gold beyond material cost

Ahah! I’m following a line of thought in regards to the use of gold in Cologne and it appears I may be correct:

“The new valuation of craft, by contrast, implied a higher evaluation of how materials were transformed. Peter Martyr in 1521 thus praised the artistry of the people of Yucatan and Mexico by writing to his humanist friends: “I wonder not at all the gold and gemstones, but at the skill and workmanship which far exceeds the value of the materials. I am amazed.”

Renaissance Dress, Cultures of Making and the Period Eye, Ulinka Rublack, Cambridge University, 2016

The whole lecture is fascinating but this part here is very much what I have been seeing in the portraits of women of Cologne. It’s not just that gold was prized, it was also the craft that turned it into art. So it wasn’t enough to have gold it was important that it be worked in many ways, each requiring a different set of skills.

But I’m not just seeing this, I am also reading about the value of various items based on how they were recorded, and it shows a very similar pattern. In fact at least one garment has the pattern worked in pearls recorded which also then reflect the patterns in the Quentel Kunstlichbuch in particular.

I’m not just looking into the evidence as depicted in written and pictorial information but also understanding the mediums used so I am also reading about how gold was painted in art.

Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art; Gold-Brocaded Velvets in Paintings by Cornelis Engebrechtsz; by Esther van Duijn, Jessica Roeders

And until I am able to get my hands on a copy of his book I’ve also been reading Figured Riches: The Value of Gold Brocades in Fifteenth-Century Florentine Painting; Rembrandt Duits; Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes; Vol. 62 (1999), pp. 60-92 (33 pages); Published by: The Warburg Institute

so much work

I have exactly too much information that is not general knowledge which meant I was not really able to explain why I do the stuff I do. I thought my frock straight from the title page of Quentel (or more commonly Il Burato) was something that lots of people would already know about. But apparently not.

modelbuch2- lady seated at large loom wearing a gown with long sleeves with a vertical slit from bicep to below elbow to let her arms free to work
modelbuch3- three women working, the first embroidering with a frame, the second apparently stitching on a loose piece of fabric, the last weaving on a small table top loom. All wearing fitted sleeves pinned to the outside of their sleeves with small curved tabs at the top of the outersleeve.
modelbuch1- a woman weaving on a large table top loom she is wearing fitted sleeves pinned to her gown with a deep turned back cuff that tapers to the wrist to create a half circle.

These images in particular show the Lowlands engineering on clothing used in this region which relies on a lot of pinning or ties but with the particular aesthetics of the region.

The other very useful piece of information from these is how important narrow goods weaving was to this region. It’s the dominant form of decoration as it is used on the forehead piece of the headdress, occasionally on the body of the headgear, but also as belts, and finally reasonably frequently on the chest piece that shows through the neckline of the gowns. It is also used extremely frequently on linen items around the neck.

On the other hand embroidery is not very common. It is most commonly found as whitework on forehead bands under the linen type of headddress, and can sometimes be seen as a very narrow edging on linen items worn around the neck. It can be seen as a second band behind the woven gold forehead band and in these instances are nearly always gold. The standout exception is on a belt that appears to be woven with a polychrome embroidery worked over that.

So I need to get my reference images imported here. Also if anyone knows how to make an ipad show images in any other order than date I’d love to know. I keep being told it’s being sorted by meta data but I also know meta data is not just date and time so there has to be someway to sort them.

I also need to thus spend a couple of days tidying my media files and putting meta date into them. I think I have a cunning plan for working around the limitations of WP.

a halsband

I am currently making over all my jewelry for my Cleves ensemble so these are the references I am using.

One of the accessories Anne of Cleves wears is a striking collar like necklace made from wide stylised flowers set with large round gold beads between.

1539 nrw holbein anne portrait halsband
1539 nrw holbein anne portrait halsband
1539 nrw holbein anne portrait miniature halsband
1539 nrw holbein anne portrait miniature halsband
1539 nrw bbda anne bernel halsband
1539 nrw bbda anne bernel halsband

This last version is most interesting as it matches so very closely to several other halsbander worn in cologne. Here are similar examples in chronological order.

1520 nrw unbek flugel frau mit 8 tochter 1 halsband
1520 nrw unbek flugel frau mit 8 tochter 1 halsband (Also a wide kette around the gown opening)
1520 nrw bbda beweinung christi halsband
1520 nrw bbda beweinung christi halsband (a more standard kette worn over her shoulders as well.)
1540 nrw bbda sibylla kessel halsband
1540 nrw bbda sibylla kessel halsband (A very wide ribbon type of kette outside her neckline)
1538 nrw bbda flugel wolff frau mit 4 tochtern 1 halsband
1538 nrw bbda flugel wolff frau mit 4 tochtern 1 halsband (compare her longer kette here to the extant examples below.)
1565 nrw bbdj catharina von seigen geb kannegeisser halsband
1565 nrw bbdj catharina von seigen geb kannegeisser halsband
1575 nrw geldorp elisabeth von hackney halsband
1575 nrw geldorp elisabeth von hackney halsband
1587 nrw geldorp katharina von gail halsband
1587 nrw geldorp katharina von gail halsband

Of these most use a floral centre of some sort (passionflower maybe?) in a rounded/squared open worked gold with round gold beads/balls, at the points that the sections connect to.

Of the extant collars and gurdeln in the Nordrhein several use a hinge join between sections.

guertel heiligin anna
hinge: guertel heiligin anna, c1500 Dueren, St Anna
Hinge: schuetzenkette, Goch, St Antonius, Emmerich

While others, usually the more open worked pieces, use a loop and ring.

schuetzenkette sankt georgs bruderschaft 2
Loop and ring: schuetzenkette sankt georgs bruderschaft, Kleve
svhuetzenkette sankt antoius bruderschat
Loop and ring: schuetzenkette sankt antonius bruderschaft, Kleve
loop and ring: Schuetzenkette St Michael Bruderschaft, Goch

One final example uses loop and ring but further stabilises the pieces with stitches to a fabric base.

ketter sebastians bruderschaft 1
holes in each corner, thread in upper right corner and lower right corner: kette sebastians bruderschaft, Kalkar
ketter sebastians bruderschaft 2
thread stitched through each loop at each corner: kette sebastians bruderschaft, Kalkar

I can’t seem to find the same kind of fastening between sections as used in the portraits but I hope also that these images help illustrate how very fine gold and silverwork was in this region and it was especially on display in these halsbander whether for personal or religious use. I also believe this kind of work was used on other accessories and my next post will deal with this.

Also of note, in this region a long kette (chain necklace) was worn but was usually of a single chain, occasionally of the latribbon type seen elsewhere but more often a simple solid oval ring, or ring with a slight twist to lay flat.

new information

Oh! While I’m here.. it’s so funny. As soon I wrote, somewhere not sure where, that I hadn’t seen a mitred corner in shirt collars… I find one.

Amazing to be able to see that. The majority of my images are not clear but there are enough really good ones now to be able to do this.

So I’ve seen eased around a corner, butted corners and now a mitred corner. Not seeing a pattern as to date or type but well, it’s great because I have used all of these 🙂

Fibro has currently made itself felt today (starts being tender like a bruise all over and moves into muscle spasms fairly quickly after) so I am having a very forced break.

But I am about ready to convert a couple of chemises into Lemberg style garments. There is just too much circumstantial evidence that these were actually used a lot.

We have all the imagery for one, but also the Poysdorf finds basically include a single layer sleeveless and skirted garment as well as two cropped shirts. Also several ‘little” shirts as well as other kinds in the 1519 inventory. It makes so much sense cost wise as well and comfort. My sheer chemise bunched up under my skirts and my heavier shirts with very little fullness stay put and are much cooler in summer and warmer in winter to wear.

It’s kind of an interesting situation to be in. I’m effectively doing what Elsabeth Horns did which is to make over over garments rather then buy new.


Who wouldn’t use academia if I was to upload my research there?

This is not a rhetorical question I am trying to find the best option based on multiple considerations.

I use it a fair bit to get access to articles otherwise hidden behind paywalls. But I know it’s not possible to search for articles (I need to actually start using it properly though.) And I know a PDF has limitations for text to speech readers.

I just am finding a blogging platform not ideal for scholarly articles.

Also, wow. So gold everywhere. It’s not just a case of valuing the gold itself but also having as many different techniques as possible. And I think I have spotted a few repeated articles which is amazing. With the written guild records and personal accounts it’s a bit more of a glimpse into daily life by being able to image how that comes to be. A workshop with several people working in different ways and records and work books.

I Do frocks not just the aesthetic but as a launch to understand people. I get annoyed when costume is treated as unimportant or frivolous. It’s so deeply personal and yet is the direct result of thousands of years of human history. We can rebel against fashion or use it. But it still is a super complicated subject.

Also I am starting to feel a connection to the people. This is both through the art (I have several portraits of the same women, or relatives, through several decades) and written work. Even stripped down summaries of legal proceedings have had an impact. Emotional too. Harsh a lot of the time.

I’m having trouble with galleries and search/tag/category options in themes here so my timeline of images is stalling again. So I may have to spend a bit of time with alt text and media settings. It would be great if there was a way to use attachment pages only for certain media types but that’s not how WP works. And I’m not totally confident in mixing other databases and front end content.

new year

It’s been quiet here for a bit I realise and that is partly due to being absolutely shattered and partly due to trying to also play catch up with everything.

But I have finally created a time-line of North Rhine images ready to use to teach. Oh boy. Oh boy is it both really easy and really complicated.

I know there are sumptuary rules but there seem to be a few un-written rules about accessories that goes like this: All the Techniques.

Not even kidding. The aim seems to be to show more than one way of using gold especially. And I have found more examples of what I was looking for.

But I need a really good method of sorting by tags. Basically there are several techniques and several parts of accessories and together they make for so much variation.

Also two portraits with a dull red on a dull blue and that is amazing!

New frock

I’m really wanting to make a bright orange frock. I might actually just overdye some more of my linen into a red so I can make one of the dresses with the half length hanging sleeves.

Super obsessed by them as they are like the sleeves in a few tapestries I adore. Lets take a detour from my NRW files to my Flemish and extant folders.

One more of the short form from an allegorical figure (I think.) This is I think though well in keeping with the NRW images and is why i initially thought the Kalkar figure above was not based on reality.

But tube sleeves. I’ve loved them since the start of this costume journey, even when I could mainly access books that were redrawings.

These are from photocopies I made waaaaaaaay back when. I did not cite the first though, I wish I had. She is figure 66. and the caption is ” Young Flemish lady-in-waiting, from a 16th-century tapestry. Long artistically draped dress with wide sleeves revealing inner sleeves; headdress with gauze, pearls and hanging ribbons.” She is most definitely from the David and Bathsheba tapestries, though this particular one is not well documented online.

The second of these is from Historic Costume by Francis M. Kelly and R. Schwabe. And I have found the source (incredible zoom function, I highly recommend clicking through).

And the small figures around her also come from this same series (ditto, there is one more in the series on this site as well as a whole lot of others save the link because it’s amazing.)

And these seams are found on other figures of the same tapestry series, and more, as well as in Bruegel.

And this is even seen in some fitted sleeves. These are from Cite de Dieux and Bruegel’s Harvest.

Some examples of tube sleeves to be found online though include these three from a single tapestry.

Another in the series of Bathsheba, and a tapestry at Hampton Court.

So I now need a break. This was supposed to be a short detour. I can also find orange all over the place too so I could just wear the orange and be shocking…..

after 1575, Cologne. Fig. 2, ill. 61, Kostüme und Sittenbilder des 16. Jahrhunderts [...] BSB Cod.icon. 361
after 1575, Cologne. Fig. 2, ill. 61, Kostüme und Sittenbilder des 16. Jahrhunderts […] BSB Cod.icon. 361

I mean I also found a huge amount of orange silk in one of the inventories….

more curating and a purse frame beginning

I have now only 43 images to try and track down. There is one that was recently sold at auction and it is the only listing not left on the original auction site. I am not guessing why but it means the full sized image is now only for sale from those auction aggregation sites.

But I have all my bildindex images sorted, and that was tough. The new site doesn’t seem to have most NRW images back. But the old site loads faster now so there are definitely improvements behind the scene. I seem to have lost how to get the full sized images but hey, screencaps.

Also the first layer of knead-it has been applies to my purse. Next step, sand that back, including the metal as there is still a gloss on the outer edges.

The linen for the Maria gown has had as much colour removed as is humanly possible. I really need a bluing agent, or it may be a soak in napisan.

So I had a lot of concern with the bleach. From other people. So to explain. I have been using the stuff for a long time as did my parents, as did theirs.

But that means respect and a lot of time practicing with the stuff.

I only do this outside. For two reasons, one it speeds up the process in the sun, but also fumes.

I did wash my fabric immediately but it still probably needs a good hand wash with extra soap. So I’ll get something with a bluing agent for this next step.

This is still cheaper than the cost this fabric would have been at full retail.

more curating and singing

There are days my voice is Glinda clear, I mean bubbly and floaty and I can do trills and decorations. And then there are days like today. I think it is the RA. Inflammation seems to fit the bill.

I can at least sing early music. It just does not sound like me. It sounds somewhat appropriate if you think of reed instruments, but it’s not what I trained to get.

But, there are days where my voice is what I trained it to be. So I guess I have two voices due to RA. I have to think of it like that because I can’t predict exactly what day will be what voice and it’s not ideal for singing for an audience. I miss theatre so much. So much.

I did also spend a long time putting all my info for each and every portrait I have. And I still have a few hundred unattached files.

I also cut my Maria of Cleves gown lining, it’s been de-coloured and I will need to put it through a bluing wash after it’s washed properly.

article progress!

I got a really nice flow of writing today while having my yearly infusions so I am about ready to start typing it up and adding inline notes (WP doesn’t like footnotes apparently so it’s just easier) and also images.

I have held off this for so long because once you start asking “but why? where is the connection?” you then start the long journey of learning a new language (maybe two because of course Latin), learning about society and material culture, and what was prized and what was was fairly mundane.

And it is very hard to then answer that first question except by then really prodding at each and every resource and asking “what if we are wrong? what would that look like in all these connections.

So finally I have my article framed really quite well. I normally like to talk about structure first but this is an era and place where nothing I am describing can be found as an extant item. Nothing. So I have had to look at art and read documents that nearly exclusively detail what’s on the surface and using that to extrapolate the structure. And the various crafts ands trades people involved.

I can also look at other extant items and point to other art and say “see how that looks? That’s not what this looks like.” And that is at least helpful.