Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Biography - Esther Inglis Kello (1571-1624) embroiderer, calligrapher & miniaturist.

Esther Inglis Kello (Embroiderer, calligrapher, & miniaturist, 1571-1624) 1595, Scottish National Portrait Gallery. In this portrait, painted at about the time of her marriage, Esther holds one of her books.  She wears a necklace composed of several strands of tiny beads & on her left hand she has 3 rings. One has an amber-colored stone in a conventional quatrefoil bezel. On her little finger is a plain double hoop & her thumb has another double hoop. This might have been her wedding ring, which some ladies of the period wore on the thumb.

Esther Inglis Kello (1571-1624) became an embroiderer, calligrapher & miniaturist. She made exquisite illuminated manuscripts of religious verses for numerous aristocrats & monarchs.
She was born in France, probably at Dieppe.  Her father, Nicholas Langlois, & her mother, Marie Prisott decided to leave France for England about the time of the St. Bartholomew massacre in 1572.  Her parents with their infant children, fled from France to England & then to Scotland a few years later. They were probably related to the protestant pastor, Jean Langlois, who was martyred at Lyons in 1572. 

Her father Nicholas settled at Edinburgh, where he became master of the French school. On 16 December 1581, Nicholas was granted a pension by James VI for his teaching in Edinburgh. The royal letter mentioned his work forming his pupil's "hands to a perfect shape of letter." Esther was instructed in the art of calligraphy by her mother, & is said by Thomas Hearne to have become nurse to the young Prince Henry. Her patrons included Queen Elizabeth & her ministers, as well as the royal family of Scotland & David Murray.
When she was in her twenties, Esther married a minister, Bartholomew Kello, who also performed some administrative services for Queen Elizabeth. She married about 1596, Bartholomew Kello of Leith, a minister. John Kello, her father-in-law, & her mother-in-law Margaret were long dead by she the time she was born.  He had been hanged.  She had been murdered.  The minister of Spott, Haddingtonshire, in 1567 was hanged for the murder of his wife, Margaret Thomson, on 4 October 1570. His confession was published by Robert Lekprevik at Edinburgh. Esther moved from Scotland to England, as the minister's son Bartholomew was at the rectory of Willingale Spain, Essex, by December 1607.

Esther often did not assume her husband's last name for the purposes of retaining her artistic identity.  Upon moving to Scotland & becoming an artist, she anglicized her father's French name to Inglis. Though Esther & her husband were constantly plagued by poverty, their marriage seems to have been a productive one. They had 6 children, 4 of whom survived to adulthood.
On the inscription of the self-portrait, she wrote, “De dieu le bien/ de moy le rien” ("From the Lord goodness, from myself nothing"), a belief  that Inglis would repeat in her manuscripts.

Inglis's talents as both a calligrapher & a miniaturist are evident in over 50 extant manuscripts that she presented to various wealthy patrons, including Queen Elizabeth, King James, Prince Henry, Prince Charles, the earl of Essex, & the Sidney & Herbert families.

Most of the manuscripts are religious verses or translations; the great achievement of the works is their artistic presentation. The books are miniature in size, often only a few inches wide, with intricate borders of foliage & animals, & they are bound in leather, silk, or velvet. The calligraphy is exquisite, extremely detailed, & often microscopic. Inglis was capable of producing over 40 styles of the various scripts described in 16C handwriting treatises.
All but 3 of her books were signed with her maiden name (meaning 'English') in either its French (Langlois) or Scottish (Inglis) form, although in modern libraries her work is usually cataloged under the name Kello. She was an expert calligrapher, writing a variety of hands with equal skill in miniature form. Sometimes the letters were scarcely a millimetre high. She also decorated her books with paintings & drawings, & she often included self-portraits in them (based on the above portrait.  Inglis dedicated her books & manuscripts to European royalty, including Queen Elizabeth I, as well as to other aristocrats. She would send her work to whomever it was dedicated to, and the recipients would send her a gift of money in return.

In many of the dedications of her manuscripts, Inglis apologizes for her temerity in presenting her work since she is only a woman, yet she also takes evident pride in her labors, finishing off several manuscripts with the motto "Vive la plume." She also includes self-portraits in several of her manuscripts, a sign of ownership of the very works she would then present to potential patrons. In spite of the patronage she received, Esther Inglis was in serious debt, when she died in 1624, at the age of 53.
Esther Kello died on 30 August 1624; her husband survived her, dying on 15 March 1638.  She left 2 daughters, Elizabeth & Mary.  Samuel Kello (died 1680), her only son, was educated at Edinburgh (M.A. 1618). Afterwards he was admitted to Christ Church, Oxford, & became rector of Spexall, Suffolk.

Images of manuscripts from The Folger Library.

See:
David Laing, ‘Notes relating to Mrs Esther (Langlois or) Inglis, the Celebrated Calligraphist, with an Enumeration of Manuscript Volumes Written by her between the years 1586 & 1624’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 6 (1868), 284-309

A.H. Scott-Elliot & Elspeth Yeo, ‘Calligraphic Manuscripts of Esther Inglis (1571-1624): A Catalogue’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 84 (March 1990), 11-86

Frye, Susan. Pens and Needles: Women’s Textualities in Early Modern England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.

Tjan-Bakker, Anneke. “Dame Flora’s Blossoms: Esther Inglis’s flower-illustrated manuscripts.” English Manuscript Studies 1500-1700. Vol. 9 (London: British Library, 2000), 49-72.

Ziegler, Georgianna. “’More than feminine boldness’: the gift books of Esther Inglis.” Women Writing and the Reproduction of Culture in Tudor and Stuart England. Ed. Mary E. Burke, et al. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000: 19-37.

Monday, April 29, 2019

16-17C Women with black, wide-brimmed Hats (Think "Witch" or "The Weaker Vessel")

1659 Unknown British Artist, Catherine Davenant, Wife of Thomas Lamplugh in a capotain hat

A Complete History of Magick, Sorcery, and Witchcraft by E. Curil J. Pemberton and W. Taylor, 1715-16

In 17C & 18C English & European woodcuts not all witches are depicted wearing the pointy black hat. Some images of witches did include the wide-brimmed pointy hat, but the pointy black hat was just one of many symbols connected to witchcraft in the past. The depiction of witches with conical hats, was especially popular in England and Scotland.
1596 Joan, 1st wife of Edward Alleyn by an unidentified artist of the British School in a capotain hat

Some believe that the pointy hat had its origin in the conical hats that were worn by the noble people in the middle ages (like the Hennin).  In Germany, golden conical hats were found, decorated with suns and stars. Some scholars suggest, that these hats were worn by priests or sorcerers/shamans as ritual headgear. Perhaps from the bronze age on, conical hats were worn by some priests/priestesses and sorcerers/sorceresses.  There are depictions of socerers in cone-like hats without brims.

Near China archaeologists found mummies, & some females of these mummies wore conical hats made from leather. Some scholars believe, these females were sorceresses or shamanesses.

Perhaps the symbolism of the conical hats as attributes of people with a connection to magic has old roots.  One god who has deep connections to magic, & witches & sorcerers was Odin. He was depicted with a black hat that had a huge brim (but this hat was not conical).  In ancient Greece, the goddess Hekate was strongly connected to witchcraft. On some statues she was depicted with a phrygian cap. The brimless phrygian cap was a conical, usually soft hat.
1592 Unknown Lady Robert Peake the elder (British Artist, 1551-1619)  She is wearing a small-brimmed phrygian-style cap which is both conical & a softer hat.

A capotain, capatain or copotain is a tall-crowned, narrow-brimmed, slightly conical hat, usually black, worn by men from the 1570s into the mid-17C in England, the Low Countries, & Spain.  Earlier capotains had rounded crowns; later, the crown was flat at the top.  Women soon adopted the style, particularly when wearing high-necked bodices.
1595 Esther Inglis Mrs Kello (Calligrapher and miniaturist, 1571-1624) in a capotain hat

The capotain is especially associated with Puritan costume in England in the years leading up to the English Civil War (1642–1651) & during the years of the Commonwealth (1649-1660). It is also called a Flat Topped Hat & a Pilgrim hat, the latter for its association with the Pilgrims who settled the British American Plymouth Colony in the 1620s.
 1590s Joan Popley in a capotain hat, British attributed to the circle of Robert Peake the elder (c.1551–1619)

1596 Mrs Jennyngs (b.1550-1551) in a capotain hat, Aged 45 British School

This fashion became very popular, which lead to criticism in the early 1600s, bemoaning that women & men were swapping attire.
1628 Eubule Thelwall (1562–1630) in a capotain hat by Gilbert Jackson (c.15951600 - after 1648, British Artist)

This lead to a pair of satirical pamphlets “Hic Mueler: Or, The Man-Woman” “Haec-Vir, or The Womanish-Man,” appearing about 1620. The pamphlets specifically criticize women for wearing a “Ruffianly broad-brim’d Hatte” instead of “the modest attire of the comely Hood, Cawle, Coyfe.” Usually hats in these portraits had flat, rather than pointed tops.
1614 Portrait of an English lady traditionally identified as (but possibly not) Lady Anne Bowyer, née Salter. Circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. She is wearing a small-brimmed phrygian-style cap which is both conical & a softer hat.

1617 Portrait of an Unknown Woman, Aged 60 (once said to be of the Gilly family, possibly the 3rd wife of Sir James Altham, d.1617) by British School

1618-1625 Portrait of an Old Woman in a Cartwheel Ruff and a capotain hat by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen (Dutch or Flemish artist in England, 1593-1661)

1619 Salomon Mesdach ( c 1600-1632, Dutch artist) Portrait of Anna Boudaen Courten wearing a Capotain Hat - tall hat, high-crowned, narrow-brimmed


1621-30 Dame Pigot in a capotain hat by Gilbert Jackson (c.1595-1600 - after 1648, British Artist)


1625 Salomon Mesdach ( c 1600-1632, Dutch artist)  Portrait of Margarita Courten (1564-1640) in a capotain hat

1627-8 Anne Fanshawe, First Wife of Thomas, 1st Viscount Fanshawein an atypical capotain hat decorated with feathers & a leather band, by Marcus Gheeraerts the younger

1632 Catherine Morgan in a capotain hat by Gilbert Jackson (c.15951600 - after 1648, British Artist)

1634 Maria Bockennolle, Wife of Johannes Elison in a capotain hat by Rembrandt

1638 Hester Pookes, (c.1608–1678) wife of John Tradescant may have been made at the time of her marriage to John Tradescant the Younger in 1638.

1639 Catherine Lucas, Lady Pye in a capotain hat by Henry Giles

1640s Perhaps John Tradescant the Elder, (c 1570-1632) naturalist & gardener, with his 3rd wife, Elizabeth Day both in a capotain hat

1641 Anne Goye (1609-1681) in a capotain hat decoraded with a beaded band, Unknown Danish artist

In England, the artist & engraver Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) created several series of English & European women during the 1640s.  These ladies were wearing capotain hats quite similar to the versions appearing in the witch woodcuts of the time.  His "Ornatus Muliebris Anglicanus - The severall 'Habits of Englishwomen, from the Nobilitie to the Country Woman, as they are in these times" was published in 1640.  By 1642–1643 the 1st part of his series of European women had appeared in London under the title "Theatrum Mulierum," and it was followed by a 2nd part the next year titled "Aula Veneris."
Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Woman in a capotain hat.  1642

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Woman in a capotain hat. 1642

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.

 Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris Woman in a capotain hat.

And finally, from the same period, here is a woodcut with the same capotain hats without the pointy tops.

The Good Womans Champion or A Defence For The Weaker Vessel. Booklet printed in London by Francis Grove in 1650

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Biography - Catherine de' Medici & one of her spies Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay c 1551–1617

Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay (c. 1551–1617) was a French noblewoman & a mistress of King Henry of Navarre, who became King Henry IV of France. She was a member of Queen Mother Catherine de' Medici's Flying Squadron (Escadron Volant), a group of female spies & informants recruited to seduce important men at Court to extract information for the Queen Mother, who was desperate to keep power in France.
Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay, (c 1551–1617)

Charlotte was the daughter & only child of Jacques de Beaune, Baron Semblançay, Viscount of Tours, & Gabrielle de Sade. Charlotte was sent to court, where she was educated in the household of Catherine de' Medici.  As a noblewoman, Charlotte would have specific legal & financial rights, & prerogatives, which Catherine de' Medici would use to her own advantage.

Described as having been "beautiful, intelligent, & immoral," Charlotte was married to Simon de Fizes, Baron de Sauve, secretary of state first to King Charles IX & King Henry III, in 1569, when she was 18 years old. At court, she garnered much attention, as she was being raised by Catherine de' Medici.  She was appointed maid-of-honor to Marguerite de Valois.  She is recorded as taking part in some of the pageants & ballets which Catherine de' Medici produced. She helped Catherine mount a lavish show depicting the Apotheosis of Woman in 1577, at the château of Chenonceau.
Henry III's Ball of 1580

Ten years after she married, in 1579, her husband died. Charlotte married secondly in 1584, Francois de La Tremoille, Marquis de Noirmoutier, by whom she had a son, Louis de La Tremoille, in 1586.
Catherine de' Medici in black cap and veil of widow, after 1559.

At court, she was constantly under the influence of Catherine de' Medici.  Shortly after Henry of Navarre's marriage to Catherine's daughter Marguerite de Valois, in 1572, Catherine recruited Charlotte to her side. Charlotte's task was to seduce Navarre, become his confidante & mistress, to extract information to pass on to Catherine.
French King Henry IV (1553–1610)

Charlotte quickly became Navarre's mistress & exerted a strong influence over him. His wife Marguerite recorded in her memoirs: "Mme de Sauve so completely ensnarled my husband, that we no longer slept together, not even conversed."
Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay, (c 1551–1617)

Charlotte de Sauve has been cited as a source of the information that led to the execution of Marguerite de Valois's lover Joseph Boniface de La Môle & Annibal de Coconnas for conspiracy in 1574. In 1575, Catherine de' Medici, abetted by her son Henry III, instructed Charlotte to seduce the king's brother, her youngest son, François, Duke of Alençon, with the aim of provoking hostility between the 2 young men, so that they would not conspire together in the future.
Nicolas Hilliard, Portrait of Francois de Valois, duc d'Alencon, duc d'Anjou (1576), duc de Brabant

Francois, Duke of Alencon (1554-1584), was the youngest of the 4 sons of King Henri II of France & Catherine de' Medici. In childhood, he contracted smallpox, which left him disfigured. The smallpox also left him weak & caused his growth to be stunted, exposing him to ridicule. He was under 5 feet tall. His lack of interest & proficiency in sports further opened him to derision. The Vicomte de Turenne, who was a childhood friend of Francois', would write in his memoirs, that Francois was disfigured by smallpox saying that his scars were so bad that it appeared that he had 2 noses. But he must have had some charms, as Elizabeth I of England reportedly adored him.

Charlotte subsequently became the duke's mistress, & Navarre & Alençon became rivals over Charlotte. According to Marguerite's memoirs: "Charlotte de Sauve treated both of them (Navarre & Alençon) in such a way that they became extremely jealous of each other, to such a point that they forgot their ambitions, their duties & their plans & thought of nothing but chasing after this woman."
Frans Pourbus (II) (1569–1622) Henry IV of France

Henry of Navarre wrote to a friend: "The court is the strangest I have ever known. We are nearly always ready to cut each other's throat...All the band you know wants my death on account of my love for Monsieur (Alençon) & they have forbidden for the 3rd time my mistress (Charlotte de Sauve) to speak to me. They have such a hold on her, that she does not dare look at me. I am waiting for a minor battle, for they say they will kill me, & I want to be one jump ahead of them." On one occasion, Henry III had Alençon's papers seized & searched for evidence of political plotting but turned up only a declaration of love from Madame de Sauve.
Henry I, Duke of Guise (1550–1588) Catherine de' Medici has struggled for power with the Guise family for years.

In a later intrigue, Charlotte de Sauve became the mistress of Henry I, Duke of Guise (1550–1588), with whom she spent the evening at Blois in December 1588, before his assassination by King Henry III of France the following morning.
Duc d'Épernon Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette granted by Henry III of France in 1581

She had other lovers, including the Jean-Louis de Nogaret de la Valette 1st duc d'Épernon (1554-1642), & the Seigneur d'Avrilly. Charlotte de Sauve died in 1617, at about 61 years of age.
Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay, (c 1551–1617)