very full and gathered to his cuffs and short neckband. This is the kind of shirt that would have had separate falling band and cuffs tacked or pinned on for wearing under a doublet, but here, as the sitter is in an informal setting he’s just wearing the shirt without adornment.

The portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and as such is © National Portrait Gallery, London.


NPG 6179; John Evelyn by Robert Walker

June 19, 2013

John Evelyn

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

John Evelyn 1641

And here is a close up detail of the lace on his band and the strings attached.

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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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March 4, 2013

The Vaulting Master

or, The art of vaulting reduced to a method, comprised under certaine rules. illustrated by examples, and now primarily set forth by Will Stokes. Printed for Richard Davies in Oxford 1652. Kind of a Karma Sutra for jumping over horses, there are some choice engravings in the book by George Glover who was a prolific illustrator of the time.

The First Figure. A fellow in tightly cut doublet, breeches and long boots holds the horse’s head whilst the chap in  three-quarter armour works out how he’s going to mount and keep his dignity


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Over the Head of the Horse. The vaulter, now stripped to shirt and breeches defies gravity and still has time to wave at the artist. Nice shoes and leg ties.


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The Hercules Leave. This must have been tricky before yoga was invented. I hope he can get his hands out of the way or he’s heading for a nasty fall! That’s a quality shirt he’s wearing, judging from the gathers in the body.


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The Mistress Command. The horse doesn’t look impressed, and the lady seems a tad concerned too. Looks to me like he’s going to kick her in the teeth and get caught on his rapier in one sweeping comedy move. Smart four or six-tabbed doublet, breeches to match, embroidered baldric and long boots pulled up to the thigh. M’lady in a (possibly) embroidered petticoat and dressed hair with a lace edged kerchief.



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February 9, 2013

Thomas Heyton

Also painted by Thomas Leigh in 1634, Thomas is derssed in a similar fashion to his wife Isobel, though we can only see his shirt and the fur lined wrap over his shoulders. We can see however that the shirt is of fine linen and that the collar is integral to the shirt. The lace is small but really good quality and if you look closely you can see a dart in the band on his right hand side. This picture also hangs in Trerice, Cornwall. I hope they’re still together.

Thomas Heyton

January 28, 2013

Old Sir George Booth

I suspect Old George was father of the George Booth I blogged about previously here, as this portrait (by an unknown artist) also hangs in Dunham Massey, now in the hands of the National Trust. Old George wears some kind of unidentifiable wrap over a linen shirt with an attached collar and decorative tassels on his bandstrings. He also has a black cap with lace edge, which could be part of a liner that could be removed for cleaning. There is an example of one of these in the collection of the Museum of London.

'Old' Sir George Booth (1566–1652), 1st Bt

January 22, 2013

The Taylor

Also from  Amos Commenius’s Visible world, or, A picture and nomenclature of all the chief things that are in the world, and of mens employments therein / a work newly written by the author in Latine and High-Dutch … ; & translated into English by Charles Hoole … for the use of young Latine-scholars. Printed in London 1659.

This picture shows a tailor’s workshop with the tailor cutting out on the right, dressed in short doublet, breeches and shirt peeping out between the two. This marks the image out for the 1650s. His assistant is sewing something whilst sat on a stool. Conventional wisdom has tailors sitting cross-legged on the table. Maybe the “boy” was too old and stiff for this, who knows? At least the stool is on the table!

Here’s the key from the text:

The Taylor 1. cutteth Cloth 2. with Shears 3. and soweth it together with a needle and double thred 4. Then he presseth the Seams with a pressing-iron 5. And thus he maketh Coats 6. with Plaits 7. in which the Border 8. is below with Laces 9. Cloaks 10. with a Cape 11. and Sleeve Coats 12. Doublets 13. with Buttons 14. and Cuffs 15 Breeches 16. sometimes with Ribbons 17. Stockings 18. Gloves 19. Muntero Caps 20, &c.

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January 22, 2013

The Shoo Maker


From  Amos Commenius’s Visible world, or, A picture and nomenclature of all the chief things that are in the world, and of mens employments therein / a work newly written by the author in Latine and High-Dutch … ; & translated into English by Charles Hoole … for the use of young Latine-scholars. Printed in London 1659.

It’s a picture dictionary, but here is a shoe maker in his shop shop working away at a shoe in a shirt and breeches. What makes it even more useful is the annotation provided so scholars can learn the Latin words and we can learn exactly what they called various shoes.

The Shoo-maker 1. maketh Slippers 7. Shooes 8. (in which is seen above the upper-Leather, beneath theSole, and on both sides the Latchets) Boots 9. and High-Shooes 10. of Leather, 5. (which is cut with a Cutting-Knife 6.) by means of an Awl 2. and Lingel 3. upon a Last 4.



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