Anne of Cleves- why?

Many years ago, when the internet was still a fairly quiet place of free sites on geocities (oh yes) and e-lists that turned into groups, I joined up to many SCA and renaissance costuming groups.

I had not known of local groups until I joined the online global groups- so I didn’t have any rules as stated or traditions handed down and across. So I didn’t know about the rule of three that was used by a lot of reenactment groups.

The rule of three is that you can’t use a source if there isn’t two other sources to back it up.

Me? I thought the entire B. Bruyn oevre was enough. But not according to the most strident application of it. All the features can be found separately over several hundred images, but not all in one garment.

But then I started to think about it. And I realised all of my images were from Cologne. The number of depictions of dress from the Duchy was and is extremely limited.

And so here I am writing up a long form article about a few sources and how trustworthy they are. It’s really quite fun. But is also the end result of reading archives, constantly checking if there are updates, trying to find the best quality etc.

But it’s great, and inspiring. My own Cleves wardrobe is being entirely overhauled to reflect this, and I really need to do this written work as when ever I have worn my frocks and had questions asked I have had to hunt and peck for the info across all my several thousand documents. Which is not ideal.

Today I need to tidy all of that up. And I may have to switch out some projects in storage so I can see them.

And I need to decide what to do with my startling orange frock. I love it, but it is inspired by plain line art and some late 16thC personal costume books. Yes of the region, and there is again evidence across multiple disciplines.

And I think I have evidence of the differences in styles- but I’m not sure.

So, back to it!

Oh, but I have other reasons to centre all of this on Anne, one of which is figuring out what illness she dealt with. I’m still collecting all scraps of information during the annulment process, but I seem to recall cycles of relapse of fever and pain.

It comes across a lot like inflammatory polyarthritis. So I’m collecting the information as to when she was visited by doctors and what they prescribed, and so I have a digital collection of medical books to reference.

I am very interested in the history of Rehumatoid Disease though it is very stressful reading it. One of the idiosyncrasies of medicine is the first to describe a disease names it. So we are stuck with a term that is fairly meaningless and also carries the baggage of the past with it.

A better term would describe the tissues targeted (synovium) and the systemic affects.

So if I can work from what Anne was prescribed I can look at what that was prescried for. There were very similar practices then despite the centuries between us.

Heating or cooling plasters? Fever reduction? It is quite confronting reading further than that but if someone is prescribed cooling treatmeants over multiple joints it’s not diagnostic but it is quite indicative.

RA was first described as a disease of destitute women early 1800s. So prior to that, and even a little after, it could have been obscured by other diagnosis. And the term gout was applied to a lot of conditions that may or may not be what we would call gout today.

Some artists depicted what might be classic deformities, but that might also be artistic style.

I haven’t yet found any history that takes into consideration the prevalence in cis women. And how that might be obscured by the health issues faced by the majority of child bearing people throughout history. And today.

Anne died in her 40s. This would not be remarkable, except she essentially remained single for her entire life. She did not have to face the risk to her health that most of her peers did. And so yes I think we can take that into consideration given that even in my lifetime my life expectancy has started to match the general population- entirely due to access to biological therapies.

So it’s a little stressful reading medical records and history and theories on the etiology of RA. And especially given that my own RA is particularly triggered by physical activity. So today my joints from elbows to fingers are hot and swollen from what I did yesterday, making it hard to use my mouse and keyboard.

In fact

I went from being able to type with both hand to just my right during that last paragraph.

So I’m also interested in any possible therapy in those medical books as I do use heating and cooling topical treatments just to relieve symptoms while my specialist only therapy has a chance to work in the background.

But yes, my RA is very quickly set off. Which is why each of us has an individual plan. And for me heat and splinting are my go to in a relapse while for others cooling and activity is their go to. I can re-engage in activity once my inflammation is settled, when it is active it is active and it can trigger a cascade of inflammation in joints not directly affected by that initial activity.

I am right now going to have to stop, but I’m confident in what to do, and I can escalate my response (steroids) and also be confident that it is a phase. I know what to do. And my infusion being delayed by a week is okay. I do need to ring to advise my test came back negative, as did everyone in that casual contact chain.

Okay, to the steroids!

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