Monday, September 25


It is a little bit off topic really, but here are some pics of the few illuminations I did (already some years ago). They are copies of illutriations of 'Der naturen bloeme' of Jacob van Maerlant.
The reason I did them quite a lot bigger than the original ones (they can be seen here), is that at the time I didn't know the originals were smaller. During the painting I figured out they must have been smaller because, in fact, it's more difficult to do them big. The originals are a lot 'rougher' than my version. Actually I did them way too neat.

I also used guache instead of tempera and paper instead of parchment, because I didn't have any tempera and parchment at the time.
I made them just as try-outs, to get used to the style and find the right colours. I'm not completely satisfied with them, but over-all they look quite pretty.

I made a copy of this one on parchment, but still with guache. It was a birthdaypresent for my boyfriend two years ago. It also is the last illumination I did. In the mean time I have tempera, but I haven't tried it yet.
In the end I maybe might go as far to mix my own pigments, or maybe not :-) We'll see where it takes me.

Saturday, September 23

Fingerloop braiding

Making a 15th century doublet also implies making laces to lace the doublet up. One lace for the front, and in this case also two laces for the sleeves.
Fingerloopbraiding is a technique based on the exchange of loops held on the fingers. The braids can be made by one person, but there are also variations that need more workers (depending on the lenght of the braid and the amount of loops used).

There are some medieval depictions of the practice of fingerloopbraiding.
The oldest known depiction dates to the 13th century, and can be seen on a wall-painting in Konstanz, Germany.
There also is an Italian fresco (Florence) which shows the Virgin Mary and the little Christ working on a two-looped braid, that is being used to edge a piece of clothing. Although the date for this fresco is not known, it seems late 14th or 15th century to me. More information can be found in this issue of the LM BRIC News.
Probably Mary is using this technique, described by Frieda Sorber in "Tongeren Basiliek O-L-Vrouw Geboorte. Textiel. Uitgeverij Peters, Leuven, 1988." Which is quite interesting. So far I only know about this technique being used on purses, but now it seems it can be used on clothing as well. I have suspected this for a long time, but couldn't prove it.
A drawing of late 15th century altar piece in a little curch somewhere in Spain can be seen here. I had a black and white scan of a photo of this piece, but can't seem to find it at the moment...

Basic instructions for the making of fingerloop braids you can find here:

Information about medieval fingerloop braids here

Another very interesting website is this one: Loop-Maniputlation Braiding Research and Information Center. They have information about fingerloop braids from all over the world and from different periods.

You can discuss fingerloop braids here.

Wednesday, September 13

Tassels: second half of the 14th century

After 'titelblatt Ungarischen Bildckronik' ca. 1360, Budapest, Országos, Szechenyi Könkjvtar.

On this Hungarian illumination, dating to ca. 1360, you can see a person sitting on a pillow with quite special tassels. They have three heads in two colours: red and blue. It's not possible to see how they were constructed, but I would say it is possible they have three wooden cores with turk's head knots around.

They are quite unique for the period, as far as I can judge.

Other posts about tassels here and here.

Friday, September 8

Late 15th century tassel

In the Musée de l' Oeuvre Notre-Dame in Strasbourg (France), I found this tassel (see picture above). It was part of a 'chain' of little cubes with sculpted biblical scenes. The cubes (ca. 3x3x3 cm) were strung onto a mordern/recent plyed cord or braid, and at one end of the 'chain' a tassel was placed (with a part of the original braid still on it). I suppose this tassel was part of the original string.
The tassel was special in that way it had a wooden core in the shape of an 8. Around it was a two colour chevron pattern, one colour being silver thread, and the other pale creamy silk (creamy silk often has been red, dyed with redwood). Attached to this covered core were two tassels, where I think there were 6 originally. The heads of the tassels itself were decorated with three loops, wound round and round with silk in the same creamy colour.

The dating of this tassel was late 15th century. I have never seen a tassel like this from such an early date.

Edit on 09/11/06:
In fact the 'cubes' are large beads. The colour was creamy white, so they could have been made from ivory or something like that (it said what it was in the museum but I can't recall). On four sides of each cube there were tiny sculpted biblical scenes, which seem to have been polychrome, but the paint has faded on almost all the places. The whole looked like a giant rosary, but there were only about 8 beads/cubes.
The size of the tassel was very small. The total lenght was 5 cms maximum, I think even smaller.

Reconstructions of other tassels like this here and here (both are made by Gina Barrett).

You can read more on tassels I have made here.

Sunday, September 3

Afwerking van een beursje - Finishing of a purse

Sorry to all you not understanding Dutch, but the rest of this message will be in Dutch. Maybe I'll translate it sometime later.

Ik kreeg onlangs de vraag hoe de zijkanten, dus de zijnaden, van middeleeuwse beursjes afgewerkt werden. Er zijn verschillende mogelijkheden:

  1. Er is geen speciale afwerking. De naden zijn gewoon zichtbaar. Voor zover ik weet werden geborduurde beursjes wel steeds afgewerkt. Ik heb zichtbare naden enkel nog gezien op effen zijden tasjes.
  2. De zijnaden zijnafgedekt met een opgenaaid fijn stukje bandweefsel. Dit kan effen zijn of een patroontje hebben. Het is gemaakt uit hetzelfde garen voor het borduurwerk zelf, in dezelfde kleuren.
  3. De zijnaden zijn afgewerkt met een fijn stukje opgenaaid bandweefsel. Dit kan effen zijn of een patroontje hebben. Het is gemaakt uit hetzelfde garen voor het borduurwerk zelf, in dezelfde kleuren.
  4. Een vierde techniek is het lussenvlechten, zoals beschreven door Frieda Sorber in "Tongeren Basiliek O-L-Vrouw Geboorte. Textiel. Uitgeverij Peters, Leuven, 1988." Deze techniek werkt het makkelijkst wanneer gedaan door twee personen. Er werden zowel één als twee kleuren voor gebruikt. De aanwijzingen vind je op de tekening hier onder, een foto van het eindresultaat op de onderste foto.

Naar een afbeelding uit "Tongeren Basiliek O-L-Vrouw Geboorte. Textiel. Uitgeverij Peters, Leuven, 1988."


"Archaeology is rather like a vast, fiendish jigsaw invented by the devil as an instrument of tantalising torment since:
  • it will never be finished
  • you don't know how many pieces are missing
  • most of them are lost for ever
  • you can't cheat by looking at the picture."
Bahn P., Bluff your way in archaeology,
Ravette Books, Horsham, 1989.

Friday, September 1

Strømper og hoser - Stockings and hose

Strømper og hoser. Benbeklædning fra oldtid til ca.1600
Stockings and hose. Legwear from pre-historic times to ca. 1600

An interesting and quite specialised booklet on historical legwear will be published beginning 2007 (When I have more details I'll also put them on my blog).
The booklet is written by Costume Histrorian Camilla Luise Dahl (Middelaldercentret Nykøbing) and Archaeologist Else Østergård (National Museum København) and deals with the evolution of legwear from the earliest times to ca. 1600. The main focus is legwear in the Middle Ages, mainly from the 13th to the 15th century. (A great detail: there will also be some info and pictures of medieval women's hose.)
Sources used by the authors are written accounts, visual sources (such as sculpture, fresco's, paintings, illuminations, ...) and hose and footwear in archaeological finds.
There will be paid attention to the patterns, fabrics, colours, materials and decoration (there will be special information included about striped and patterned hose).

The main geographical focus is Scandinavia but there will also be references to other parts of Europe.
Alas the booklet will be written in Danish. (I'm happy I can just understand enough Danish to get the main point of a text.) Though most of you don't read Danish, I just wanted to let you know anyway.

My boyfriend, Bertus Brokamp, and I are a little bit involved in this publication, while we supplied some pictures for it.



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