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odd 16th Century Hat

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:46 am
by Dathi
In one of the John Derrick Woodcuts from the collection "The Image of Irelande" dated 1581 is a rather natty hatted drummer, on the left as seen here ... 59_jpg.htm

Does anyone know anything about this style..? It does like rather like a straw boater and is tempting !

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:02 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
I think if it had been made out of straw the artist would have put the pattern in. There's a lot of detail in the costumes (I've not seen the pleaty skirts on the Irish doublet waists before) and in the plants.
The hat looks shiny. Hmmmm I wonder what could it have been made of?

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:09 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
Have looked at more of the pictures on that site. In the last one the trumperters are wearing the same kind if hat. They don't look so shiny.
By the by you can clearly see Sir Sidney's is definately pleated like the ones in Janet Arnold. 'Your' hat is definately different.

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 5:52 pm
by Neibelungen
Couple of posibilities.

Could be a all metal hat. Christian Tavard (Casques et Coiffures Militaires Francais) shows an early Chapeau de Fer of the 17th C looking slightly similar, although slightly taller and with a brim. The brim is riveted to a lip at the base, so could concieveably have been removed.

It could also be a squarer version of the cabasset, as these have much flatter bases than the morion.

Alternatively it could be a very heavily laquered felt ? But i can't say I've seen much evidence for those.

Lastly it could be a form of 'secrete' worn without a hat merely to diferentiate the drummers.

There does seem evidence of a twisted hat band above a very limited brim, which may be for visual significance, but given the preponderence of morions, I'm inclined to sugest a metal basis simply for protection.

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:27 am
by Annie the Pedlar
Could it be leather?

I'd thought of wool or felt bashed or rolled to be very solid and smooth then finished with some sort of glaze - starch, wax - I hadn't thought of laquer........Did they use that a lot?

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:27 pm
by gregory23b
That is not necessarily shine, that looks like showing form on a relatively smooth cylinder, unlike the morions, whose form lines reflect the planes of their construction.

The bowler hatted gent bending down, the form lines again show a convex profile, yet hat could be made of metal or not.

Also to consider are the other musicians, they similar hats, yet they look less 'shiny', why might they wear non-metallic hats etc?

Of course none of the above negates the possibility, but considering all the other known metal surfaces are not that shiney, then this hat looks odd, can it be more shiny than the morions? Or do we assume the morions are less shiny if the hat represents metal or other shiny material?

if that makes sense?

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:25 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
If you compare the drummer's hat to the mounted gentlemen's hats, I would say the gentlemen's hats are drawn in a slightly softer way which I interpreted as them being made of wool/felt/maybe velvet for the pleated one.
I interpreted the mounted soldiers to be in some sort of armour. The front ones look as if they are wearing chain mail.
The infantry look as if they are wearing leather jerkins - 'cos you don't get metal armour with all those buttons down ther front - and if they wore wooly jerkins into battle they'd be idiots. I'm dithering over the drummer. Could be leather could be wool.....
If you look at the picture of Sir Sidney entering Dublin the trumpeters are in a more relaxled posture than the horsemen who still look as if they are in armour. The trumpeters seem to be wearing the same sort of hat as the drummer. The hats just look cylindrical in that picture. They've lost their shine.
My money's on leather.

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:45 pm
by gregory23b
Why highlight such a detail?

This is a monochrome woodcut, the nature of the method means only a limited range of shading or form techniques.

The drummer's hat is a straight cylinder, his mates' are bowlers, the common way to show a cylinder is by using lateral or vertical lines (at 90 degrees), any other surfaces, eg bowlers the lines are cut to show the lights and darks on a convex shape.

The morions, we assume are metal because we know what they are, but if we didn't we could easily assume they were made of any other apparently stiff or stiffened material.

What can't be established is the material merely on shading, otherwise the morions, which we know to be metal are somehow less bright than this one single hat in the composition, that tends to make the drummer's hat much more important than it might be.

It could be anything, which is what I am getting at, it has no definitive qualities about it other than apparent stiffness, any more than we can tell what material the tents and banners are, they are shaded in the same way, we guess the banners are silk and the tents are canvas.

Sidney's hat could well be brushed beaver yet this type of execution can't possibly give that detail at this size. Basically all the surfaces in all the elements are actually made from curved forms which have 'shine', ie black or white with lines producing mid tones.

It is an interesting excercise in image interpretation with the advantages and disadvantages of knowing what the materials are likely to be in reality.

I wonder what someone who has never seen anythign like this would make of it.

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 6:00 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
Yeah, well I thought of saying maybe the artist got tired when he came to that hat and didn't put as many lines in but I was enjoying the speculation you rotten spoil sport Jorge :wink: :wink: :wink:

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 6:41 pm
by gregory23b
Shame, I was enjoying the thought process, I actually had to look and think about it, not meant to spoil your fun, besides, you may well be rightl. ratbag. :D

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 7:29 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
Can we agree it's an unusual shape for a late Elizabethan hat?
There are real live touchy feely hats similar to the gentlemen's and the morions in museums (see Janet Arnold for where or I can run upstairs and find her book.) I don't think i've seen anything like the'boater' before.......

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 8:33 pm
by Foxe
Annie the Pedlar wrote:There's a lot of detail in the costumes (I've not seen the pleaty skirts on the Irish doublet waists before) and in the plants.
The Derricke prints are notorious for their innaccuracy of the Irish costume. You've hit the nail on the head - a lot of the stuff in them you won't see anywhere else, not in other drawings, not in extant garments.

One would have assumed that the artist was more familiar with English clothing, but I dunno. All of the muskets have the locks on the wrong side, so accuracy clearly isn't too great an issue.

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 8:44 pm
by gregory23b
"Can we agree it's an unusual shape for a late Elizabethan hat? "

I wouldn't know if it was unusual or not Annie, I was merely interested in the method of representation.

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:09 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
Could locks on the wrong side just be a printing thing? He might have drawn it the right way round then when you print it's reversed.

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:30 pm
by gregory23b
Very common to ignore left and right in imagery, eg 15thc froissart pics show opposing archers, who are basically mirror images of each other, which means one lot are all shooting 'wrong', otherwise half would have their backs to the viewer and it would be a boring sight, similarly to soldiers fighting each other, same principle.

I wouldn't worry about the orientation of the details other than they are more interesting if shown, albeit wrongly in terms of the composition.

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:45 am
by Annie the Pedlar
Going back to Jorge's point about depicting a cylindrical shape -
I think its amazing that we can interpret the picture to any degree at all.
It is made of black lines on a white background.
We see the world in blocks of colour. Nothing we see in the real world has black lines around its edges.
I know research has been done to show our brains recognise objects by their outlines but where did we learn that hatching/close horizontal/vertical/short black lines denote depth? And when? I don't think babies would interpret the picture as being filled with men, or would they?
What really gets me is how by subtly wobbling or curving the line the artist conveys softness as opposed to his straight lines conveying stiff and smooth. I don't think I'm saying the gentlemen's hats are velvet because I have seen similar ones in Janret Arnold's book. The line is saying soft and fuzzy to me. The morions, boater and jerkins are saying solid or stiff, and their hose is saying soft pliable fabric.
It's very clever stuff.

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:51 am
by Tamsin Lewis
I like the idea of metal hats - if you can have metal corsets then why not metal hats?

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:37 am
by Annie the Pedlar
"There are known knowns and unknown knowns" etc

Let's attack this from another angle. Why would the drummers/trumpeters want to wear metal hats?
What is going to fall on their heads?
I can think of rain - in Ireland :)
Where would they be in the thick of battle?
Leading the troups towards sharp pointy things, slashing piercing, chopping , maiming and death....or......
up on a hilltop with the gentlemen with the soft hats having a relatively safe overview of the precedings and living to drum or toot another day?

Come on you hard guys. Tell me.

Annie the pacifist who doesn't do battles.
Peace and love and pretty flowers to you all.

Perception Vs Interpretation

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:42 pm
by Neibelungen

The lines themselves don't convey any information. It's the mind interpreting the information and applying a perceived notion as to what the information should be.

Like all good artists, they draw with that factor intuitively. After all we actuall 'see' everything upside down and reversed, but the mind is wired to compensate for that.

It's why perceptual illusions work, because we preconceive certain characteristics to denote a certain learned perceptual 'fact'. eg. converging lines give an illusion of depth.

As to why would they be wearing metal hats... same reason as the pikemen wear morions.. protection from either falling arrow (still in limited used in Ireland along with javelins) or musket ball. Your body is protected by the man in front better than your head, which is usually looking. It's also psychological.. head protection is one of the primary things you aquire first. Also head woulds bleed so profusely even a small scratch can effectively 'blind' you.

Drummers are also important to keep cohesion and sound orders so even though they may have been at the rear, you still want to protect them. It was the experienced men who were drummers, not the victorian drummer boy... they were used to give volume to the drum call rather than knowing the actual drum call itself.

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:50 pm
by John Waller
Apologies for going off thread but I would like 'big up' Neibelungen's work. A mate turned up at our monthly drill session wearing his new grenadier's bearskin cap. Despite us all taking the p*ss out of him it really is an excellent piece of work. Nice one Andrew.

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:10 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
That is very persuasive Neibelungen.

Now, are there any extant examples or written or pictorial evidence for metal boater type hats at that period or indeed. any period?
I can only recall having seen domed or roundy pointy metal hats, assuming this was to deflect arrows and musket balls and all other sundry stuff being lobbed at one.

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:27 pm
by gregory23b
My only question re metal bowlers or even the drummers squat stovepipe, is about practicality:

why not have a morion?

re the bowlers, would they not be more difficult to make than a morion?

Also they only protect the crown and sit high (ish), no side protection, nor are they strapped on, the latter suggest to me that they are not helmets as a minor blow would knock them askew.

Do gentlemen need to have helmets when meeting messengers?

Various thick leather hats have been worn by tradesmen throughout history, is there not a hobnailed leather hat in MoL for some fishmonger/barrel/sailor carrier?

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:58 pm
by Foxe
The musket locks being on the wrong side is probably an artistic license thing - the swords are on the right side. In a way this rather proves the point: a good picture was more important to the artist than an accurate one.

Hat shaped helmets do turn up occasionally - Bradshaw had something like one at the trial of Charles I (though IIRC that was more of a steel-lined-hat), and I think I've seen a 17thC French example with a sliding nasal bar - but I couldn't tell you where or when so don't quote me 'cos I might well be wrong.

Offhand I can't think of any other Tudor hat depictions in that shape, but as I said, the Derricke prints are not renowned for their accuracy. Now, give it a slightly wider brim, or a slightly taller crown, or both, and I can probably find a picture or two.