The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Mrs Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary 1674
The scarves & clothing in these paintings are based on typical New England clothing of the period but show flourishes of extravagance associated with wealth in 17C America. The abundance of laces & ribbons on the clothing would have been seen as a mark of privileged social status. Massachusetts law stated that only the very wealthy could display extravagant clothing; sleeve slashes, such as those seen in this painting, could only be worn by members of households whose income exceeded 200 pounds per year. Yet even the well-to-do, influenced by the predominantly New England Puritan & Quaker ethics of the time, often frowned upon overly fancy clothes as vain & impious. It was more common for wealthy people to wear simple clothes made of expensive fabric.
Portrait of Alice Mason, by an unknown artist, C. 1670.