Freely available for download: Jutta Zander-Seidel’s book “Textiler Hausrat: Kleidung und Haustextilien in Nürnberg von 1500 – 1650”

zander textiler hausratThis is amazing news for everyone interested in historical 16th century German dress (and later). Jutta Zander-Seidel’s book Textiler Hausrat: Kleidung und Haustextilien in Nürnberg von 1500-1650, which was impossible to get hold of (believe me, I tried) was digitised by the Universitäts Bibliothek Heidelberg in June and uploaded to their ART-Dok server (Digital Repository Art History).

It is freely available for PDF download in two parts:

PDF, German (Teil 1 (bis Seite 251)) Download (93Mb) | Lizenz: Creative Commons LizenzvertragCreative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Deutschland

PDF, German (Teil 1 (ab Seite 252)) Download (70Mb) | Lizenz: Creative Commons LizenzvertragCreative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Deutschland

This is not the only publication to download. They have 21 by Jutta Zander-Seidel:

Take a look at their list in the ‘Decorative Arts‘ for example, or at the list of ‘Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum‘.

Recommendation: historical textiles researchers to follow on

I’d like to recommend two Austrian academics who I have been following on due to their great work on historical textiles, and who have also been able to make most of their papers available on

Beatrix Nutz, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Beatrix, of Lengberg castle ‘lingerie’ fame, publishes in German and in English. She focuses on the 15th century right now. Some of her recent papers are:

Karina Grömer, Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria

Karina also publishes in English and German, and is not only very prolific, but also hands-on when investigating techniques as an experimental archaeologist. She focuses on the early period. Some of her recent publications are:




Museum Photos: 1673 embroidered wedding suit (V&A)

Photos taken on 18th April 2003 in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Wedding suit:

  • Place of origin: England, Great Britain (made)
  • Date: 1673 (made)
  • Materials and Techniques: Wool, embroidered with silver and silver-gilt thread and lined with red silk

Clothing construction details in paintings: 1464-66 Master of the Lyversberg Passion, Cologne

MeisterLyuversberg_Passionsaltar_wrm_0143-0150_01Master of the Lyversberg Passion (active in Cologne, c. 1450 – c. 1490): Two wings of a Passion Altar (Lyversberg Passion), c. 1464–1466. Oak, 92 x 67 cm (each scene). Acquired in 1864 with funds from the Richartz-Fonds. WRM 0143 – 0150.

The altar panels are in the Wallraf-Richartz museum, Cologne, Germany. Further information: 

The image to the left is from the Rheinisches Bildarchiv.

The photos below in this post are from the bottom left panel of the left wing of the Lyversberg Passion altar, taken by myself on 18th August 2015. The figures below are secular ones in a religious altar piece.

1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 01

Detail of spiral-laced calf opening to fit clothes skintight, and seam line at back of leg.

1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 03 1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 04 1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 05

Construction details of seam placement in doublet A, and buttoned side closure in B.

1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 06  1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 07

Pin fastening on woman’s head veil.

1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 09  1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 08

Construction detail of man’s doublet C. Triangulate this secondary visual source with the primary source of the 14th century pourpoint of Charles de Blois, and the similarity of sleeve/shoulder seam placements becomes evident despite the fact the pourpoint dates from the 4th quarter of the 14th century, thus 100 years prior.

1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 10 1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 11 1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 12

m103700_32694-2_p m103700_32694-3_p 

Photos of pourpoint from Joconde: Portail des collections des musées de France.

Doublet D appears to be velvet, cut and laid in two directions.

1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 13 1464-66 Lyversberg Passion 14

Fieldtrip to Cologne: Wallraf-Richartz and Schnütgen Museums

In my quest to study relevant artefacts, I visited Cologne, Germany, on Tuesday 18th August, focusing on the Wallraf-Richartz museum (housing several Barthel Bruyn paintings) and the Museum Schnütgen (medieval liturgical vestments).
gudulaI must say, I was rather disappointed by the world-famous Wallraf-Richartz museum. Granted, I only visited their first floor and the “Medieval & renaissance” section, since none of the early modern – modern objects are of research interest to me, but being used to UK museums and their warm welcoming feel, as well as the helpfulness that I encountered in the Landesmuseum Zürich in Switzerland, the less than welcoming attitude (except for the bookshop staff!) at the museum reception and information put me off straight away. Perhaps the museum is too well-known for bothering? But then so is the V&A in London and I have always encountered smiles there.

Anyway, besides my personal unhappiness that shouldn’t have had an impact on the usefulness of the museum, I was struck by the rather useless information panels. It is all very well to add a panel with some fanciful text on an “unsuccessful execution” but there are people like me who would like to know the pertinent data of the object. The latter was scarce and hidden small on the bottom. What annoyed me the most was the information panel in room 9, the display of the Ursula legend panels. I wouldn’t even call it an information panel, because despite its enormous size there was no date, no provenance, no anything. I had to go online and onto their website to find the date of the objects. Sorry, but that’s just not good enough. A museum should not only be entertainment and enlightenment for the general population, but should also give enough information for those who want more. I spent 3 hours in there, photographing what I needed to and don’t think I’ll be necessarily back.

Perhaps I am being too harsh, but I think disappointment does that to a person. I had such high hopes. Nevertheless, I must not forget that they have a truly stunning array of objects in their medieval section, with Stephan Lochner probably being the most famous artist, and their collection of 14th – early 16th century altar paintings is amazing.

I can highly recommend their museum shop, I managed to find a pile (don’t ask me how much I spent…) of fantastic books on my subjects, which I would have never been made aware according to I came back with kilos of them and just about made the baggage allowance for both suitcase and carry-on.

So, don’t mid my personal gripe too much, but I do find a welcoming and helpful attitude in public arenas very important – especially when it comes to culture and history.
palm procession christThe Museum Schnütgen was in many ways the opposite experience for me. I had not expected too much, which was probably my own fault for never having heard of it. What a mistake! The museum has stunning liturgical vestments and an amazing textiles collection (only some are on display, obviously). As they describe themselves: “The Museum Schnütgen has a valuable collection of medieval art on exhibit in one of Cologne’s oldest churches.(..) A distinctive feature of the museum is its largest exhibition space, which dates back over 1,000 years.”

I have to say, though, that the information panels are also quite poor in the textiles section, but the museum makes up for it by offering a free guide in brochure form, which offered more information and all that I had hoped for.

I enjoyed my stay so much, and was so surprised at the excellent objects that are relevant for my research, I will definitely return. I also find it wonderful to be able to look at artefacts from all angles, and this way of exhibiting reminded me of the Landesmuseum Zürich and their medieval section. The museum shop was small, but quite well stocked and I found an excellent book, the catalogue of their textile collection, which had been published with the help of the Abegg Stiftung, Switzerland – and there we have the explicit link.

Sadly I ran out of battery power for my camera too soon (must buy a second one to swap), and had to head back to the Hauptbahnhof before they closed.

I will be sharing fruits of my photographic labour from both museums on this blog.

Museum Photos: 1690-1700 ‘Lord Clapham’ doll (V&A)

Late 17th century fashionable dressed English doll, complete with accessories, informal and formal dress. Photos taken in April 2003 in the V&A museum.

Museum Photos: 1690-1700 ‘Lady Clapham’ doll (V&A)

Late 17th century fashionable dressed English doll, complete with accessories, informal and formal dress. Photos taken in April 2003 in the V&A museum.

Dress Reconstruction Visual Workshop: 1530s German Renaissance

My research aims to reconstruct historic Dress at a specific time-location-point, to create an artefact that no longer exists (the recreated artefact/object). To summarise the approach I am taking: the process of reconstruction of this artefact will be object-driven (see Material Culture), and the reconstructed object – the experience of it / discourse with it – will be explored in an object-centred approach. The reconstruction of the object i.e. the re-creation of the historic Dress will be a means to conduct the research, not a research outcome in itself.

I am in the early stages of research into the recreation of Object A, which is not determined through publication or manuscript dates (more on this approach at a later date). It must, however, reflect the description in the Six Swans fairy tale. For an explanation of the role of the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale, see the page Research background: fairy tales.

The first edition from 1812 (Volume 1) of Die Kinder- und Hausmärchen – Handexemplar states on p.223:

Die sechs Schwäne

“…, weil es ihnen nun nicht antworten durfte, wollte es sie mit Geschenken befriedigen, und warf ihnen seine goldene Halskette herab. Sie riefen aber noch immer, da warf es seinen Gürtel, als auch dies nichts half seine Strumpfbänder endlich, alles, was es entbehren konnte, herunter, so daß es nichts mehr als sein Hemdlein anbehielt.”

The six Swans

… since she was not allowed to answer, she decided to appease them with gifts and threw down her golden necklace. But they still called out, thus she threw her belt, and as this did not help either, her garters. Finally, she had thrown down everything she could go without, so that she wore nothing but her shift.
(my own literal – not literary – translation)

I will leave this passage standing as it is for now, as an aid to reflect on the visual (art) sources from 4 distinctive German regions in the 1530s (leeway +/- 5 years):

  • Lower Rhenish-Westphalia, Cologne, artist Barthel Bruyn the Elder
  • Hesse, Frankfurt, artist Conrad Faber von Kreuznach
  • Bavaria, Nuremberg & Munich, artist Barthel Beham
  • Saxony, Dresden, artist Lucas Cranach the Elder

4 very distinctive styles – but do they realistically depict ‘fashion’ or a combination thereof with artist’s idiosyncratic style, artistic period convention, allegory demands, etc. This will be part of my research. As for now, I would like to share the comparisons with you, I personally find visuals of this type most helpful.

Comparison-tables with images behind the cut