14 June 2012

Talk at the Wallace Collection

Keith Dowden at the Wallace Collection

A talk by Keith Dowden of the Wallace Collection last Saturday focussed on the life of the English Civil War soldier.

The entertaining, hour-long lecture gave an overview of all aspects of a regular trooper's lot, while also throwing up some fascinating details for those with more than a passing interest ...

Some interesting asides:

  • Cheese eaten in camp would have most likely resembled modern-day Wensleydale or Caerphilly.
  • At the sack of Leicester marauding Royalist troops came away with an average of 45 shillings each (pay at the time was meant to be four shillings per week).
  • Those exempt from serving after being called up through militia ordinances included sons of a widow, clergymen and students at the inns of court.
  • Pairs of shoes were often identical, with no left or right foot; the solider swapped shoes between feet as they became worn in the field.

We were also given the opportunity to handle original 17th century arms and armour, including a sword, cannon shot and musket balls. The weight of a replica matchlock musket brought home how energy-sapping it would be to have to carry the weapon day-after-day.

Some of the 17th century objects on show, including an original sword and musket shot

There's another 17th century talk at the museum later this month (June 26), on the English rapier c.1610-20.

The 18th century Wallace building houses a vast collection of Old Masters from the 15th to 19th centuries, as well as a huge collection of European arms and armour.

The most famous work on show is - ironically - Frans Hals' The Laughing Cavalier (1624).

Wallace Collection

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I missed this talk !Good to read your report.