A fur primer for 14th and 15th century European clothing

I wrote an article on recognizing fur in period figural imagery that kind of ate my brain. I’ve been working on this topic for months. The more I read and reviewed imagery, the more rabbit holes I found myself going down, zero pun intended. But now finally it’s in a state where I feel comfortable sharing it with the world. I would call this a beginner’s introduction to the topic.

The bottom line is that if you are a serious student of clothing in the 14th and 15th centuries in Europe, you cannot skip over understanding fur and its role in sartorial culture. It was integral and ubiquitous. I encourage anyone interested in this topic to find a copy of Elspeth Veale’s The English Fur Trade in the Later Middle Ages and actually read it.

With no further ado, the link to the article: A fur primer for 14th and 15th century European clothing.

Comments

  1. I very much appreciate the insight.
    It’s going to be helpful to me and many others. Do you have any other sources so that I can dig a little deeper?

    • Tasha Kelly says:

      I think the book by Elspeth Veale is your best bet for further depth into the history of fur use in clothing. I also got a lot of value from Max Bachrach’s book, Fur: A Practical Treatise. That one concentrates more on the facts about each kind of fur, less on the historical context. I updated the article’s Suggested Reading section to include the Bachrach book. If you can read French, there is a two-book set recommended to me by a French colleague called Le Commerce des Fourrures en Occident à la Fin du Moyen Age by Robert Delort which has tons of great information. The set is not cheap and again, not easily accessible if you don’t read French. Best of luck.

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