Saturday 3 March 1665/66

All the morning at the office, at noon to the Old James, being sent for, and there dined with Sir William Rider, Cutler, and others, to make an end with two Scots Maisters about the freight of two ships of my Lord Rutherford’s. After a small dinner and a little discourse I away to the Crowne behind the Exchange to Sir W. Pen, Captain Cocke and Fen, about getting a bill of Cocke’s paid to Pen, in part for the East India goods he sold us. Here Sir W. Pen did give me the reason in my eare of his importunity for money, for that he is now to marry his daughter. God send her better fortune than her father deserves I should wish him for a false rogue.

Thence by coach to Hales’s, and there saw my wife sit; and I do like her picture mightily, and very like it will be, and a brave piece of work. But he do complain that her nose hath cost him as much work as another’s face, and he hath done it finely indeed. Thence home and late at the office, and then to bed.

14 Annotations

Michael L  •  Link

I've been reading this diary for years, and Sam has been all along calling Sir W. Pen all sorts of names behind his back ("false rogue" today), but I can't remember any specifics that would support this tarnishing. Can any of you remember specific reasons behind why Sam dislikes his neighbor so intensely?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Michael, I can't cite specific instances from memory, but most of Sam's dissatisfaction with Penn comes from their office dealings and conflicts earlier in the Diary -- from, I think, '62 and '63. To put it simply, as Sam portrays it, Penn was not particularly good at his job, and was disrespectful to him.

Interesting entry today, esp. regarding Elizabeth and Mercer -- I had no idea that Sam was able to provide them with clerical work like this. Gotta admire his ability in this situation to kill multiple birds with this stone...

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Okay, so now to this day's entry ... "But he do complain that her nose hath cost him as much work as another’s face, and he hath done it finely indeed"

An interesting comment -- perhaps a backhanded compliment? -- from Hales...

cape henry  •  Link

[3/3] Nothing de Bergeracian about Elizabeth's nose that I can make out. It was, however, customary in those times for people to be far more frank about the specifics of appearance than is the case today. It is quite possible that TB has it about right, that Hales is actually praising the nobility and elegance of her nose, and therefore the difficulty of capturing it's charms. Cha-ching.

cgs  •  Link

" customary in those times for people to be far more frank about the specifics of appearance than is the case today"

remember complained about 'is thumb.

cgs  •  Link

thumb be Samuell's.

Jesse  •  Link

"he hath done it finely indeed"

My thinking is that physiognomy had some significance then, and the nose was an important feature.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Sorry for the confusion with the 2nd and 3rd of March -- I'd given the 3rd the wrong date so they were appearing over each other.

I'm going to move all the obvious 2nd of March annotations over to that entry.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

To Michael L -
Soon after Pepys became Clerk of the Acts, and thus a member of the Navy Board, he learned that Penn was trying to dilute or dissolve his authority, and have him function as a mere clerk to the Board, not a voting member. He has never forgiven him for that.

AussieRene  •  Link

I echo Michael L's question. Anyone???

Ruben  •  Link

Now that the portrait is near completion, it is time for the Artist to explain how difficult it was to do this or that, in our case the nose.
I pressume that was the usual boasting in front of people that evidently had no previous experience in this kind of things (those ignorant nouveau rich!), so money would move with more ease from the bourgeois patron to the 66 years old experienced artist that painted hundreds if not thousands of noses during his long career.
By the same token he could have said that the exposed skin colour was difficult to paint, but then we enter the picaresque and that is Robert's specialty.
I pressume the nose is "neutral" and you can speak about it, but "skin" has a "sex value" and better not to speak of it, in spite of the flesh being evidently there...

Ruben  •  Link

More on flesh!
As we now know exposed FLESH was the reason for this portraits destruction hundred and more years later.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I'm still suspicious about the "Scottish nurse" story regarding Bess' portrait's destruction. I mean, how many portraits of that era were destroyed for such a reason...And what 1830s nurse (governess?, I suppose was the real position?) would throw her job away like that, however fanatically pious? It could be true, but...

1833, in that den of iniquity known as the Vatican...

"Our operative has been successful at last. There she is, Holiness...As beautiful as when she lived. Our top agent in England in the 1660s, whose work led to the humilation of the English at Medway."
cardinal reverently eyes Bess' portrait.

"Is it not time to reveal to the world the truth, Holiness?" another cardinal suggests.

"Would we not have to reveal we had her poisoned when she refused to do more to compromise the English navy for the love of her husband?" His Holiness notes.

"And that we stole her portrait...Rather more recently..." a third cardinal points out. "

Hmmmnnn...All four eye Bess' beaming face.

"Let us leave our devoted daughter's secrets to God, my friends." His Holiness nods wisely.

(I would tell you the secret website where we Catholics can see Bess in her glory but then of course I'd have to kill you all...)

Log in to post an annotation.

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