11 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

An English embroidered panel: The Restoration of Charles II, about 1665.
This panel is created on a white satin fabric using a great variety of complex embroidery stitches and padding to raise the surface (a technique often described as “stumpwork”). The motifs in the background, including leaves, birds, flowers and insects, are embroidered in flat stitches, but wires covered with silk stitches have been used to form leaves on the tree, the wigs and parts of the costumes of the figures, which are also padded with wool.
The picture depicts a number of scenes from the life of Charles II, including his hiding in an oak tree at Boscobel house after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, his flight on horseback disguised as a female servant, his restoration to the English Crown in 1660, assisted by General Monck, and his marriage to Catherine of Braganza in 1662.


Pedro  •  Link

Another Panel. (click to enlarge)

Embroidered Panel, English, mid-late 17th century. Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. Raised work and beadwork on white satin. Copyright © Maidstone Museum & Art Gallery. Photo: Paul Dixon.


bugs  •  Link

Is there a picture of Samuel Pepys?

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The symbolic values of colors were fixed in the Middle Ages, and the system lingered for about 200 years after the Middle Ages "sensu stricto" had ended. It was complex -- the reason why it died out -- and some colors were ambivalent in meaning. The significance of a color was generally understood and accepted.

Here are some colors with their symbolic values:
· white: purity, humility;
· blue: loyalty;
· red: love, strength, courage (but also occasionally pride);
· black: death, suffering;
· yellow: vanity, untrustworthiness, betrayal ("fake gold");
· green: the color of life, but also the color of poison – a color with not always clear connotations
In Britain, green was also associated with prostitution. (This was not the case anywhere else on the continent, and no other color was ever systematically used for this purpose.)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Gresham College hosts free lectures, and gave one on where Charles II lived during his exile. Part addressed how this affected Restoration Court style:

In 1660 the rewards went to those who had endured exile with Charles II. Most received places at Court, and incomes to match. This meant the people closest to the king had experienced Continental life, particularly Paris and the French Court. French taste was therefore the culture of the English ruling class and influenced all aspects of life.

Yes, there was French furniture and fashion at Court in the 1630s, especially in Queen Henrietta's apartments at Denmark House. During the Commonwealth and Interregnum Cromwell used that French furniture.

In 1660 Charles II immediately signaled a change in Court taste. The Court Upholsterer (responsible for seat furniture, beds and soft furnishings for royal houses) was John Baker, who had held the post for 40 years. Within weeks he was working with John Casbert, a French upholsterer. Casbert learned his trade in Louis XIII’s Paris.

In the first accounts, Casbert was paid for altering a crimson damask bed 'bought of a Frenchman'. The Princess Royal was also given a 'standing French bedstead'. These new beds were installed in French-style bedchambers (bedrooms with an elaborate alcove in which the bed was placed behind a rail). The king's bedchamber was the first to be arranged like this and had a parquet floor, the first time this French flooring method was used in England.

Along with bedchamber architecture and furniture came French etiquette:
Charles II introduced the morning lever, in which he dressed in public in the French royal manner, and an evening coucher, in which he undressed in public and went to bed.
Earlier Stuarts used the bedchamber as private space, but Charles II used it as a French Chambre de Parade, his principal audience chamber.

To maintain the setting of his Court in the French fashion, in 1660 Charles II started sending English artists to Paris to learn French Fashion.
Perhaps the most important of these trips was made by Sir Christopher Wren in 1669. Charles II wanted to rebuild the Tudor Whitehall Palace and sent Wren to see the Louvre and the Palais Royal.

Other royal servants sent to France to learn French ways included:
the composer Humfrey Pelham, sent to learn composition;
Thomas Betterton, who went several times to consult on theater construction and play writing;
and John Banister, who went to learn how to compose musicals.

Charles II spent his 20's at the French Court, and his tastes were formed there. Charles was not following the tastes of Louis XIV and copying Versailles (Versailles was a small hunting lodge in the 1650s). Charles’ taste was moulded by Richelieu, Mazarin and Louis XIII, and remained with him for his whole life.

For more

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

And in 1667 Pepys refers several times to eating dinner in "the French manner".

This means it was a meal in which the courses are served consecutively. I wonder if Charles II sent his cooks to Paris to learn French cuisine?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Continuing with my investigation of the French influence on taste, art, culture, etc. in Charles II's court:

"And in England, despite an increasing (and increasingly varied) consumption of vegetables there, at least by the upper classes, many English remained wary of ‘sellets’ and other vegetables. In a 1669 matrimonial dispute, a Londoner took her French husband to court, alleging cruel treatment. This included his leaving her ‘meatless and very hungry’, to quote from her deposition. He was, the wife went on, ‘a Frenchman and useth the diet of herbs and other slight eating’.[38]

[38] Court of Arches, Lambeth Palace Library, London, Houston no. 842, cit. in Pelling, M. (1982), ‘Food, status and knowledge: attitudes to diet in early modern England’, in idem, The Common Lot: Sickness, Medical Occupations and the Urban Poor in Early Modern England . London and New York: Longman, p. 47.

For lots of information about the switch from a mostly meat diet to an acceptance of vegetarianism, which took 200 years -- many references to Evelyn:

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Royalty had long used the exchange of portraits to reassure prospective mates of the desireability of the proposed match (didn't work for Charles II who is rumored to have seen Catherine of Braganza for the first time, and said something like, "They want me to marry a bat" because of her Portuguese hairstyle).

Pepys and Povy in Diary times are into buying landscapes and portraits for personal use. But by the end of the century The Portrait will take on a greater significance and importance, which accounts for why Pepys exchanges his likeness with influential friends Evelyn and Hewer ... and probably other "friends" as well.

According to this article, "friends" were the circle of influential and like-minded people you cultivated who could promote and protect you. You didn't necessarily like them, but your families inter-married, and sometimes a circle was so large and wealthy it could sustain a particular portrait painter.

I'm trying to stay away from labeling these circles as Whigs or Torys, but the political divide does come to mind. https://thehistoryofparliament.wordpress.com/2022…

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