Arts Society West Wales: Big Wigs: Splendour at Court in the age of Samuel Pepys

Arts Society West Wales: Big Wigs: Splendour at Court in the age of Samuel Pepys

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.