Edward IV – A King of Bling – His Wardrobe Accounts
Reblogged from Edward IV – A King of Bling’s Wardrobe Accounts
The Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York and The Wardrobe Accounts of Edward the Fourth Edited by Nicolas Harris Nicolas Esq
As demonstrated by my earlier posts on the subject I enjoy nothing more than a delve around privy purse/wardrobe expenses. This may be partly due to my naturally nosy nature but also because of how much they can tell you about that specific person. Take for example Elizabeth of York’s cheap lanten shoe buckles or her generosity to any person who rocked up who had been in the service or provided help for any of her relatives. Not to mention Henry VII’s penchant for dancing maidens – now theres a surprise! Here today are some of Edward IVs Wardobe Expenses. Good grief did that man love bling bling – the wonderful fabrics he wore, the jewels – how he must have shone and shimmered in the candlelight..
Edward IV motto, ‘confort et lyesse’,
However before I go further I should say I’m being unfair to call Edward King of Bling – all medieval monarchs knew the importance of dressing sumptuously, even Henry Tudor, who known for his meanness, except where it came to his funeral, had his helmets encrusted with jewels – yes he did! –
27th May 1492 ‘many precyous stones and riche perlis bought of Lambardes for the ‘garnyshing of salads, shapnes and helemytes’
June 30th 1497 £10 was paid to the Queen to cover her costs of ‘garnyshing of a salet’.
August 9th John Vandelft, a jeweller was paid £38.1s.4d for the ‘garnyshing of a salett‘ – Now thats what you call ostentatious!
A Helmet or Salet decorated. This is not Henry’s salet because his would have been more jewel encrusted and pretentious.
It was actually written by an ‘historian’ that, Richard III who was just being a medieval king, was a fop! (1). We have Sharon Turner (1768-1847) to thank for this gross misinterpretation of facts. Turner did not stop there and went on to also absurdly describe Richard as a ‘vain coxscomb‘ and we have the editor of The Wardrobe Accounts of Edward IV, Sir Nicolas Harris Nicolas, writing in 1830 to thank for righting this silliness. Sir Nicholas wrote that the
‘love of splendid clothes and taste for pomp belonged to the age and not to the individual‘ (2).
So we can clearly see all medieval kings were all naturally very blingy. However fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how Edward would have viewed people gawping over his expenditure, his wardrobe accounts are readily available for us to peruse. Mind you I do not think Edward himself would have cared a flying fig. Indeed he liked nothing better than to show off as Mancini has mentioned –
‘He was wont to show himself to those who wished to watch him and he seized any opportunity that the occasion offered of revealing his fine stature more protractedly and more evidently to onlookers’ (3).