While reorganising my NRW files a very interesting pattern popped up. I still need to find some way of getting that information sorted but I am sure this pattern is directly related to sumptuary laws.
Sumptuary laws obviously affect everyone but it is possible to have a change in circumstance that allows for a change in clothing allowances. What I think I can see is this change. I’m trying to work out if this is also then some indication of preference or fashion.
Part of the reorganising involved dropping all images into a single folder then separating by technique, then from there by subject, and from there into setting.
In this was I was able to find the same image in different files. But I then had to still sort and the next easiest way to sort was by specific clothing options.
So far I have managed to mostly get a solid timeline of portraits which than then be used to look at allegorical imagery as well as at illustrations.
So before sharing all that I need to cite each image and some some way to put all the information needed (year/artist/sitter/clothing items) and that gets a bit complicated.
I finally put pencil and ink to paper and got my idea in colour.
Why? The direction of boning is as important as the shape of the pieces. If the boning is vertical it tends to follow the shape of the body more closely- it scoops in at the waist and out over ribs and bust and padding. On the diagonal it acts to channel soft body tissue into the seam with the V. So this gives us the variation in the conical shape.
I think I have found the perfect set of stays to mimic for my own. I am not sure about the breadth across the upper front for me but otherwise it is close.
Date: late 17th–early 18th century Culture: French Medium: silk, metallic thread Credit Line: Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1975 Accession Number: 1975.34.2a–c
early 1700s – Auction House Coutau- Bégarie – Corps à baleines, début du XVIIIe siècle,en damas ramagé rose, piqûres rectilignes soulignant les baleines. Devant en pointe arrondie à effet de corset lacé matérialisé par des dentelles aux fuseaux en sorbec argent, basques gainées de peau. Laçage à oeillets dans le dos, (quelques usures).
I am mostly happy with my stays but I’ll unpick the front panels as I want them on the straight. A whole lot of stays in museums are just labeled “18thC” which is not really helpful given how much the engineering of these stays changed.
I used my Effigy stays for fit and redrew seam lines. I used the Garsault diagram not the Diderot pattern. Garsault is slightly easier to see all the seam lines.
I also had Leloir in mind to look for consistencies and differences.
I also used the two sets of stays from Corsets and Crinolines to again look for consistencies and differences.
And also used Hunnisett as a guide, there is a pattern scanned out there labeled as from Waugh which is actually from Hunnisett.
This 1680s set has vertical boning strategically placed at CF CB and sides. This keeps the shape very straight and in fact with a little scoop and tilt back of the front. This follows fashion.
This from the 1730s has a lot of boning on angles to allow for the front to tilt forward every so much. There is still a sweep to the waist it is the start of the very lilted forward shape we see once busks really start to take hold.
Interestingly a very similar bit of engineering goes on for the S front corsets of the 1900s. A very rigid straight busk cases the hips to tilt back and the upper tilt forward, it’s not just the rigid straight busk that is similar but also the use of very diagonal, almost horizontal seams.
I need a nearly vertical front that curves at almost the same degree from top to bottom.
This portrait neatly shows the push up effect of the stays (narrow and tall with lots of vertical bones) but the start of a bit of a tilt forward due to the start of a very straight and rigid font.
I’ve cut them so that I can use the front of each panel for vertical support while the back is tapered more or less.
I love stays with a laced open front as it can allow for a pair of stays to be adjusted a bit to mimic some later styles- eras where length becomes defining. In fact there are a few sets of stays dated to the 1780s that use so many of these features- long skinny tabs that mostly have the boning going straight through, lots of vertical boning.
I do though need some new boning. It’s difficult because no two manufacturers use the same process. My favourite was very clearly extruded and so there are parallel lines running through it. It was very rigid, and was quite oval in cross section. This is important for structure as it’s harder to bend that shape than a more flat cross section.
But I do have steels to help support, once I can cut them. So many projects on hold as I need the support structure to start patterning. I can’t use the aviation shears that came with them. So I’m trying to get creative.
There is a direct link from there for those who need to travel here- visa information etc.
I am okay, emotionally I’m not, but right now and for some time if anyone would like to reach out, please reach out to the above first. The website has and is always intended as a conduit to teach or help others. This is no different.
I have felt overwhelmed by my blog here for a while so I have been going through older entries looking for my “sharing” posts vs my progress posts and trying to categorise them all.
I think I now have a handle on what I want but it really is requiring a lot of prep. I need to create new categories and tags, I need to remove excess tags and bring those posts over to new tags.
I think I have a really good start to the system and a way to create media folders that match those categories. And thus also a way to get media content in the same date folder of any recovered posts from my older site.
We tend to think of all open robes of the 1680s to early eighteenth century as “mantua” or “manteau.” However there are at least two documentable pattern types to over gowns of this era.
The mantua as often described is a garment with a very unique construction. It puts all the side skirt shaping on a single wedge of fabric, made of several widths of fabric, entirely in line with the front panels.
To create my own pattern I collected and redrew every pattern of an extant garment published and redrew them to the same scale (1/4) and overlaid them to understand the interplay between each pattern piece. I ignored facings, cuffs, and petticoats and focused on the over garments.
Most garments with a straight front and back seam allow for narrower extensions on the front and back of the skirts, and this is true from the sixteenth century to modern times. The four gore skirt is built on this basic shape.
This distinction does seem to be borne out by Holme who wrote of garments made by a tailor and does differentiate between a gown and a mantua, later explaining that they are equally diverse:
“Of the Taylor, with the parts of the Doublet, Coat, Breeches, Cloak, Womens Gowns, Mantues, Wastcoats, and Petticoats… Of the Semster, Laundress, Needle-work Mistress, with the severall terms of Needle-work.
The academy of armory, or, A storehouse of armory and blazon containing the several variety of created beings, and how born in coats of arms, both foreign and domestick : with the instruments used in all trades and sciences, together with their their terms of art : also the etymologies, definitions, and historical observations on the same, explicated and explained according to our modern language : very usefel [sic] for all gentlemen, scholars, divines, and all such as desire any knowledge in arts and sciencesHolme, Randle, 1627-1699. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A44230.0001.001/1:7.3.3?rgn=div3;view=fulltext
This more traditional and sustained pattern type of dividing the side fullness between the front and back can be seen in the patterns of Albayzeta from 1720. Included are several “ropa de levantar.”
edited from: Geometria y trazas pertenecientes al oficio de sastres donde se contiene el modo y orden de cortar todo genero de vestidos españoles, y algunos Estrangeros, sacandolos de qualquier ancharia de tela, por la Vara de Aragon y explicada esta con todas las de estos Reynos, y las medidas que usan en otras Provincias estrangeras Front Cover Juan Albayzeta por Francisco Revilla, 1720 – 95 pages
This pattern appears to be for a garment with a very long train, though there seems to also be a secondary hemline drawn where the skirt back would just touch the ground- most of the patterns for “rope de levantar of this book are of the shorter type.
Of the extant garments that have been patterned the Danish gown most closely resembles this. This garment has not been digitised and is not currently on display.
Moden i 1700-årene Author: Ellen Andersen Publisher: [København] : Nationalmuseet, cop. 1977. Series: Danske dragter
It seems to be fairly unique to this garment to align the single wedges to the back. Could this be a mistake- many dresses of the nineteenth century have the gores reversed at the sides- or deliberate. The skirt is narrow and is worn with a very solid and full underskirt. This arrangement could mean the best display of the brocade pattern was at the side back.
(ETA: detail photos of the grainlines)
Of the mantua type we are left with several garments in both English and American museums.
The earliest example appears to be the Kimberley gown held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The earliest date appears to be 1695.
Mantua Date:late 17th century Culture:British Medium:wool, metal thread Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1933 Accession Number:33.54a, b
(ETA: I have divided the pattern so that the shapes can be compared more easily to the other garments- this garment is made in continual lengths from front hem to back hem with the sleeves not cut out but rather shaped by pleating. The pattern can be easily put back as the dividing lines are the only diagonal lines in the draft.)
Of special interest is the length of the front of the mantua. It is quite short (see image of overlaid pattern drafts.). Holme confirms that this is a common feature of mantua.
“A mantua is a kind of loose Coat without stayes [sic] in it, the Body part and Sleeves are of many fashions as i have mentioned in the Gown Body; but the skirt is sometimes no longer than the Knees, others have them down to the Heels. The short skirt is open before, and behind to the middle.”
The academy of armory, or, A storehouse of armory and blazon containing the several variety of created beings, and how born in coats of arms, both foreign and domestick : with the instruments used in all trades and sciences, together with their their terms of art : also the etymologies, definitions, and historical observations on the same, explicated and explained according to our modern language : very usefel [sic] for all gentlemen, scholars, divines, and all such as desire any knowledge in arts and sciences Holme, Randle, 1627-1699. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A44230.0001.001/1:7.3.3?rgn=div3;view=fulltext
This next garment from 1720-1730 and is housed at the Museum of London and patterned by Zillah Halls in Women’s Costumes 1600-1750: London Museum. This is made from chartreuse silk and is again of this single wedge each side construction. This garment is not currently digitised or on display.
This mantua is again shorter than a matching petticoat would be (see image
Another garment at the Museum of London was patterned by Nora Waugh, but not photographed. It is from 1735-1745 and uses the same construction. The train has been pinned up to the waist in the illustration but the pattern does not indicate any change in the construction.
And again this mantua is shorter at the front than the anticipated petticoat hemline (see image of overlaid pattern drafts.)
These are unfortunately the only garments with patterns I have been able to find but there are several more that have been catalogued and the skirt layout captured in photographs.
The Metropolitan Museum has another early mantua example and the photographs do suggest the construction is of a kind- comparing the alignment of the pattern to the outside of the side back join in fabric shows it is in line with the hem not the seam.
Mantua Date:ca. 1708 Culture:British Medium:silk, metal Credit Line:Purchase, Rogers Fund, Isabel Shults Fund and Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1991 Accession Number:1991.6.1a, b
A mantua in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London has been dated to 1733-1740 based on fabric (earlier date) and cut (later date). This gown has been photographed to show the construction of the skirt. This photo shows the brocade has been reversed from below hip level of the back panels and most of the side panels. This is so that only the face of the brocade is seen when worn and pinned in place.
Mantua Place of origin: Spitalfields (probably, woven) Great Britain (made) Date: 1733-1734 (woven) 1735-1740 (made) Artist/Maker: Unknown Materials and Techniques: Brocaded silk, hand-sewn with spun silk and spun threads, lined with linen, brown paper lining for cuffs, brass, canvas and pleated silk Credit Line: Given by Gladys Windsor Fry Museum number: T.324&A-1985
The Lincolnshire Mantua has been dated to 1735 based on the fabric and over all pattern pieces. This particular mantua has the train and most side panels reversed so that when pinned for display only the face of the brocade is seen.
Mantua from after these examples can be recognised by the folding of the train which follows the folding of the Lincoln mantua and the floral brocades mantua in the V&A as above.
One of the earliest is a blue silk mantua at the Victoria and Albert museum. From the 1720s it retains the extra length in the train despite being pinned up.
Place of origin: Spitalfields (textile, weaving) England (mantua, sewing) Date: ca. 1720 (weaving) 1720-1730 (sewing) Artist/Maker: Unknown Materials and Techniques: Silk, silk thread, silver-gilt thread; hand-woven brocading, hand-sewn. Museum number: T.88 to C-19788
A brown broacaded silk mantua is also of this earlier type and is dated to 1732-1740.
Place of origin: Spitalfields (textile, weaving) Great Britain (ensemble, sewing) Date: ca. 1732 (weaving) 1735-1740 (sewing) 1870 – 1910 (altered) Artist/Maker: Unknown Materials and Techniques: Silk, silk thread; hand-woven brocade, hand sewn Museum number: T.9&A-1971
Other garments described as mantua are harder to confirm from the photos.
The earliest is held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with a date of 1700. It is perhaps the most stunning example of its kind. A deep rich blue silk satin, the petticoat completely covered in metal embroidery, the sleeves and stomacher ditto, only the train seems to be more sparsely covered.
Woman’s Dress (Mantua) with Stomacher and Petticoat Italy, circa 1700 Costumes; principal attire (entire body) Silk satin with metallic-thread embroidery Center back length (Dress): 67 in. (170.18 cm) Length (Stomacher): 16 1/4 in. (41.28 cm) Center back length (Petticoat): 41 3/4 in. (106.05 cm) Costume Council Fund (M.88.39a-c)
A stunning embroidered mantua is held at the National Museum of Wales, dated to the 1720s though much of the train has been removed during the nineteenth century.
COLLECTION AREA mwl ITEM NUMBER 23.189.1 ACQUISITION Donation MEASUREMENTS height (mm):1400 width (mm):2000 (max) depth (mm):1500 (max) TECHNIQUES metal thread embroidery hand sewn weaving MATERIAL damask (silk) metal thread silver parchment flax (spun and twisted) silk (spun and twisted) LOCATION In store CATEGORIES Court
Another blue and silver mantua is held at the Kyoto Costume Institute and again has skirt panels reversed so as to always display the face of the brocade.
Dress (Mantua) 1740-50s – England Material Blue silk taffeta brocade with botanical pattern, buttons to tack train; matching petticoat. Dimension Length from the hips 183cm (Train) Inventory Number(s) AC10788 2002-29AB
While this garment has been dated to the 1750s i believe it is somewhat earlier. The skirt as displayed does not fit well suggesting it was not worn over wide hoops. The train has been folded and appears to show the fabric has been reversed in a similar manner to the above folded mantua trains. So it could be 1720-1740.
A COURT MANTUA OF CHINESE IMPERIAL YELLOW SILK DAMASK, THE SILK CIRCA 1740, THE MANTUA 1750S the bodice with long sweeping train of elaborately folded damask buttoning in swags onto two silk covered buttons at the small of the back, the bodice re pleated as a closed robe, the petticoats re-strung, shown here worn with a stomacher which is part of lot 141
There is so much going on here! And it’ll take a while to unpack everything except that this pretty much confirms a few ideas I had based on the sheer number of headgear items from the inventories.
Of note are the two wulst like headdresses (one in each plate). Please do note they are not simply rear view of the headdress iconic to this region, there are no wings. Weiditz gives us that view at it has a button on it.
Also two examples of a twisted unshaped headdress (second plate here) that looks for all the world like the type of headdress in the Lemberg finds.
There are also simple braids. So with the iconic headdress and these we are on track to this being a fairly representative example of dress the artist(s) knew.
But look at those kleyr! The circular cape like outer garments with little clasps are very 1520s but then look! Gathered kleyr (aka goller aka partlet)! With no centre front opening! And they are simply tied under the arms- or have a short narrow strip that is otherwise fastened front to back. But this is different to most woodcuts outside this region that show a section that fits under the arms. And there are portraits with this type of closed necked kleyr.
Also the mix of guarding- either deep or not at all. And all the rear fullness of the skirts. So good. I mean I knew, but it’s nice to have it on every single image that shows the side and back of dress.
And of course how can we ignore the pin on outer sleeve. Or it looks like a button. Pinned is more frequently depicted but given how few depictions we have of the sleeve on the outside I’m still hedging bets.
So I’ll continue to look for printed works from Koeln- note using the era appropriate “Collen” still doesn’t help look for books as I can’t get the boolean AND to work in Archive.org and there is a bit of fuzziness in google books when organising by date and I have mostly exhausted various universities.
I need to print out my pattern book at mini size because I really need to do some old school type of editing.
Right now I can’t even edit my text as the images are too darn big. And I do have to draw all the construction images by hand and add in seam allowances for everything. So I need to take the images out and use a board to let me know where to add images later.
I am pondering also scale. I am definitely getting my “how to read the Spanish Manuals” in there because it actually is really easy and weirdly is very easy to convert to metric.
But I finally got the base of my new perlenwerk design sorted. But I need to change it a bit. It looks nice but I need some nice clean svg files and while sure I have, I also need to convert to 12″ by 12″.
I have been hunting out super hi resolution images of pearlwork from outside of NRW to try and show how I am following the track I am for my work. There are several ways to use pearls and one technique is not the same as the other. Luckily I have found one more example of the extreme dimension I need for one project 🙂
bad news is there are very few really good high res images. Good news is I managed to find a really good photocopier and a book at one stage that is a zoomed view and is clear enough to show the curves of design popping out from the design.
Bad news is I did not record what book. good news is I think I can hopefully backtrack as it must have been local library as I can’t photocopy at the Uni library. bad new is it’s probably in Central (CBD) good news is it is actually easier to get there than most places in the city.
But I am also going to use my Scan n Cut (like a Cricut but by Brother- the same principle with cutting and drawing.)
So I am going to attempt to use Inkscape to make my designs able to be easily repeatedly transferred.
So I may not need to do that before I head out.
I also finally have my NRW costuming notes in one folder and my book notes tidied in another and NRW research in another.
It’s felt over whelming but I think I can happily just take out all the images from my editing file and get that ready for printing.
I am hoping to create a pdf that recognises layout so the pages that would face in a book face in the document.
So I maaaaaay have a few leads on headgear. I even found a totally new to me document (but transcribed in the 1890s I think) that potentially ties an extant item to text. Except I really don’t know and I need a bit more time to test various spelling. It might be a lead or it might be an example of pageantry. And I’m really interested either way.
But it is a bit of a mind bend to try and read personal documents, even when transcribed and OCRed for handy instant translations. I eventually found a really nice lead also on the kind of embroidery work done “at home.”
As per previous instagram posts, maybe here, I am redoing my pearled hat entirely.
I had the first round of pearls laid down in 2006, restored it after the fire (2007-2017 it was unwearable) and now I have finally decided to actually restore it properly. So every pearl has been removed, all the threads carefully picked out and the velveteen bonded to a very soft and flexible fabric so I should be able to safely restore the base entirely.
The problem is while we have Quentel not only printing embroidery designs in Cologne, but also contributing to the patterns, they really do not translate to what the pearl workers were actually doing in the city.
Counted work yes, anything in gold can be at least approximated by the patterns and even the examples of gold on linen seem to line up.
But the pearl work….
It’s just. It’s almost post modern. Or looks like someone took one of the modelbucher and a distorting mirror and decided a centre line in meaningless..
But there is a pattern in that apparent chaos. There are a few very clear repeated patterns that help us to be able to think like a pearl embroiderer of the time and place.
But I have been stalling on getting my timeline up and running.
I do not want someone to “pin” my page and a year later have zero context. So I am putting as much info as I can into the filenames, into alt text and into every element of meta data.
On hundreds of images and dozens of detail images of each.
But I do now think I know how to handle all of that. I may have to learn a new CMS to be able to handle images the way I want to. Really not sure why WP has been so resistant to allowing this but that is where we are. Images filed by date works very well for a blog, not at all well for pages where you may need to update a month, a year, two years later.
So I emailed a very respected institution last week to enquire about an object. I got a lovely reply back, short but considered given what I know was needed to get that information, from a person I have basically squeed about near consistently for the last decade.
So the answer was very helpful, and expected in many ways because of the timeframe, but the techniques are transferable and I do think it’s very important object to talk about.
So as I rebuild my site on another domain (I don’t need the 5000 posts or so I have here for a content driven site) I will also probably debut a post about it over there.