« AnteriorContinuar »
bo said to be uniform, yet they exhibit a general similarity in character which is evidently copied from the French : the same close-fitting bodies of the robe, and the same wide sleeves. Our next cut is taken from a painting by Holbein, on the wall of the
privy chamber in the palace of Whitehall, and forms, in the original, part of a picture, representing on one side Henry VIII, and his father, Henry VII., and on the other their two queens, Jane Seymour, to whom the former was newly married at the time when this picture was painted, and Elizabeth of York. We may, therefore, consider these dresses as representing the highest perfection of female fashion in England in those reigns, and we recognize them at once as copied from the French costume of the reign of Louis XII., as represented in our two former cuts.
At this period there can be no doubt that, through a variety of circumstances, Western Europe had greatly increased in wealth and material prosperity. The riches of America had begun to pour in as a new element to promote the movement. It has been remarked that the sixteenth century opened with a great expansion of arts, which had become more and more secularized, and was sought eagerly by all classes of society. The taste for show and laxury increased and spread, and there was more display of ornament, not only among the superior classes of society, but among
the wealthier bourgeoisie. The richness and variety of the materials of dress exceeded those of the previous periods, and were in much more general use. Much of these richer materials were supplied from Italy. We are told that the average value of silk stockings imported annually from Italy into France amounted to no less a sum than 800,000 écus; and the Italians carried off the wools of Languedoc, Provence, and Dauphiné, to sell them back transformed into stuffs of the most delicate workmanship. The employment of
embroidery and of cloths of gold and silver had become extravagant beyond measure, and extended to all classes of society; for, in defiance of the sumptuary laws and edicts, which were very
numerous in that age, people of all ranks wore what they liked. These sumptuary edicts were nevertheless continued with vigour through the whole century, and even into the next. One of the later of these edicts, issued by Henri IV., is rather curiously
worded :-"We prohibit,” he says, "all inhabitants of this kingdom to bear either gold or silver on their clothes, except prostitutes and thieves, in whom we do not take interest enough to trouble ourselves about their conduct."*
There is in the Imperial Library in Paris a very curious copy of that curious idea of the close of the Middle Ages-the “Dance of Death”-painted at the end of the fifteenth century, and picturing with great care the dress and appearance of the different classes and ranks of society at that time. From this manuscript Louandre has given two figures, which are here reproduced in our cut. The one to our left is given as a bourgeoise, or the wife of a respectable burgher, and the other as a tradeswoman (marchande). Their dresses are sufficiently elegant, and are evidently copied from those of the superior classes. The head-covering, or cap, is in both cases black. The bourgeoise has a pink robe, with yellow sleeves lined with red. The dress of the marchande is blue, with white sleeves, also lined with red, and she has puce-coloured petticoats underneath.
Among the populace we can hardly expect to find much change in costume, for their dresses were made individually to last during a period which would witness many changes in fashion among the superior class. The English poet Skelton, writing at the time of which we are now speaking, says of his heroine, Elynour Rummyng,
Ter huke (cloak) of Lyncole grenë;
Skelton's Poetical Works, ed. Dyce, vol. i., p. 97. And so with the cloak, in a well-known old ballad, printed in Percy's Reliqués,
My cloake it was a verry good cloake,
Itt hath been alwayes true to the weare,
I have had it four and forty yeere. Our cut is taken from a painting of the time, now preserved in the private apartments of Windsor Castle, representing that celebrated
• Nous faisons défense à tous habitants de ce royaume de porter ni or ni argent sur les habits, excepté aux filles de joie et aux filous, à qui nous ne prenons pas assez d'intérêt pour nous inquiéter de leur conduit.
interview between King Henry VIII. of England and François I. of France, in the month of June, 1520, between Guînes and Ardres, which was known as the meeting of the Champ du Drap d’Or. The whole picture has been engraved by the Society of Antiquaries. I give here a few of the female figures, who are seated in the fore
ground, drinking. As the painting is the work of an English artist, we may no doubt consider these as English women belonging to the populace. It may be remarked that the same kind of bowls, or dishes, for drinking, are seen in a contemporary picture of the battle of Carbery Hill, where the friends of Mary, Queen of Scotland, were defeated, also engraved by the Society of Antiquaries.