Tag Archives: anne of cleves

When my aesthetics meets historical accuracy

I’ve managed to delaminate my velvet from the support fabric for my vibrant red and black Cleves gown, and from there also carefully pressed it over baking paper to stretch each piece back to shape. Two stages with a day in between of rest. It turns out I probably have enough velvet to redo all pieces so I’ve taken a paper pattern from my skirt panels to create all new templates for the <<liste>> and <<bortgin>> just in case.


I really want to use a technique used from the 16thC to lay the velvet to the support but… it goes against everything I normally do and ARGHHHHH!

So we have two garments that are well documented for laying guards to a ground fabric. Both use twists of silk to hide the raw edges as the guarding it left raw, rather than folded under, and in both cases there are regular little loops/scrolls of the twist onto the guards alternating with loops/scrolls on the main fabric.

I’m sorry, but that’s too much of a coincidence, and what artwork supports this frequency? I’ve spent so much time trying to find them, but can’t so what do I do? (What was she meant to do? Sorry not sorry about this obvious Six reference.)

It makes so much sense when you think in terms of a high output, many hands workshop. Of course it’s going to save money in terms of investment in the fabric, and of course it’s going to be labour intensive but with best predictable bang for buck.

I’m about ready to accept this is what I need to do- even if I use a machine to zig zag and even if I say No Way to the loops (Get Down with all the Six puns because they’re Not Going Away.).

But what I’m struggling with is the joins.

Oh yes.

It looks like joins in fabric are butted and not seamed.

Now this one is where my brain insists this is poor engineering just to save what? overall 10cm of fabric? In Cloth of gold that’s probably worth it. In velvet… okay that’s many times the amount of silk versus plain silk and it’s only a couple of hours of work to do some supporting stitches.

And this is why every project takes so long:

-I’m a Master Tailor without a workshop.

I pay for the fabric rather than passing the costs to a client. I’m drafter, draper, stitcher, cutter, historian, archivist, purchaser with no bargaining power. So while I know what 16thC practices were used and why? I’m not in a position to direct other people to to the work I shouldn’t be doing.

A disadvantage for my own output, but a fairly unique vantage to better understand the difference between 16thC and modern expectations.

Comments Off on When my aesthetics meets historical accuracy

Filed under Uncategorized


Whoops. I have had to sort and categorise all my North Rhine research because I finally found a very small but very important stream of information in the form of both artwork and archives. One of the problems with both is being sure that what I’m seeing is indeed from the time.

One archive record I reread used a modern modern translation- both spelling and meaning- and I was about to put it in my stash of modernised records when I saw there was a scan, that while modernised it was not summarised so I was able to find the word in the scan. And yep. Modern translation and spelling but in a really easy to understand way so it means I now have a handful of matching modern records that I can use.

The second stream is potentially a record of four or five noble women that also confirm this. So another dissertation and journal on the way.

But all this tidying made it to my image files and I have now made 228 folders for individual paintings, and that doesn’t count the printed works and images of noble women. But it really has taken 15 years of repeated searches and not just in images and archives. I had to learn the dialect of the time to make sense. Interestingly one of the earliest articles I was sent (not OCR so I had to limit how much I hand typed from the 30 pages) confirms exactly what I have been reading.

But all of this needs to be presented as so many books are out of print, and I have had to back track a single repeated statement. I needed to do that as it’s become fact when it is really not at all.

Comments Off on tidying

Filed under Uncategorized

tap tap

Usually a lead in to “is this thing on” but nope. I think there is a duck tapping on the door. Not this time. Mamma duck will tap on the door if she has worked out there are people in the house that are not feeding her. Man are they clever little buggers. She has also perched on the window sill, over 2m off the ground, to see what we are up to. And regularly uses the car to get a good view to see why the humans are not feeding her.

Stress is abating, which frees up a little mental energy to think and plan. Still really struggling with fatigue. I made a few IG posts today and am wiped out. But it’s body fatigue. My mind is go go go go go. But that body fatigue is making it hard to get any kind of thought focused anywhere.

But I’m really enthused and excited by the prospect of actually getting my Hat actually and really done. I am going to just put everything aside for a few days, and try, just try to get 5cm of pearls couched. I have lowered my earlier 10cm goal as I think it is possibly not going to happen.

I will though probably re-thread the pearls where possible. I wish the strands were easier to unknot as the thread is strong, there is enough length to wax one end and shuffle the pearls across to wax the other. But I wind up shredding the twists.

So. To the stash of tiny tiny pearls. And wire like beading needles. And pliers. Oh boy will I need pliers.

Comments Off on tap tap

Filed under Uncategorized


I have a lot of jewelry to make/remake my various Cleves accessories, and finally I have enough to do so!

I really also need to make a few more purses- including the lion head purse) as they feature so much in the 1519 inventory. And at least a few very simple ones to store my jewelry in.

I’m finally in a position to be able to work on all of these again which is so nice 🙂

Part of my self care has been to do a little work on small projects. It started with a project that got a bit too demanding but it was practice. Then I started doing repairs to socks, and now I can start wiring little brass pieces to each other.

Comments Off on jewelry

Filed under Uncategorized

a bit up and down

But I’m writing about the up 🙂

I’ve been contacted by someone who has as much interst in Anne as I do and we both sort got very excited when we realised we had independantly come to the same conclusions on some fairly impotrant points.

And with our conversation she shared an image that made me do a little “yass” because it’s another piece of evidence I need to be able to say “this image, yes, this, use this to find Amalia!”

But it does mean the processing of images and files and citing and credit has to be done to be of any use to anyone!
And that may mean importing some posts from this blog and putting them over on the new- search engines do not like repeated content, but I also want to preserve the publication dates of them.

I also have a book on the Takarazuka version of Elisabeth, very exciting, it is with the courier right now. With our Alert level being at 3 this will be a contactless delivery.

Our replacement stove top will be installed tomorrow (it’s been weeks of stress) it’s the exact same model as the original. Also a contactless delivery and installation. I’ll probably stay in the lounge, with mask and gloves ready.

We decided that yes it had to be the same model as we have 12 1/2 years of muscle memory of using it. 12 1/2 years of knowing how to keep it clean (and we really did) so we know that barring something like this happening again we should have another 12 1/2 years, and no retraining ourselves.

It was truly scary watching the element (it’s a ceramic top) turn into a glowing ball of red light. So we might still be a bit risk averse for a while.

I have a little more of the sequinned fabric for my Ode to Adrian Bubble Gown which means I should be able to get that zig zag section cut without too much piecing. I need to figure it out in terms of the number of rolls of pleats I’ll need.

And I do really need to get some blue and purple layers in the hem to make it do the gradient effect.

I’ve had a day of pin rescue yesterday that continues today as well as a bit of sock repair.

Some socks might wind up converted to brace covers. Or sock toys. Hmmm Maybe sock clothes for a sock kitty my friend made…

And my cloth of gold from Sartor for my Anne of Cleves frock is in the air right now.

Comments Off on a bit up and down

Filed under Uncategorized

copies that may be useful

I spent a day yesterday gathering archival resources (I have multiple copies due to multiple scans and I really need to get them nice and tidied, it’s taking a while as you can imagine, but I found an entire class of sumptuary laws in plain sight so I’ll be transcribing that asap even though it’s literally for one city)

But I was thinking how helpful the straight transcriptions of written texts into printed have been, even if I can’t be 100% sure they are strictly accurate- see the gepend/stickelchen post.)

In this I have tried to share only paintings/illustrations from the 16thC. But that may be a bit shortsighted. I have only shared copies that look to be at least of the era. But there is at least one 19thC copy of the Bruyn portrait of Anna which happens to be by an artist who has produced paintings of people of the 16thC that we haven’t attributed as copies.

 Franz Wolfgang Rochrich- copy of Anne of Cleves.

This is clearly a copy of a copy- there is no flat cap, there are four guards on her skirt, the stickelsche is not smooth. Details for a future comparison. This is a fantastic obvious copy as we have so many original copies to compare it to.

However this is not the only member of the the House of Mark to be painted by him. There is a reasonably well known portrait apparently of Sibylla after her marriage and with her son.

Assumed to be Sibylla of Cleves Duchess of Saxony.

As a potential copy of a real painting this is very interesting and at the same time quite frustrating. Apparently there are 40 copies of this one painting by Rohrich but there is an original Cranach recently verified:

Release date: Wednesday, 15 November 2017

However it does bring us to another portrait by Rohrich attributed as Sibylla of Cleves, potentially before her marriage. And it’s very tempting to suppose it might be from a no longer existing portrait given the previous portrait is indeed a close copy. So very close. There is also another copy of the portrait suggesting it is of Sophia of Mecklenburg:

Johann Friedrich von Sachsen (“der Großmütige”) als Knabe und seine Mutter Sophie von Mecklenburg
Franz Wolfgang Rohrich (Cranach-Nachahmer)

This seems unlikely as Sophia appears to have died in childbirth or the same year as her son was born.  His father also married Margareta of Anhalt and she also died the year her only surviving son was born. Generally portraits of parent and child are of direct relationship. 

Looking closely at the Windsor Castle painting, the face is a little less pointed than would be expected as he painted her so many times.

Alternative title(s)
Electress and her son
Electress Sibilla of Saxony and her son

Either way this next sole portrait is quite clearly related to this copy or original portrait in at least two ways. The central pleats of the gowns and the wide collar of jewels.


The lower jeweled collar matches his own other portrait to a degree that cannot be escaped.

I have had a small copy of this as part of my old Frazzled Frau site and have not seriously considered it as part of this region before. The striped under sleeves just feel more southern, the dropped hairline and headdress. I still need to share a timeline but the stickelsche has roots in a henin style supported hat, not a haube so in fact started very high and slowly dropped to the sides over the 16thC.

Details that do make this tantilising are the half length sleeves (so very iconic of the Weiditz codex and the stained glass portrait of Maria) the decorated belt at the natural waist, even the very deep collar (not goller) can be found in late gothic art of the North Rhine. This would however date to the 1490s which is when Anna, Sibylla, and Amalia’s mother was born.  

It is also unclear if Rohrich recognised the portrait he copied or if he assumed who the sitters were.

And all this leads back to the interesting clothing connections between the North Rhine and Mecklenburg. For a second post. To follow immediately.

Comments Off on copies that may be useful

Filed under Uncategorized

a bon fine- not anne of cleves motto

I think in Anglo-centric writings and art history there has been a lot of context missing when interpreting the clothing depicted in the portraits of Anne of Cleves.

I have also been looking through modelbuchs at embroidery and found some patterns that seem to be used in art (if not in entirely there are deer/hart that look to be worked in a similar fashion.

I was not able to find any pattern for the scrolling embroidery/weave of the fabric of Anna’s haube which reads “abon fine.”

This phrase has been interpreted to be her personal motto. However this same pattern is found on the clothing of other women across the Germanic states.

Conrad Faber, “Faber von Creuznach”
Tempera/ Öl auf Holz.
53,5 x 38,5 cm.

Conrad Faber was active in Frankfort, which is to the South and East of North Rhine.

The motto also appears on the brusttuch of Barbara Schellenberger in a portrait by Hans Burkmair.

Barbara and Hans Schellenberger
Date Barbara: 1507, Hans: 1505
Current location
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, room 11

Burkmair was active in Augsburg and this portrait is of an Augsburg citizen.

Here the phrase is “a bon fino” In all cases “a bon” is contracted to read as “ABON.”

And on one of my favourite gowns of one of my favourite women in fashion history:

Bildnisdiptychon -Rechte Tafel: Bildnis der Maria Jacobaea von Baden, Herzogin von Bayern
Maler: Hans Wertinger
Datiert: 1526
Bild: Öl auf Holz, 69 x 45 – Inv.-Nr. 18

Of special interest is that his appears to be worked in pearls while the previous seem to be woven or embroidered in dark silk on gold, or may even be gold work.

Anne of Cleves has this motto in a similar pattern (capitalised on a geometric scroll effect outline, worked in alternating diagonal directions on a wide band.

Holbein’s portrait quite clearly show the design worked in red on gold. This may be woven as are most bands on hauben from this region. Most commonly they are purely geometric designs but of a similar scale.

Bruyn in particular captures the gold threads of woven patterns of women of Cologne.

St John’s copy of the Bruyn portrait (note the portrait I believe to be the original has a flat pearled baret masking the view of her haube. I believe the copies to not include the hat are copies as they do not perfectly represent the Stickelsche as it appears in work direct from Cologne. )

The design is worked upside down in comparison to all others (and this is repeated in other copies.) It is also worked in a pale colour, in the small digital copies it appears white or off white.

So this leads me to the most recently discovered potential portrait of Anna.


This portrait certainly matches facial features quite closely, and the haube looks the same as those in other Bruyn copies.

However after a decade or more of looking at North Rhine paintings what sticks out to me is that this is absolutely not the clothing of Nobility of Cleves, Julich, and Berg. This is absolutely perfect for middle class clothing of Cologne. Very wealthy but very clearly of someone affected by sumputary laws.

Red velvet sleeves and busttuchs are found repeatedly in inventories/documents of burgersfrau of Cologne.

The pendant is absolutely of a common shape, the girdle of a common type, the single wide chain necklance. Even the black on black fabric of her goller (kleyr) and gown.

The partlet under her gown is likewise of a type that puts her firmly in the city of Cologne.

It is also quite late in style. I would put this at 1550s. But this stage the Hat starts to look like a wing nut with a flat top and not just width at the upper side but lower side and is quite flat in regards to depth.

Commemorative paintings are not unusual, what is unusual is to lower the apparent status of the subject. Gold brocade trim on the gown at the very least would mark the subject as of nobility.

The painting looks from the surface to be from Bruyn’s workshop. The curved top of the canvas, the shaded plain background, the flat table top in front of the subject. These are also seen in the other copies of the other Bruyn painting.

Without access to information about the painting itself this asks many more questions than it answers.

In all the copies the words are upside down and in pale paint on warm gold. Could this indicate they are painted by someone not familiar with the physical properties of these hauben? Could that indicate they are all copies from outside of her homeland?

If so how can the details of this portrait match so well to the garments of burgersfrau of Cologne?

If this is by Bruyn (possibly the younger) does this mean the princesses could have worn clothing not indicative of their wealth? Or is this a deliberate statement?

Or could it be simply a portrait of an unrelated woman from Cologne?

There is very little in the way of imagery of real people from Cleves, Julich, and Berg from this time to be found online or printed in books. I have been very lucky to have a copy of the inventory of Jocabe of Juelich-Kleve-Berg but it is very definitely from a time where the Spanish influence has nearly overwritten the local clothing style. I have also been lucky enough to find/be lead to collections of inventories of women of Cologne.

A future blog post will explore the artwork of the Duchy, specifically those of the Duchess Maria and her Daughters (Sibylla, Amalia, and Anna.)

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What next?

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by health and trying to finish any project at all right now. I have a few projects I feel I should finish before starting anything new. But the reality is I have stalled on them for the same reason: health.

This doesn’t make it easier, it feels like more pressure. More pressure to do something really great before I can’t at all. More pressure for each event I miss because I fear I’ll still miss the next. This isn’t FOMO like we know it, this is real, this is genuinely not seeing people I care about due to predicatbly unpredictable health issues.

So what would that be. Do I want that to be a project I have been working on for 10 years or start something new that might be easier or more fulfilling.

I have most of my projects in one place, but I also have the clay and plastic and paint stuff out of sight as it’s winter and my workroom is not fun in winter. Especially not mow!

So Maleficent? Ahsoka? Sunburst? Spanish silver ensemble? The Mina? Elissa… Elissa could work. I finally bought another 10m of netting for the support. Just have to figure out where to put it! Probably another layer of short ruffles. I think that makes it 40m of net in total! And then Maleficent horns. Then it’ll be warm enough to go out and work on Ahsoka. I need to wait until my rib heals before even thinking of The Mina as It really feels like the end of the bone of the rib is exposed.

Do I want a break?

I do want to get my Cleves perfect so I am about to sit up in bed and get warm and watch Netflix. I need to clip fabric from the haube as it’s too bulky and I want to also line the neckline jewels properly. SO happy with how beautifully I finished the gown and sleeves 🙂 Might just do some tidying of the shirt sleeves though.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cleves approaches

I was going to do a lot of machine sewing to get her ready for Coronation so I instead took the time I had to sew by hand. Some of it went really welll, some like the haube is fiddly because the accessories are just not the way we are used to. I need to make my haube tie and also make sure all the gathers are near the crown. I may wind up pleating on my head form instead.

There may even be time to get pearls on the partlet. What is weird is I have a very long neck so I can wear my collar and show the full band of gold.


Okay, I now have my second lot of antibiotics 9note, not for the flu but for the secondary bacterial infection I have had since day two of the flu!)

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cleves gown made

My Anna von Kleve Julich & Berg gown is done aside from some hooks and eyes in the skirt.

The bodice and sleeves fit nicely but I am ver narrow, and after the flu moreso… so today I get to hunt for all the wool shoulderpads I can as I will need enhancement.

The hanging sleeves are finally hemmed, woohoo, and the chemise just needs a button and some seam finishing (the sleeves were french seamed originally and so I need to just tidy a few inches between the cuffs and up the arm. I really want to take some excess linen out but will leave that until I’ve worn it a few times. The sleeves look so pretty though and will make a lot of garb look really good. And I know what my nest two frocks are 🙂 So excited.

So it may be that I will have to use a lot of cunning machine work in my velvet Cologne so that I can actually get her done 🙂

And I may be able to get my documentation for her up fairly soon. But I want the Spanish stuff up first as a handy practical guide 🙂

And I’d like to get all my garb patterns webified especially with so many lovely extant patterns out there now to use as references and (please buy these!!!)


I do have my haube. I may use my machine and then hand stitch over the top. That’s how I did my belt. The machine acted like basting which is hidden by gold braid. So I’m just waiting to hear back from some people who want to see this in the next few days and then I can have a proper rest and start collection info for my final workshop 🙂

Oh and my jeweled neckline. That’s a lining. Same with my frontal decoration on my stickelsche.


Ah yes. The three panel skirt pattern too.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized