James Duke of York, later James II, Playing tennis as a child.
Charles I Erecting His Standard at Nottingham on 22nd August 1642,
By Frank Cadogan Cowper
On the left of the picture King Charles I, with his left arm upraised, his right around the shoulders of his twelve-year-old son, who would become Charles II. This was the event which signalled the start of the Civil War: The figure at the extreme right is Sir Edmund Verney, the Knight Marshal, who was in charge of the royal standard.
To the right, trumpeters blow a call, and the standard itself blows in the breeze, while in the foreground, soldiers and courtiers cheer. At the time the Royal Standard was set up, London and the Home Counties were already in the hands of the Parliamentary forces. It was considered a bad omen for the king’s success that the Standard was blown down within a week.
Mortuary Sword, England, mid 17th Century
This 17th century English sword from the BRLSI collection is of a type known today as a Mortuary Sword. Although technically a broadsword, the name ‘Mortuary Sword’ has been given by sword collectors who consider that the decorative hilt commemorates the execution of Charles I in 1649.
Characteristically the chiselled decoration of the hilt often includes male heads with long hair and pointed ‘Van Dyke’ type beards. The BRLSI example also has representations of animal heads either side of the human head. The mortuary sword with many variations in form and decoration was a popular and practical cavalry sword throughout the period of the English Civil Wars (1642 - 1651).
A 1689 broadside celebrating the return of Princess Mary to England when she took the throne along with her husband William III
The woodcut illustration of Mary, with a dress so low-cut it shows both breasts, make-up and patches, seems very much at odds with the modest and pious description of Mary in the ballad.
The publishers seem to have either been trying to save money by re-using an old image, or trying to sell more copies by using a titillating picture on the cover.
Sack Bottle with picture of King Charles II
Sack was a strong sweet imported wine, roughly equivalant to modern sherry.
The sketchy but heroic portrait of Charles II in his armour is probably an allusion to his appearance at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, where after the decisive defeat of the Royalists, Charles II hid in the Boscobel Oak.
Leather, pigskin, silk, silk thread, woven silk lace, linen thread, hand sewn
In the 17th century all shoes were ‘straights’, not shaped for the left or right foot. Fashionable men and women wore moderately high heels indoors. Rich silks and velvets were decorated with exquisite embroidery or braids and fastened with ribbons. French styles were popular after 1660, like the squared toe. Later, a long, pointed shape with closed sides became fashionable.
Portrait of Carlo Doria on Horseback
Peter Paul Rubens
Gentleman’s toilet set
Tortoiseshell on wood, mounted with silver, with tortoiseshell, steel, silver and ivory implements
This toilet set is traditionally believed to be a gift from Charles II to Thomas Campland, who had sheltered him during the Civil War, as some of the instruments are marked with the initials ‘TC’. There is no firm historical proof for this, but there was a long-standing tradition of monarchs giving gifts to members of the nobility as a sign of friendship or as thanks for services rendered. Objects with a royal association were likely to be preserved by a family rather than refashioned or melted down.
Dagger and sheath
Dagger 1629, Sheath 1654
In England during the early 17th century it was fashionable to call a certain type of dagger a ‘Buckingham’ dagger, since its popularity coincided with the ascendancy of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), the favourite of James I. The cross-guard is usually of iron overlaid in silver and the grips are of wood. In this example, the blades of flat-diamond section are etched with Latin mottoes, a date and Tudor roses. Traces of gilding were found on the blade when it was recently cleaned.
By tradition this once belonged to Sir John Hotham. Deprived of his office as Governor of Hull by Charles I, he initially supported the Parliamentary cause but his ambitious nature soon brought him into conflict with leading Parliamentarians like Cromwell and Colonel Hutchinson. The 17th-century historian Lord Clarendon described him as being ‘without any bowels of good nature or the least sense or touch of generosity’. Found guilty of intriguing with the Royalists, Hotham was beheaded in London in 1645.
Probably belonged to King Charles I
Charles was born in 1600, the second son of James VI and I. He was a delicate child, with difficulties in speaking and walking, and the household accounts list the making of a type of wheelchair for his use. He was still unable to walk when his father created him Duke of York in 1605. Sir Robert and Lady Carey, his guardians between 1605 and 1611, arranged remedial treatment, and it has been suggested that this may have included a rocking horse to provide exercise and strengthen his legs. If this horse were his, it would probably date from 1605-08. By 1610 he had made great progress in mobility, and could walk, ride, take tennis coaching from Master Jehu Webb, and dance.
Colonel Smith Grasping the Hind Legs of a Stag
According to the poem, a stag had broken into Colonel Smith’s fenced garden, and started to crop the plants. The Colonel turned out his hounds, but the stag ran off into the wild. Suddenly it fell into a stag pit, and in pursuing it the Colonel fell in as well. He grappled with the animal as it tried to escape, dragging him along, and finally he overpowered it. He then tied its feet together with one of his garters.
Silk damask brocaded with gold thread, on a frame of oak and pine, with carved walnut feet painted black and finials of ostrich and egret feathers
This bed typifies the expensive and sumptuous state beds installed in country houses in the late 17th century. Ralph Montagu, the first Duke of Buccleuch, acquired it for Boughton House, Northamptonshire, which he inherited in 1684. The bed was the centrepiece of the state bedroom, one of a series of rooms designed to show the wealth of the owner rather than for living in. The rich hangings are of crimson Italian silk damask brocaded with gold thread. They cover the oak frame entirely. The finials at each corner of the cornice are made of ostrich feathers. The bed was given to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1916, but has been sent back on long-term loan to Boughton House, Northamptonshire, where it re-installed in its original setting.