This is the webpage of a group whose aim is to improve the kit and clothes of a UK seventeenth century Civil War reenactment group, using the most up to date references and research. Feel free to comment on any of the subjects raised here and return often as I want to keep the discussion lively and ongoing.

Please look at the extra tabs on the right hand side. The newbie section is the place for basic kit if you're just beginning to reenact the 1640s. Haberdashery has lots of detail about colours, buttons, tapes etc.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

John Tradescant the Younger

I wanted to post these two images because they show quite nicely the details of two shirts from the period, something you don't often see in Seventeenth Century portraits. Both paintings are attributed to Thomas de Critz the Flemish artist, sometime between 1648 and 1652, though the dates are uncertain.

The first shows John indoors, posed beside a skull upon which is a luxuriant growth of moss which was at the time thought of as a particularly effective medicine when powdered up and used for nosebleeds. John was a advocate of skull moss, maybe he grew it in the darker corners of the garden. John was for a time keeper of the King's gardens at Oatlands Palace near Weybridge.

Anyway, back to the point. John is wearing his doublet or cloak off the shoulder and is revealing a high quality shirt with what appears to be an integral collar rather than a falling band with some nicely worked lace which appears to run around the band but also continues down the front opening. This was quite unusual as this sort of decoration would not be seen if the shirt was worn in the standard way under a buttoned up doublet. Perhaps it was an indoor shirt?

The second image shows John in a garden in another shirt, a much plainer example with no lace or falling band attached. He's also wearing a fur lined coat which presumably is to keep him warm as he only has his shirt on underneath. Notice the front opening extends almost as far as his navel. This is a standard sized opening on all the extant shirts in museums, although it seems rather uncomfortable for modern wearers but usually the opening was tucked away inside a coat or doublet. There should be two ties or strings at the top of the opening but they are either missing or lost in the detail of the painting. It's not possible to tell from the picture, but I suspect  that his cuffs are not gathered tightly, otherwise he would not be able to roll them up quite so expansively.

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