Some members of re-enactment societies take their interest in the arts, crafts and daily life of 17th century England beyond the purely military aspects. Some go to great trouble and expense to equip themselves for demanding "living history" recreations of civil as well as military life. Apart from the displays which they put on for the public and for educational bodies, these enthusiasts meet privately to enjoy each others' company and to share their knowledge.
Most of these pictures were taken at a costumed banquet held by members of the Sealed Knot in a 17th century hall at Abingdon.
(Above) Foreground, Sue and Mark Hargreaves, who make and sell lace and glassware for re-enactors.
(Right) A pensive and sombrely dressed diner. His fine lace collar, and the discreet richness of his clothing, show that he is not a true Puritan.
(Opposite) A fine, painterly study ) of Mark Hargreaves.
(Above) Geoff and Caroline Vincent, members of Earl Rivers Regiment of Foot. Like many female members of these groups Caroline makes all her own costumes; it is extremely time-consuming and demanding, involving in-depth research and many hours of painstaking needlework.
(Left) The hairstyle is copied carefully from period portraits, the gown from a surviving example; the beauty spot would have been painted on in the 17th century.
(Above left & right) Details of fine quality reconstructed 1640s female (left) and male costume -women did not have a monopoly of rich embroidery. Such workmanship would have been very expensive in the 17th century, involving costly silks and bullion wire. Today, with less expensive materials, the main investment for those with the necessary skill is time. Although most members make their own "dress" costumes there are a few specialists - such as the Civil Wardrobe - making such clothing for sale.
(Right) An aptly posed study of pewterer Clive Simpson at table.
(Right) John Cartwright, the regimental chaplain to Karl Rivers' Regiment, is a vicar in real life. Here he officiates at the christening of a child of a member of the regiment; the entire regiment attended, all -including the infant - in authentic 17th century costume.
(Left) Will Hughes, a Royalist officer of Sir John Owen's Regiment, Welsh Militia, pays court to a lady-in-waiting.
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