Animal Tails

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Marcus Woodhouse
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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:26 pm

I've seen some Italian gentlemen-they might even belong to the Medici family in black shirts. Is there a reason, other than Gerry Ambleton saying so, as to why there might not have been black shirts? Does black dye not fasten to linen as well as wool? I think the painting I'm thinking of is that of the Visitation of the Magi by the way.


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Postby lidimy » Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:43 pm

I thought that dark colours especially didn't fasten as well to linen... plus with an item like a shirt that needs frequent washing, it would start to fade awfully quickly wouldn't it? As well as being ridiculously expensive?


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Postby Theotherone » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:08 pm

Handbag wrote:ok now dont laugh - ive never adopted the wearing of fox tails as i don't have the provenance for it - but having said that i was told once that a member had read in a book - i think by margaret scott? that fox tails were used by 14th century ladies underneath their dresses to improve the look of bottoms underneath their tight dresses! in a sense a little like bumrolls take the fabric away from bottom to create a smoother line.

got no evidence for them being on the outsite though - and couldnt really say that the above is actually evidence anyway!!


Hi, the book is Visual History of Costume: Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries by Margaret Scott. In her description of the effigy of Blanche Mortimer, Lady Grandison (c 1347) she says that "According to John of Reading, women's dresses were so tight that their wearers had to use foxtails under their skirts to hide their rears"


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Postby Ghost » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:28 am

Hi, the book is Visual History of Costume: Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries by Margaret Scott. In her description of the effigy of Blanche Mortimer, Lady Grandison (c 1347) she says that "According to John of Reading, women's dresses were so tight that their wearers had to use foxtails under their skirts to hide their rears"
[/quote]


sounds a bit far fetched to me - I'm sure medieval women could have come up with a better solution that a rotting and mangy old fox tail - but back to the main point of the thread it still does not forgive hanging them off your belt


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Postby lucy the tudor » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:40 am

I agree they would likely have come up with something better, sounds like an early chap's fantasy to me...not commonly talked about contemporaneously so maybe he had seen one kinky woman who liked the tickly feeling and extrapolated?
Far too many tails seen on Kentwell girls' belts, I won't let my daughter wear one she bought with her pocket money until the punters have gone home- it would be like letting her wander around with a teddy bear on her belt.
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Postby m300572 » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:54 am

lidimy wrote:I thought that dark colours especially didn't fasten as well to linen... plus with an item like a shirt that needs frequent washing, it would start to fade awfully quickly wouldn't it? As well as being ridiculously expensive?


Slight digression and I can't remember the reference but I have read a reference to the wealthier in society sending clothes off to be re-dyed!


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Postby Mad Mab » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:17 am

m300572 wrote:
lidimy wrote:I thought that dark colours especially didn't fasten as well to linen... plus with an item like a shirt that needs frequent washing, it would start to fade awfully quickly wouldn't it? As well as being ridiculously expensive?


Slight digression and I can't remember the reference but I have read a reference to the wealthier in society sending clothes off to be re-dyed!


I can see that happening with woolens certainly but I'm with Lidi on the frequent washing of linen making dark colours impractical. I think you would have to be wealthy beyond wealthy to afford enough linens that you would not have to wash them often and obviously being able to afford what would be an expensive dying process on linen underclothes that would hardly be seen by anyone important. Don't think it's suitable for an everyday soldier's wear.


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Postby m300572 » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:58 am

It would be a process for overgarments and visible slothing - underwear wouldn't need re-dyed (I speculate here but it makes sense).

I'm not sure how much underlinen the wealthy had in their closets but the process for visible garments would have been a sign of wealth - flaunting it was a fairly common philosophy.


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Postby Dave B » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:11 pm

Having tried dying linen shirts I do know that even after several washes the dye sweats out and stains your armpits. I can't really imagine that the natural dyes used would be any better. And if black shirts were some 'fashion item' then I think we would see them in portraits.


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Postby Ghost » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:50 pm

must have dozed off - how did we get from fox tails to dying linen? need to retrack through thread me thinks


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Postby Mad Mab » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:52 pm

m300572 wrote:It would be a process for overgarments and visible slothing - underwear wouldn't need re-dyed (I speculate here but it makes sense).

I'm not sure how much underlinen the wealthy had in their closets but the process for visible garments would have been a sign of wealth - flaunting it was a fairly common philosophy.


:oops: Sorry, thought we were talking about black linen shirts rather than black clothing in general.
Would certainly agree that black outer garments would be desireable to display wealth. I feel that, given the expense of the dying process in the first place and then the constant redyeing, being completely dressed in black may have been a little undoable (not the word I'm looking for, but it'll have to do) for most though. (Obviously you have your cheaper black dyes that either fade as soon as you look at them or go green or your basic dark sheep colour but none of these give the complete black effect that a lot of re-enactors have)
But linen shirts are undergarments and I just can't see people going to such effort and expense for something that, for the most part, wouldn't be seen in polite company. (Added to that, I think they look horrible and reenactors who wear 'em don't look half as cool as they think they do :wink: ).
Sorry, will let the thread come back from cuba now :oops:
Have to say, the current fashion for the fox tails being worn from the belt in the middle of the back makes me giggle. I thought it was the french that were supposed to have tails :wink:


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Postby lidimy » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:36 pm

Thought the original point was black shirts :D


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Postby lucy the tudor » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:16 pm

Nah, title was animal tails....
Black shirts was good though :D


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Postby Jenn » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:36 pm

Most medieval people didn't have fox tails on their belts - or else writers would never stop complaining about it; you'd get mention of buying them in household accounts and whilst Jorge is right about not being able to use pictorial sources as your sole source - if it was common then they're be pictures and I can't think of many really.
Black shirts - um well the same goes really I think we can safely say that - most of them didn't have black shirts (and I'll eat my lovely socks if they're linen the majority of them that people wear today and they don't look nearly as cool as they think they do). White linen is what they were wearing..
I also like to start a campaign for more clothing - we're not wearing enough most of the time.



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Postby Dave B » Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:47 pm

Possibly on the field. however in the beer tent i'd like to start a campaign for LESS clothing, because I'm a dirty old man.


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Postby Jenn » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:24 pm

Sadly Dave often the people who take their clothes off are the ones that you don't want to!



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Postby craig1459 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:21 am

Image
I blame the Lutterell Psalter

This is meant to be fur-lined sleeves but it looks like a couple of fox tails hanging from her arms :lol:


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Postby gregory23b » Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:15 am

And Craig, that is a later portrayal of the pic as well I guess. Looks like a more modern rendering, further adding to the confusion. The give away it is fur lining is the panels, ie sections of fur stitched together, vair is often shown this way, in quite geometric ways, esp high medieval, leading to some confusion. ;-)


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:52 am

On my own point about the black shirts i can take into account the following then with regard to the black shirts being worn in the Medici sponsored rendering of the Adoration, the martyrdom of St. Mathiais and the wedding of Charles and Bona of Vaud then.
1.It could just be artistic license.
2.The people in them are REALLY rich.
3.Italian fashions did show off more undergarments.

With all this in mind my own black shirt will now be heading into the fancy dress pile. It was a bastard to dye and wash anyway.


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Postby craig1459 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:55 pm

gregory23b wrote:And Craig, that is a later portrayal of the pic as well I guess. Looks like a more modern rendering, further adding to the confusion. The give away it is fur lining is the panels, ie sections of fur stitched together, vair is often shown this way, in quite geometric ways, esp high medieval, leading to some confusion. ;-)

Yes - it's from "Medieval Costume in England and France" - on the inside cover. I couldn't find the original (quickly)


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Postby Jenn » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:39 pm

well that's one down..



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Postby Tod » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:28 am

Kelmarsh this week end. Two women both muddyevil with fox tails on key rings hanging down the back from their belts.
I can't believe I've started looking for them now :lol:



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Postby John Waller » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:57 am

Tod wrote:Kelmarsh this week end. Two women both muddyevil with fox tails on key rings hanging down the back from their belts.
I can't believe I've started looking for them now :lol:



Yeah in evidence at Kelmarsh on belts and for sale on at least two stalls. Any traders care to comment? Even spotted one on the helmet of a pikeman of a well respected ECW regiment. WTF is that about?

As I walked back to the plastic camp on Sunday a pack of fox hounds was just being unloaded. A new field sport came to mind.....


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Postby Glorfindle » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:43 pm

Dave B wrote:Possibly on the field. however in the beer tent i'd like to start a campaign for LESS clothing, because I'm a dirty old man.


I would just like to second that one!!!! :twisted:

Now about the foxtails, i personally would like to hear Dave from H
house de cliffs thoughts on this one as thats his trade so he should be able to point us in the right direction for references and the like.


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Postby Fox » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:59 pm

I meant to ask him at the weekend; it went clean out of my head.



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Postby Glorfindle » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:12 pm

well I've just sent him a message to ask him to have a read of this thread and comment for us, so hopefully he shed some light on the subject for us 8)


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Postby House of De Clifford » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:15 am

Hi all,
well its nice to see people talking about fur used for a change.right or wrongly !
Fox tails on belts, yup we sell them, yes we have heard all the reasons why, from archers to recognition on the field to being used as ladies busstles but in all honesty, i don,t think there is any provinance for or against ! We sell them because we get asked for them.. I don't really mind why you want to wear them. The archers theme would seem most likely as i know a few modern archers in clubs who use fox pieces to clean down after shooting their bows. They say it is the best thing to use and who am i to argue.
Can i just say at this point though, if fox tails where the only thing wrong with most peoples kit (and im not saying that they are wrong, just prove they never used them and i will admit defeat) then re-enactment would be of an exceptional standard... as it is, i see things every week that make me cringe... at least fox tails can serve a purpose and animals have been used in many ways during the middle ages. More than can be said for running shoes on the battlefield, reactalite glasses under helmets, wrist watches on display, victorian influences on chain maille, battles where there are more high status knights than there are foot soldiers of the peasant class, etc. etc. i could go on but to do so would be silly
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Postby Hellequin » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:38 am

Plenty of threads damning other "issues" don't worry :wink:



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Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:14 pm

My guess on the black shirt would be that it was silk. That takes a strong dye much better than linnen and would feel nice against the skin. But only if you were REALLY rich (REALLY, REALLY rich if you're not Itallian).

I read once about household books advising that you change your shirt every day, but an analysis of houehold accounts for a couple of esquires showed them washing 3 shirts a fortnight!


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:28 pm

Hmm, does that mean i can justify having a black shirt afterall. just another good reason for portraying an Italian.


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