Monday 1 July 1661

This morning I went up and down into the city, to buy several things, as I have lately done, for my house. Among other things, a fair chest of drawers for my own chamber, and an Indian gown for myself. The first cost me 33s., the other 34s. Home and dined there, and Theodore Goodgroome, my singing master, with me, and then to our singing. After that to the office, and then home.

13 Annotations

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"up and down into the city,to buy several things" Shop until you drop Sam! I wonder if he took Elisabeth along! Women love to shop.

Bradford   Link to this

Whereas men, the fools, just love to spend money.

dirk   Link to this

expensive purchases

(indicative) conversions by
(see background info "Money")

£157.87 (2002)= 33s (1661)
£162.66 (2002)= 34s (1661)

vicente   Link to this

"...a fair chest of drawers for my own chamber..." by to-days prices, dirt cheap, It's 800$ and up for the real wood and for genuine 17c version, one is talking 1000 quid +[depending on the number 'un trou du bois les vers']. Now he has 'is own chambre with a place for 'is smalls. So I'm under the impression that Sam is bent on being an English Gent and let the lady of the house be in peace, reserving the nursery for fun days and nuptials? [only one view point, out of the misogynistic possibilities]

daniel   Link to this

what would an "indian gown" be, esp. at the price of 162.66 quid?

Alan Bedford   Link to this

Daniel asks "what would an 'indian gown' be…”

Well, Sam will rent one for a portait sitting in about five years. It will look like this:

Ruben   Link to this

expensive purchases
if you consider the interest on the 33s., I think 800 $ today is cheap indeed.

daniel   Link to this

the indian gown in the famous portrait is cool but would you buy it for that price?
i suppose fine textiles were more costly before the industrial age.

Mary   Link to this

Sam's Indian gown.

The gown in the portrait above looks as if it is made of a plain silk. Such gowns could be very sumptuous indeed, especially when made of gorgeous silk brocade. The term 'Indian' could be applied to almost any exotic, Eastern origin; Turkey, India, China etc. Fabrics imported from these countries were beginning to appear on the London market during the 1660s.

Sorcha   Link to this

Up until around the start of the nineteenth century, the decoration of the home would have been a male role, so Sam would have been expected to be in charge of buying furniture, rather than Elizabeth. It's pretty much only with the Victorians that we get the male=work, home=female split - up until then it would have been a gentlemanly pursuit (the reason for the title of the Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director, a century later).

A. De Araujo   Link to this

Thanks for the explanation ,Sorcha.

merle315   Link to this

The indian gown refered to is made of chinz, hand painted cotton, which was imported from India and a cheaper altenative for the silk 'kimono'type gown. (two years later he gets another one as a present from his wife)

Chris Squire UK   Link to this

OED offers:

' . . ‘Indian . . 1. b. Manufactured in India; of Indian material, pattern, or design.
. . 1673 Dryden Marriage a-la-Mode iii. i. 37 That word shall be mine too, and my last Indian-Gown thine for 't. . .
. . 1825 in W. Hone Every-day Bk. (1826) I. 967 Flowered Indian gowns, formerly in use with schoolmasters . . ‘

A garment like a modern dressing gown to be worn indoors at home when no company was present.

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