Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Charles I: clothing terminology


Charles I by Mytens. NPG


I have been putting Charles I’s clothes as listed in wardrobe accounts (Strong, 1980) into the Stuart Tailor database, and here I try to analyse how the terms used in accounts are depicted in portraits. This is Charles I by Daniel Mytens, the hyperlink is to the high res version of the low res version to the right. The portrait in the National Portrait Gallery is from 1631, so earlier than the wardrobe accounts I quote here, which are from 1633-5. 

The King normally buys suits, these consist of a doublet and hose (breeches), not always in the same fabric, and usually there is a matching cloak, for example “a suite the doublett lead cullor tabie the cloake and hose of cloth”.


The portrait depicts him in grey and there are several grey suits in 1633-5, as in: “a suit of grey cloth lined with tabie”, “a suite of lead cullor satin”, “a suite of mist grey drapbery cloth.” The braid that runs around the edges of the doublet and down the side of the hose is always referred to as lace, as in: “edged with a gould and silver edging lace,” in addition each seam has lace, sometimes this is the same as the edging lace, though in this portrait it would appear to be different. There are other portraits showing is style of layout of lace, and there is a black wool example in the Victoria and Albert Museum, unfortunately the museum website has no photographs. Seam laces are usually referred to as: “trimmed with two silke laces in a seame”, or “with two gould and silver laces in a seame”, or similar. 

The doublet seen in the portrait is cut into panes on the body and sleeves, in the accounts they would say “the doublet cut in panes”, if the panes were edged with the same lace as the seam lace it would say, “and laced with the same lace.” To the left is a detail of a paned doublet in the collection of the Gallery of English Costume at Platt Hall, Manchester. 

It is not the case with the suit shown in the portrait, but sometimes there would be two layers of fabric, one “cut upon” the other, so Charles has a suit of grass green tabby “lined with rose cullor tabie, cutt with and upon rose cullor taffaty”. This effect of this fashion can be seen in the Cotton suit of 1618 in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is described as an “oyster colour silk satin with an under layer of blue silk.” (Braun, et al., 2016) 

The doublet and hose are tied together with points, these can be seen at the waist of the doublet in the portrait. Different types of points appear in the accounts, for example: “flatt points”, “square points” and “round points.” In addition suites of matching points, garters and shoe roses were purchased. In the Mytens portrait he is wearing boots, but in this portrait by Van Dyck his points, garters and shoes roses all appear to be the same colour.

Detail of Charles's spur leathers
He purchases large quantities of accessories. The gloves seen in the portrait are plain with a simple fringe. Among a vast number of other gloves, in 1633-4 he buys “2 dozen pairs of thick stags lether gloves with gould and silver frindges.” His boots are also plain, he buys (in one year) “24 paires of bootes” and “20 pairs of strong riding bootes”, not to mention the 189 pairs of shoes. Spurs can also be seen on the boots. These come in different types, and I don’t know enough about spurs to identify the differences. We have “hunting spurs”, and “Bramspith spurres.” He also buys spurleathers, that piece of butterfly shaped leather across the instep of the boot, and the straps that attach the spur to the boot. These can be seen clearly in a detail from the equestrian portrait of Charles I on horseback by Van Dyck. There are references to “hatching and guilding” spurs and to “trimming” spurs. Worn under the boots you can see at the knee his boot hose, which he buys “3 dozen pairs” at a time. 

His linens, as in his band (collar) and shirts, do not appear in his wardrobe accounts.

References
Braun, M, et al. 2016. 17th-century men's dress patterns 1600-1630. London : Thames & Hudson, 2016. 978 0 500 51905 9.
Strong, Roy. 1980. Charles I's clothes for the years 1633-1635. Costume. 1980, Vol. 14, 73-89

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