Object Title

Buff coat

Buff coat


about 1640

Object Number



Purchased at auction from Christies, 21 June 1994, lot 383. From the collection of the late Lieutenant Colonel John Chandos-Pole of Newnham House, Daventry, Northampton, the descendent of John Gell.

Physical Description

Composed of a body, flared skirt and full-length double sleeves. The body is made of four pieces with an additional gusset under each arm. The front edges are pierced with nineteen eyelets at either side, with modern cord to close the front. The neck is composed of a low outer collar and a high inner collar, each of one piece. The main edge is bound, the top edge of which is worn and frayed revealing layers of leather and lining. Bordering the left main edge of the interior collar are five cord button loops, of which the top loop is broken. Bordering the right collar edge are remnants of the string buttons. There is a hole is in the rear dorsal section of the collar, allegedly made by a musket ball. The skirt is made up of four separate pieces, two at the front and two at the rear. The right rear piece overlaps the left and is overlapped by the right front. The left front piece is overlaps both the right front and the left rear pieces.

Each inner sleeve is of two pieces and full length. The rear seam of the inner sleeve is open at the cuff for 13.5cm and fastened by five spherical buttons with button holes; the lowest button on the left sleeve is missing. The sleeves are covered to the elbows by outer sleeves, each of two pieces. The inner seams open for 10cm. The edges are bound.

All the lining and interlining, which is extended from the original arrangement to include the skirts, are modern. All seams are butt-sewn.



CollarHeight70 mm
CoatLength345 mm
CoatLength375 mm
CoatOverall height799 mm
CoatWeight2.71 kg
CoatWidth460 mm
SkirtLength354 mm
SkirtLength380 mm

Inscriptions and Marks



Said to have been worn by Sir John Gell (1593-1671), parliamentary Colonel, son of Thomas Gell of Hopton, Derbyshire and Millicent, daughter of Ralph Sacheverell. He matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford on 16 June 1610 but left without a degree. In 1609 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Percival Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire. In 1635 he became Sheriff of Derbyshire. In October 1642, Gell raised a regiment of foot soldiers in the service of Parliament. He was wounded at the battle of Hopton Heath in March 1643.