Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

Houppelande-art - 6/22/98


"The Houppelande C.1355-1450" by Allison Poinvillars de Tours.


NOTE: See also the files: houppelandes-msg, cotehardies-msg, p-sumpt-laws-msg. clothing-books-msg, underwear-msg, shoes-msg, textiles-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called StefanÕs Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                               Thank you,

                                    Mark S. Harris

                                    AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                         stefan at florilegium.org




by Allison Poinvillars de Tours


        A piece of clothing is never just a piece of clothing.  It is

part of an entire outfit, and has a past, a present, and leads to the

future.  The houppelande was worn in England, France, Germany, Italy, and

other countries.  While local variations of fashions and accessories

existed, the basic line seemed to appear almost spontaneously among

EuropeÕs capital cities, each of which deplored the current fashion and

blamed some other country for inventing it.


        Visual sources, of a secondary documentarial nature, such as

contemporary paintings, illuminations, statuary, tapestries, and brass

rubbings, as well as written descriptions in letters, sermons, wills, and

inventories are references we need to re-create houppelandes and their

accessories.  Some accessories, such as shoes, belts, and pouches still

exist.  This means looking, looking and more looking, yet without falling

prey to believing everything we see.  Some painters had no more idea of

tailoring than I have of iron smelting; their versions of contemporary

costume would have been impossible to reproduce.


        Some of the costumes depicted were deliberately changed from the

contemporary to indicate antiquity, foreign lands or something else the

painter was telling his viewer.  Short sleeves, for example, almost

always mean Near-Eastern dress, except when they are shown on a woman

either at home or in great distress, as Van der WeydenÕs Mary Magdalene

at the foot of the Cross, when they indicate the depth of distress by

showing that she had not stopped to put on her overgown and attach her

false sleeves.  Short sleeves can indicate lack of time, as when "Death"

is shown as a woman with short sleeves, or no sleeves" death comes

suddenly to most.  Look with care at the illustration you wish to copy.


        The cotehardie had been the garment which first put an end to the

use of cloth in the rectangular shape that it came from the loom.  Some

of the kirtles that preceded it had some shaping in pattern pieces, but

did not stray far from the rectangular.  It was also the first garment to

be cut along the principle of "conspicuous waste" but was nothing to the

amount of both use and waste of the cut of the houppelande.  The great

amount of fabric in the houppelande produces some problems for the

wearer,  as do the accessories.


         The stance must be upright, and slightly backward leaning, in

order to balance the elaborate headgear usually worn with houppelandes,

and to carry the weight of the fabric, outer layer, occasional

interlining, and lining.  The arms are often held bent at the elbow, to

keep the funnel sleeves out of the dirt, and to show off the rich fabrics

of the lining and the undersleeves.  The undersleeves may be false, tying

into the short sleeve or armscye of the cotehardie beneath.  Steps are

short, steady, regal.  When the shoes with long, pointed toes are worn,

the steps begin to be a little mincing.  Care must be taken, if wearing a

train, to kick it discretely out of the way when turning, and not to

kneel on the skirt at Court so that you canÕt get up, or fall over when

you try.  Gestures are constrained.  Those big sleeves could knock over

all sorts of things if the gestures were large and expansive.  Brocade is

not made more handsome by the addition of gravy.  The movements must

express elegant stateliness rather than freedom or mobility.  Freedom and

frivolity exist in thought and attitude, rather than in action.


        Costume historians and art works provide several suggestions for

the cut of the houppelande.  Milia Davenport describes the female

houppelande as being a gored skirt attached to a tight-fitting bodice,

but if this is true, it occurs towards the end of the period of true

houppelandes, as they begin to make the transformation into the "goun" of

the middle third of the fourteenth century, taking on the "Burgundian"



        Mary Houston shows two diagrams, both of which have a shaped

waist before the flare of the skirt.  These two are probably more the

type of gown of the middle class, either before or after the main period

of the true houppelande.  She mentions a houppelande of Richard II,

illustrated in the Wilton Diptich, which is cut with the straight

diagonal line from armpit to hem.  The shaped waist would give greater

ease in mobility.


        Herbert Norris describes the cut of the houppelande as being the

same as an earlier ladyÕs dress, again with straight or shaped bodice to

the waist, which he shows as having several widths of fabric sewn onto

the sides of a center panel to produce the desired width. This method of

sewing decreasing lengths of additional fabric widths to the center panel

is shown in the sixteenth century book of the Spanish tailor, de Alcega,

so it is period for us and may very well have been the fourteenth and

fifteenth century methods.  It has the benefit of keeping the grain and

the fabric pattern all on a vertical line while cutting. Thus, it would

not matter to the cut of the houppelande whether the fabric width was the

"great measure" of Brussels or a 22" width of hand-woven silk.  The

"great measure" of Brussels wool was probably in excess of 60" wide,

since EnglandÕs laws were already attempting to enforce a limit of 60"

width for wool.



                1       1

        ______  1       1______

        1       1       1       1

______  1       1       1       1______

1       1       1       1       1       1

1       1       1       1       1       1

1______ 1_____  1_____  1_____  1_____  1


If you sew lengths of fabric together, then cut a sort of triangle,

allowing for the neck, armscye, and shoulder shaping at the top of the

piece, but drawing straight cutting lines from a to the bottom corners, I

believe you will have the four quarters of the houppelande.  It may take

more or less than five widths of fabric sewn together to get the

circumference you wish to have.  The shorter the wearer, the shallower

the angle, so if making a court houppelande for a very tall man, you

might well want seven widths of fabric.


       /          \           The apex of the triangle is actually the top

      /            \          shaping.

      /            \

        (I canÕt figure out how to draw a curve with a keyboard for the



        C. Willet Cunnington states that the houppelande was cut in four

pieces, with a seam front and back, and one at each side. This would

have made an average, wool houppelande about six yards in circumference

at the base, supposing a fabric width of about 60". I believe, from the

pictures of engirded versions, the drape and fold of fabric, and the

changing heights of the menÕs belts, that the general cut would have been

a segment of a circle, forming a three dimensional cone when joined.  If

the quarter piece resembled a right angle along the hem and seam line,

the angled seam would be excessively on the bias.  The true bias

stretches, especially when subjected to great weight and you do not want

much stretch in a houppelande.


        Further, when adding gores to enlarge the skirt, the bias side

seam line is thrown higher on the side, until it will form a 90 degree

angle with the front and back seams.  Stand up in that, and you have more

weight than ever on that side seam, and gravity has produced an angle of

pleats that are not duplicated in the paintings of the period.  You also

have most of the weight of the garment resting on the outer edge of your

shoulder, which is carrying the tremendous weight of your long, funnel

sleeve.  And if you wore a bagpipe sleeve, the weight wouldnÕt have been

reduced by more than a third.


        The pie-shaped wedge is the cut, with the neck at the pie point,

that duplicates the pleats, and will continue to do so, when both edges

of the pie are expanded the same amount by the insertion of gores.  The

weight of the garment body is now shifted higher, with the straight grain

of the fabric running approximately from the side of your neck to the

ground, as though you stood in a teepee, with your head out the smoke

hole (which has been tailored to fit your upper body).


        Birbari has a drawing, p. 51, that shows a very wide circle

segment; the center point of the straight grain in hers would have the

line run from the center front of the neckline to a point on the hem

which would be approximately under the arm when the wearer is standing.

This would give a true bias line to the garmentÕs center front.  If you

were 5Õ, according to her grid, you could cut it out of a 48" width.


        Most paintings would appear to show no seams in either male or

female houppelandes, but with that tremendous volume of cloth there had

to be many joinings.  One male houppelande is quoted by Diana de Marley

as being twelve yards in circumference at the hem.


        The more extreme versions were produced by the addition of both

gores and gussets, or godets.  You can still make a segment of a circle

by using the extended width of cloth formed as Norris and Alcega suggest,

but once the garment is on the wearer, the additional widths on the sides

fall, making the seam lines appear to be "raying" out from the wearerÕs

feet, and changing the look of the beautiful brocade patterns from which

many houppelandes were made.  Since the cotehardie has been shown to use

gores and gussets, that should be the natural way to cut the houppelande,

as well.  John the Fearless of Burgundy acquired a houppelande made with

24 gores, which is mentioned by Margaret Scott, in her A Visual History

of Costume, the Fourteenth & Fifteenth Centuries, p. 106.


        The houppelande appears in French literature in 1357.  Stella

Mary NewtonÕs Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince quotes French royal

accounts in 1359, which describe garments made for King Jean while he was

a prisoner of the English.  She also says, "MachautÕs poem, Le Confort

dÕAmi, is addressed to "Charles the Bad of Navarre" written in 1357.

Their men themselves should be dressed alike (in other words, in

livery), whereas at the moment one wears blue, another green; There is

one who wears a yellow baldrick another wears a houppelande, another a

pourpoint. But all wear shoes with long points which have come to be

called poulaines."  Pp. 70-71.


        Jean van EyckÕs painting, Leal Souvenir, 1432, is a painting of a

bust of a man in three-quartersÕ view, apparently wearing a thick wool

houppelande.  This shows a narrow, up-standing collar which does seem to

be lined, not just edged, with fur, as it leans outward from the neck.

The shoulder seam is visible, as is the opening line of the houppelande,

which, though closed, has no visible means of closure. The pleats begin

a little below the throat, are unconstructed, and deepen as they reach

the waist;  this can only happen when the garment body is cut as a

segment of a circle.  However, no seams of gores are visible, so this

would have been a four piece houppelande, basically, although we can not

see the skirt.


        Artwork of the period shows a variety of pleat types.  The

thickness and frequency of the pleats gives an indication of what the

fabric might have been.  There were very thick, full pleats that must

have been equivalent to our coat or blanket wool, and some Italian ones

that could only be the thinnest of summer silks.  The best wool cloth

came from Flanders, and some of the Flemish painters depict solid color

gowns that have weight, but pleats that have a crispness rather than soft

roundness, which leads me to believe that they are painting a very fine

grade of tightly woven wool broadcloth.  A current fabric which might

duplicate that is a medium Pendleton wool broadcloth.  The modern wools

which contain polyester will not give a sharp, natural crease, and they

ravel.  Agnes Geijer says that the best wool cloth, termed broadcloth,

had a leather-like solidity which was a prerequisite to cutting the dags

of leaf, cross, flame, and other shapes.


        Most pleats were unconstructed, falling naturally with the weight

of the garment, and held in place by the belt.  Towards the end of the

period, as tailoring and style became more precise, the pleats do begin

to appear constructed and arranged, in the fullest gowns of the nobility.

Stay tapes were used to hold the pleats in a set position and fullness.

These tapes are set horizontally inside the coat, and the inside of the

pleats are tacked to them.  This can be seen in a painting by Lotto, St.

Dominic resuscitating Cardinal FossanuovaÕs nephew, Carrara Gallery,

Bergamo, plate 91 in Birbari.  The belt was still often used to keep them

in place, but the wearer had a more sophisticated and formal look to him

than in the earliest years.  Another method of controlling the pleats was

to tack them to the lining, or interlining, so that they could not

release.  The pleats, whether constructed or unconstructed, were not sewn

into the shoulder seam.


        As the houppelande gives way to the gown, there is a compromise

style that provides fullness with less cloth than required for the circle

segment cut.  This style is cut with a yoke to which is attached pleated

fabric, front and back.  The pleated fabric is cut as a rectangle, rather

than a circle segment, so there is little waste.  There are numerous

examples in Jacqueline HeraldÕs Renaissance Dress in Italy, and even more

in Abbigliamento e costume nella pittura italiana: Rinascimento, by F.

Cappi Bentivegna, which is great for pictures even if you canÕt read the

Italian text.


        Some are hewks, or housses, rather than gowns. The hewk is a

male style, usually sleeveless but sometimes with hanging sleeves, and is

open at the sides of the garment.  The hewk was also popular in France.

It is often a lighter weight and cooler style than the houppelande, and

can be expected to be popular in warmer countries.  Plate 29 of the

Abbigliamento shows a sort of circle cut hewk, with hanging cap-pleated

sleeves, on a man standing behind two ladies in classic houppelandes, so

we may suppose the hewk to have begun before the usual illustrations of

it.  It is really just a fuller example of a tabard, and is like the

houppelande in that, over time, it grows to fullness from a straight cut,

and then develops a yoke and an economical cutting that is formal in



        There is a sort of female counterpart, in Italy, which is called

the giornea, but which is not usually open the entire length of the side

seam.  Exceptions, which are seen to be open on women, have been painted

by Piero della Francesca, on the Queen of ShebaÕs women, in the Legend of

the True Cross series, 1452-1466.  There are a few other illustrations as

well, but they also seem to be later than the prime time for

houppelandes; an outgrowth of the houppelande rather than a contemporary

version.  Some are cut as circle segments and some with yokes and pleated

rectangles, often in the same painting, so these styles were

simultaneously used in later years.  Plate 39 of the Abbigliamento is by

an anonymous Venetian painter, 1450; it shows one woman in a yoke-cut

giornea with elaborate dags that are either sewn to the sides of the

giornea, or some form of hanging sleeve that is not really a sleeve at



        Belts, in those early years, were worn high, the menÕs almost as

high as the womenÕs.  they gradually approached waist level, in the first

quarter of the 15th Century, but there the womenÕs belts stopped, and the

menÕs kept going to low hip level at the end of the period.  Belts were

usually wide and very ornate.  Some women wore their belts buckled in

back, with the belt tongue hanging down behind.  Belts were frequently

metal plates, but there were pearled and jeweled ones, as well as

tapestry and embroidered ones for the ladies.  There are several nice

ones "not paintings, the belts themselves" shown in A Missal for A King,

that I have not seen in regular costume books.


        MenÕs seams were often left open for a short distance from the

hem, providing vents.  The vents on riding houppelandes were, of course,

cut high. These vents showed the fur lining, or were edged with fur

strips.  MenÕs hems ranged from trailing on the ground to ankle, calf,

knee, and for a few young courtiers, crotch or even above. LadiesÕ seams

were not left open, and the hems were not dagged, but they were trailing.

One exception occurred in France, in which the gown hem fabric was

dagged onto the fur hem, although Margaret Scott thinks weÕre looking at

animal heads instead of dags.  I think the engagement illustration from

the Tres Riches Heures is perfectly clear.


        The ladies, however, made up for lost dags in their sleeves,

which were every bit as fanciful as those of the men. Some Italian

houppelandes are shown with sleeves composed solely of multiple strings

of dags caught together at the shoulders.  Others started the dagged

opening almost as high as the elbow and let the dags sweep to the floor

behind them.  The dags were large in shape if they were fur lined, as in

the drawing of Duke John IV of Brabant, Plate 65 of ScottÕs A Visual

History of Costume, The Fourteenth & Fifteenth Centuries, but could be

small, fine and intricate, as those on the Frenchmen of the Tres Riches

Heures.  Some dags were integral to the garment and some had appliqued

strips of dagging.  MenÕs high collar edges were frequently cut into

small dags, somewhat resembling the sixteenth century frill of the shirt

collar.  Hats, too, abounded with dags to match the gowns.


        The most frequently seen design for dags is a scalloped edge.

Many hood and/or cape edges are cut in tongues of cloth, about the size

and shape of tongue depressors, with small scallops along the edge.

Heavy fur linings made large and plainly shaped dags necessary.  A large

but decorative design had a flame shape, and another was a wide

rectangle, like a reversed battlement, with small scallops or snips in

it.  Leaf shapes were also popular.


        Since our fabrics, with the possible exception of felt, are not

good to simply cut and leave unfinished, as they will ravel badly, we can

use a liquid called Fraycheck, in place of period fish glue, or we can

make our dags with lining (and still use Fraycheck).  A self lining is

easy, but a contrasting lining is more showy, and many dags were made

that way.  Make a pattern for your dag shapes out of a grocery bag, with

several repeats.  Cut out the pattern and use chalk to outline the dags

of your fabric.  With right sides together, sew around the dag shapes.

Run a thin line of Fraycheck just outside the seam line, but try to touch

the stitches.  When dry, cut around the dags with only abut 1/8" of

fabric stitches as seam allowance.  Clip curves.  Where the design

indents, cut right to the stitching:  /I\, the I being the scissors cut.

Sew again, over the first stitching line exactly, in case the thread got

cut.  Turn right side out and press carefully, working with your fingers

to get the little points, etc., turned out and smooth.


        Max Boehm describes the baldrics of folly bells, and the

extensive German use of bells as accessories for their houppelandes.  He

says that the bells moved north and south, but not west. Not so.  Norris

describes the multiple uses of little bells on houppelandes in England,

and does give credit for them to Richard IIÕs queen, Anne of Bohemia.

Bezants were hung on the baldrics, sewn to the garments, and hung on

chains.  They were cut of silver or gold in the shape of initials,

devices, flowers.  Many of these, sewn onto the houppelande by one edge,

would flutter or glitter as the wearer moved.  Jewels were thickly sewn

onto some garments, as were embroidered motifs, mottoes, initials and

whatever other sort of fanciful decoration they could think of.

Illustrations in the Tres Riches Heures show people wearing what appear

to be trailing strings of bezants down their backs.  In England, when the

Lancasters took over the monarchy, frivolity ceased, and the gowns were



        Several mentions are made of houppelandes being open all the way

down, and buttoned all the way down.  I have not found a picture of one

buttoned down its full length.  However, there are so many paintings

which indicate a closing, yet show no means of closure (buttons, hooks, or

lacings) that I have to wonder if there were not some hidden closures or

ones placed on the inside.  I have found no pictures of this, as there

are for stay tapes of pleats.  Hooks and eyes would be most logical for

this, but there may also have been inner plackets with buttons and

buttonholes.  Textiles and Clothing, c.1150-c.1450, is a book put out by

the British Museum, in London, describing Medieval finds from excavations

in London.  The authors list buttonhole strips of facing which have been

applied to a wool garment.  Either buttons or lacings could have been

used, although when embroidered eyelets are the feature of the strip, one

supposes lacing, whereas the lines of horizontal slits, just like our

modern buttonhole, are apparently for buttons.


        Some of the buttonholes, and the edges of openings, are

reinforced with tablet woven bands.  The threads from the tablets lie

parallel to the edge, and the weft is formed by the thread going through

a needle, taking a stitch as it reaches the cloth, then passing back

through the shed, as the tablets turn.


        They list a silk tabby strip, which was attached to wool fabric.

The long edges have narrow turnings (under), to one of which is still

attached a fold length of similar silk.  They donÕt list the use of the

companion strip, but it sounds to me like the `modesty placketÕ that you

add to go under your lacing, although they say this piece shows no

tension or wear.  They think it was a strip used for a loose garment,

which would describe a houppelande.  There is also a suggestion that the

shanks of buttons could be passed through the eyelet holes, passing a

lace down the back, through the shanks of the buttons. There is proof of

this in the 16th century.  In this way, expensive buttons could have been

used for different garments.  This, too, would prevent tension marks on

the eyelets.


        There are pictures which show fur edging going down the front,

halfway to the waist, but showing no further opening. This is

reasonable.  With the opening slit in front, as in the earlier tunic, the

garment can easily be put on over the head, and the closed front would

keep out draughts.  Except for an Italian summer female version, the

houppelande is worn for warmth in cold, draughty castles and markets, as

it is an overgarment.  Herald mentions that Italians normally used fur

edgings rather than fur linings.  Both buttons and lacings are shown for

the collar closings, and sometimes for the bodice opening. Most

houppelandes show no fastenings, but as they often show no seams, this

does not prove they didnÕt have openings down the center front.


        A possible reconstruction would be a wool houppelande, with the

center front having a fur edging, and set behind the opening, a

buttonhole strip, or lacing strips.  When the lacings are laced, or the

buttons buttoned, the fur edges would butt together, without showing the

lacing or buttons.  The jeweled metal buttons of that time would show

well on the cotehardie beneath, if the houppelande were open.  For modern

temperature differentions, a fastened houppelande might have false

cotehardie sleeves, with elaborate buttons from the wrist nearly to the



        There is one excellent painting, of Louis II of Anjou, c 1415,

shown best in Margaret ScottÕs A Visual History of Costume, The

Fourteenth & Fifteenth Centuries, Plate 56, which shows LouisÕs bust in

profile and clearly reveals the seams of sleeve cap, shoulder, and

vertical collar seam which permits the involved construction of the very

high collar. This reaches far up the back of the neck and also down into

a U shape in the garment back.  This type of collar is often edged with

fur.  This collar can only be made in four pieces, not two.  A high

collar can be made in one or two pieces, but not one with the neck

contours as painted.  The rounded low neck in back shows up well in

illustrations of "January" in the Tres Riches Heures.  Davenport has this

illustration, but the one in The High Middle Ages in Germany is large and

in color.  Some of the servitors have no high collar, but the neck vee

opening is edged with fur.  The chamberlainÕs collar is left open.  This

neck vee in back will become typical in the cut of menÕs Italian doublets

and gowns.


        While many houppelandes were lined with fur, the inside of the

high collar usually was not.  The fur, in addition to being extremely

itchy in those tight collars, would have provided too much bulk for the

collars to be as close fitting as they are portrayed. When high collars

are shown to be fur-lined, the collar bends away from the neck.  The fur

edging could easily be caught in the seam along the top of the collar

between outer fabric and lining.  However, we see illustrations of

finished garments being sent from the tailor to the furrier, for

finishing, so that perhaps the fur edging was stitched along the finished

collar seam.  This might be a good place for narrow fur tails, as they

are round and donÕt need edge finishing.  Some open collars indicate that

lining was present.  A few of these linings appear to be brocade, or

embroidered pieces; this would be a good place to put the scraps of an

expensive brocade, or a small but elaborate embroidery project.


        "From the extraordinary collars of the houppelande, so much has

been learned about cutting, that, by XVc., collars appear on garments

worn by all classes."  Davenport, p.293.  Collars worn by ordinary men

tend to be the low, stand-up collar seen on doublets, paltocks, and

Italian houppelandes.  Only the nobility could have afforded the superior

tailoring of high, shaped collars.


        WomenÕs houppelande collars were originally as high as menÕs, in

some cases higher, with an outward flare which did not hug the back of

the head.  As headdresses changed and grew wider and wider, the

houppelande collar stays large, and in fact grows much larger, but turns

down over the shoulders.  In this style, it is shown with a second collar

of fine linen over it. Towards the end of the period, the large collars

become fur collars, in one layer, rather than the fabric ones covered

with linen.


        Several historians state that this is the collar of the chemise,

but I donÕt think that the chemise is made with a collar in these cases,

I think that it is a separate collar which is basted into place for

wearing, and which can be removed for laundering. Chemises of the time

are shown in miniatures, and none are shown with collars. The elaborate

fabrics of which aristocratic houppelandes are made would not take well

to laundering; skin oils and cosmetics would stain the turned down

collars at the neck break.  These stains would not show in the turned-up

collars, but never-the-less, a fine linen collar is shown inside the high

collar of a womanÕs houppelande, painted by Pisanello.  In addition to

being removable for washing, the linen between fur or wool and skin would

reduce the itching.  Sumptuary laws prevented prostitutes from wearing

fur collars.


        The earliest picture I have found which could be considered a

houppelande is the brass rubbing of Marion Grevel, wife of an English

wool merchant, who died in 1386.  Her gown has the high, close collar,

and the fullness of skirt, and is cut without any hint of a waist seam,

but the sleeves are tight sleeves, and there is no belt worn.  The

undersleeves have the `goblet cuffÕ.  The brass of Alice Giffard, wife of

the Chief Baron of the Exchequer, died 1400, also shows tight sleeves, no

belt, and a high collar.  Her gown is so full that the almost-gathered

look of fullness goes up into the high collar; that may be an inaccuracy

on the part of the engraver.


        An unknown English couple, c.1395-1400, have matching

houppelandes on their brasses, except that his is ankle length.  Both

have full bag sleeves, goblet-cuffed undersleeves, and buttons at the

center of the high collars.  The brasses of John Urban and his wife, Joan

Reskymmer, c.1410, are very similar.  There are the full, bag sleeves,

but the undersleeves have wrist-length cuffs.  Their high collars are

laced, not buttoned, and JoanÕs has a wide flare.  Both John and Joan

wear waist-level belts.


        Clarice de Freville, c.1410, has wide sleeves, fur-lined, on her

houppelande, and her collar, while high, has a narrower, lower opening,

the base of which is buttoned.  De Marly says that the wide, funnel

sleeve is the `ducalÕ sleeve, and the bag sleeves were worn by those of

lesser degree who could not copy royalty.  Robert de Freville is shown in

armor, so perhaps ClariceÕs sleeves are a mark of rank. All of the wide

sleeves shown on womenÕs houppelandes do seem to be of the rank of at

least minor nobility, even if they are not the full, dragging length.


        Funnel, or bombarde, sleeves may have been limited to certain

upper ranks, but that was not the case with the bag sleeves.  They appear

on kings and merchants, queens and nurses.  Fullness varies with

individual gowns, but there does not appear to be division of rank using

this style.  Bag sleeves vary in fullness; some are often exceedingly

full, some are barely bagged at all.  Bag sleeves often have fur cuffs or

edges.  An engraving Scott describes as `Northern NetherlandishÕ, Plate

71, shows a woman whose bag sleeves have drippings of skinny daggings

hanging from what must be the sleeve seam.


        Gradually, the houppelande loses its extreme width, the sides of

the garment lie flat against the body, and only the front and back pleats

provide fullness.  Men and women no longer resemble each other.  Whimsy,

bells, bezants, embroidery and the dags vanish.  At the same time, the

sleeve cap rises to a puffed look.  The sleeves become tubular, like

stovepipes, or develop slits in their bags so that the hand and arm come

through, or they hang from the shoulders in organ-pipe folds, and our

houppelande is gone.  The stylistic organization of the urban culture of

Burgundy has triumphed.


GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY   (costume and art)


de Alcega, Juan. _Tailor's Pattern Book 1589_.  Ruth Bean, publisher.

Translated and reproduced from the Spanish original.


Arnold, Janet  _A  Handbook of Costume._ Macmillan 1973. Reprinted 1978.


Avrill, Francois.  _Manuscript Painting at the Court of France. _


Birbari, Elizabeth.  _Dress in Italian Painting, 1460-1500_.  John Murray

Ltd. London, 1975.  ISBN 0 7195 2423 7.


Bise, Gabriel.  _Medieval Hunting Scenes, after Gaston Phoebus, The

Hunting Book._ Miller Graphics, Production Liber SA, Fribourg-Geneve,



von Boehn, Max.  _Modes And Manners_, translated by Joan Joshua.

Benjamin Blom,  New York, 1932-35, vol. I.


Boucher, Francois.  _20,000 Years of Fashion_.  Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

NY, 1987.


Cappi, Bentivegna, F.  _Abbigliamento e costume nella pittura italiana:

Rinascimento_. Bestetta, Rome, 1962.


Clayton, Muriel.  _Catalogue of Rubbings of Brasses and Incised Slabs.-_.

Victoria and Albert Museum, HRM Stationary Office, London, 1979.  ISBN

11 290087 9.


Cleveland Museum of Art. _A Missal for a King, catalog to the exhibition

Gothic Art 1360-1440_.  Cleveland, 1963.


Crowfoot, Elisabeth; Pritchard, Frances; and Staniland, Kay.  _Textiles

and Clothing c. 1150-c. 1450_.  London, HMSO. 1992. Medieval finds from

[Archaeological] Excavations in London. ISBN 0 11 290445 9.


Cunnington, C. Willet & Phyllis.  _Handbook of English Medieval Costume_.

Faber and Faber, Ltd., London, 1952.


Davenport, Milia.  _The Book of Costume_.  Crown Publishers, NY, 1948,

1976.  ISBN 0 517 037165.


Dunkerton, Jill; Foister, Susan; Gordon, Dillian & Penny, Nicholas.

_Giotto to Durer, Early Renaissance Painting in The National Gallery_.

Yale University Press in Association with National Gallery Publications

Limited, London. 1991. ISBN 0 300 05082 8 pbk.


Evans, Joan.  _Blute des Mittelalter, Die Welt der Ritter und Monche_.

Droemersche Verlagsanstalt Th. Knaur Nachf. Munchen/Zurich, 1966, 1980.

(may also be an English version, by Thames & Hudson Lmt., London, 1966,



Freeman, Margaret B.  _The Unicorn Tapestries_, Metropolitan Museum of

Art, E.P.Dutton, Inc., New York, 1983. ISBN 0 525 22643 5 (Dutton).


Geijer, Agnes.  _A History of Textile Art_. Sotheby Parke Bernet

Publications, London, 1982.  ISBN 0 85667 055 3.


Green, Ruth M.  _The Wearing of Costume_.  Isaac Pitman and Sons, Ltd.,

London, 1966.


Harthan, John.  _The Book of Hours_. Park Lane Books, Crown Publishers,

Inc., 1982.  ISBN 0 517 36944 3.


Herald, Jacqueline.  _Renaissance Dress in Italy 1400-1500_.  The History

of Dress Series, gen. Ed. Dr. Aileen Ribeiro, Bell& Hyman, London. 1981.

Humanities Press, NJ.  ISBN 0 391 02362 4.


Houston, Mary G.  _Medieval Costume in England and France_.  The 13th,

14th, & 15th Centuries.  Adam & Charles Black, London 1939, 1979.


Linthicum, M. Channing. _Costume in the Drama of Shakespeare and His

Contemporaries_ . Clarendon Press, Oxford.  1936.  Reprint by Falconwood

Press.  (Not limited to 16th C.)


Marly, Diane de.  _Fashion for Men: An Illustrated History_.  Holmes and

Meier Publishers, Inc., New York, 1985. ISBN 07134 4493 2.   Also

Batsford, London.


Newton, Stella Mary.  _Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince_.  Boydell

Press, 1980.  ISBN (US) 0 8476 6939 4.


Norris, Herbert.  _Costume and Fashion, Vol. II_.  Dutton and Co., New

York, 1924.


Payne, Blanche.  _History of Costume_ Harper & Row, NY, 1965.


Scott, Margaret. _A Visual History of Costume, The Fourteenth & Fifteenth

Centuries_.  Batsford, UK, 1986. ISBN 0 7134 4857 1.


Scott, Margaret.  _ Late Gothic Europe, 1400-1500_. The History of Dress

Series, gen. Ed. Dr. Aileen Ribeiro, Mills & Boon, Ltd., London. 1980.

Humanities Press, NJ.  ISBN 0 263 06429 8.


Smith, Alistair.  _Early Netherlandish and German Paintings_.  The

National Gallery, London, with William Collins, London, 1985. ISBN 0 00

217404 9.


Tesniere, Marie-Helene, and Gifford, Prosser, eds. _Creating French

Culture_.  Treasures from the Bibliotheque nationale de France., Yale

University Press, 1995.

ISBN 0 300 06283 4.



Permission is given to use and share this information, but I retain the

copyright, and wish to have my name attached to any reproduction.


L. Allison Poinvillars de Tours/Lyn M. Parkinson


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org