Well, Now, This is Interesting….

I was scouring the web, looking for information on period boots, and I stumbled across Francis Classe’s excellent page. This is a picture that I have never seen anywhere else before.  It’s charming, but it’s quite odd.  I wish I had far more information on it, but Google doesn’t seem to know anything about it!

Spanish Ladies in Chopines and Farthingales

Spanish Ladies in chopines and farthingales, from http://aands.org/raisedheels/Pictorial/illustrations.html . (Spanish Ladies, watercolor, c 1540, Museo Sibbert, Florence)

There are a couple of interesting things going on here.  Firstly, the lady on the left is clearly preggers. Secondly, all of these women are portrayed with a farthingale visible, either because an overskirt has been tucked up or because it’s not being worn.

The original caption looks to be german, and if it’s really from 1540, it’s entirely possible that the artist never went to Spain.  (Period books on costume from foreign places have an awful problem with that. It’s like the artists just asked sailors what people wear around the world.)

It’s a charming little print, none the less. It makes me wonder if the super-long length of the Alcega farthingale was to accommodate extra height from the chopines. Italian ladies certainly had skirts long enough to cover theirs; perhaps upper-class spanish ladies did as well.

8 thoughts on “Well, Now, This is Interesting….

  1. missa says:

    Neat! Thanks for the info, Chris. I know it happened in the Italian states – there are some fabulous illustrations by Vecellio and a particularly adorable example with a “fold-up overskirt” on an illustration of young lady of a particular profession. I just had no idea it happened in Spain. (I should have guessed, given the huge cross-over between styles in the two areas, but I’d not seen anything like this!) I’m so jealous you got to see it at exhibit! :)

    7 years ago | Reply

    • missa says:

      This site is under Creative Commons (Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-alike), so feel free to use it for any academic purposes. I think you might need to contact the museum holding the original painting. If you’re covering historical uses of cork for fashion, I would love information on how to get a copy of the finished work.

      (Mind you, I’m still not 100% that I’m responding to a human and not a bot, but what the heck….)

      6 years ago | Reply

  2. missa says:

    Hi, Matt,
    Thanks for the info – that puts a whole new spin on the believability factor for the image! *laugh* I guess now I’m looking for someone who speaks Flemish. It can’t ever be easy, can it? :)

    6 years ago | Reply

    • missa says:

      Hi, Inge,

      Thanks for the confirmation on that! I’ll try tracking down a clearer version of the image to see if I can get sort out the actual letters. :)

      6 years ago | Reply

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