Monday 1 October 1660

Early to my Lord to Whitehall, and there he did give me some work to do for him, and so with all haste to the office.

Dined at home, and my father by chance with me.

After dinner he and I advised about hangings for my rooms, which are now almost fit to be hung, the painters beginning to do their work to-day. After dinner he and I to the Miter, where with my uncle Wight (whom my father fetched thither), while I drank a glass of wine privately with Mr. Mansell, a poor Reformado of the Charles, who came to see me.

Here we staid and drank three or four pints of wine and so parted.

I home to look after my workmen, and at night to bed.

The Commissioners are very busy disbanding of the army, which they say do cause great robbing. My layings out upon my house in furniture are so great that I fear I shall not be able to go through them without breaking one of my bags of 100l., I having but 200l. yet in the world.

12 Annotations

Paul Brewster   Link to this

which are now almost fit to be hung
L&M: "Wallpapers were not widely used until well into the 18th century."

Paul Brewster   Link to this

the painters beginning to do their work today
L&M: "William Brewer's bills ... for 'divers painted workes' at the Navy Office and at several lodgings there including Pepys's, ... amount to over £50. Pepys’s house was clear of the painters by Christmas Day.”

Paul Brewster   Link to this

which they say do cause great robbing
L&M: "'Nov. 1660. Great robings of houses and highways in and about London.' Albermarle on 28 August had issued an order forbidding soldiers to create disturbances at theatres. ..."

Roger Arbor   Link to this

Poor Samuel, only doubled his ready cash in 9 months- and a new house to boot. Wonder where he kept the bags of gold? Walking round the City, I often wonder about the caches lying under our feet. Buried for safe keeping? I am reminded of Mr Lorry in Dickens- "Tale of Two Cities", wondering of ?? plate stored away among the neighbouring cesspools, and evil communications corrupted (sic) its good polish in a day or two". Will ‘hung’ then mean hung with tapestries?

maureen   Link to this

Hangings might have been real tapestry - wildly expensive but could be second-hand - cloth woven or painted to give the vague impression of tapestry, embroideries or tooled leather at this time. From the text, painted cloth seems to be a real possibility. Any real experts out there?

Mary   Link to this

'fit to be hung...'

Possibly with tapestries, but more likely with painted cloths or simply with fabric. According to Picard, suitable fabrics ranged from cheap, linen-based fabrics with a woven design to very expensive silks, satins, velvets, damasks and brocades. Bright colours were favoured. A small spoiler follows: in 1663 Sam will record,"bought my wife a Chink: that is, a painted Indian calico [i.e. chintz] for to line her new study, which is very pretty".

A further possibility for reception rooms was coloured and gilded embossed leather panels.

Dave Bell   Link to this

A minor note on paint -- this was not the modern pre-mixed paint from the DIY store. The painters mixed the paints themselves.

The info I have is terribly out of period, but the exterior paints of 75 years ago were made up from a white lead base, with the colouring mixed in by hand, and the colours could fade quite rapidly when exposed to sunlight, changing colour as well as intensity.

Another example of how many things are so much easier today...

Barbara   Link to this

Even though Pepys is worried about the amount he is spending, am I correct in thinking that is that this is only for furniture, hangings, fittings etc? It seems to me that all the costs of renovation, painting, etc are borne by the Navy Office.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"some work to do for him, and so with all haste"
A new day, a more chipper diarist!
Especially when contrasted with the preceding few, this entry clarifies that Sam thrives on two things: (1) attention from my lord Montagu/ Sandwich, and (2) work, busy-ness, the hustle and bustle of professional life. These lodestars govern his economic prospects, his social station, but more, I think, his sense of self-worth. (He's not the first young man to define himself by his newly-heady job.) Send him to fetch a bone, and he fairly slathers with anticipation ....

Bill   Link to this

"Mr. Mansell, a poor Reformado of the Charles"

That is, a discharged officer from the Royal Charles.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Bill   Link to this

"one of my bags of 100l."

So now we find out what the form the money takes that Sam has been raking in. Cold, hard cash. As I calculated earlier, one Silver Crown weighs about one ounce, and each is 1/4 of a (monetary) pound. So a bag of 400 of them would weight about 25 (physical) pounds. Gold would weigh less but probably not too much in circulation at this stage of the Restoration. So Sam has the equivalent of 50 (physical) pounds of silver!

Dick Wilson   Link to this

With so many different types of coinage in use, Gresham's Law was dreadfully effective in driving relatively more valuable coinage out of circulation and into places like Pepys' cellar.

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