Once upon a time I decided to head into the relatively uncharted territory of North Rhine dress of the 16thC. Relatively because there are less than a handful of quality resources but all of them predate digitisation. I thought I might find some better quality images from two of these but would be better able to find the archives in the more text based works.

It’s a bit of a reversal of fortunes. There are vastly more images than I can handle because digitisation of microfilm has wound up very cheap and relatively easy whereas manuscripts in archives have been harder to get hold of.

I’ve just managed to sort of organise a couple of hundred images of either better quality than I have or of entirely new to the digitised sphere portraits. They all support my thesis about whether some are more or less likely to be by Bruyn and his workshop, but each one is so exciting. One group includes gold on the main gown which is just so very rare and a detail that is guaranteed to expose sumptuary laws and thus help identify sitters.

My book about trades is on par for excitement except I have to figure out how to scan the most important pages for me. OCR is great unless you have it in operation on pages with columns, over two pages, or upside down pages. I’m almost at the point of allowing pages to fall out of my books so I can put them all through the automated scanner. Almost. For books that have fallen apart there is the concern that the paper won’t go through in one piece. The paper is a bit fragile due to age.

One of them has already been digitised but not available as a digital file. You can search the contents.

My Achilles injuries have been so awful though. It’s not just pain, pain is my default, it’s the danger of causing damage. And not just once but with every step. This entire post is a reflection of how I set difficult challenges for myself. Would I really be scared if this was just difficult? No. That’s not who I am. I’m not sure who could possibly look at any one research topic or costume and think I’m just lazy and unwilling. No. I have to avoid actual limits not because of the amount of work involved but by the harms I face at those limits.

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