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What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:24 pm
by cdonovan
Sorry, am complete fool when it comes to this sort of thing, but I found this amazing artwork by Wenceslas Hollar called 'Winter' and it looks perfect for the English Civil War musters I attend, where the weather is usually perishing. I can see she's got a fox fur round her neck, but any ideas what the hood and skirt might be made of? I'm wondering if beaver was starting to come over from the States, or if it would be rabbit, squirrel, fox, or even wolf from Europe maybe? It might not even be fur, I think it's an etching which makes the fabric a bit hard to classify.

If anyone can tell me what kind of fur was in abundance during the mid 17th century (if any), that would be really helpful. Obviously, I won't be getting real fur for this outfit, but I've got a lot of samples from a great ebay seller which really resemble several real fur 'feels'.

Really appreciate any guidance.

Claire

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:31 pm
by Brother Ranulf
The New World fur trade was certainly well under way - the so-called "Beaver Wars" took place throughout the 1600s, instigated by French, English and Dutch traders. My bet would be beaver fur from the lands of the Iroquois confederacy of tribes, or their rivals the Susquehannock who in the mid-1600s were allied to the English.

This is a single beaver pelt being processed in the way it was done at that time:
Beaver Pelt.jpg

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:41 am
by cdonovan
That is incredibly helpful, thank you so much.

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:39 pm
by Colin Middleton
Didn't we have European Beaver fur at some point? When did that go out of use/availability?

Colin

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:10 pm
by Brother Ranulf
None in England of course, but there was a substantial population of European Beaver throughout northern Europe and Siberia until they became severely depleted in the 17th century due to over-hunting. The North American trade took over in a huge way from the late 16th century - so much so that by 1640 there were almost no beavers to be found between the Hudson and Genesee rivers, leading to the Iroquois attacking their neighbours in order to extend their own hunting ranges.

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:43 pm
by Medicus Matt
Brother Ranulf wrote:None in England of course
:eh:

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:19 pm
by Brother Ranulf
Yes I know about the alleged Yorkshire beaver "population" in 1789 - really only a mention of a single animal in a parish record (anyone who has studied pre-1850 parish records will know how insane they are). The point is that even if there was a wild beaver population in remotest Yorkshire they might as well have been extinct because nobody was hunting them, or studying them, or recording them. In general terms beavers ceased to be viable as a resource in England in the 12th century and in the rest of Britain by the 16th.

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:36 pm
by Dathi
It's almost impossible to tell from a wood cut what fabric is being used to make the skirt and hood. This painting http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... a_1625.jpg does suggest that the golfer is wearinga shot silk doublet but what fabrics are everybody else wearing ?

I'd say that the skirt could be anything from a silk to a wool. It's possible that the skirt is a good quality wool for warmth whilst the hood is possibly lined so could be a silk or velvet either as lining or the outer.....

I'd say pick something that will keep you warm whilst allowing some flash to show :-)

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:29 pm
by Grymm
It's very unlikely that the skirt is fur, prob'ly wool, linen or silk. Hood could be lined in fur possibly matching her tippet and muff.

Like previous posters have said beaver is available as is wolf, otter, marten etc. The Muscovy Company had been trading with Russia, inc furs, for a while before the North American fur trade 'came online'.

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:01 pm
by John Waller
Or even coney?

Re: What kind of fur is this lady wearing in about 1650?

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:06 pm
by cdonovan
Thank you so much everyone. I do appreciate that the woodcut could be a lot of different things, but it's nice to know what my options are. Thanks again for all your help.