Chapter Xv

BEIGN OF HENBY VII., 1485-1509.

At length we have emerged into the broad light of day. The pencils of Holbein, of Rubens, and Vandyke will henceforth speak volumes to the eye, and lighten the labours of the pen. With this reign we bid adieu to monumental effigies and illuminated MSS." Not without gratitude, however, for the services they have rendered us through ages of darkness and difficulty—through scenes of barbaric magnificence, which, however dimly they have been shadowed forth, have yet considerably illustrated the periods of their action, and which must either have remained in " total eclipse—no sun, no moon" existing—no gleam but the imperfect and perplexing one of written description, or rather accidental allusion in obscure and obsolete language, frequently capable of twenty different interpretations.

The portraits of Henry VII. and his family, by Holbein, are too well known to be engraved for this work ; but the kindness of the present possessor of the Sutherland Clarendon enables us to illustrate this chapter with a print from a tracing of a small and beautiful painting of Henry on vellum, of earlier date, and which originally formed part of a most curious collection of authentic contemporary portraits of the principal sovereigns and nobles of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, purchased a few years ago in Paris by Mr. Dominic Colnaghi. Vide frontispiece to this work.

"At the close of the fifteenth century," says Strutt, " the dress of the English was exceedingly fantastical and absurd, insomuch that it was even difficult to distinguish one sex from the other." This complaint is as old as the Conquest; but it is

Civil costume of the reign of Henry VII. Fig. a, from H&rlei&n MS. 4939: 6, from Royal MS. 19, C. 8, dated

perhaps particularly borne out at thisperiod by the application of terms to various articles of male apparel which our ears are accustomed to as indicative of woman's gear. In a MS. of this date, called the Boke of Curtasye, the chamberlain is commanded to provide, against his master's uprising " a clene sherte and breche, a pettycotte, a doublette, a long cotte, a stomacher, hys hozen, hys socks, and hys schoen and the author of the Boke of Kervynge, quoted by Strutt, says to a like personage," warme your soverayne his petticotte, his doublett, and his stomacher, and then put on hys hozen, and then hys schone or slyppers, then stryten up his hozen mannerly, and tye them up, then lace his doublet hole by hole," &c.

This sort of habit, however, was worn only by the nobility. In Barclay's Ship of Fooles of the Worlde, printed by Pynson a.d. 1508, may be found several notices of the dress of the day. Mention is made of some who had their necks

" Charged with collars and chaines In golden withes, their fingers full of rings, Their necks naked almost unto the raines, Their 6leeves blazing like unto a crane's wings."

And others are called on to " come neare" with their shirts " bordered and displayed in forme of surplois."

Shirts bordered with lace, and curiously adorned with needlework, continued a long time in use amongst the nobility and gentry. A shirt that be-

longed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, the eldest-born son of Henry VII., made of long lawn, with very full sleeves, and beautifully embroidered with blue silk round the collar and wristbands, was in the possession of the late John Gage Rokewood, Esq., director of the Society of Antiquaries.

The elegant fashion of slashing makes its appearance about this time, and the opening of the sleeve at the elbow, first observable in the costumes of the reign of Edward IV., has introduced another curious fancy, the complete division of the sleeve into two or more pieces, and their attachment to each other by means of points or laces through which the shirt is seen puffed and protruding.1

The hood is now rapidly disappearing. Broad felt hats or caps, and bonnets of velvet, fur, and other materials, with a profusion of parti-coloured plumes projecting sideways, or drooping in graceful negligence over the shoulder, have become general towards the close of this reign amongst the great and gay. These hats and caps, many of them with embattled or escalloped edges, are worn so much on one side as to discover on the other a considerable portion of an under cap of gold network, or embroidered velvet, fitting close to the head. The large plumed cap is frequently slung behind the

' The upper parts of the hosen are also occasionally slashed ana puffed, or embroidered and coloured differently to the lower portions—an indication of their approaching separation.

back as an ornament, and the head surmounted, for we cannot say covered, by one about the size of a blue-coat boy's, or by the gold net before mentioned. One cap, peculiar to this period, is still visible upon the heads of the knaves in our playing cards; and a pack of cards engraved and printed about this period, probably by Marten Schoen, a celebrated

Costume of the reign of Henry VII. Harleian MS. 4425.

German artist, who died in 1523, exhibits some curious and elegant costume of the close of the fifteenth century.

The shoes were now worn as absurdly broad at the toes as they were previously peaked or pointed. The new fashion is said to have commenced in Flanders about 1470. Paradin says that the two-feet long poulaines were succeeded by shoes denominated duck-bills, the toes being so shaped, but still four or five fingers in length; and that afterwards they assumed a contrary fashion, wearing slippers so very broad in front as to exceed the measure of a good foot. •

The hair was worn enormously long and flowing —a return, in fact, to the fashion of Henry I.'s time. The face was still closely shaved, soldiers and old men only wearing moustaches or beards.

The first mention of a collar of the garter occurs in this reign. The mantle, kirtle, hood, and collar, are stated, sub anno twenty-seven of Henry VII., as composing the whole habit of the order sent to Philip, King of Castile; and a collar is seen on the effigy of Sir Giles Daubeny, who died in that year. The whole dress was now of purple velvet, lined with white silk, sarcenet, or taffeta, and no longer embroidered with garters.

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