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Dating through costume

Portrait of a Man in Red, c.1530-50, RCIN 405752©

Various elements of the clothing suggest that the painting was made during the 1530s or 1540s.

These include:

The long skirts below the waistline of the coat – By the 1560s skirts were shorter, revealing more of the upper stocks.

The lack of buttons on the coat – Buttons became fashionable during the 1550s.

The neckline of the coat is cut quite high (although worn open at the front) – Necklines were lower and broader during the 1520s and early 1530s.

The sitter wears a short gown over his coat – Gowns were long at the beginning of the sixteenth century and became shorter as the century progressed. During the 1540s cloaks became fashionable and increasingly replaced gowns.

Red clothing was the height of fashion during the first half of the sixteenth century – By the 1580s red was not such an important colour in the fashionable wardrobe.

The style of the sword hilt suggests a date between 1520 and 1560.

Printed pattern books indicate blackwork embroidery of this type was common in England by c.1540

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