Thursday, 17 October 2013

Informal jackets and waistcoats of the early 17th century

No doubt some kind of informal wear has been around for a very long time, but as people opted to be portrayed in their finest clothes, they are seldom seen until around 1600. Then the English ladies started a trend to be shown in their more relaxed clothes, a jacket or waistcoat, with or without a matching petticoat. The clothes weren’t exactly simple, bot portraits and extant examples show lavish embroideries, silk, silverwork and spangles, but comparing to the formal fashion, these clothes were much simpler. They could be worn on their own, or with a loose gown over, paired with what kind of cuffs and collars that was fashionable.
Linen jacket embrodered with black wool, dated 1610-1620 and  skirt in fustian dated 1621-1640.

They are abundant in portraits the first two decades of the 17th century, and then their popularity seem to have waned in the 1630's. Perhaps because the more formal fashion became simpler, the waistcoats from the 1620’s are cut in a way that points toward the jacket-like bodices of the 1630’s. The waistcoats could be either form-fitting or loose, the latter probably maternal wear. The embroidered linen jackets, either monochromes or in colour, seems to have been an English fashion, but there are several knitted waistcoats preserved as well, and they have also been found in Scandinavia. Given the climate in Sweden I think I would prefer knitted silk to linen, so perhaps that is no surprise
I wish that the portrait of Lady Elizabth Howard was larger, but her jacket and petticoat looks very much like the extant example above.
Lady Elizabeth Howard, Countess of Banbury by Daniel Mytens, 1619
Linen jacket embrodered with black silk and metal thread, 1610-1620
Linen jacket embroidered with black silk, 1600-1625
Linen jacket embroidered with silk, 1620-1625
Unfortunately there are no colour photos of this pink silk jacket.
Waistcoat in pink taffeta embroidered with blue silk and spangles, 1610-1620
The following two portraits may not depict embroidred clothes, but patterned fabric, but then they also portrays the transitional fashion of the 1620's with a waist that is rising from its natural place and a more relaxed fashion in general.

Lady Anne Montagu by Daniel Mytens, 1626
Cecilia Nevill, by Robert Peake, ca. 1617

Linen jacket embroidered with silverwork, 1610-1615
This coif has the same mebroidery as the jacket above.
Linen coif and forehard cloth embroiedered with silverwork, 1610-1615
Two late examples from the 1630's.

Fustoan jacket embrodered with silverwork and spangles, 1630's

Linen bodice embroidered with silverwork and spangles, 1625-1640
Linen jacket embroidered in silk and silver, 1590-1630

Silk jacket, embroidered with silk, 1600-1625

The Layton jacket in linen, embroidered with silk and silver, 1610-1615

Margaret Layton, wearing the jacket shown above, by Marcus Gheeraerts, ca. 1620

Linen jacket embroidered with silk, 1610-1620

Portrait of a lady, thought to be Elizabeth of Bohhemia, circle of William Larkin

Traditionally called Dorothy Cary, later Viscountess Rochford by William Larkin, 1614-1618
Amy Seymour by a follower of Robert Peake, 1623

Linen jacket embroidered with silk and silver, 1600-1625
Unknown woman by Roman Way, ca. 1605
Portrait of a young woman, ca. 1610

Anne Hawtrey by a follower of Robert Peake

Portrait of a lady by Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, 1615-1618

Undated, but the hairstyle suggest 1620 or thereabout.
Linen jacket striped with silver, 1605-1620

Knitted waistcoat, 1650-1700

Knitted silk waistcoat

Knitted silk jacket, 17th century
Knitted silk jacket, 1600-1620
Knitted in silk, last half of the 17th century

Knitted waistcoat silk and silver-gilt wrapped silk, and lined with linen, 1630-1700

Jacket knitted in silk, 1600-1625

Another knitted silk jacket.


Seidenweberin said...

Thank you for the article :-)
You know, you don't really help me to convince myself that I don't need a linen jacket with black embroidery and that I already have enough to work on ;-)

Isis said...

Fiorina: But, but, doesn't everyone? ;)

Hellebore said...

Hi, I feel with you Fiorina, especially, because my Boyfriend just told me, how pretty that Waistcoat an Skirt look.

There are very good colour-pictures of the pink taffeta waistcoat in the "Womens' Seventeenth Dress Patterns" Book.

Isis said...

Hellebore: There are very nice pics in the book, so it is a pity V&A only have black and white ones!

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