Friday 24 June 1664

Up and out with Captain Witham in several places again to look for oats for Tangier, and among other places to the City granarys, where it seems every company have their granary and obliged to keep such a quantity of corne always there or at a time of scarcity to issue so much at so much a bushell: and a fine thing it is to see their stores of all sorts, for piles for the bridge, and for pipes, a thing I never saw before.1 Thence to the office, and there busy all the morning. At noon to my uncle Wight’s, and there dined, my wife being there all the morning. After dinner to White Hall; and there met with Mr. Pierce, and he showed me the Queene’s bed-chamber, and her closett, where she had nothing but some pretty pious pictures, and books of devotion; and her holy water at her head as she sleeps, with her clock by her bed-side, wherein a lamp burns that tells her the time of the night at any time. Thence with him to the Parke, and there met the Queene coming from Chappell, with her Mayds of Honour, all in silver-lace gowns again: which is new to me, and that which I did not think would have been brought up again. Thence he carried me to the King’s closett: where such variety of pictures, and other things of value and rarity, that I was properly confounded and enjoyed no pleasure in the sight of them; which is the only time in my life that ever I was so at a loss for pleasure, in the greatest plenty of objects to give it me. Thence home, calling in many places and doing abundance of errands to my great content, and at night weary home, where Mr. Creed waited for me, and he and I walked in the garden, where he told me he is now in a hurry fitting himself for sea, and that it remains that he deals as an ingenuous man with me in the business I wot of, which he will do before he goes. But I perceive he will have me do many good turns for him first, both as to his bills coming to him in this office, and also in his absence at the Committee of Tangier, which I promise, and as he acquits himself to me I will willingly do. I would I knew the worst of it, what it is he intends, that so I may either quit my hands of him or continue my kindness still to him.

36 Annotations

Cactus Wren  •  Link

1. The Queen has the 17th-century equivalent of a clock that projects the time on the ceiling.

2. I felt a little sorry for Sam, confronted with the "variety of pictures, and other things of value and rarity" in the King's collection, and so overwhelmed he couldn't appreciate them. Particularly after his morning's tour of the granaries and stores: I think that nothing quite so pleases our Sam as being able to describe in his diary "a thing I never saw before".

3. Can someone explain to me about the silver-lace gowns?

Terry F  •  Link

In this entry we have Pepys the observer. He also registers an early discovery of The City's provisions for disaster-relief (much observed in the breach or in non-regulation ways, say L&M) and a late suspicion of Creed, his rambling sidekick, with whom he has an *extremely* complicated relationship.

Those lace gowns are a puzzle.

language hat  •  Link

"I was properly confounded and enjoyed no pleasure in the sight of them"

I have more than once felt that way in large museums, notably the Metropolitan, when I've attempted too ambitious a circuit. That's why I love cozy museums like the Frick, where you can see all the holdings and still retain your capacity for appreciation.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

World be different now, no peeking .
'...there met with Mr. Pierce, and he showed me the Queene's bed-chamber,..."

jeannine  •  Link

"Can someone explain to me about the silver-lace gowns?"

C.W. I believe it's just a current trend in fashion. In L.C. Davidson's book Catherine of Bragança, she explains that Catherine's "most becoming costume was black velvet, but this summer she and her ladies all adopted the fashion of silver lace gowns, in which they flashed and shimmered in the sunshine in the Tour and St. James's Park. When she went to chapel at St. James's, they walked from Whitehall in this dazzling raiment. They carried the great green shading fans Catherine had brought with her from Portugal, when dust and sun did not force them to use riding masks. These fans were used in promenades at balls and plays, and even at church, where faces were delicately hidden by them at devotions. Catherine tried a little later to introduce short shirts showing the feet, but all the ladies of the Court did not possess as pretty feet as her own, and there was a general preference for the long, graceful, trailing draperies.

Catherine's simple tastes remained, in spite of the extravagance of the Whitehall Court. She had had none of the French influence which was plunging an emulous England into every folly and costly expense. Her bedchamber and her closet at Whitehall were furnished with extreme simplicity, and many historians have taken that fact to be proof of her inhuman treatment by her husband, since the apartments of his mistresses often glittered with lavish decorations, and were immoderately furnished. It is likely that she chose surroundings as suited herself, since she had lived at the rooms at Hampton Court, filled with the luxuries and lavish appointments of the time. She could have easily secured the same at Whitehall, but she preferred the pretty pious pictures and books of devotion in her little private oratory, and a stoup of holy water at the head of her bed. In her bedroom she had a curiously inlaid cabinet of ebony, mother-of-pearl, ivory, and silver -which does not look as if she lived like an anchorite. In the cabinet were placed a small altar and relics, ready for her private devotions. On a table near her bed was an illuminated clock, by which she could tell time at night. How many and many a weary hour must if have marked for her, while Charles tarried late at Lady Castlemaine's suppers and she waited for his unfailing return to herself!

Charles's closet was not given over to devotion. It was adorned with paintings, -- he was passionately fond of art - and beautifully furnished and decorated. ( p. 210-211)

Ann  •  Link

Curious as to what Catherine looked like, I found these portraits: in the first one, if you click on the plus sign under the portrait, you get an enlargement, plus a second portrait. Clearly, she is wearing the black velvet Jeanine referenced in one of the portraits.

and for 38 portraits & drawings:

I found her to be much prettier and more fashionable than the diary & other sources I've read made her out to be -- tho she's no Castlemaine, to be sure.

cape henry  •  Link

Whether [they were] accurate or not, Pepys' assessment of his peers have become increasingly sober and mature as in his remarks about Creed today.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Thanks Anne, and Jeannine, and welcome back, nice to see thy elucidating words.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Thanks Anne, and Jeannine, and welcome back, nice to see thy elucidating words.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"At noon to my uncle Wight's, and there dined, my wife being there all the morning."

Hmmn...Let us hope Aunt Wight was there as well.

"How's it go?" Sam hisses to Bess as they head off.

"Got him up to 1000...So far...I'm sure I can get him to 2000 with a little time." Bess gives a sly look.

"Mmmn...Covers the Sandwich bond. My darling." contented beam.

"Yeah...Say, we are sticking to the plan? Just going to let him and me be caught by Auntie before the 'play commences', right? Half his final offer in hush money? You're not planning for me to go through with... With that old lech?"

"Elisabeth?!" shocked, simply shocked look. "Not for the world. Though, of course...2000Ls would be a lot of..."


Bergie  •  Link

". . . and among other places to the City granarys, . . . and a fine thing it is to see their stores of all sorts, for piles for the bridge, and for pipes, a thing I never saw before."

I have no idea why a granary would keep piles for the bridge, but "pipes" might mean macaroni.

"There is a certain victual in the form of hollow pipes, or wafers, with which . . . I furnished Sir Frances [sic] Drake on his last voyage. This food I am bold to commend in this place because I know that if the masters, owners, or Mariners of ships, would advisedly look into it, they should find it one of the most necessary, and cheap provisions that they could possibly make, or carry with them. The particular commendation whereof, rests upon the following:
1. First, it is very durable, for I have kept the same both sweet and sound, for the space of 3 years, and it agrees best with heat, which is the principal destroyer of Sea victuals.

2. It is exceedingly light: for which quality Sir Frances Drake did highly esteem it; one man may carry, upon any occasion of land service, enough to feed two hundred men a day.

3. It is speedily prepared, for in one half hour it is sufficiently boiled, and this property saves much fuel which occupies room on a ship.

4. It is fresh, and thereby very pleasing to the Mariner in the midst of his salt meats.

5. It is cheap, for with the dearness of corn, I dare undertake to feed one man sufficiently for 2 pence a meal.

6. It serves both instead of bread and meat, whereby it performs a double service.

7. Not being all used up it may be laid in store for a second voyage.

8. It may be made as delicate as you please, by the addition of oil, butter, sugar, and such like.

9. There is sufficient material to be had all the year long, for its composition.

10. And if I might once find any good encouragement, I would not hesitate to deliver the same prepared in such manner as that without any further dressing of it, it should be both pleasing, and of good nourishment to a hungry stomach.

All those who are willing to stock their ships with it, if they come to me, I will upon reasonable warning, furnish them therewith to their good contentment" (Hugh Platt, "Sundrie new and Artificiall remedies against Famine," 1596, quoted in Judith Herman and Marguerite Shalett Herman, "The Cornucopia: Being a Kitchen Entertainment and Cookbook," Harper & Row, 1973).

Jesse  •  Link

"clock ... wherein a lamp burns that tells her the time of the night at any time"

My initial guess was something like a lamp version of a candle clock defined as 'a thin candle with consistently spaced markings (usually with numbers), that when burned, indicate the passage of periods of time' . CWs idea of a 'clock that projects the time on the ceiling' is rather interesting and I wonder if there's a link for that. Jeannine mentions an 'illuminated clock' though I don't think that Pepys means simply a lamp next to the clock because he states "wherein" which I read as a clock *in which* there is a lamp. Some type of silhouette?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"clock by her bed-side, wherein a lamp burns that tells her the time of the night ..."

"The night clock was briefly popular at the end of the seventeenth century: a lamp was placed inside the clock to illuminate the dial at night. However, they went out of fashion in competition with the repeating table clock, which struck the last hour and quarter on a bell when a cord was pulled in the side of the case."

For a detailed description & illustration of one example:-

"In the last quarter of the seventeenth century the night clock enjoyed particular popularity in Italy. It became a common means of telling the time in the dark. However, after 1676 the quarter-repeating table clock became more widely available and the popularity of the night clock waned. ... Night clocks usually have a semi-circular aperture in the dial, through which a revolving disc can be seen. The disc has two holes that reveal the hours. The hour numerals are pierced into two discs or carried on chains. The quarter hours are shown by pierced Roman numerals I-III, around the outside of the aperture and the minutes are shown as serrations around the inside of the aperture. At night the dial was illuminated by lighting an oil lamp inside the case, so that the light shone through the apertures to give the time. "

Table Night Clock, made by Pietro Tommasi Campani
'Time Flies Irretrievably' Rome, Italy, AD 1683

Mary  •  Link


An L&M footnote directs us to the Ilbert Collection in the British Museum, which includes several examples of such clocks.

andy  •  Link

all in silver-lace gowns again: which is new to me, and that which I did not think would have been brought up again.

by "again" does he mean that they are back in fashion, a fact which is new to him? (So Bess will want one...)

Pedro  •  Link

"I found her to be much prettier and more fashionable than the diary & other sources I've read made her out to be."

It is easy to get the wrong impression of Catherine due to her strong religious devotion, and information of her strict upbringing, which seems to have been drawn from a single source being a letter sent from the English Consul some years after she had arrived in England. Digging a little deeper a side can be seen of humour, interest in art and even in naval affairs.

The Portuguese historian and biographer of Catherine, Virginia Rau, also produced a book (highlighted to me by Jeannine) that shows the inventory of her belongings taken just after her death in 1705, and much of them she brought back from England. The inventory is quite amazing and the propery value must be enormous. Yes it includes dresses and clocks, but being written in a archaic form will take a little time to translate.

Mary alerts us that the L&M footnote directs us to the Ilbert Collection in the British Museum, which includes several examples of such clocks. I cannot find anything to link the "particular" clock of Catherine to the collection. So maybe the inventory may shed some light?

Bradford  •  Link

" . . . silver-lace gowns again: which is new to me, and that which I did not think would have been brought up again."

By "again" does he mean that they are back in fashion, a fact which is new to him?

---Exactly what I thought, Andy, an echo of my own reaction to the recurrence, after having lived through them once, of Sideburns.

Terry F  •  Link

"the City...stores of all sorts, for piles for the bridge, and for pipes..."

The bushels, the piling and the water-pipes are among the stock of the municipal supply-yard, which Pepys hadn't seen before (not on his beaten paths).

JWB  •  Link

"...the King's closett:"
"In the King's private apartments, much praised by Samuel Pepys - who 'could have spent three or four hours there well' - were Parmigianino's Pallas Athene and two works by Palma Vecchio, The Virgin and Child with Sts Catherine of Alexandria and John the Baptist and A Sibyl."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"...enjoyed no pleasure in the sight of them ..."

Had Pepys viewed the work linked to below and supposedly concealed behind a sliding panel (Barbra Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine in Oliver Millar's opinion) he would certainly have had a change of heart:-

jeannine  •  Link

"enjoyed no pleasure in the sight of them"

When I read this passage last night I was struck by the juxtaposition of the Queen's surroundings with that of Charles'. I wondered if seeing her simple, pious devotional surroundings left an impression on Sam which perhaps made it impossible to enjoy the oppulance and over abundance of those of Charles. For more modern example, perhaps spending the day in Amish country and then immediately walking into the overdone home of some vacuous rich star de jour would cause the riches to have little appeal for many.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Perhaps it's the disorder and lack of purpose that ruins it for Sam. Charles has lost sense of proportion and balance, possibly due to his experiences and poverty during the war and exile, and piles treasures up without plan or order, anathema to our Sam.

Jesse  •  Link

Thanks all for the night clock information. I'd have thought the mechanisms were too opaque and, well, would you really want the flame/heat that close to something?

Bradford  •  Link

All who have not clicked on Michael R.'s link above, do so: Christie's documentation is magnificent, as is the painting (which Restoration fans which recognize at once), and it is amazing that it is on the market at all, save that proceeds will serve to restore and re-open the great house where the, er, Lady presently resides.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Painting, Your Grace?" Sam eyes the Duke and mob of officers at his door. "What painting?"

"Sam'l...! By the Mass, I'm not having this naked w... staring down at me every night in my bed!!" Bess comes down the stairs to the front entranceway, lugging a large portrait...

No...Sam sadly eyes the glorious portrait then the rather surprisingly sympathetic-looking Duke and crew...

No, I suppose I'm not...


JWB  •  Link

"piles for the bridge"

"The bridge was actually built on nineteen piers in the river. Each pier was formed by driving a ring of elm piles into the riverbed, filling the area inside with rubble, and then laying a floor of oak beams over the result. Additional piles were driven in to surround the pier with a protective structure called a "starling" or "sterling." '

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Amen to Bradford's rave about the Christie's link Michael has given us. The documentation includes an extensive discussion of whether the lady in the painting is Castlemaine or Nell Gwynn. My money's on Barbara.

If I had a spare $5 million lying around I would be eager to purchase the painting (although I expect the British are hoping to keep it at home). Hope it ends up in a museum where we can all see it eventually.

Mary  •  Link

Portrait of Barbara Villiers?

Whether this is a picture of Barbara, of Nell or of someone else altogether, I note that it comes from Chiddinsgstone Castle, near Penshurst in Kent. This castle holds a fascinating collection of Stuart/Stewart memorabilia: sadly not available to individual public view at present, though their website says that group tours may be arranged.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"I suppose you want me to have a portrait like that done." Bess regards the glorious painting before them, Sam in one of his occasional frolique moods having generously (if with ulterior motive) sneaked her in to the King's closet to see.

"I want every woman in the Christian world to have a portrait like that done." Sam notes fervently.

Pedro  •  Link

Catherine's clocks.

Sadly no mention of a night clock in Catherine's inventory of 1706, but for the record a brief description of the time pieces she had...

A square clock for the top of a sideboard that told the hours, in a square ebony case garnished with worked silver and four faces of crystal glass. Four round carved feet, and on top a crown and two little boys. Through the front face are four angels also of silver.

A second square clock that told the hours and the quarters with bronze keys, and a third with a pearwood case.

She also had three pocket watches, one of gold with each part having a painted likeness 28 diamond roses, 14 in each band encrusted in silver. Valued (1706) at 200 000 reis.

The second pocket watch told the hours with a bell, and a chain of little roses all gold, and a box of tortoise shell. Valued at 120 000 reis.

The third lacked a glass and had a chain of silver and keys of brass. Valued at 3 000 reis.

Lastly a clock called a Barometre for forecasting the weather with a pipe of glass with quicksilver.

jeannine  •  Link

Catherine's Clocks

As always Pedro, thanks for the TIMELY information!

Pedro  •  Link

"The King's closett:"

Carrying on from Jeannine's post from the Biography of Catherie by Davidson...

...was adorned with pictures, he was passionately fond of art, and beautifully furnished and decorated. From the fact that many paintings from the Queen's rooms were in after years seen in t he apartments of the Duchess of Portsmouth, it is possible that Catherine had an aversion to pictures that did not represent sacred subjects.

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