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!
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.