Gelderlander update

Apparently I decided I didn’t need as much blue wool as I would actually need so yet again I’m experiencing delays. I think I only have an issue with the sleeves which should actually be easier than I keep thinking once I get the wide crimson velveteen guarding sorted. PHEW! It’s not obvious from any artwork so I’m combining so many sources to figure out what the sleeve outers should look like.

I had to though cut the skirt panels on the fold and so lost 10cm each panel which means I also wasted so much calico that it’s very embarassing.

The layers are pressed and carefully folded so I can have a rest and then put each panel on the table to baste and trim.

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Gelderlander frock- two steps forward so many back

I have started working on my Gelderlander frocks only to find the underlining for my skirts are too short, and my references…. sigh. I actually start to read the “Maison de Lynden” Chronical to find out more about Fulswine de Randwyck and… sorry? Married in1440? But her plate is more like 1530.

“Autentica et originali effigie delineabat fr. Joannes Vafou ord: pred A 1625.16. octobris”
“An authentic and original effigy drawn by fr. Joannes Vafou ord: pred A 1625.16. October”

I know the risks in using 17thC printed works, and especially family histories. I was just hoping she would be named correctly.

Her clothing and accessories do work for the region if we go by the Codice de Trajes. The problem is a near total lack of digitisation of portraits from the time and place.

Luckily there are a few other works to go by including a fabulous painting with the mix of North Rhine headgear and Dutch style frock.

Current attribution possibly Anoniem (Gelderland (prov.)) 1549
Date dated 1549 (1549)
Title Portret van een vrouw, waarschijnlijk Aleid Bushof (?-1582) Other (former) title
oude titel: Portret van een vrouw, genaamd Maria Hacfort (?-1550) English title Portrait of a woman, probably Aleid Bushof (?-1582)

And wonderfully we have Aleid Buschof’s wedding contract!

Gelders Archief, 0405 Huis Ter Horst, Inventaris, Persoonlijk gedeelte, 1.1. Geslacht Hackfort, 1.1.04. Wijnant Hackfort en Aleid Bushof, 13 Acte van huwelijksvoorwaarden tusschen Wynant Hackfort en Aelheit Bushoff, 1546. 1 charter i

13 Acte van huwelijksvoorwaarden tusschen Wynant Hackfort en Aelheit Bushoff, 1546. 1 charter i

And a little more information:

1546 maand. na visitatie Marie vprg. (5 Juli) . \ Wynolt van Hackfordt burgem. te Arnhem . Joffer Aelheyt Buyshaves 1)

from De Nederlandsche Leeuw, jaargang 36 (1918)

But wait, what is that note?

1) Burggraaf kan er niet staan, want als zoodanig komt hij niet voor op de lijst in Mr . van den Bergh’ s Nijmeegsche bijzonderheden en in Mr . Joosting’ s Nijmeegsche Broederschappen.
1 ) Burggraaf cannot be there, because as such he does not appear on the list in Mr . van den Bergh’s Nijmegen details and in Mr. Joosting’s Nijmegen Brotherhoods.

Luckily this doesn’t impact the veracity of either the portrait nor the marriage. But does point to the massive difficulties in finding and trusting sources even when you have physical access to them.

And I do not.

So to go back to this chronical? Well…

It’s made up. There are something like 8 different articles about it all by a single historian. I’ve grabbed them all (inside massive yearly books) so maybe I’ll find a hint in one of them. But so far several dates appear wrong inside the text let alone the attributions.

There is almost nothing about the artist, unless you look for “Jan Vassens” or “Joannes Vasoens” or “Jan Vasoens” and then his paintings pop up. And the quality does suggest he carefully recorded the portraits he saw- it’s just a question of where he saw them.

The printer Jan Cnobbaert and his family (widow, son) seem to have a good handle on the etching so it’s, again, trying to track down where these images were and now are.

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Pearls- part 1

Well. That’s a bit of an unexpected turn. I’ve been collecting bits and pieces about artificial pearls as I have projects where I use them and wanted to know if glass or plastic carry the properties they would have.

But now I’ve managed to digitise and translate sections of one of the most important works on North Rhine clothing and I find this:

“If one also considers their high prices, it is clear that the countless pearls listed in Cologne in the 15th century are largely imitations.”

Are they though? They are suggested as being Venetian glass which I’m pretty sure was even more expensive. But I also know that the glass industry in Cologne were reproducing Venetian glass so it is possible. But then I’d also expect the inventories to state this.

But I’m always reviewing my own theories so to the glass trade information I have.

So first, yes copying, but without the techniques to de-green glass, but there were techniques to add iridescence and it really is very beautiful.

Becher auf Fuß mit Nuppendekor | 1546/1550
Aus Monschau, gefunden 1931 in der Burg Montjoie (Eifel)

Köln, Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln, Inv.-Nr. F 522

So in theory these skills should transfer. But what about the evidence it did?

I can’t find it.

The source is J Faulk who wrote in the middle of the 19thC and he didn’t cite his source.

If we look through the trades, pearls feature heavily in the goldsmiths records. They also feature in the “Wappenstickerei” records (including a series of letters threatening legal action.)

It’s hard to find records of glassworkers but if we go back to the inventories then we do find a lot of pearls that are carefully counted. We also find fake gold in the form of silver that is gilded. So if pearls were fake then they would be described as such.

The visual record also seems to support pearls as markers of sumptuary laws. You wouldn’t be recorded breaking these laws, but on top of this the visual record seems to follow the massive economic loss that occurred in the later half of the 16thC.

I know!

I hope this helps explain just how wide you have to search for information for a seemingly niche topic.

But one of the reasons I’m interested in that fake pearls

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170 steps forward 340 steps back

There have been so many issues making it impossible to publish let alone work on costume projects that this title is no exaggeration. I’ve needed to digitise some older books but the OCR layer is only applied in one direction by my scanner so it’s been actually harder to fix than had I not applied it at all. But it was worth stripping it out and putting a new layer in as now I can do some boolean seaches to find what I miss in just reading them.

I actually read straight transcriptions better than I can modern German and Dutch.

The other massively draining issue is that I rely on thumbnails of my files and thanks to proprietary issues generating them for PDFs not just heavily impacts GPU but power consumption! It also means letting apps access my folders to do so. I think I’ve finally sorted one issue but I’ve also noticed harddrive space is filled up (temp files I think) then back to normal after shutting down and starting up again.

But combine all this with how little time each day I am able to focus and this kind of blog update is the result.

I need to make little blog updates like this though as little reminders of what I have done.

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Oh no lost files

In order to track the etymology of different headgear terms I wound up in some lovely sites for tracht worn now. But I’ve lost them all. I’m sure I saw pieces of a hauben on a frame that included breaks in the pattern to allow the back to fold in without losing so much work. It might be in my 9thC folder but I suspect I just didn’t save information thinking I’d find it more easily when I wasn’t tired.

Part of the reason I am doing this is because pattern shapes, support layers, materials, decoration really don’t offer clues as to what an item will be called unless you happen to know for sure via a dictionary of the time. But they do help identify time and place if there is a decent record and solid provenances for extant items.

I may have to start putting quote marks around the terms when I use translation software as this etymology issue means modern dictionaries can be very imprecise.

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Blue and red

I have to admit I’m sort of working my way through all of the Codice de Trajes depictions of people in the North Rhine. It’s really fun but I’m suddenly faced with working with a synthetic for my Gelderlander frock and after so many years using them only for historic inspired work that I’m struggling a bit.

You see the stunning silk brocade loses it’s brilliance when it’s paired with even crimson. It is however stunning when paired with the magenta velvet ribbon I have been using on my farthingale. And that makes me want to use it to make a very different gown.

Yep that’s my Mantua fabric and you know… I’ll keep it that way. I think the power of the particular texture really does work best how I’ve already got it. But oh boy does that red velveteen cause it to flash beautifully. But it’s pleating that really makes the most of the shot taffeta.

The blue wool is documentable with rich reddish velvet so I think if I can push the red into true crimson I’ll be happy to use my blue wool.

There is going to be a heck of a lot of fabric dyeing but I’m also hoping to luck into a shade I can use for my pulled apart frock and so I probably should rest up from a week of exhausting health care.

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Some much needed good news

It can be very difficult to be taken seriously when you work outside of academic circles and yet I’m incredibly pleased to say that what I have worked on untangling for the last 15 years or more is indeed taken seriously. And I feel so privileged when anyone looks at my content over my lack of credentials.

I’m not able to chose between arts and sciences because I think they are equally vital to understand Us as human beings. And so I do think it’s a strength to have rejected the pressure to choose. I’m also so very lucky that have dedicated so many years to formal study.

I’m not going to lie: I find styles and other publishing expectations to be very difficult. But there are ways to build on strengths and use open access sources for a good deal of the rest.

This does mean I’m taking my difficulty with my operating system a bit more seriously and am going to back up my research even further than I expected.

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Mini updates

I’m still having trouble with windows trying to create thumbnails of files in folders I simply have not been using. I know why it happens and I’m not happy about it, because it makes my research and tidying efforts so much harder than they need to be. Mr Carlo is faring much better. He still has his neuropathy, but the steroids have increased his quality of life. Today for instance he has lead me around the lounge several times, and even wombled his way past Fluffy who was perfectly fine with this.

He is limited, obviously, and he does have difficulty eating and drinking. It’s not that he isn’t hungry but that he forgets what food is. So I have to put a tiny dot right at the bottom of his nose and then quickly move food in when he licks it off. And then half way through he gets distracted cleaning his teeth, so I have to repeat this until he finally has some food.

He’s always had something related to this I think. To drink water he has to get his nose just on the surface of the water, then twitches then drinks it. So now he also twitches when he finally smells the food up close.

But he’s chirpy again, which is so nice.

My sleep is shot but when isn’t it? Painsomnia and painmares alike. Painsomnia is when pain keeps you awake and painmares are when you do get to sleep and your dreams convert your physical distress into anxiety driven nightmares. It’s not a great combination as you just never get a break from the pain unless you actually are able to address the pain.


I’ve just exhausted myself getting some linen put away, Mr Carlo is asleep on the new rug, Mr Fluffy has snuck in to eat Mr Carlo’s biscuits, and Little Miss has had breakfast and even waited patiently in the hallway with Mr Fluffy proving that they can be united by a shared love of food. Mr Fluffy hasn’t liked the sachet catfood in years but because it’s Missy’s food… suddenly yes. It’s a good thing for them to not rely on one food because some of the shortages we have specifically been affected by has been cat food and kitty litter.

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Fall For Costume is back on

For the first time I’ve got mixed feeling looking back on my work for #FallForCostume. I think it’s because of what a struggle it is to make anything. That is once source of sadness and frustration. But the destruction of so many of my extraordinary patterning and stitching expertise by the environment has just been overwhelming.

What do I do with it all? I am just glad I’ve kept the card pattern pieces even though they take up so much room. It’s something at least.

Latex headpieces were a bit more durable but still not entirely. But yeah.

The armour is fine, even if glue delaminates the pieces are fine.

Some boots have also suffered the same fate.

So it’s a difficult time. I might just get them all on coat hangers in the studio so I don’t have to think too much about them.

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Slow progress but progress still

Something that’s a bit of a myth in the historical costuming world is that you can’t use allegorical images for clothing information. But it’s not entirely true. I’ve been building up a collection of instances where both saints and background figures are based on real people. This is not new, I’m trying to get the examples specific to women’s dress. While organising some folders into what I like versus strictly catalogued I spotted these two images clearly use the same figure.

The family portrait that includes the young woman in red is dated to 1502 and is by Hans Holbein the elder.

HANS HOLBEIN D. Ä. (1465-1524)
Epitaph der Schwestern Walther: Heilung des Besessenen, 1502

The second image is also by Hans Holbein the Elder and approximately the same date.

HANS HOLBEIN D. Ä. (1465-1524)
Kaisheimer Altar: Darbringung im Tempel, 1502

I had both in my folder for deeply scooped necklines like this which is probably most famously represented in Bianca Maria Sforza’s potrait by Strigel.

Kaiserin Bianca Maria di Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1472 – 1510), Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

 I’m not going to lie, I’ve loved this gown since the time I only had low quality black and white prints to go by. So this may be what I make from the small amount of “Cranach” gold fabric I have. Oh no. No it’s okay, I can reuse my Heuke fabric into a ropa to go with my wool kirtle for a more comfy ensemble.

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