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Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)

Thomas Killigrew and William, Lord Crofts (?) 1638

RCIN 407426

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A pictorial essay on grief, the poet Thomas Killigrew is shown mourning his recently deceased wife Cecilia Crofts, alongside a figure thought to represent Cecilia’s nephew William. Thomas wears his wife’s wedding ring on a black silk ribbon around the wrist, a mourning ring next to his own wedding band and a cross engraved with his wife’s initials. While black clothing was worn during mourning, it was also a fashionable colour. In fact, the shiny silk portrayed here would not have been considered appropriate during deepest mourning, when all reflective surfaces on clothing and jewellery were prohibited. Similarly such a nonchalantly dishevelled and ‘unbuttoned’ appearance was a fashionable affectation for men during the 1630s – whether grieving or not.