1500 Stitches: diverse arts of Margaret Wolseley

English Noblewoman's Dress in 1500

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Documenting Dress during the Reign of Elizabeth of York, 1486 to 1503

Objective: to collect information about the clothing, especially the bonnets, typically worn by noblewomen during the reign of Elizabeth of York, Henry VII's queen and mother to Henry VIII.

Possible Information Sources: Monumental Brasses

Before moving to England, the primary source informing my reconstruction of English women's dress in 1500 was images of monumental brasses. This is because the two-dimensional deptictions received much study during the twentieth century and many well-illustrated volumes about them were conveniently located in a nearby university library.

As with the effigies, I have a database of all the monumental brasses found in English churches whose likely date of creating falls between 1475 and 1550, locations of which are mapped out here. (For a discussion of why these dates, see Monumental Effigies.) Although my primary goal while in England is to collect photographs of three-dimensional effigies, I plan to collect as many photographs and rubbings of brasses as time permits.

While saving images of monumental effigies on Pinterest, I also created pages of 15th century Monumental Brasses and Slabs, and 16th Century Monumental Brasses and Slabs. Although incised slabs are classified by Pevsner as "monuments" because they are often part of some larger structure, such as a tomb chest, the costuming details I can glean from them still require interpreting a two-dimensional outline, and so for my purposes they are equal in value to brasses.

The best information online about this subject is at the Monumental Brass Society website.