tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
(the above comment is made about a ruff.)

The Globe's Twitter feed led me to a video I hadn't seen before: Paul Chahidi, who played Maria in the 2012 revival of Twelfth Night (as well as the original 2002 production), and Jenny Tiramani (Renaissance clothing expert) being interviewed about the costume for Maria. Some nice closeups of the various layers of the costume:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmGms1zjxoE
tempestsarekind: (dido plus books 2)
This looks like a book to check out once the publication date arrives (March 9, 2017):

How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 20th Century
by Lydia Edwards
http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/how-to-read-a-dress-9781472533272/

…uh, Sam?

Jun. 7th, 2016 12:28 am
tempestsarekind: (your strange behavior puzzles martha)
So I've been watching the Pepys diary feed a little more closely lately because Pepys is basically wracked with jealousy that his wife might be having an affair with the dancing master who has been coming to their house. (His reasoning is basically, "well, I would, with a woman, so how can I believe that she wouldn't?" The thing is, he knows that this is terrible reasoning; he just can't stop doing it.)

But that context is not entirely helping me figure out exactly what he's thinking here:

Up betimes, and my wife and Ashwell and I whiled away the morning up and down while they got themselves ready, and I did so watch to see my wife put on drawers, which poor soul she did, and yet I could not get off my suspicions, she having a mind to go into Fenchurch Street before she went out for good and all with me, which I must needs construe to be to meet Pembleton, when she afterwards told me it was to buy a fan that she had not a mind that I should know of, and I believe it is so.

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/06/04/

I feel like I've missed something. Is he thinking that if she doesn't put on drawers, she is preparing for illicit sexytimes? But I thought that it was wearing underwear in this period that was scandalous? So puzzled!
tempestsarekind: (where comedy meets romance)
Well, someone clearly needs to write this novel. Or make a film:

'Royal' 17th century dress found under sand off the coast of Texel
http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/04/88823-2/

(link via Twitter)
tempestsarekind: (corset pout)
Here's a 2012 article from Collectors Weekly (found via link-hopping) about the history of the corset:

Everything You Know About Corsets Is False
http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/everything-you-know-about-corsets-is-false/

The writer interviews Valerie Steele; I read her book on corsets back when I was in college. It's always nice "running into" someone whose work you've read on the internet; it's like meeting up unexpectedly with an acquaintance.
tempestsarekind: (berowne is perplexed [dt])
YouTube offered up this lecture I had no idea about after I clicked on a Globe video about their clothing demonstrations: an hour-plus lecture on Elizabethan and Jacobean clothing of the common people, hosted by the Jamestown Settlement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcqTk79chJw

Looking forward to listening to it! (Also, I like that the lecturer is actually in costume. Hee.)
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
I feel like the Guardian is just trolling me at this point. Does the paper actually employ anyone who likes historical fiction?

Why historical fiction needs daring and anachronism
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/jun/22/historical-fiction-needs-daring-anachronism

I have nothing against anachronism per se - although what Mantel does in Wolf Hall, the thing that kept me from being able to read it, is to use modern attitudes as a reason for us to side with Cromwell and not the backward-looking More. (I ranted about this a while ago, so I won't do it again here.) I mean, one of my favorite movies is Shakespeare in Love, which is pretty much wall-to-wall anachronisms. And one of the novels the author of the piece mentions, Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre, was just coming out as I was in the UK last summer; I saw it for sale in several bookstores, and it looked like a fascinating experiment. (It was also a hardcover book, and I had no room in my suitcase.) But this whole piece is basically like, "people often try to faithfully recreate the past in historical novels, and that's boring" - as opposed to being a valid choice for a novel, even if it isn't the only possible choice. The article is not really making a neutral statement - "Here are some historical novels that involve anachronism, isn't that a cool choice?" Instead, it's claiming that historical fiction that doesn't include anachronism is lazy and formulaic. As the author ends the piece, "But, too often, unfortunately, the genre seems to be in stays as constricting and uncomfortable as those worn by its heroines."

…As a person who did a decent amount of reading about Renaissance clothing, back in the day, I think this attitude is itself evidence of why trying to faithfully recreate the past isn't just lazy and formulaic - because the idea that stays were "constricting and uncomfortable" is a modern assumption, not a fact. There is nothing natural about clothing - or rather, a corset would have seemed just as "natural" to the average, say, Elizabethan woman as the lack of one seems to the average modern woman. Today, we make all sorts of assumptions about the ridiculousness and uncomfortableness of the clothing of the past, but those assumptions would not have been shared by the people who actually wore those clothes. Philip Stubbes (writer of The Anatomy of Abuses) despised ruffs for many reasons - one of which was the accusation that all the starch necessary to stiffen the linen was a huge waste of food resources - but not just because they were inherently dumb. (Stubbes referred to starch as "the devil's liquor"; there's a huge moral and religious dimension to the denunciation of clothing in this period. It has very little to do with mere comfort.) And thinking yourself into the possibilities of that mindset (I'm under no misapprehensions that we can actually get the past 100% right) is really, really hard. Engaging in the process of trying to create a vivid and believable version of the past is a serious, deliberate, thoughtful undertaking. It doesn't deserve to be thrown aside and demeaned because it isn't "daring."

oh good

Mar. 21st, 2015 03:39 pm
tempestsarekind: (margaret hale does laundry)
Now I'm reading old blog posts on the Plimoth Plantation website, this is totally a thing I need to be doing. Anyway, here's a post on doing 17th-century laundry:

http://blogs.plimoth.org/village/?p=74

And someone in the comments linked to this German painting:
http://www.elizabethancostume.net/images/splendorsolis.jpg
tempestsarekind: (berowne is perplexed [dt])
Found in the wild yet again on a book cover:

Shakespeare and Costume, edited by Patricia Lennox and Bella Mirabella (Arden Shakespeare, publication date April 23, 2015)
http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/shakespeare-and-costume-9781472525079/

It includes a symposium discussion featuring Jenny Tiramani, too, so that's something to look forward to...
tempestsarekind: (corset pout)
So I was lucky enough to go to that exhibition of Tudor and Stuart fashion in Edinburgh in July, right? It was amazing, and my main annoyance was simply that they had these very helpful diagrams of the fashions for a particular decade up and didn't have them available for purchase. (The Geffrye Museum in London became my favorite museum ever when I went into the gift shop and discovered that they had little posters for sale of their diagrams of the inside of a 1630s house.)

I just happened to click idly on the website for the exhibition and realized that under the "Changing Fashions" heading, you can actually see those diagrams close-up:
http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/exhibitions/in-fine-style-the-art-of-tudor-and-stuart-fashion/changing-fashion-0

Which is great. I feel dumb but happy. If you like Renaissance fashion, you might want to take a peek.

(There's more information at the website, too - although I wonder whether they haven't added to it since the exhibition closed…)

oh dear.

Oct. 15th, 2013 08:43 am
tempestsarekind: (facepalm)
Oh, Sleepy Hollow, we were getting to be friends...until you made a plot point out of having the people from the lost colony of Roanoke - people from the late sixteenth century - speaking Middle English. What the heck, guys, really.

...It wouldn't have been *so* bad if it had just been an offhand mention; I mean, if you're doing a show with a lot of historical facts, you ought to make heavy use of a(n) historical advisor, or at least, you know, Google and basic history books, but a lot of people seem to be under the impression that Shakespeare wrote in Old English, I guess because it is English and it is old, so whatever. But when you go through all the trouble of making Ichabod the only person who can communicate with these people because he can speak Middle English (don't even ask; that is my motto for this show), and therefore including dialogue supposedly in Middle English, then shouldn't you, I don't know, check to make sure you actually know what Middle English is and when it was spoken, before going ahead on that path? I'm trying to imagine the situation where they asked some expert how to say these particular lines of dialogue in Middle English, and didn't ask for any other info from the expert, and I *can* imagine that (although it is a *terrible* idea), but I can't imagine just not looking it up in the first place. I mean, at a certain point during the writing of this episode, when you look up Roanoke on Google, and the *first* sentence in the Wikipedia article that I didn't even have to click on because I could read it from the Google page says that it was a late 16th-century colony founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, someone should be able to go, "...you know, I don't think they were speaking like this in Queen Elizabeth's time? On account of how I can totally understand the words in stuff like Shakespeare and the King James Bible?" And the extras were wearing relatively appropriate period clothing (I...may have started yelling "Why is that child speaking Middle English and wearing slops, this is ridiculous" at my screen at one point), so, just, you know, WHAT. Why get that research right and then just bail on the linguistic stuff, when it totally wasn't necessary in the first place? How did you write a line where Abbie says "This kid looks like he just stepped off the Mayflower," and not go "...you know, I also do not think that the Pilgrims spoke like this? On account of all the US History classes ever?" What even, Sleepy Hollow. What even.
tempestsarekind: (princess elizabeth)
"In the late seventeenth century, an entirely different aesthetic sensibility and the development of the art market meant that Tudor pictures could be regarded as shoddy and outdated articles which could be recycled as firewood or as timber for furniture repairs. In 1662 John Evelyn records that portraits of Queen Elizabeth were 'recycled' over several years at Essex House in London by being employed in the kitchen ovens as the wooden boards on which to bake bread (known as peels)."


--Tarnya Cooper, "The Enchantment of the Familiar Face: Portraits as Domestic Objects in Elizabethan and Jacobean England," in Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture and its Meanings, Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson, eds. (Ashgate, 2010): 157-177, p. 177.

(I checked this book out yesterday for the essays to do with early modern clothing - imagine my starry eyes when I saw that it had an entire essay on pins and aglets by Jenny Tiramani! - but I'm enjoying dipping in and out of the other essays, too.)
tempestsarekind: (ofelia)
"The missing children of early modern religion"

http://blog.oup.com/2013/05/missing-children-early-modern-religion/

I'm so glad I follow the Oxford University Press blog via email, because great tidbits like this make their way into my inbox. I'm especially interested - in my dilettante way, of course - in finding out more about early modern children, since I wrote that presentation on childhood and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and of course it's also why I love children's/YA historical fiction, where authors use their imaginations to make children the focus of their stories.

(Last week I started reading a scholarly book on early modern girlhood - I don't know why I thought I'd get anywhere with it, what with finals just around the corner, but I discovered it in the library catalog, after having read the author's dissertation abstract sometime last year, and pounced. I also recently discovered that the authors of The Tudor Tailor, a guide for costumers that I desperately want even though I can hardly tell one end of a needle from the other, have just published a similar book called The Tudor Child. Sometimes these things come in waves.)
tempestsarekind: (no party like a tudor party)
So I finally started watching The Tudors. I'm only three episodes in, so maybe it gets better, but so far, I am mightily unimpressed. It's not actually about historical accuracy or lack thereof; my knowledge of the intricacies of Tudor politics is not at all what it should be, sadly, so I'm not particularly concerned with that aspect, at the moment. (Except that I continue to be annoyed when characters wear doublets with no shirts under them. Because those outer layers can't be washed, it was really important to notions of cleanliness to have linen against the skin, to absorb sweat and oils from the skin. So every time someone does it, I can't help going, "ewwwww" in my head.) Though I reserve the right to change my mind about this. And the actors are good, I think.

Tudor times; or, I would rather watch the Thomas Tallis Show )

Basically, I feel like the people who've put together the show have no vision for why they're doing it beyond this oft-repeated concept that Henry VIII wasn't always a bloated monster; at one point he was "young and fit." Well, "young and fit" isn't a coherent narrative. It isn't a rounded character or an interesting world.

Also, I'm annoyed by the behind-the-scenes features, which were not very good, for the same reasons. Nobody seemed to have anything to say other than, "Henry VIII was a rock star," and while I'm sure that the production designers and costume designer put more thought into their work than that, that was all we got from the special features. And whoever that London tour guide is, he should be ashamed of himself for saying that Shakespeare wrote Richard III in the Middle Ages, when he's supposed to be specializing in the Tudor period. Yes, "the Middle Ages" is a fairly arbitrary designation, but if you're going to use it, you should know what it consists of, particularly if you are supposed to be an expert in the period that is generally thought to mark the (arbitrary) end of the Middle Ages! Also, Thomas More's sister didn't rescue his head, tour guide man. His daughter did.
tempestsarekind: (no party like a tudor party)
So I finally started watching The Tudors. I'm only three episodes in, so maybe it gets better, but so far, I am mightily unimpressed. It's not actually about historical accuracy or lack thereof; my knowledge of the intricacies of Tudor politics is not at all what it should be, sadly, so I'm not particularly concerned with that aspect, at the moment. (Except that I continue to be annoyed when characters wear doublets with no shirts under them. Because those outer layers can't be washed, it was really important to notions of cleanliness to have linen against the skin, to absorb sweat and oils from the skin. So every time someone does it, I can't help going, "ewwwww" in my head.) Though I reserve the right to change my mind about this. And the actors are good, I think.

Tudor times; or, I would rather watch the Thomas Tallis Show )

Basically, I feel like the people who've put together the show have no vision for why they're doing it beyond this oft-repeated concept that Henry VIII wasn't always a bloated monster; at one point he was "young and fit." Well, "young and fit" isn't a coherent narrative. It isn't a rounded character or an interesting world.

Also, I'm annoyed by the behind-the-scenes features, which were not very good, for the same reasons. Nobody seemed to have anything to say other than, "Henry VIII was a rock star," and while I'm sure that the production designers and costume designer put more thought into their work than that, that was all we got from the special features. And whoever that London tour guide is, he should be ashamed of himself for saying that Shakespeare wrote Richard III in the Middle Ages, when he's supposed to be specializing in the Tudor period. Yes, "the Middle Ages" is a fairly arbitrary designation, but if you're going to use it, you should know what it consists of, particularly if you are supposed to be an expert in the period that is generally thought to mark the (arbitrary) end of the Middle Ages! Also, Thomas More's sister didn't rescue his head, tour guide man. His daughter did.
tempestsarekind: (oh noes)
1. AUGH WHY DO BUGS KEEP TRYING TO FLY INTO MY EARS? I swear, this has happened to me every time I've left my apartment in the last few days.

2. I watched an incredibly dull and joyless production of The Merchant of Venice, about which I may have more to say at a later date. I was very surprised to learn that it had been directed by Trevor Nunn.

3. For some reason I find it impossible to buy a black cardigan that I like. You'd think this would be a fairly easy item to purchase, but I've bought several, and none of them are what I want. I bought another one yesterday (online), so here's hoping.

4. I bought three padded envelopes the other day, of three different sizes, to mail some items to various people. Without realizing it, I switched two of the envelopes around, putting one of the smaller items into the largest envelope and sealing it up, writing the address on it, the works. Luckily the largest item was scrunchable (my mother bought me a dress on her last trip, and wanted me to send it back if I didn't like it), but it's going to be awfully wrinkled once it gets there.

5. I bought my best friend a birthday present (the smaller item I accidentally put in the largest envelope), but I'm not entirely sure that I didn't buy this same thing for her a couple of years ago.

In non-faily news, every time I see books on Renaissance clothing, I feel a profound sense of relief that I'm no longer writing about that subject. I may not know exactly what I *am* writing about, right now, but at least there's that. And it's nice, because now I also feel happy that I can just read about Renaissance clothing and enjoy it.
tempestsarekind: (oh noes)
1. AUGH WHY DO BUGS KEEP TRYING TO FLY INTO MY EARS? I swear, this has happened to me every time I've left my apartment in the last few days.

2. I watched an incredibly dull and joyless production of The Merchant of Venice, about which I may have more to say at a later date. I was very surprised to learn that it had been directed by Trevor Nunn.

3. For some reason I find it impossible to buy a black cardigan that I like. You'd think this would be a fairly easy item to purchase, but I've bought several, and none of them are what I want. I bought another one yesterday (online), so here's hoping.

4. I bought three padded envelopes the other day, of three different sizes, to mail some items to various people. Without realizing it, I switched two of the envelopes around, putting one of the smaller items into the largest envelope and sealing it up, writing the address on it, the works. Luckily the largest item was scrunchable (my mother bought me a dress on her last trip, and wanted me to send it back if I didn't like it), but it's going to be awfully wrinkled once it gets there.

5. I bought my best friend a birthday present (the smaller item I accidentally put in the largest envelope), but I'm not entirely sure that I didn't buy this same thing for her a couple of years ago.

In non-faily news, every time I see books on Renaissance clothing, I feel a profound sense of relief that I'm no longer writing about that subject. I may not know exactly what I *am* writing about, right now, but at least there's that. And it's nice, because now I also feel happy that I can just read about Renaissance clothing and enjoy it.
tempestsarekind: (cheveril glove)
"smug" (OED)

The OED says this word is of doubtful origin, though Merriam-Webster suggests that it comes from the Low German "smuck" meaning neat, itself from the Middle Low German,"smucken," to dress; and that it's akin to the Old English "smoc," meaning smock.

1. Of male persons: Trim, neat, spruce, smart; in later use, having a self-satisfied, conceited, or consciously respectable air.
The word has been in very common use from the 16th cent., and the earlier sense shades imperceptibly into the later, so that quotations cannot be separated.

b. Of women or girls. (Common c 1590-1650 in the older sense of the word.)

3. Of things: Smooth, clean, neat, trim, or tidy; in later use, having an appearance suggestive of complacency or respectability.

4. Of language: Smooth, neat. Obs. First recorded use 1607.

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