Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
There are time periods where I feel like I know a fair amount and then there are time periods of fashion history where I feel (and I am) quite ignorant. The 1200s are one of those time periods. It’s not an era I have a great deal of natural interest in (sorry 1200s) and I don’t really feel like devoting the long hours of research to it. Also, I think the headdresses look funny.
So, all of that is to say that I noticed the basically the only different from the 1100s through the 1300s was headdresses and the undergarments all stayed pretty much the same. There are some documented differences in the 1400s, but I’ll get into that when I get around to drawing it. The result of this discovery was excitement when I realized I could draw the same shift and basically have a period underwear wearing paper doll for a 300 year time period.
This was very exciting. (Listen, I know this wouldn’t be exciting to normal people, but I make my own fun.)
So, this is the first of a series of paper dolls from the 1100s, 1200s and 1300s.
Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Lapis is wearing a shift based one illustrated in Roman de Giron le Courtois on Folio 87v. The manuscript dates from between 1370-1380. Yes, I realize that’s like 100 years later than this paper doll, but here’s the thing- illustrations of women in just shifts are exceedingly rare, so I am going to take what I can get. A few differences in my rendition are that the length is a little shorter and the style is quite fitted. Both of these changes were done to facilitate the paper doll layering clothing over the shift.
Her headdresses are in the style of the barbette and fillet. The barbette is the piece that goes under the chin and the fillet is the pillbox hat looking piece that wraps around the head. One point I couldn’t quite sort out was whether the fillet was open or closed at the top. This manuscript illustration looks closed while this manuscript illustration it could go either way. These ones look closed while this one is definitely open.
In the end, I went with Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern by Georgine de Courtais where fig 13 on shows it closed and that was my decision. I maybe totally wrong. The book was originally published in 1986, which while not super current, is current enough for me to feel fairly confident in it. Unlike, for example, books on historical costume first published in the 19th century when I have serious doubts about the quality of the scholarship.
The designs for her shoes come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, an excellent, in exceedingly dry, book on historical footwear.
Specific Source Images: Roman de Giron le Courtois Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits. NAF 5243 (f.87v), Lausanne Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, U 964 (f.93v), The Old Testament The Pierpoint Morgan Library, MS M.638 (f.33v) & Decretals by Gregory IX, with the apparatus of Bernard of Parma, University of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Lat. th. b. 4 (f.168r)
I’m tossing this out to the audience today, because there’s a high chance someone out there knows way more about 1200s clothing than I do. That would not be hard. Was the fillet open on the top or closed? Because I can’t seem to get a clear answer on that one. Thoughts? (And if you tell me your sources on why you think one or the other, I would be eternally grateful.)