By Sir Peter Lely, painted sometime in the 1640s. She’s wearing a black bodice or waistcoat (difficult to see any detail in the way Lely has depicted it) with her smock showing above the neckline and a plain linen kerchief pinned over the top. It’s a very sober portrait, but she has dressed her hair with a string of pearls and at least one drop earring. This picture came up for sale via Phillip Mould and Co who were also kind enough to grant permission for me to use this image.
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
Painted by Henry Giles in 1639, Catherine was the sister of Margaret Cavendish Duchess of Newcastle and spent at least some part of the Civil War in Oxford. She certainly looks pretty well to do in this painting which is in the National Trust’s care in Bradenham Manor.
She is dressed in her finest black petticoat and bodice over what looks like a brocaded underskirt. Her linen kerchief is layered and like her cuffs is made from very fine see through linen, through which you can see the details of her smock. She is also wearing an outrageously wide brimmed hat over a lace edged coif. Only subtle adornments, a black ribbon holding her kerchief down and an understated coral bracelet on each wrist.
From “The Manner of Crying Things in London” printed in 1640 by an anonymous author. The sweep has obviously been working as he is covered in filth and is looking at us with a surly expression. On his back is a snapsack and the tools of his trade. I’m not sure what the golf-club like instrument is, possibly a rake to gather the soot from the lower parts of chimneys. If so it is doubling as the lever to hold the pack on his back.
He’s wearing a battered hat and some kind of belted coverall or smock to keep his clothes in some kind of decent condition. I don’t blame him, I’ve had a go myself. Soot goes everywhere!
By William Dobson, thought to be his second wife Judith. She is quite informally dressed (notice the curls escaping from her coif) in a cream satin coif and matching low-cut waistcoat with glimpses of her smock and some kind of diaphanous black wrap around her head and shoulders. The picture is owned by the Tate Gallery but at present is not on display.
Painted by an unknown artist sometime between 1650 and 1660, this is a full length portrait of a small boy strapped into a wheeled baby walker. The coral of the title refers to the teether he is holding the end of which is made from pink coral. His necklace is also made from coral. Many thanks to Brenda Price and Greg Marshall for the explanation.
He’s wearing the full length petticoat of a boy who is not yet old enough to wear breeches with the hanging sleeves down his back that act as leading reins on the small toddler. He also has a white triangular linen bib or apron over a full length smock and a linen edged coif on his head. The picture is in the Norwich Castle Museum collection.
The front page engraving by William Marshall to the third edition of Richard Braithwaite’s book published in 1641, basically a guide to what was acceptable behaviour. It wasn’t a small book. As the author said in his introduction:
“I had purposed that this work should have been digested into a portable volume, to the end it might bee more familiar with a Gentleman’s pocket, not to pick it, but that hee might picke some good from it: But since the Volume would not beare it, you must with patience beare with it, and with more trouble beare it, by inlarging your pocket to contain it.”
There are loads of details here worth looking at.
The gentlewoman is wearing long skirts to her petticoat, a tabbed bodice, a fine layered kerchief and a ribbon in her dressed hair.
The gentleman has a tall hat, wide falling band, short doublet and breeches with a splendid pair of boots. He is also sporting a fine coat with turned back cuffs in an off the shoulder manner, though notice that his falling band is arranged over the coat.
This ragged fellow contemplating a tortoise in the garden is more modestly dressed in a plain doublet, breeches and shoes.
Here is a selection of smartly dressed gentle-women, in petticoats, bodices and a variety of kerchief styles.
And this lady is wearing what I can only describe as a “nursing smock”, split to the waist and pulled open for use. What it does reveal though, apart from the obvious is the pleats on her petticoat waistline.
Attributed to Emmanuel de Critz and painted around 1656 this double portrait is kind of a companion to the previous post of John the Elder and his wife, though notice the difference 20 years have made to the clothes Hester is wearing compared to John the Elder’s wife. There is more colour here and Hester’s bodice is much more boned and fitted to the wearer. The sleeves are made from quite a lot of fabric if you notice the gathers at the cuff. She also wears a double layer of linen around her neck, but the lines are softer, less severe somehow and there is an elaborate fastening across her chest. She also wears a black hood or chaperone on her head and is holding a sprig of myrtle which echoes John’s profession as a gardener but which also symbolises her fidelity. John the Younger on the other hand, apart from being bareheaded is dressed almost identically to his father in the earlier portrait, black doublet with a plain linen band. Note though how many buttons he has on his doublet front and cuffs. Yet again, thanks to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where the picture resides for allowing me to post it here. © 2011 University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum
Painted as a companion piece to the previous post, this portrait is also thought to be by Daniel Muytens and from 1645. Anne was the wife of Matthew Babington the lawyer and was 29 when the picture was painted. She bore Matthew twelve children of whom seven survived infancy and was finally buried in the parish church of Rothley where a memorial commemorates the pair in stone. Anne is wearing an light brown silk bodice and petticoat with the sleeves of her linen smock visible from the elbow. She is wearing what looks like a silk wrap over her shoulders and her hair is elaborately dressed. The two paintings were sold by Roy Precious as a pair. Thanks to Roy again for permission to use this image.
that happened lately at Mears-Ashby in Northamptonshire. 1642. Of one Mary Wilmore, wife to Iohn Wilmore rough mason, who was delivered of a childe without a head, and credibly reported to have a firme crosse on the brest, as this ensuing story shall relate.
Lamentable was a popular word for titling this kind of lurid tale that prove our tabloid press has a long history. This one is written by John Locke who is described as ‘a cleric’. This was a parable on the denying of baptism for infants which was a hot topic for those of an independent persuasion in the 1640s. Apparently the father of the child had been heard to say that he would rather his son be born with no head and a cross upon his chest than be baptised a child. Sadly, arguments of doctrine apart it seems that the poor child was actually stillborn with no head.
However, there are some nice details here of common women. Mary Wilmore is sitting up in bed in her smock buttoned (or tied) to the throat. The women in attendance are neatly turned out in waistcoats, petticoats, folded neckerchiefs and coifs. The figure facing away from us has a small triangle on the top of her head that just might be the point of a forehead or crosscloth which was part of the coif head covering.