Take a look at the woman's outfit and then at picture 19 on this page:
I think they look very similar.
The group on the right does look like a theatrical troupe to me.
I think the men in red caps are Jews (it seems like they are being
beaten or castigated by the other figures). Historically, Jews were
often required to wear distinctive clothing elements so that people
could identify them easily (for whatever reason). From this page:
comes the following statement:
"In 1421 the magistrate of Buda [Hungary] ordered the Jews to wear red
caps, pointy hats and a yellow spot on their outfits."
Also, this page indicates that the custom was not unknown in England:
"The bells also reflected the 100 churches within the square mile of
the City of London where the [Globe] Theatre was situated in 1596,
when The Merchant of Venice (probably written for the Theatre) was
first performed. In fact, the musicians in the latter production,
wearing the compulsory red caps that marked Jews out, decided
themselves that, after helplessly watching Shylock's forced
conversion, they had a moral obligation to leave."
There's no reason to think there was any change in these clothing
rules into the 18th century. -- All of this is just speculation, of
course <G> Jean (eleanordew@...
--- In CostumeHistoryClass@yahoogroups.com
, Kristoffer Gottlieb
> Hi all,
> I wonder if you could help me to date this painting/picture in
photo section called -?17-th?/. Personally I think it's Italian
commedia dell'arte period ca. 1650-1710 but maybe you know better? I
also wonder why two men are wearing red caps if they currently dress
in hats? Is it characteristic for any period or region?
> Best regards,
> Kristoffer Gottlieb