Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Honderden...van hand tot hand - Book review



Honderden...van hand tot hand: handschoen en wanten in de Nederlanden voor 1700 by Annemarieke Willemsen. Stichting Rijksmuseum van Ouheden, 2015. 978 90 8932 127 5 €19.50

Hundreds  ... hand to hand: gloves and mittens in the Netherlands before 1700

The first thing to say about this excellent book is that the text is entirely in Dutch, the second is that it is extremely well illustrated. The author, Annemarieke Willemsen, has brought together both information on gloves that have been found in an archaeological context in the Netherlands, and gloves that have survived, with illustrations of gloves in paintings, drawings, manuscripts etc.

The chapters are themed mainly by glove usage, so you have chapters on warm woollen mittens, leather work gloves, luxury leather gloves, military gloves and gloves for sports and games. There is also discussion of gloves as a symbol of dignity by clerics and royalty, and the giving of gloves as gifts. 

Well worth the money – even if you don’t speak Dutch

Monday, 5 June 2017

MEDATS 2017 - report on Jenny Tiramani's paper



I attended an excellent one day conference by MEDATS on Saturday 3rd June. If you are interested in early modern don’t let the name MEDATS, Medieval Dress and Textile Society, put you off, they go through to the end of the sixteenth century. I intend to blog about a couple of the papers, though they were all of interest, even the ones that went back to St Cuthbert (not my period).
Art Institute Chicago - figures dressed for foot combat c1575-80

Jenny Tiramani’s paper was called “The cut and construction of 16th century tournament and procession clothing for horse and rider”. Please note that these comments are from my notes and may not accurately reflect what Jenny said. I do hope she has it published as it was fascinating.

The School of Historical Dress was asked by the Arts Institute Chicago to recreate some textiles for their new Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms, and Armor; a good article on the new galleries is in the magazine Apollo. Jenny and her group did a lot of the research in the collection at Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck and in the Vienna Kunst Historisch Museum, Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer. She split her talk into three sections, covering 1) Feather panaches 2) Bases and 3) Horse caparison

1) Feather panaches
Feather panaches are the huge mounds of plumes that appear on the top of helmets. The recreations can be seen above right in an image from the Art Institute, which was also used as the cover for the last issue of the MEDATS newsletter. Since listening to Jenny’s talk I have discovered a blog post on the AIC page on how they were made. Jenny said that these constructions contained not only feathers, but also spangles. They could also be worn by horses, as can be seen in the equestrian portrait of Francois I by Clouet (below left).
Francois I by Francois Clouet

2) Bases
Cloth bases were the skirts worn over armour. I think Jenny said there was a cutwork caparison of c.1550 with a matching rider’s coat with hanging sleeves at Vienna, sorry I could not write fast enough for details and Jenny had lots of fascinating close up photographs. This type of skirt can again be seen in the Clouet portrait to the left. 

3) Horse caparison
The School looked closely at an armoured caparison of c.1555-60 in Vienna and one in Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck. The Innsbruck caparison had small metal rods, rather than metal plates, and this was the style of construction they copied. They whipped the rods onto backing wool with double linen thread, then had velvet on the top. I think there was more to it than that, anyway, the velvet and wool were cut away the produce the cutwork design for the caparison.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Colours of elite clothing in the first half of the seventeenth century



Modern watered silk ribbons

Introduction

My first posting on the colours of clothing in the first half of the seventeenth century related to the 90% of the population below the nobility and gentry. This looks at the colours of the top 10% to see if there is a difference and, as you can see from the list below, there is a far wider range of names for colours. While there were only 18 named colours for the lower classes, here we have 48 names of colours. These are only colours for main garments: breeches, cloaks, coats, doublets, gowns, kirtles, petticoats and waistcoats.

The sources

Bear in mind that this information is all from written sources. We have not yet looked in detail at portraits and other images. Much of the information here does not come from wills and inventories, but from account books. The account books used range from the gentry through to the King himself.  There are some wills and inventories but, whereas the lower classes listed clothes because they were an important part of their estate, often the richer you get the less clothes are listed, for example in 1648 the will of Baronet Edmund Bacon mentions only, “eleven dozen and six buttons of gold that are sett upon a sute that I weare.” 

For women, most of whom are listed in wills and inventories simply as widow, it is difficult to know their rank, unless you know who their husband was, so we have the “widow of the Auditor General of Ireland” and Elizabeth Wrenn, who is the widow of a knight. 

For men and their wills there is also the problem of how they perceive themselves, and how those who take their inventories perceive them, one man describes himself in his will as a gentleman, the inventory says he is a tanner.  Some will include the fact that they are aldermen of their town to raise their status, so Francis Burrell in 1622 is merchant and alderman. 

This is an ongoing project so the figures and colours will go up as more data is added.

The colours

For the list below I have left out those garments described as wrought, embroidered, figured, or flowered. Among other items, two of the petticoats are flowered and one is figured, a gown and a chamber gown are wrought and a man’s waistcoat is figured, so there are some patterned fabrics. Also you have fabrics with effects, such as watered taffeta (see top right for the effect produced), although a little later the pink stays in the Victoria and Albert Museum are of watered silk.  I have also left out where a fabric is more than one colour, for example “White and red Norwich damask for a petticoat”. (Whittle & Griffiths, 2012)

The top colour is pretty obviously black, which was used for everything. The second colour is white, but 15 of these are men’s waistcoats and three are women’s white flannel under petticoats. The lack of red, compared to the non elite, may be because the list has more men than women; however half of the petticoats are still red, crimson or scarlet. You can group some colours together, red with crimson and scarlet, the browns could include cinnamon, deer, faune and possibly honey. The greys could encompass dove, hair, lead, marble and possibly pearl.

 As some period colour names are not obvious, a description and source has been put next to them. However for many colours we are not sure what the name signified at the time.

aurora  -a yellow with light red tones. (Lowengard, 2006)
1
beazar  - probably a soft beige (Arnold, 1988)`
1
black
66
blue
2
brick
2
brown
3
carnation – “a kind of colour resembling raw flesh” (Phillips, 1658)
5
cinnamon
12
crimson
7
deer
5
dove
1
faune
7
gold
3
grass green
2
green
13
grey –one suit is described as mist grey (Strong, 1980)
17
hair - Markham (1631 (1986)) describes dying a bright hair colour using alum, lye and chimney soot. Arnold (1988) considers it was a pale grey or beige
1
honey
1
Isabella -  greyish yellow; light buff. Early references just give an Isabella colour, an 1805 quote says, “Isabella yellow, now called cream yellow “, while an 1811 quote has “a yellowish grey, verging on Isabella colour”. (OED, 2017)
1
lead
5
lemon
2
liver
1
marble
1
minume - dark brownish grey or dun colour (Phillips, 1658) A 1630/1 Norwich Minute Book referring to a local ordinance has “He had forbidden all Dyers in this City to dye any other Tawnyes then Mynnams.” (OED, 2017)
2
murrey – a deep red purple (OED, 2017), though Hexham has the Dutch equivalent as also meaning “diep kastanie-bruyne” a deep chestnut brown. (Slive, 1961)
1
musk
1
parricito  -in margin “a greenish coloured cloth” (Strong, 1980)
1
peach
1
pearl
2
pinck cullored - “Pinke, a kind of yellowish-green, a colour used by painters.” (Holme, 1688) It was used to underpaint skin tones.
3
primrose
1
purple
4
red
3
rose
2
russet – quotes in the OED include 1562 “the colour Russet, whiche is somewhat lighter then blacke.” In 1573 “If you will mingle a litle portion of white with a good quantitie of redde, you may make thereof a Russet, or a sadde Browne, at your discretion.” Holme (1688) gives “Rosset, a soft and fadeing colour which will not continue long, it is a rich carnation or peach colour”, a definition possibly more of rose than russet.
1
sage
2
sad – virtually any dark shade, so elsewhere you have references to sad yellow, sad red, sad green, etc. The garments here are all described simply as sad coloured, doublets, cloaks, etc. without an amending colour. An example James Master 1649 “for making my sad colour cloth sute & cloake with points £3” (Robertson, 1883)
8
sand
4
scarlet
8
silver
5
skie
5
straw
1
tawny –“Tawney, a compound of red and much yellow” (Holme, 1688)
5
Turkey – Slive (1961) says that Hexham wisely refused to take a stand on “turkie colour”, and quotes Peacham as saying that Turkey colour is a blue “but others will have it red”
1
watchet - light greenish blue. There are references  from “of a watcheth or pale blewe colour” (1578) to “of a watchet or greenish colour” (1635) (OED)
3
white
27
willow
4
wormwood
1


References

Arnold, J., 1988. Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd. Leeds: Maney.
Holme, R., 1688. Academie of Armourie. s.l.:s.n.
Lowengard, S., 2006. The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe. s.l.:Columbia University Press.
Markham, G., 1631 (1986). The English housewife.. Montreal: McGill-Queens U.P..
OED, 2017. Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.l.: s.n.
Phillips, E., 1658. The new world of English words: or A general dictionary. London: Brooks.
Robertson, S., 1883. The expense Book of James Master 1646-1676 [Part 1, 1646-1655], transcribed by Mrs Dallison.. Archaeologia Cantiana, pp. 152-216.
Slive, S., 1961. Henry Hexham's "Of colours": a note on a seventeenth century list of colours. Burlington Magazine, 103(702).
Strong, R., 1980. Charles I's clothes for the years 1633 to 1635.. Costume, Volume 14.
Whittle, J. & Griffiths, E., 2012. Consumption and gender in the early seventeenth century household: the world of Alice Le Strange.. Oxford: O.U.P.