Last week, we got to see my mid-1300s paper doll set in black and white. This week, here she is in color. Historical printable paper dolls always make me a little nervous. In inevitably, choices have to be made about what to include or not include and how to render a period’s fashion. These choices are easier the more you know about the period and harder the less you know. One of the reasons I often turn to Medieval inspired or Renaissance inspired rather than actual historical paper dolls is the knowledge that I don’t know enough to always make appropriate choices.
What I am not comfortable doing is always trusting the many sites out there that don’t cite their sources with enough detail to actually find the material if you needed it or want to confirm it’s authenticity. While I love the internet, I find that I don’t use it that much when I am doing this sort of research. I seem to fall back on my library training and rely on reputable secondary sources published in scholars with names in the field, backed up my own knowledge of solid collections of digitized medieval manuscripts where I can dig for source images, plus a few tumblers and blogs that seem to know what they are doing.
And this method worked great until I got down the problem of color. Now, I always think of the 1300s as being richly red and blue and gold, because those are colors I have seen in medieval manuscripts. Just because, however, they made a dress red in a book doesn’t mean the dress was commonly red in real life. Pigments used for illumination aren’t the same a pigments used for dyeing cloth and medieval art is heavy on analogy and symbolism.
By the way, most of my primary and secondary sources for this paper doll set are listed on the black and white version. It was a long list and I didn’t want to repeat it here. So go check that out, if you want to see what I used to create my mid-1300’s paper doll.