Marisole Monday Visits the 10th Century

anglo-saxon-logoIt’s a Margot paper doll this Monday, the first for the new year, I think, and she’s sporting some stylish garb from the 10th century. Yesterday, I posted a pretty long ramble about 10th century Anglo-Saxon women’s dress and if you’re interested, I recommend reading that as well as this post, since the two rather go together in chronicling the epic research adventure this paper doll was.

One of my January drawing winners, Gwendolyn, who asked for this paper doll has been very kind as I slowly did my research and then set to work on drawing the set. I won’t pretend it hasn’t been both stressful and time consuming, because it has, but I am utterly pleased with the outcome and I hope she is as well.

Gwendolyn wrote me that:

I have actually thought a little bit about what I would choose if I ever won, so I can tell you now that I am interested in a Marisole-family doll, who is 10th century Anglo-Saxon. I would love a set or two of daily clothes, but I would also love a maille shirt and helm.

Speaking of the maile shirt, it is based on Anglo-Saxon finds in York and the helm is also based on the same thing. As women didn’t wear maile, I didn’t spend a huge amount of time researching the historical accuracy of such a garment. Personally, I’ll confess, armor doesn’t get me going like clothes do.


{Click Here for a PDF of 10th Century Anglo-Saxon in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of 10th Century Anglo-Saxon in Color}

So, let’s talk about the clothes. As I explained yesterday, 10th century Anglo-Saxon’s women dress consists of several layers of clothing. To begin with Margot (our Anglo-Saxon model with a French name…) wears a pair of leggings with windings around the calves and shoes. The shoes come from Anglo-Viking finds in York dating from the 9th Century. The windings around her calves are based on an illustration from the manuscript Psychomachia (British Library MS Additional 24199) which shows a barefoot women on horseback. Sadly, the manuscript hasn’t be digitized, but there is an illustration in Owen-Crocker’s Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. There is no way to know what the top of such leggings looked like. I made them like this so they could be worn with the maile shirt.


{Click Here for a PDF of 10th Century Anglo-Saxon in Black and White} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of 10th Century Anglo-Saxon in Black and White}

10th-century-anglo-saxonThe shift’s neckline is based on an illustration of a male farmer’s tunic illustrated in Tiberius B v calendar (British Library MS Cotton Tiberius B v, fol. 4r) and the sleeves are wrinkled as I discussed yesterday. The necklines of the other dresses are also based on the necklines of men’s tunics in the 10th century.

The veils are based on manuscript illustration, though I had added visible pins. Pins are commonly found from this period and it seems logical they were used to hold veils together. The green veil with broach is based on an illustration of the Virgin Mary from the first half of the 9th century (see Plate 1). The brown “poncho” is based on several illustrations and I discuss these cloaks a lot more in yesterday’s post.

Lastly, the embroidery on the red dress is not based on anything specifically. I wanted to use some patterns I found online, but they were far to detailed to easily make tiny enough to work as illustrations at such a small size. I did not include girdles as there is almost no published information on them and I didn’t want to just invent stuff. The colors used in these garments are based on the colors of the famous Bayeux Tapestry (which is not actually a tapestry, but that’s neither here nor there).

Well, I hope everyone has enjoyed the last two days in the 10th century. I certainly have had fun researching and I hope to do some more medieval period paper dolls now that I know more about the eras in question. (I think my next one will be 1300s, a little easier than 900s.)


  1. So, I rarely comment on your blog, I confess. Mostly I lurk. But I wanted to say how much I enjoyed this paper doll and yesterday’s post about Anglo-Saxon clothing. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to getting to see your 1300s paper doll as well. 🙂

    1. I’m afraid this won’t be happening. I don’t like copying others works, particularly if those works are as extensively trademarked as the world of Star Wars.

      1. Ok then, she’s gorgeous. Love the head scarfs and the dress with the leaf embroidery. (Those are just my favorites. I like them all.) 😀

  2. Lovely dresses. I like the scarves. As a former Army officer, I was very glad to see the warrior clothing. Women have defended themselves throughout history. A recent checkout lady at the grocery store had two character tattoos. I inquired; they meant ‘love’ and ‘warrior’. I do think that Marisole would have a tad more muscular frame.

    1. I think if Marisole was going to really be a warrior, she would need to be more muscled. Also, she might need some weapons… Maybe she could borrow some from one of my other paper dolls.

  3. “an illustration from the mnauscript Psychomachia (British Library MS Additional 24199)”

    this made me do a literal spit-take as i currently have this manuscript open on my desk ~ hahahahaha

    i love all the work you did for this; it’s amazing the resources out there an even moreso the way you incorporated them into this cool doll!

    and even if you don’t love the armor, you did a great job on it ~ really nicely done!

    : D

    1. As a librarian, you should appreciate my obsessive use of manuscript notations… Seriously, that was my pet peeve about SO much stuff I found on the web. It would say something like, “As shown in Manuscripts…”

      And I would be like, “What manuscripts? Where? When?”

      So… I might have been a wee bit obsessive with this one. 🙂

        1. Inline citations or foot/endnotes are basically my preferred options. I tried to find an footnote plug-in for the blog, but it didn’t work very well. So, inline citations it is.

  4. I love your work. Thank you. How would I get your permission to use it in our SCA Shire’s newsletter for the children?
    Thank you for your consideration.
    Valetta Tsangaris

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