The Stuart Monarchs
James I - 1603 to 1625
Charles I - 1625 to 1649
Charles II - 1660 to 1685
James II - 1685 to 1688
William III & Mary II - 1689 to 1694
William III (alone) - 1694 to 1702
Above, a scene from Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. The comedy was first published in 1600 and performed at the Court of James I in 1604. Thomas Betterton produced a spectacular operatic adaption 'The Fairy Queen' with music by Henry Purcell in 1692. The work was shown at Jill's retrospective exhibition 'Mrs Gosoftly Presents: The Storytelling Art of Jill Bennett' in 2007.
Above we see a well to do merchant from the 1630's and below is his Lady.
At Charles II's return to England the plain dress of the Puritans gave way to colour and lace. The waistlines dropped, bosoms were in and so were wigs for men and lots of gorgeous fabrics.
As the century continued, women's corsets became stiffer and longer in front. Lacy 'fontages' rose like small towers from their caps.
Men continued to glow with gold braid and feathered hats on top of longer and even longer wigs.
Above a young Lady and below a noblewoman in her riding attire.
The lute (below) was an instrument waning in popularity as William III closed the century. Harpsichords and clavichords had developed to a point where they could hold their pitch and were taken up eagerly by ladies. Queen Anne, who was herself a fine musician, took the Stuart monarchy 12 years into the next century.