|| illustrations ||

The popularity of maps and costume books of the 16th century can be attributed to an increased interest in people in other parts of the world as well as to see one’s own part of the world understood to be as important.


Depictions of Julich the city or Duchy seems to be only specifically outlined in the work of Christoph Weidtitz in the 1540s.

These images appear to be completely novel in the costume book oevre, possibly created from life or from portraits in the region. All images compare well to the known images of Maria, Anne, and Amalia seen in official artwork of the Duchess and her daughters. Only the separate white hanging sleeves differ. This type of sleeve can be found on portraiture across Northern Europe often white or orange often as full but single layer of fabric.

The paned and puffed upper sleeve is distinctly Saxon or Swiss in style, this may be in part due to the very strong bond between Saxony and Julich-Kleve-Berg which was solidified by the marriage of Sibylla (daughter of Maria, sister to Anne and Amalia.)

This influence can also be seen in allegorical figures and figures of saints in large scale works of art of the time.

Another detail of note is the attempt to show skirts that open up the front, as depicted by vertical bands matching guarding at the hems. In known portraits these skirts seem to just close.

The portraits of Anna by both Bruyn and Holbein also share this feature, though the copies of the Bruyn portrait don’t always correctly show this (which suggests they are copies by someone unfamiliar with the style of dress.)

The most finely worked portrait of Anne by Bruyn also featured the pearled flat hat seen on most of these figures.

Another feature shared by formal portraits of Anna are the gold brocade collars of their linen wear. These can also be seen in the majority or formal portraits of rich women of Cologne, and also in other Weiditz figures of women of Cologne.

The pendants on the necklaces also can be found in formal portraits of Anna and rich women of Cologne.

The decorative piece at the center fronts of the bodices match well to the decorative bands worn under the gowns and filling the open front bodices in portraits of rich women of Cologne. These decorative pieces might be in pearl and precious metals, or trimmed velvet, or of gold brocade. Anne has this later form.

The heavily jeweled necklines match the portraits of Anne. These seem to sit somewhat on top of the neckline here which may be due to the extra rigidity needed to support the jewels, pushing over the outer gown at corners of the front edge. The Holbein portrait of Anne supports this idea as part of the gold brocade of the inner garment is visible at her shoulder where it has pulled out of place while the rigid jeweled neckline pushes the gown out at the widest points at the side front of the piece.

This jeweled neckline is not common in portraits of Cologne. This may be due in part to an extra layer worn over the shoulders in the majority of these portraits, or they may be for a specific purpose as they seem to appear in personal records as well as inventories.

In support of this idea this inner neckline is only seen on figures depicting brides of Cologne in the later costume books.


Depictions of women of Cleves seem to start with Abraham de Bruyn who was working in Cologne. With his workshop based firmly in the North Rhine his depictions can be trusted to show the idiosyncratic differences between closely situated cities of this region. Certainly the dress of women of Cleves and Cologne are strikingly close to the formal portraits of the workshop of Barthel Bruyn.

Of special note is fig. 1 page 17, every feature can be seen in portraits, though displayed here somewhat differently.

In portraiture skirts are closed and overlap by at least the width of the vertical guards on the fronts of the skirts. In several of the figures of the Cleves and Cologne pages thes skirts are opened and the edges folded back, the skirt only sewn to the bodice around the back, sides and not the guarding of the bodice opening. These skirts still appear to be able to be closed with an overlap that matches the width of guarding on the bodice.

Only Grassi seems to have tried to depict dress of Cleves, with some obvious trouble with the headgear.


Cologne was a vital city for trade of all kinds but especially in print works. So this city is well represented in many of the costume books.

Christoph Weiditz was the first to convey the richness of dress of Cologne. He depicts the different variations of headgear and accessories seen in formal portraits of rich women of the city. 

The soft fabrics of gowns matches well, as do the range of colours and use of contrasting fabrics lining sleeves, and guarding edges.

In these images we can see what was hinted in the Julich images- the fronts of skirts are gently eased and flared, while the backs of skirts are heavily pleated.

The single portrait of a girl with no headgear gives a hint as to how the headdresses are supported. Her braids start high behind the ear, in contrast to the position of braid in Augsberg and Nurenberg which start low on the nape of the neck. This it to allow the headdress to fit closely to the back of the head, braids sitting lower would impede this. The braids sit high on the head with most width just above the ears, neatly fitting into the hollow spaces of the most formal form.

Braids are otherwise shown in figures of unmarried women and girls as appearing from behind the ears and looped at the side front to sit over the undercap and under the outer shaped pieces. This is seen in formal portraits as well as the de Bruyn costume book.

De Bruyn again captures the spirit and detail of formal portraits of Cologne, again showing the open and often overlapping skirts, the flattened but wide headdress and the variety of accessories. 

The figure of the bride shows what appears to be a rich inner neckline that matches the necklines Weiditz recorded in his illustration of women of Julich.

Also of interest is the full cloak with oversized collar. It seems to resemble the Weiditz image more than the other costume books printed a few years earlier. The body of the cloak is fuller and wraps around her. 

The only figure that appears to be a copy of an image shared by the other costume books is that of the maid of the city. She has a flattened basket over her arm in front while her other hand carries a pitcher.

Of the later printed works by Weigel, Amman, Vecelio, and Braun; figures for Southern Europe seem to originate in the earlier French book by Breton. This earlier work however omits figures from the North Rhine. The 1572 and 1575 prints of Braun seem to be the earliest figures appear and are repeated in part by Weigel, Amman, and Vecellio. 

The earliest depictions of the North Rhine are in the maps of Braun and Hogenberg, very quickly followed by Weigel and then Amman.

Of these the figure of a noble woman in a loose gown seems to be matched by portraits of this later date where the Spanish influence in fashion was starting to be seen. 

Also of special interest is the figure of the bride by Weigel. This seems to follow the form of the bride from Picardy but includes the jeweled neckline of the bride by de Bruyn and seen on several of the Julich figures by Weiditz.

Books created for personal use often included portraits of the owner, and portraits or scenes of interest.

At least two books of unknown origin seem to use images from these costume books though heavily altered to reflect changes in fashion. In the books below we can see de Bruyn’s bride (as opposed to Amman’s), the maid with the basket and the pitcher is also seen.

These two books each include a figure seen from behind (shown below.) While the figures seem to be a direct copy from a source we no longer have they do match somewhat to a figure from Weiditz and a figure from Braun. The Weiditz figure is clearly labeled as from Cologne while the Braun figure is meant to depict a woman of Aachen. As Aachen is in the North Rhine it is possible that the figure is from the same source as the two illustrated books.

All of these figures depict a white headdress with gathers centering on a circular shape in the center back.


Braun and Hegenberg include a figure depicting a woman of Kalkar that is not seen in any other costume book. The front of her skirt appears to be hitched up under her apron while her hanging sleeves are very narrow. 

1575 Kalkar. Fig 1 page 35b, Civitates orbis terrarum, Braun and Hogenberg. Utrecht University obj=000978066
1575 Kalkar. Fig 1 page 35b, Civitates orbis terrarum, Braun and Hogenberg. Utrecht University obj=000978066


As mentioned already Braun shows us a woman from behind but also a woman from the front. Once again Weigel and Amman seem to share a source.

De Bruyn however, being located in Cologne, expands on figures shwoing the very Netherlandish influence in headgear especially. Garments though still show the heavily contrasted guarding seen in the North Rhine.


Formal portraits of Munster depict dress that often shows marked influence of Cologne and Saxony. The figures of women from Munster as depicted by Weigel and de Bruyn depict the influence of Cologne most strongly.


Gelderland was part of the Duchy of Julich-kleve-Berg from 1529-1543, and the figures of the region by Weiditz may capture this brief moment in time. Two figures of the nobility, and one burger, appear in dress and accessories straight out of the images of women of Cologne. The overlapping skirts are not particularly clearly depicted, or they may be exaggerated her for effect.


Nijmegen was a free city within the municipality of Gelderland and so shared the same kind of influence. De Bruyn especially seems to have captured this in his figure of a woman from Nijmegen. 

General information:

Printed works

This is well illustrated by the fact that each costume book is particularly weighted with dress close to the printers workshop while reusing images from other costume books from other countries.

In this way the French and Italian books that predate Amman et all do not include any North Rhine Westphalia figures and indeed have only a handful of dress from across Northern Europe. Amman and Weigel both produced a set of images that included a handful of NRW figures and many more from Nurenberg, Augsberg and other major cities.

The illustrated maps of Braun and Hogenberg relied heavily on these costume books, reusing figures even from Breton. The figures of Colonge match very well to de Bruyn but there are three figures that cannot be sourced in this manner. They are of women of Aachen and a woman from Kalkar. There are several possibilities as print workshops could use plates from other workshops, indeed figures that appear on title plates in another book appear to be all in dress from the North Rhine.

The popularity of these maps led to the publishers asking for images from regional towns so as to include them in later editions.

Illustrated works

In contrast to these books Christoph Weditz produced two full colour hand illustration books of the dress of people of the world more than two decades earlier. They coincided with his travel to different parts of the world. The first book has been especially appreciated as they appear to be faithful depictions of dress from Spain and of the New World.

The second book is lesser known but is equally beautiful and does appear to be very faithful in the depictions of dress as well. It is the richest source of images for the duchy of Julich-Kleve-Berg at any time in this century as it matches our understanding of dress of the Burgers but increases the imagery of people from outside of Cologne.

copy books

Copy books were privately owned and illustrations could be commissioned. These may be portraits of the owner, or of their friends and family. But there are at least three books that are essentially costume books. One is a copy of Weidtz first book, and two more appear to be reproductions of both well known and unknown printed sources. They are vividly illustrated and somewhat stylised and updated with more contemporary details.


Other copies of these resources may be found, however these offer the highest resolution currently available, September 2018.