Late Medieval Fashion Redressed

Figural art that supports the look of curved front seam tailoring

Camille, Michael. The Medieval Art of Love. London: Harry N. Abrams, 1998.

  • Frontispiece: “How Material Things are Made” from Bartholomeus Anglicus, Livres des Propietez des Choses, Paris, c. 1400; a woman in a yellow gown.
  • p. 126–7: Courtly games before a castle; tapestry made in Alsace, 1385–1400; multiple women

Dupont, Jacques and Cesare Gnudi. Gothing Painting. New York: Rizzoli, 1979.

  • p. 184: “The Garden of Paradise” by the Master of the Middle Rhine c. 1420; a woman in a red gown.

Formaggio, Dino and Carlo Basso. A Book of Miniatures. New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1962.

  • Cecco d’Ascoli: L’Acerba; Physionomia, ms. Plut. 40, 52; a young woman wearing green overgown on top of a blue versatile gown.

Scott, Margaret. A Visual History of Costume: The Fourteenth & Fifteenth Centuries. London: B. T. Batsford, 1986.

  • p. 41: A wedding, c. 1380 by the Parement Master; two women on the right represent the height of the “look” of the close-fitting gowns of the late 14th century. The woman with the open-front hood worn over her head and long white tippets on her overgown particularly exemplifies the bust-shaping of the curved-front-seam method. She also holds her torso in a shape that is found throughout the art of this period — her upper back leans backwards while her belly is pushed forward.

Spencer, Judith, trans. The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1984.

  • Notable for its large-busted female figures, this manuscript is peppered with many fine examples of gowns that can be recreated using the curved-front seam method. To be fair, it also portrays gown styles that closely resemble the look of the straight-front-seam method. More than one artist painted the series in this book, though, and some differences can be attributed to idiosyncratic artistic style — which also applies to all works of art mentioned here, for that matter.

The Très Riches Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry. New York: George Braziller, 1969.

  • April, May, and June are particularly good examples of bust silhouettes that could be recreated with the curved-front-seam method.

Thomas, Marcel. The Golden Age: Manuscript Painting at the Time of Jean, Duke of Berry. New York: George Braziller, 1979.

  • p. 70: Boccaccio: Concerning Famous Women (De mulieribus claris) fol. 71, “The Story of Gaia, Wife of King Tarquinus”; four women work together on fiber arts.
  • p. 74: The Works of Chrstine de Pisan, “The Treachery of Worldly Delights”; a woman in a green gown with a dramatic boat neckline.
  • p. 76: The Comedies of Terence “A Scene from ‘Hecyra’ (The Mother-in-Law). . . A Courtesan”; a woman in a pink dress with bag sleeves (with fringe or possibly fur — nice touch!) standing in profile.

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