Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1590s Gown...More Thoughts on Historical Sources

So...I'm waffling a bit.

Not on a loose gown.
No...the pattern is scaled up, the mockup is made (more or less), and the fabric is purchased.  I'm definitely making a loose gown. But after re-examining some of the images, I'm not as sure as I was that it actually is a loose gown that I'm seeing in my inspiration portraits.

Certainly there are loose gowns which seem to be in keeping with the style I've chosen (more on that below), but I don't know if that's the case in the Inglis and Woodward/Alleyn portraits.
The Inglis image is just too stylized to tell for sure. I still think the lines on the side might indicate folds, but it could go either way.
But having found an even higher resolution photo of the Woodward portrait I'm starting to have my doubts. I based my original assumption primarily on the fact that she was wearing a belt...but as other portraits clearly show, that doesn't preclude her wearing a bodice and skirt (which I'm starting to think might be the case).

Here is the original portrait and another version adjusted for high contrast.

My problem is with the dark lines on on the "skirt".  Some of them clearly indicate shadows and folds, but there seem to be two parallel lines (one fat and one narrow) that appear on either side of the "skirt" opening. I think it's likely that these lines represent trim.
If this was a loose gown the trim lines should continue through to the body section as well...but in this case at least one of the lines appears to stop at the belt.

So if that second narrow line is in fact trim, than there is a good argument for this not being be a loose gown after all.  It may actually be a fitted gown (ie. a fitted bodice with integral/attached skirt). If I was still intent on doing a direct reproduction this would probably send me back to the drawing board. 
Since I'm hoping that this outfit can double for what I'm calling the "Pigeon Breast" style from the previous post, I'm going to continue with my plan for a loose gown. 

And going back to my trusty tomb brasses at least some of them do seem to indicate a loose gown was worn with an embroidered stomacher (granted there are much less of them).

This brass of is probably the best example, since it also shows the decorated forepart present in the Woodward portrait.  

In a somewhat different style there is this full effigy of Constance Lucy, which has loose gown worn open over a stomacher and a petticoat.

But my favourite brass is still this one.  Granted, this is the gathered front style...but it's a really nice example of different trims on the bottom versus the turned back rever (and close enough the Woodward portrait in terms of overall silhouette and aesthetic).

So given the historical sources I'm still happy about moving forward with the loose gown, both as an analog for the initial inspiration and as a style in itself.
Now all I have to do is decide on accessories and trim placement!
But this post as gotten a little long so I think I'll hold off on the final design until next time...

(which I guess means this was just one long rant to basically get back to where I started and to justify a decision I had already made. Ah, well...)

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