I confess the colors here were heavily influenced by the colors in the portraits that I used as inspiration. (Full list of those can be found in last week’s post.) That meant there was a lot of black. I confess that somehow Tudor clothing looks best to me in rich, vivid shades of red, gold and black, so I settled on that color scheme.
Most of the ways we think of history are influenced by our perceptions of the past, rather than the reality of the past. It’s easy to imagine the Victorian era entirely in sepia, because that is what we have available. I have been watching an excellent documentary by the BCC entitled Monarchy on Nexflix over the lat few days. It’s been fascinating, if at times a little confusing when I lose track of which Edward is which. Never the less, we’ve just gotten to Henry the 8th and I smiled when I saw the gowns of this era.
Over the years that I have been drawing paper dolls, few eras have seen has intimidating as Tudor. I’m very pleased that I was able to tackle this period. My next major research project will be preparing for my Viking paper doll set for B&B. I just received from Interlibrary Loan on Friday the book Woven Into the Earth about textiles from Norse Greenland. So, I’ll be curling on this week with that on my couch trying to make sense of Viking attire.
Once I’m done with Vikings (which will be a few weeks, I am waiting a on a few more books), I’ll need a new period to research. For this purpose, I have put together a poll. These are all eras that I have either never really studied or generally think I don’t like. I want to force myself to do things which I wouldn’t normally be drawn too.
What historical period should I research next? (And therefore make a paper doll of...)
Let me be clear here… this is not just a paper doll of the 1500s. Rather, my Margot paper doll is is showing off English Tudor dress from the mid-1500s, specifically Henrician gowns. This is an important distinction, because by the 1500s dress was highly regionalized, especially for people of wealth and status. My paper dolls nearly always have both wealth and status. (Mostly, because rich important people tend to get way cooler looking clothes.)
Both of Margot’s gowns are Henrician gowns, which are specifically gowns worn during the reign of Henry the 8th. She’s also got two french hoods (headdress A & C), one gable (or English) hood (headdress B), one pair of shoes and one set of underwear.
Please note that the underwear may not fit underneath the two gowns. I didn’t want to omit the smock from the underwear and smocks had really full sleeves that got crushed under the gowns and then were displayed through slits in the false sleeves and well… I didn’t want to deal with all that layering.
Moral of the story: She has under things. The underthings might not actually fit under things.
I should add that I knew very little about Tudor dress when I started researching this paper doll set and I am not about to claim that I have magically become an expert. I did my best to create an fairly accurate rendition of a noble woman’s garments of the 1540s through 1550s considering the restrictions of Margot’s pose.
As always, it is very important to me to be clear about what I studied at prior to drawing this paper doll set. Tudor clothing has always been very intimidating to me, but I wanted to challenge myself. A big part of my historical paper doll set goal is drawing things which “scare me”. Tudor dresses were one of those things.
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction. London: Macmillan, 1983.
Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes through History, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996.
Mikhaila, Ninya, and Jane Malcolm-Davies. The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing 16th-century Dress. Hollywood, CA: Costume and Fashion, 2006.
Norris, Herbert. Tudor Costume and Fashion. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997. (Note: Norris’ book has some problems, since it was wirrten in 1927, but it’s useful as an accompaniment for other things.)
Reynolds, Anna. In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2013.
There is a fairly large community of people who reconstruct Tudor clothing. I am always dubious of such sites, as they often lack citation (and y’all know that drives me nuts), but they can be excellent sources to corroborate primary and academic secondary documentation. As always with internet research, Caveat emptor.
Tudor Tailor is the website of the people who wrote the excellent book “Tudor Tailor.” Though I think the book is more useful than the website, it would be remiss of me not to mention that it does exist. (Accessed: March 2015)
There are, of course, other sources of Tudor clothing and I am sure I missed some. I don’t think this will be my last trip to the 1500s. I really want to do a more “merchant class” tudor paper doll as well.