News Letter 26th April 2018 from Høskuldsson Design

Hidden in Plain Black
Medieval Clothing and Textiles 14

The "French hood" is the English term for the type of ladies' headwear which is strongly associated with court life at the time of Catherine de Medici in France and Henry VIII in England.

In Volume 14 of  Medieval Clothing and Textiles you will find the results of my studies into this iconic headwear as worn in France end England respectively from the first variant is formed about 1514 and until the last variant dies out close to the end of the century.

The paper gives a new interpretation of  this type of headwear based on close studies of different kinds of portrayal. As a big part of the headwear would be made from light absorbing, black fabric it is very difficult to deduce the components and the construction of the hood in a painted portrait; hence the title "Hidden in Plain Black: The Secrets of the French Hood". Preperatory drawings, however, provided the key to my interpretation of folds, edges and layers.

My studies resulted in a series of new theories:

  • a new interpretation of the "anatomy" and "physiology" of the French hood,
  • a new interpretation of the "bongrace" as an accessory,
  • a theory of visual indications of mourning involving the headwear,
  • a time line for the evolution of the French hood as worn in France and England respectively,
  • a new interpretation of the construction and tailoring of a French hood,
  • a pattern for making a french hood in the style of one from about 1540 according to the new interpretation and
  • a tutorial video presenting the tailoring involved in creating an experimental reconstruction from the pattern.

French hood
Best regards

Karen Margrethe Høskuldsson

Karen Margrethe Høskuldsson

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