Samuel Pepys loved fine clothing almost as much as he loved ‘wine, women and song’. His long-suffering wife had to play second-fiddle in the fashion stakes (her clothing allowance was only increased once she found him in a compromising position with her maid)!

At the Restoration, Sir Peter Lely became the official painter to the court. Van Dyck’s legacy meant that ‘drapery’ rather than ‘dress’ appears in Lely’s work. The judicious addition of a prop or accessory could turn sitter/sinner into saint – as we discover by investigating portraits of Charles II, his Queen, courtiers, many mistresses and children.



Jacqui Ansell

Jacqui read History of Art and Theory at the University of Essex before going on to gain an MA in History of Dress from the Courtauld Institute. She continues to lecture regularly on the public programmes of the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery and to publish on court dress, Grand Tour portraiture and Welsh Costume as well as dress as a cultural marker and indicator of class, gender, national and professional identity. Jacqui is a senior lecturer at Christie's Education, London.