Friday 9 May 1662

Up and to my office, and so to dinner at home, and then to several places to pay my debts, and then to Westminster to Dr. Castle, who discoursed with me about Privy Seal business, which I do not much mind, it being little worth, but by Watkins’s —[clerk of the Privy Seal]— late sudden death we are like to lose money. Thence to Mr. de Cretz, and there saw some good pieces that he hath copyed of the King’s pieces, some of Raphael and Michael Angelo; and I have borrowed an Elizabeth of his copying to hang up in my house, and sent it home by Will. Thence with Mr. Salisbury, who I met there, into Covent Garden to an alehouse, to see a picture that hangs there, which is offered for 20s., and I offered fourteen — but it is worth much more money — but did not buy it, I having no mind to break my oath. Thence to see an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw, and great resort of gallants. So to the Temple and by water home, and so walk upon the leads, and in the dark there played upon my flageolette, it being a fine still evening, and so to supper and to bed.

This day I paid Godfrey’s debt of 40 and odd pounds. The Duke of York went last night to Portsmouth; so that I believe the Queen is near.

43 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

"Thence to see an Italian puppet play"

History records that
"1662: May 9 - Samuel Pepys witnessed a Punch and Judy show in London; the first on record."…

dirk  •  Link

"I have borrowed an Elizabeth of his copying to hang up in my house"

Cfr. the diary for Saturday 5 October 1661:
"my Lord's model of the Royal James, which I borrowed of him long ago to hang up in my room”…

Te verb “to borrow” is apparently used here in a fairly loose meaning: the model of the Royal James Sam “borrowed” more than half a year ago is undoubtedly still decorating his room - so probably will the “Elisabeth” (a portrait of Queen Elisabeth I ?) for many months or years to come.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The other possibility for the Elizabeth is Elizabeth the cousin of Mary from Luke's Gospel. But she is usually always painted with Mary and the paintings would be known by the title of the incident - The Visitation. So it probably was the late Queen, but it is strange that he doesn't say "Queen Elizabeth".
Italian Puppet Play - presumably puppets don't count as a theatre visit! But Sam does hold to his oath over uneccassry spending.Borrowing a picture is a good way to circumvent this *and* keep his Elizabeth happy with new items for the house.
Godfrey's debt: 40 pounds is a very large amount to pay off in one lump. Maybe we are right to be suspicious of how much cash Sam seems to have at this time and how many debts he is cancelling.

john lauer  •  Link

"no mind to break my oath" has also a relative meaning: not by 14, but surely by 20s.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Imagine...With a little luck Mr deCretz could have gone down as the world's greatest artist.

"There have been a few attempts to attribute this one to someone named Raphael and that one to a fellow called Michaelangelo but these are clearly deCretz."

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

" several places to pay my debts..." then the Trice problem "...This day I paid Godfrey's debt of 40 and odd pounds….” odd, it be the interest due ?.
“…who discoursed with me about Privy Seal business, which I do not much mind, it being little worth, but by Watkins's "[clerk of the Privy Seal]" late sudden death we are like to lose money….”
So lean pickings at the Seal, so it doth seem that he has to ‘brake’ into one of his money bags [poor piggy], bags that his has hidden where?
Many of those who doth watch their d’s, have hidey ‘oles for the rainy day,[week] this week may be warm, but it be a drain on his cash flow. So much nicer now, one does not have to feel and see that shiney golden loot, then watch it slip from ones grasp. Now, just sign and it be so painless. just like novacaine.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Now, just sign and it be so painless. just like novacaine.

How Proza(i)cally true.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

"... an Elizabeth of his copying ..."

I adhere to the view that this was a knock-off portrait of the late Queen. Today we all see photographs of the current political leaders in government or military offices and many private middle-class homes. Here in the United States, for instance, such semi-official photographs of President Kennedy were once ubiquitous, and you still see them at flea markets and antique/junk shops all the time. Human nature doesn't change much. Like us, 16th and 17th century English folk would have wanted to demonstrate their patriotism and loyalty to the sovereign by hanging a portrait of the Queen in their homes. (And if they were recusants, what better camouflage for the entrance to a priest's hole than a portrait of good Protestant Bess!) She reigned for so long there must have been thousands of images of her in existence and, six decades after her death, they'd likely be known by the generic "Elizabeth". Every up-and-coming middle-class family might want an Elizabeth, as Sam did on 9 May 1662.

Glyn  •  Link

an Elizabeth

My vote is for Saint Elizabeth. Any other Elizabeth would have to be qualified but not the first Elizabeth ever, and there must have been more religious paintings than any others.

Diphi  •  Link

Saint Elizabeth is an interesting thought, especially as she was believed barren until she miraculously bore John the Baptist. So it might be related to Sam and Beth not having children of their own. But, I think this is really too papist for Sam. He is a political man, not a religious man. My two pence are on the Queen.

Pedro  •  Link

The Painting.

I don't think L&M (Page 10) sheds any light on this. At the end of his life he had 61 pictures of which 33 were portraits. The first he bought was the engraving of the portrait by Lely of Sandwich in October 60, and then as we have seen, pictures of himself and Elizabeth. After portraits came sea pictures, tokens of his profession.
Perhaps I have got our Sam's character wrong, but I think he would be happier looking at a picture of "the Lady" Castlemaine, if he was allowed, than a religious lady.

Glyn  •  Link

Bringing Elizabeth home to meet Elizabeth.

De Cretz is copying paintings from the King's collection, and the king is catholic in his tastes; and he is copying paintings by Raphael and Michaelangelo, who normally painted religious scenes.

I agree St Elizabeth is normally (always?) shown with Mary or in groups, and it could have been a picture of Queen Elizabeth or the others (great research, Jesse!) but it's a matter of opinion only.

Incidentally, there's a plaque about Pepys seeing this puppet show on the wall of the church in Covent Garden, just to the left of the main entrance (where Eliza Doolittle met Prof Higgins sheltering from the rain); Punch & Judy people have an annual event here because of this.

Araucaria  •  Link

Re Pepys buying a portrait of some Elizabeth or another --

I'm not particularly concerned who the E. was, but I was amused by the parallels -- these days, Pepys would have been visiting the art museum and then would have stopped at the museum store afterwards to pick up a reproduction (poster, not knock-off) to frame and hang up in his own place.

Glyn  •  Link

Exactly right Araucaria! (that applies to me anyway).

Does anyone here with artistic talent and Photoshop or a similar program want to colorize this painting of "our" Elizabeth, and restore it to its original appearance? The original painting has been destroyed:…

I'm mentioning it because it seems to me that our Beth is holding some greenery and is in front of a spiked circular object(?), and these might have been the symbols of some Saint or other; so the Pepyses might have been happy to have a religious painting in their house (you can see that I'm not giving up on the idea).

Incidentally, don't worry if the above link appears to be broken; click on the "refresh" button and it should work fine.

Ruben  •  Link

Rex Gordon has a point.
There is no reason for Sam to hang at his place an "Elizabeth" other than the Virgin Queen.
In many countries it works like that till today. People just changed the expensive painted portraits for pictures, but the "leaders", "fathers of the Nation" and the like are all around us in most places. I have seen that in a lot of countries and in all kind of places, from banks and public offices to private residences or schools.
One oil reproduction = a million or more Photo reproductions.
I think that Elizabeth was a very special Queen, well remembered by the people. (time heals a lot).
For a political person, like Samuel Pepys, this Queen's portrait was good enough to show his adherence to the restaured governing system and far enough to have no other actual political significance.
I began to write my annotation some hours ago, and I see a lot of new annotations after Rex's. Sorry if there is some redundancy.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"italian puppet play"
They are still around;I believe from Naples; large size marionettes dealing with the knight Roland or Orlando and the sarracens;I saw one in New York some years ago.

dirk  •  Link

Elizabeth Pepys

re Glyn

Thanks for drawing my attention to the spiked wheel and branch on Elizabeth Pepys' portrait on the Discussion Group's pictures site.

This is very interesting! If the "greenery" Liz is holding in her right hand is a palm branch (traditional symbol of martyrdom), in connection with the torture wheel at her left side, this would suggest a connection with Saint Catherine of Alexandria. I have no explanation for this.

I've tried to find some connection between these attributes and one or other Elizabeth, but haven't found any whatsoever.

Can anybody figure out what plant Liz is holding?

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Elizabeth Pepys' portrait ...

The original of this portrait remained in the possession of Pepys's nephew's family until it was cut into strips some time around 1830 "by a Scottish nurse shocked at the immodesty of the dress. Fortunately it had been engraved for the first edition of the Diary." (Claire Tomalin, Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, note to illustration 19, after p. 252.)

SteveM  •  Link

I wonder where all the money came from all of a sudden. Is it the case that this is the traditional date to pay off debts? (I seem to remember Lady's Day as the standard lease begin/end date, and maybe the date that debts are typically due.)

My other thought is that a lot of cash passed through Sam's hands in Portsmouth recently... . Might some have stuck?


tc  •  Link the dark there played upon my flageolette, in being a fine still evening...

Hark! What faint music is heard from the rooftops? Wouldn't it be lovely to be walking the quiet streets and sample those airs!

JWB  •  Link

Raphael, The Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth (?) and Another Female Saint, c. 1512
Lent from the Royal Library by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II…
The right owner.

Australian Susan  •  Link

JWB has found an interesting potrait by Raphael. I would have thought the women in the picture (other than the Virgin) would have been St Anne (entirely fictitous "mother" of Mary) as well as Elizabeth. A similar cartoon by da Vinci (in the National Gallery, London) is described as such.
Did Sam leave an inventory of his paintings in his will?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Elizabeth Pepys"
Elizabeth was born in France; she was probably named after Sainte Isabelle;
I could not find her birth date but if it was February 22,Sainte Isabelle's Day,that is almost a certainty.

Josh  •  Link

Dirk is spot on with the allusion to Catherine of Siena's famous “Catherine wheel” (whence the name of the firework display).
This site lists many Old Master depictions of the saint. Scroll down and click on “The Martyrdom” by Fernando Gallega, and you can see how this ingenious torment presumably operated (no palm in sight):…

The second Lorenzo Lotto has the palm, but not the wheel. To get both, you must seek out Bernardo Strozzi’s version, and this site tells Catherine’s story as well:…

But the puzzle remains: why depict Elizabeth this way?

Pauline  •  Link

Elizabeth Pepys's Father was born in France,
but she was born on 23 Oct. 1640 near Bideford.

dirk  •  Link

why depict Elizabeth this way

re Josh

Saint Catherine of Alexandria (not Siena!) was the patron saint of i.a. maidens and wives, cloth traders, sailors, secretaries, sewsters - and many if not all occupations who have to do with wheels.

So, if none of the other patronages be valid, she was certainly Sam's **wife**, which may explain the allusions to Saint Catherine - maybe this kind of thing was not unusual in Sam's time.

Pauline  •  Link

'both palm and wheel'
Andrew Hamilton, I don't see the wheel. The spikes showing from the drapery she holds?

Giovanna  •  Link Araujo - puppets.....
These wooden puppets, about two feet tall, are from Sicily and not from Naples where they are known as "pupi" and still play basically the story of the knight Orlando as written by Ludovico Ariosto. Also "Gerusalemme Liberata". They are much loved in Sicily up to the present time.

Peg  •  Link

"...why Elizabeth is so depicted."

Maybe a stretch: Could it have something to do with her being childless?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"both palm and wheel"

I take the spiked wooden device she covers with her green shawl (in the Lotto painting) to refer to the wheel.

Josh  •  Link

Sorry for confusing the two Catherines. (You know you've got the wrong one, C. of Siena, if she's holding a lily-stalk instead of a palm.)

C. of Alexandria's main attribute is a wheel with metal protrusions around the outer perimeter, rather like ice-cream scoops fashioned into points, the better to tear your flesh, my dear.
You can get a vivid notion of it from Michelangelo's muscular depiction of her in the Sistine Chapel's "Last Judgment" mural: click here and go down 3 illustrations (on right). She is holding a portion of the wheel (broken, probably to designate her heavenly triumph, and to facilitate the overall composition):…

Ruben  •  Link

why depict Elizabeth this way

It is clear that Elizabeth is depicted with the attributes of Catherina, but why?
What message is concealed there?
A friend of mine, Ariel Fridman (a plastic artist with a Renacentist heart) suggested to me that it was strange to depict Pepys wife like that considering she was born to a Hugenot family. But then I remembered that she had Catholic backgroud (see Pauline's annotation about Elizabeth: "it is clear from Pepys's own account that the Catholic faith never lost its hold on her”).
So, maybe, Elizabeth wanted posterity to know that in her heart (if not in her everyday life) she was still Catholic and suffered for that.

Pedro  •  Link

Long shot.

The coming Queen is Catherine, and of course her patron saint, and she is a catholic. I think Sandwich has already named his daughter in honour of the Queen.

Glyn  •  Link

It's probably a coincidence but the next nearest church to St Olave's was St Catherine's; its parish was combined with St Olave's in 1921. And there also were two other churches with the same name in the City at this time.

Lupo  •  Link

“italian puppet play”
They are still around;I believe from Naples; large size marionettes dealing with the knight Roland or Orlando and the sarracens;I saw one in New York some years ago.

A. De Araujo, the kind of puppets you mean are called "Pupi" and they are from Sicily (the ones with strings to make them move, like Pinocchio). They are still producted in some places in Sicily, and they are about 20 inches tall and rich in details and decorations.…

Glyn Edwards  •  Link

Historian of UK puppetry George Speaight identifies the Italian puppet play as being performed by 'Signor Bologna' ( the stage name of one Pietro Gimonde) and featuring the character "Pulcinella' (variously spelled) from the Commedia dell' Arte tradition. The character went on to become the English marionette 'Punchinello' and later 'Mr. Punch" . The UK Punch and Judy tradition nowadays celebrates May 9th as 'Mr. Punch's birthday' as a result of this diary entry. No earlier record of any sighting of the puppet in the UK has been discovered. (By the way, I am not the Glyn of earlier postings. I'm a Punch and Judy performer.)

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"Thence to see an Italian puppet play"

This appears to have been a predecessor of Powell's more famous puppet-show. An Italian puppet-show was exhibited at Charing Cross in 1666 and 1667.
---Wheatley, 1899.

Mary Ellen  •  Link

Than you, John York. I agree.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.