Sunday 9 November 2014

Hollar's Autumn

Figure 1 - P608

Having done blog posts on Hollar’s Winter and Spring, but not done one on his summer, now that the weather is changing I thought it a good idea to look at his Autumn. There are three Hollar Autumn figures (Pennington, 2002), his full length Autumn of 1644 – P608 (Figure 1), and his two half lengths of 1641 - P612 and P616 (Figures 2 and 3). The P numbers are the numbers given by Pennington to Hollar’s works.  
However much of what they wear is the same style as appears in the Winter and Spring clothing; the laced bodices coming down to a distinct point, the double neckerchief, and the soft hoods. Both the three quarter lengths have the “double” sleeve, that is a full length sleeve with a half length sleeve over it. Randle Holme’s (1688) comment on sleeves was that, “there is as much variety of fashion as days of the year.” This is similar to the style of bodice described and illustrated in Halls (1970) as being in the Museum of London, and dating to 1645-55 It is in pale blue silk and comes down to a point at the front, but does not have the double sleeve. A pattern for it appears in Waugh. (1968)  Another surviving bodice of this period which does have the double sleeve also has a pattern in Waugh. This is a black velvet bodice in the Victoria and Albert Museum, unfortunately there is no image on the museum website.  
Figure 2 - P612
I admit to being a little confused by the apron of the full length figure, she appears to have a bodice with a short peplum or skirt, you can see by the change in direction of the shading lines between the sleeve and the apron. Her apron is worn over this, but appears to follow the line of the stomacher. I don’t think it is worn under it. It is difficult to work out what is happening.
Both the full length out of doors and the three quarter length P616 wear gloves, you can see the wrinkles in the leather. These are long gloves, reaching up as far as the elbow in some cases, and usually relatively undecorated, as in this 41 cm long example from the late 17th century in the collection of the Glovers’ Company. Gloves were bought in vast quantities by the upper classes, over the course of one year the Marquis of Hertford’s family order 150 pairs of gloves, and these were for use, not associated with marriages or funerals where gloves might be given as gifts. (Morgan, 1945)
Figure 3 - P616
One thing that is interesting is that the full length wears a rectangle of fabric shawl like around her shoulders and tied at the front. This would not have been called a shawl as the word was not in use at this time. The earliest use of the word shawl in English is, according to the OED, in 1662 where Davies translating Adam Olearius’s voyages to Persia speaks of “another rich Skarf which they call Schal, made of a very fine stuff, brought by the Indians into Persia.” The word is originally Persian, and not used in English usage until the eighteenth century. The word scarf would more likely have been used at the time, except that it was used almost exclusively for men; scarves were at this time military or ecclesiastical.  This is not the only example of a rectangle of fabric being worn around the shoulders, presumably for warmth. Another Hollar illustration P1887 shows a very similar figure. As you get later in the century Laroon depicts several poor street traders wearing similar, as in his hot baked wardens, or his London Gazette.
Halls, Z., 1970. Women's Costume 1600-1750. London: HMSO.
Holme, R., 1688. Academie of Armourie. s.l.:s.n.
Morgan, F. C., 1945. Private purse accounts of the Marquis of Hertford, Michaelmas 1641-2. Antiquaries Journal, 25(12-42).
Pennington, R., 2002. A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar.. Cambridge: CUP .
Waugh, N., 1968. The cut of women's clothes 1600-1930. London: Faber.