Monday, September 25, 2017

Clothing fashions during the Dyers' lifetime--part 1

This post is the first of two, on fashions of the early and mid-17th century, during the lifetimes of William and Mary Barrett Dyer and Anne and William Hutchinson. I tried to cover the various social strata, whose type of clothes were prescribed. For instance, shoe height had to be low for the poorer sorts, and gowns or men's boots had to match their station.

Since Mary and William Dyer were respected and in a higher merchant class, as well as William's social status as colonial attorney general, they wouldn't be wearing court dress of the aristocrats, but they'd be very well turned out with fabrics, colors, and ornaments like collars and hats.

When they moved from London to Boston, they probably wore more sober Puritan dress, but even so, it would have been of high quality, with laces and quality boots to show their status and educational level. But for some years, there were no riding horses or carriages, so most people, even Gov. John Winthrop, walked for miles in sunshine, rain, or snow.

When they moved to Rhode Island, they would have added clothing that would be practical for their farming and sailing activities, though they certainly would have had servants and laborers to do heavier chores than feeding poultry or milking goats. Of course, William would have had courtroom clothes (and possibly a wig), and Mary would have dressed plainly when she became a Quaker in the 1650s. Plain doesn't mean shabby, though--unless you think of living in the same clothes for weeks or months at a time while in prison. She was still expected to maintain a dress standard to honor her husband's social and professional status. There's no evidence that she was criticized for immodesty or dressing too poshly or poorly, so she must have found the right balance.

1. 1660s: Dutch woman reading (detail), by Pieter Janssens Elinga
2. ca 1600: Bartholomew family group--grandparents, parents, and children.
Two of the boys emigrated to Massachusetts as young adults.
I'm not sure, but this may be the Bartholomew family
who were friends with William and Anne Hutchinson
in London, but turned against Anne in Boston. Their clothes
indicate they were respected members of society, and the
deep black shows their wealth. (It was difficult to match black pieces,
and they tended to fade with cleaning.)
3. About 1615: Lady Arabella Stuart, falsely claimed to
be Mary Dyer's biological mother.
4. 1630: Four Figures at Table, by Louis Le Nain
5. 1620s-30s: Netherlands Family Making Music, Molenaer
6. 1600s- Cecelia, by Bernardo Strozzi
7. 1615-Frances Howard, Countess Somerset
8. In 1630 London, this was the suggested "look" for the
English gentleman. Click photo to enlarge, so you can
see the smaller images around the border.
9. 1630s: English satin evening dress.
This is how Queen Henrietta Maria dressed.
10. 1630s-40s: Country woman
11. 1630s-40s: Lady of the court
12. 1630s-40s: English dress with lace shawl collar, fur muff
13. 1630s-40s: English gentlewoman
14. 1630s-40s: English, modest dress and coif (woman's cap)
15. 1630s-40s: English, modest dress and coif
16. 1630s-40s: Merchant's wife of London
17. 1630: Helene Fourment in her wedding gown. She was married to
painter Peter-Paul Rubens.
18. The Jewish Bride, by Rembrandt van Rijn. This may be
a depiction of the biblical patriarch Isaac with his bride Rebekah,
but it shows how a bride would dress in 17th-century Netherlands.
In fact, author Donald Michael Platt discovered that the male model
for this painting was Vicente Rocamora, the subject of his historical novels!
19. Anabaptist family, suppertime. Unknown year and country.
20. 1630s-Queen Henrietta Maria of England.
Note the crown near her left hand.
21. 1630-35: Family group in a landscape, England
22. 1647- Portrait of Lady Mary Fairfax (1638-1704), aged nine,
with her tutor, by Robert Walker (1607-60).  Lady Mary
was the daughter of General (Lord) Thomas Fairfax of the English Civil Wars.
The girl went on to become Lady Mary Villiers, Duchess of Buckingham.
23. 1630s-woman's shoe height related to societal status
24. 1633: Henrietta Maria of France, Queen consort of England.
A Catholic, she dressed more modestly than many Anglican
and Puritan women of her time.

Part two of two on this subject coming soon!

Christy K Robinson is the author of the books:

Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013) 

Effigy Hunter (2015) 

Anne Hutchinson, American Founding Mother (2017)

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