Fashion in the Age of Datini

Some notes on one of my scholarly hobbies.

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Men (and probably some women, as astridaschaeffer argues) wore linen or hemp shorts for modesty and sanitation (undyed linen and hemp were the only fabrics which could be easily washed in hot soapy water). These are commonly worn by men in paintings and literature, and occasionally show up in inventories and descriptions of merchandise produced by different guilds: rich men died owning up to six pairs for their own use (Pisetzky vol. 2 pp. 22, 23, Brandi p. 133, Datini inventory). They were held up by a belt in a casing (which could also support the hose), a drawstring, or later by knotting them closed at the hip like a modern bikini bottom. Texts describe the ideal breeches as white linen, and most artwork supports this, but a few breeches in 15th century paintings are dark blue or black instead. There are some articles on the subject at

During the 14th century these were called breeches in English, mutande in Italian, and braes in French: the ‘proper’ Latin name was braccae.

To the best of my knowledge, no breeches survive from the fourteenth century, and artwork rarely shows seams except at the sides of the legs. Styles in artwork are quite diverse, and presumably many wearers (and makers) had their favourite styles. A modern pattern for the style in the following paintings is available in Singman and Maclean’s Daily Life in Chaucer’s England.

A man in a breech (Fr. braes, underpants/panties) in a 14th century fresco from the left transept of Santa Anastasia, Verona. I suspect that it was painted after 1360 given the shape of his chest and style of his hair and beard.

Detail of the breeches worn by St. Sebastian in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves (Utrecht, circa 1440; Morgan Library, New York, MS M.917/945, pp. 252/3

Robert Macpherson is working on a typology of breeches in art from the 13th century to the beginning of the 16th: type I (“Maciejowski”), type II, type III, and type V are most relevant for trecento Italy. A series of reconstructions are posted on a discussion forum.

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A hunter stripped to his shirt and breeches in Bibliotheque Nationale du France, Nouvelle Acquisition Latin 1673 Tacuinum Sanitatis fol. 91v

A painting of the crucifixion with a blindfolded prisoner

Crucifixion (c. 1410) by the Meiser der St. Lambrechter Krüzigungsaltäre in Schloss Egenberg, Graz. The guard holds a sheathed sword in hand, the blindfolded prisoner is stripped to his shirt.

The shirt (also known as smock, Latin camisa, Italian camicia, French chemise, or German Hemd) was a linen undergarment pulled over the head, normally with long sleeves. Men’s shirts usually range from just long enough to cover the top of the breeches to just above the knees, women’s tend to be longer. Men’s often have slits at the side below the hips, women’s usually get wider below this point to allow free movement without exposing any skin. There are no applied cuffs and decoration such as embroidery or gathering was very rare. Decent people only appeared in their shirts in public when they were doing hot, dirty work like stoking ovens or reaping grain.

Because linen decays in wet contexts, and was recycled for all kinds of purposes, very few shirts survive before the 17th century. The short shirt of Rodrigo Ximenez de Rada (d. 1247), the shirt of St. Louis (d. 1270), a 14th century shirt from Egypt (similar in cut to the coat of Bishop Timotheos of Ibrîm (after 1372)), and the 15th century fragments from Lengberg, Austria are the closest in space and time to Datini’s world (the ‘shirt in which St. Thomas Becket was martyred’ in the care of the Diocese of Arras never seems to have been published). The oldest instructions to make a shirt appear in the late 18th century in books like Garsault’s L’Art de la Lingere (1771) or Zimmermann’s Die junge Haushälterinn: ein Buch für Mütter und Töchter (1792). In account books, shirts usually just appear as a number of yards or ells of linen and a tiny fee for the cutting and sewing; lists of clothing rarely describe them in detail.

Note that most of the diagrams of the St. Louis shirt online are based on examining it through a glass case, and when Tina Anderlini was allowed to take it down and measure it, she found that it was different than it appeared. So be careful with information about this garment from Burnham’s Cut my Cote or Heather Rose Jones’ “Another Look at St. Louis’ Shirt” (although they are both worth reading!)

The opening for the head varies but usually has the same shape as the garments it is worn with. The Goodman of Paris explains that a decent woman is careful not to expose underlayers at the collar of her coat. In the 15th century, as doublets acquire standing collars, shirts sometimes acquire them too.

Karen Larsdatter Men’s Shirts
Karen Larsdatter Women’s Smocks
Le Ménagier de Paris: Paola Fabbri says this was the most helpful text for her, even though it is from 1393 and she focuses on the 1400s
Polycrates Hanged Getty M. 63
Anna Attiliani, Camisa Supportiva (2014)
Deventer Burgerscap, About Medieval Bra(shirt)s and Other Underwear and “Making My Bra Shirt”

… more to come …

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Another complicated topic! Fourteenth-century hosen were long stockings, usually of woven cloth cut on the bias and sewed up the back of the leg, which usually had a built-in sole of fabric or leather (leather soles are painted in the Missale ad Usum Fratrum Minorum and mentioned in inventories eg. “i payre of Blake hosyn vampayed wth lether” “Inventory of Effects belonging to Sir John Fastolfe” p. 253 or the calze solate in Brandi, Abbigliamento a Rimini, pp. 64-67). They were cut long enough to hide the shirt and breeches with the shortest upper garment which they might be worn with, and tight enough to create as few wrinkles as possible. They could be laced to the belt or drawstring of the breeches (Hours of Catherine of Cleves), or to a separate belt, or to an overgarment which fit tightly in the belly (Charles du Blois garment in Lyon). These laces were designed to be hidden, not visible on the surface of the outer garment as in some later fashions. The problem is that no surviving hosen were designed to be worn with the mid-thigh-to-crotch-length upper garments which were fashionable among wealthy and warlike men, and that by definition the upper parts of these hosen were hidden. There is a handy summary of the different options and the earliest evidence for each in a blog post by Charlotte J, “Split and Joined Hose in the Late 14th Century.”

Hosen with multiple points on each leg were often unlaced at the back during vigorous movement. A number of paintings show a flap hanging down the back of each leg and the breeches exposed in this situation (Fior di Battaglia, Missale ad Usum Fratrum Minorum, sketches by Pisanello such as his Hanged Men and a sketch men-at-arms practicing). It was also common to unlace all the points and roll the hosen down to calf level, especially if the upper garment was long enough to avoid showing the breeches.

Sometimes the upper parts of hosen were lined with linen, which was sometimes cut on the bias like the hosen. (d’Arcq Nouveau recueil de comptes de l’argenterie p. 283/year 1386: costs of 11 pairs of scarlet hose include “toilles à garnir,” “A Wardrobe Account of 16–17 Richard II, 1393–4,” the flagellation of Christ by Luis Borrassa in the Museo de Goya in Zaragoza, How a Man Shall be Armed, 15th century paintings like the San Rocco by the Master of Ambrogio Sarceni). To the best of my knowledge, none of these linen linings survives.

English-speaking people usually get their information on the cut and fabric of 14th century hosen from Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450 and Woven Into the Earth/Norse Garments Reconstructed. Singman and McLean and Thursfield have modern advice for cutting and making them up. That said, hosen of kersey are mentioned in “A Wardrobe Account of 16–17 Richard II, 1393–4” and in the accounts of Thomas of Lancaster c. 1418-1421 (Woolgar, Household Accounts, p. 634) and in the 16th century kersey was a lightweight 2:2 twill woven especially for hosen, while the hosen fragments from 14th century London are of a plain weave. So the ‘working class’ hosen from London and Greenland may not tell the whole story.

… pictures to come …

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A complicated topic which I want to write more about! In a fourteenth-century context, I understand a doublet as a garment for the upper body which:
– Is worn over the shirt and under the coat, gown, or cloak.
– Is very strongly associated with wealthy young men or with soldiers.
– Is lined (doublé in French).
– Is most often covered with textiles made from linen, cotton, or silk (and not so often with wool or worsted).
– Is split from hem to collar at the front and fastened with laces or buttons. The opening up the front is very prominent with large buttons or spiral lacing.
– Has sleeves reaching to the wrist (and sometimes further) which fit closely from shoulder to wrist. The opening in the sleeves is much less prominent and often involves many tiny buttons reaching up to roughly the elbow.
– Is relatively short (somewhere between the crotch and the middle of the thigh)
– Fits very tightly in the hips and belly and creates a fashionable deep, rounded shape in the breast. There are often short slits in the bottom of the side seams for mobility.
– Often supports the hosen (and perhaps also the cuisses)
– Is stuffed with unspun silk or cotton, fabric scraps, multiple layers of linen, or a combination of these

Very similar garments can be called coats, jupons, aketons, gambesons, or pourpoints. I agree with Robert MacPherson that its wise to think about function, and that the tight fit of a doublet in the sleeves and belly suit it to particular functions which not all coats, aketons, etc. could fill. I am told that Italians tended to use either farsetto (Crabb, Merchant of Prato’s Wife) or words in the jupe or chope family such as zuparello for these garments (Mazzaoui, p. 99), but have not had the opportunity to explore clothing in texts from Italy.

The most fashionable shape of doublet from 1360-1410 is usually described as globulose-breasted, with a high narrow waist, rounded back and deep, wide chest. If you stare at artwork and focus on the transition between chest and belly, the presence or absence of a collar, and the length of the doublet you will notice a variety of subtypes.

Detail from a fresco in the Dominikanerkirche, Bolzen/Bolzano. Note the long doublet with a buttoned front and ‘bell-mouthed’ sleeves hanging over his hands, not to mention his fashionable open-topped shoes. I would guestimate the clothing in the rest of the fresco as from circa 1380-1400.

… Other paintings by Altichiero and Jacopo Avanzi …
… BNF Latin 757 Missale ad Usum Fratrum Minorum folio 286v (the wardrobe malfunction)
… Guiron le Courtoise, Queste del’ Saint Graal, …

More pictures to follow!

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Short Pleated Cloaks

Short pleated cloak worn by a soldier in the "Pharsalia" painted by Niccolò da Bologia in 1373 (Bib. Trivulziana MS 691 folio 86r).  Image courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art

Short pleated cloak worn by a soldier in the “Pharsalia” painted by Niccolò da Bologia in 1373 (Bib. Trivulziana MS 691 folio 86r). Image courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art

Short pleated cloak worn by a soldier in the Crucifixion by Altichiero, Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua (c. 1376-1379).  Ask me offline for my source.

Short pleated cloak worn by a soldier in the Crucifixion by Altichiero, Basilica di Sant’Antonio, Padua (c. 1376-1379). Ask me offline for my source.

Detail from a fresco by Altichiero in Padua in the 1370s or 1380s

Detail from a fresco by Altichiero in Padua in the 1370s or 1380s

Morgan MS. G.54 Der Wälsche Gast folio 6r (painted in Trier circa 1380) from see also

Morgan MS. G.54 Der Wälsche Gast folio 6r (painted in Trier circa 1380) from see also The openwork decoration on the uppers seems to be typically German.

Detail of Mellini, "Altichiero e Jacopo Avanzi" (1965) plate 93, Decollazione di S. Giacomo e Josia, Padova, Basilica del Santo, cappella di S. Giacomo

Detail of Mellini, “Altichiero e Jacopo Avanzi” (1965) plate 93, Decollazione di S. Giacomo e Josia, Padova, Basilica del Santo, cappella di S. Giacomo

BNF Latin 757 folio 355r (painted in Milan, circa 1385-1390, school of Giovanni di Benedetto da Como)

BNF Latin 757 folio 355r (painted in Milan, circa 1385-1390, school of Giovanni di Benedetto da Como)

A man dressed in gray with a pointed beard approaches a group of enthroned bishops

A short pleated cloak in the Way of Salvation painted by Andrea da Firenze (fl. 1343-1377)

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Hoods were a popular style of male headdress although not as dominant as in colder lands with less exposure to fashions from outside the area dominated by French culture. Several of the pictures under Short Pleated Cloaks show examples.

The hood with a long liripipe worn by a groom in BNF Français 343 folio 1r (painted in Milan in the 1380s). Cropped from a photo at or

A short pleated cloak and liripipe hood in the illustration for hops in a Taciunum Sanitatis (BNF NAL 1673 folio 29v).

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Most shoes seem to have gently pointed tips, without a long ‘pike’ in the ‘poulaine’ or ‘cracow’ style. Soled hosen seem very popular, at least among rich men. The method and place of fastening is not usually visible. The ankle opening seems to be at a similar place to modern men’s dress shoes, making them ‘shoes’ or low ‘ankle boots’ in the language of the Museum of London. Openwork decoration on the uppers seems to have been fashionable for men, especially north of the Alps.

Black is a very popular colour in art. I don’t know of any documentary evidence for the colour of shoes in Italy. It is possible that shoes were not commonly made in bulk and shipped long distances, so do not appear in merchants’ records. In 1480 Edward IV of England ordered shoes and boots of “black leather” and “tawney Spanish leather” (Shoes and Pattens p. 120) and an English Arthurian romance composed around 1410 mentions “A man… As blak As Ony Scho.” The Treatise of the Points of Worship in Arms mentions “A payre of shoen of red Lether thynne laced & fretted underneth wt whippecorde & persed, And above withinne Lyned wt Lynnen cloth three fyngers in brede double & byesse from the too an yncle above ye wriste.”

Pattens (wooden overshoes) appear in the Tacuinum Sanitatis in Paris but I do not know of other evidence for clogs and pattens in Italy. Olaf Goubitz gives the impression that few finds of shoes from Italy have been published, and says that clogs and pattens are rare archaeologically (p. 131), whether because they were less common, or because old clogs made good firewood.

Further Reading:

  • Francis Grew and Margarethe de Neergaard, Shoes and Pattens. Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 2. New edition. Boydell Press: Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2001. ISBN-13 978-1-84383-238-6
  • Olaf Goubitz, Stepping Through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times until 1800 (Stitchtig Promotie Archeologie: n.p., 2001) ISBN-13 978-90-8932-004-9
  • Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle, and Esther Cameron, Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York. The Archaeology of York, Volume 17 The Small Finds, Fasc. 16 Craft, Industry, and Everyday Life. York Archaeological Trust: Walmgate, York, 2003.
  • Quita Mould, “The Medieval Leather,” in C. Howard-Davis, The Carlisle Millennium Project: Excavations in Carlisle, 1998-2001, Volume 2: The Finds. (Oxford Archaeology North: Lancaster, 2009) pp. 841-858. ISBN 9780904220575.
  • Marquita Volken, Archaeological Footwear: Development of Shoe Patterns and Styles from Prehistory til the 1600’s (SPA Uitgevers, 2014) ISBN-13 978-9089321176
  • Marquita Volken, “Arming Shoes of the Fifteenth Century,” Acta Periodica Duellatorum 5.2 (December 2017) pp. 25-45

Examples of shoed feet on the Pistoia Altarpiece. Photo courtesy of Hugh McDonald

Shoes worn by soldiers in a manuscript painted by Niccolò da Bologna in 1373 (Bib. Trivulziana, MS Triv. 691 folio 119r). Courtesy of manus online

Detail of shoes worn by soldiers in a manuscript painted by Niccolò da Bologna in 1373 (Bib. Trivulziana, MS Triv. 691 folio 119r). These have openwork decoration which may have been fashionable north of the Alps at this time (eg. Photo courtesy of Web Gallery of Art

Shoes of a male donor in a late 14th century fresco in S. Giorgetto, Verona. Photo by Sean Manning, April 2017.

Shoes worn under greaves in BNF Latin 757 folio 76r. Photo courtesy of

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Bar mounts, D-shaped buckles, and various round mounts are all common archaeological finds. See figure 12 of Willemsen, ‘Man is a sack of muck girded with silver’ for a belt like the old soldier’s.

The belt of Lorenzo Acciaiuoli with a pentagonal buckle and heavy strap end.

The belt of Guiron le Courtoise in BNF Nouvelle acquisition française 5243

Another belt with bar mounts in Ms. Triv. 691 fol. 119r (Lucan de Bello Civile). You can find similar belts in the Chroniques de France in the British Library (BL Royal 20 C VII).

Belts fall into two general categories, a kind with a long dangling tail which was usually wrapped around the belt and tucked behind itself, and a kind with no visible tail worn around the hips. They could be of tanned leather, woven silk, or interlinked metal plaques, and decorated in many different ways.

To learn about belts and their metal fittings (mounts), see Egan and Prirchard, Dress Accessories, Willemsen ‘Man is a Sack of Muck Girdled with Silver’, Schnack, Lederfunde aus Schleswig, and databases of metal-detector finds like the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Leather belts and pewter or copper-alloy mounts survive well.

The heavy belts of silver or gilt plaques often show up in inventories, merchants’ records, and rhetoric about excess: there is some information in Stuard, Gilding the Market.

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The purse of a poor infantryman (armed only with a round shield and long baselard) in a painting by Altichiero in Padua in the 1370s. It probably has two loops enclosing the belt and a cover tied by two pairs of laces. Ask me offline for my source.

An example of a cloth purse with a circular frame. L. Paul Getty Museum, MS. Ludwig XV 13 (Fior di Battaglia, painted circa 1410), folio 6r, courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

A very rare ballock pouch in Italian art of this period (and an unusually wide, deep pouch in general). I suspect that he is supposed to be dressed alla tedesca. L. Paul Getty Museum, MS. Ludwig XV 13 (Fior di Battaglia, painted circa 1410), folio 6r, courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

… more pictures to follow …

People in the trecento hung a variety of cloth or leather bags from their belt to carry small objects, or used them to project objects in storage. Painters usually show no more than one, while a variety of pouches and bags, often rather plain, are found by archaeologists.

Leatherworkers usually rely on Goubitz, “Purses in Pieces” to reconstruct late medieval leather purses. The problem is that this book relies in 15th and 16th century Dutch finds, and purses in trecento Italian art look very different from purses in 15th and 16th century Dutch art. The Dutch enjoyed the bawdy humour of a purse with two large lumps worn over the crotch (and often supporting a long, hard, stiff dagger with a phallic hilt) but Italians usually cut their purses and carved their hilts differently and usually wore both at the hip. I would therefore recommend caution in using this as a source to understand purses in Italy.

Goubitz also warns that many purses probably combined textiles, tanned leathers, and hides treated in other ways, but that only the tanned leather part has much chance of surviving in the ground.

Karen Larsdatter has a page on Medieval and Renaissance Pouches and Purses, but again its important to remember that fashions were quite different in different parts of Europe. There are some rectangular and round drawstring pouches in Schnack, “Lederfunde aus Schleswig.”

Leather purses often had a variety of pewter, brass, silver, gold, or gilt fittings. Photos of a wide variety are available in Willemsen, Decorative Mounts on Belts and Purses. These fittings are commonly found by metal detectors, so many private collections contain some.

… more to come … other styles of bag and purse …

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Knives (Working)

Knives are very easy to study, since they commonly appear in merchants’ records and paintings of banquets, city life, and saints who were martyred with one. The iron parts also survive well. The Museum of London has a book on Knives and Scabbards (ISBN-13 9780851158051) with several hundred late medieval knives, Holtmann has a dissertation with 1300, Ottaway and Rogers, Craft, Industry, and Everyday Life, pp. 2751-2793 analyze 235 knives from York, and Karen Larsdatter has a page on Cutlery; there are a few knives in Davis, Excavations in Carlisle, Vol. 2 pp. 746-749 and information on scabbards in Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York.

St. Bartholomew with a flaying knife, in a painting by the Maestro della Madonna della Misericordia in the Castelvecchio, Verona (late 14th century). The black grip studded with brass nails is extremely common in late 14th century Italy.

A knife held by a saint in St. Anastasia, Verona

Sets of knives in a single scabbard were very popular for both wear and storage in the kitchen or the workshop. Datini carried them, and a few survive, such as British Museum 1855,1201.118 On the other hands, cases for a knife and a poking tool (Fr. poinson) are hard to find in archaeology from in this period, although a student who died on the road to Paris in 1347 had one (de la Marche “Le Bagage d’un étudiant en 1347” pp. 180-182).

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Knives (Fighting)

Wealthy men and soldiers often wore a fighting knife or dagger (daga, pugnale, coltello). Italian art usually shows the dagger at the right hip (not in front of the crotch) and blades of modest length (not the 12″ or more which was fashionable in the late 15th and early 16th century).

Three families of daggers have well-recognized names today. Baselards have a crossguard above and below the hand, and the guards and tang are all of scale construction. Some Italians today call them pugnali a doppio T but the name basolardi is mentioned in the archivo Datini di Prato and is usually assumed to have meant the same thing as the modern collector’s term baselard. They tend to be big by 14th century standards, with at least 10″( 25 cm) of blade. Sometimes the tips of the guard farthest from the point was bent away from the hand, and sometimes the blade was very long; these long baselards were often worn at the left hip like a sword and had a unique suspension system (Matricula Societatis Fabrorum Civitatis Bononiae, Altichiero, Niccolò da Bologna). Baselards seem to be associated with soldiers and with poorer men, and the grip scales are usually black in art (horn? stained wood?) The membership roll of the society of smiths of Bologna shows cutlers selling baselards with studded hilts next to working knives. Marco Vignola has published a booklet on the basilard in Italy.

One-disc rondel daggers have a disc instead of a crossguard and a flared butt or rounded pommel. One survives in the Higgins Collection, Worchester Art Museum, accession number 1999.02.2. The rondel dagger with flat discs above and below the hand seems to have been more popular in the 15th century, although they occasionally appear in English brasses from the 1380s onwards.

Quillion daggers, built like a cruciform sword with a double-edged blade, crossguard inserted through the tang, and pommel inserted onto the tang, are very rare in North Italian art: the only example which comes to mind is the slab of Giacomo Provana (d. 1382) in Torino.

A variety of other daggers were used which do not have a widely-known name today, including a type where both crossguards were curved away from the hand or replaced with round ornaments (Lorenzo Acciaiuoli) and a type with a short, thick crossguard which may be made from soft materials instead of forged from iron and inserted over the tang (St. Sigismund in Verona). Both these styles and the one-disc rondel daggers seem to have been more popular with civilians and the very rich, and artists usually show them with white grips and guards (ivory? bone? pale wood such as yew?)

The irons of several baselards from this period survive in the Castelvecchio, Verona (two basilards, another) and there is one in the Allen collection, W-18. The Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Köln, has a baselard as inventory number R-32, and the Royal Armouries, Leeds, has another baselard as object X.297.

British Museum, museum number 1854,0424.2 has a short iron blade and one rondel made from the same wood as the grip and pommel, while Royal Armouries, Leeds, object number X.601 seems to have a rondel of ferrous and copper alloys, and X.1708 has a grip and two rondels each made up of a separate piece of wood. Quite a few daggers with hilts and guards carved in one piece are in British museums, mostly in the ‘ballock dagger’ style which was popular around the North Sea, such as Royal Armouries, Leeds, X.1744 and X.225. Many of these surviving daggers date long after the period discussed on this page!

The daggers of men-at-arms and civilians are usually of modest length with the blade no more than twice as long as the handle, perhaps 6″ to 8″ (2 palms) long. The blades usually appear narrow and tapered. Because of the short light blades, daggers often hung horizontally, or even with the grip below the point, when they were not supported by the straps of a purse.

Information on scabbards and suspensions can be found under Knives (Eating). Tod Todeschini, a craftsman who specializes in late medieval and early modern cutlery, has a bibliography on his English Cutler website including Luciano Salvatici ed., “Posate, Pugnali et Colteli da Caccia del Museo Nazionale del Bargello” and Harjula’s Sheaths, Scabbards, and Grip Coverings.

As always, click on the following photos to enlarge them.

Source Date Photo By Picture
Effigy of Niccolo Acciaiuoli
died 1365 Bildindex
Slab of Lorenzo Acciaiuoli
??? Me
Bibliotheque nationale du France, MS. Nouvelle Acquisition Française 5243 folio 26r
Said to have been painted between 1370 and 1380 Gallica
Painting of St. George, San Giorgetto, Verona
After 1360 by style of art Me
Statue of St. Sigismund (S. SIGISMONDO) on the tomb of Cansignorio della Scala, Verona
Begun in 1370, completed in 1376 Me
Statue of St. Louis of France (.S. ALUIXIUS REX) on the tomb of Cansignorio della Scala, Verona
Begun in 1370, completed in 1376 Me
Statue of St. George on the tomb of Cansignorio della Scala, Verona
Begun in 1370, completed in 1376 Me
Bibliotheca Trivulziana, MS. 691 Lucanus de Bello Civile fol. 87r
Postscript says that it was finished in 1373 Web Gallery of Art
Bibliotheca Trivulziana, MS. 691 Lucanus de Bello Civile fol. 119r
Postscript says that it was finished in 1373 Manus Online
Painting by Altichiero in Padua
1370s Ask me offline
BNF Latin 757 Missale ad Usum Fratrum Minorum fol. 57v
Said to date 1385-1390 Gallica
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, object Gm1
Said to date 1400-1420 My photo

Many more paintings of daggers can be found in BNF Latin 757. The painters of this manuscript were very interested in belts and fittings and colours, even though miniature paintings provide less detail about shapes than large sculptures.

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Swords and Sheaths

A picture of three engraved brasses showing the sword belts of knights. All of the swords hang upright, one from a hip belt, one from a belt which wraps around a high waist at the right to a low hip on the left, and one from two short angled straps attached to a hip belt

Three common ways of wearing a sword in western European art, 1360-1410. Left: From a hip belt (brass of Ralph de Knevynton: St Michael’s Church, Aveley, Essex, England). Middle: From a slanted belt (brass of William Loveny: Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wendens Ambo, Essex, England). Right: From a hip belt on two short straps (brass of Sir John de St Quintin: Church of St. Mary, Brandesburton, England). Images courtesy of Effigies and Brasses (middle) and the Medieval Combat Society (left, and right).

This is not the place to talk about 14th century swords, but rather to discuss a mystery.

Between 1360 and 1410, by far the most common way to wear a sword was vertically from a hip belt. In this mechanism, there are usually no signs of short diagonal straps to control the position of the sword. How the sheath is attached to the hip belt is usually invisible, so it was probably hidden on the back of the scabbard. No scabbards with this suspension mechanism have been identified, but a handful of throats for sheaths with staples to take a single strap survive (eg. Portable Antiquities Scheme ESS-D85B66), and knives in this period were usually suspended from thongs looped over the belt and knotted closed. Another possibility is a ring on the scabbard and a hook on the belt: the Ewart Oakeshott collection once contained a fragment of a plaque belt with several plaques and a hook dangling below the main belt (The Archaeology of Weapons, plate 13a). This solution does not dangle gracefully behind the wearer like we expect a sword to hang, but it seems to have been the most common solution in this period.

Detail of the scabbard worn by St. George in the Museo Diocesiano in Mantua. Inv. no. 418/Cattedrale. Said to be by Jacopo e Pietro Paolo dalle Masegne.

Some other mechanisms appear in art. Sometimes the scabbard seems to be attached directly to the skirt of the cuirass, as in a statue of St. George in Mantua or several English paintings in Armour of the English Knight (British Library Royal MS 20.C.viii Tree of Battles, Bodleian MS. Auct. D.inf.2.11.Saints, fol. 44v). Sometimes the sword is attached to a belt which slants from the right waist to the left hip. Sometimes the scabbard is attached to the hip belt with two short straps or chains, one at the front edge and one at the back edge. A knife with a copper-alloy locket with two horizontal rings on the back survives in Salisbury. In all of these solutions, the scabbard usually has an elabourate metal throat, and the sword hangs upright or tilts slightly forward.

Beginning around 1380, a very small number of paintings show swords hanging at an angle from a waist belt (Altichiero’s frescos in Padua, Padua Picture Bible, Getty Fior di Battaglia). A secondary strap reaches from the small of the back to 1/3 or 1/4 down the sword, raising the tip of the scabbard off the ground. This type of belt is very popular with scabbardmakers today, and very rare in art from 1360 to 1410, especially outside the area around Venice and Padua.

The sword, scabbard, and belt from the grave of Bishop Gerhard von Schwartzburg (d. 9 November 1400) are preserved in the Domschatz, Würzburg DE (Oakeshott Type XV or XVI, overall length 100 cm, blade length 77 cm, photo in Jahn, Schumann, and Brochkoff, Edel und Frei, pp.180-181; I thank Roland Warzecha and Holger Heid for the reference). The one hung over the tomb of Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince (d. 1376), just consists of a leather cover and square gold or gilt ornaments with no throat or chape and no wooden core (Anonymous, The Times of Edward the Black Prince p. 21): presumably the heavy silver or copper gilt throat was stolen and melted down long ago. The sword of Emperor Sigismund I for the Order of the Dragon (c. 1433: KHM Wien, Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, A 49) has a “pressed leather” scabbard and a chape but no throat/locket. Various websites mention scabbards or scabbard fittings in the Museum für Franken in Würzburg and a “St. George’s sword” in the Museum Schnütgen in Köln.

Broadly speaking, medieval scabbards for swords were made from two wooden slats wrapped in a sheet of vegetable-tanned calfskin, with additional layers sometimes added between wood and steel or wood and leather. There is a great deal of evidence for scabbards in the late 13th and early 14th century, including hundreds of leather covers for sheaths in Schleswig (Schnack Lederfunde) and Leiden (van Driel-Murray, Sword Sheaths from Leiden), the early 13th century ‘belt of St. Hadrian’ at the Historisches Museum, Bamberg, the swords and scabbards of Fernando de la Cerda (d. 1270: narrow thongs laced through the scabbard cover) and Sancho IV el Bravo of Castille (d. 1295: Z-shaped leather) in Spain, the sword and scabbard mounts from the sarcophagus of Cangrande della Scala (d. 1329: three small rings on the sides of the scabbard) in the Castelvecchio, Verona, and a sword and set of silver scabbard fittings from Westminister Bridge (Museum of London, ID 52.12(1) and 52.12(2)). Scabbard leather A3678 in the Museum of London probably dates to this earlier period, but other scabbards and scabbard leathers in the same museum may be later (22347, A24815, A26748, A26703, etc.)

Studies by Geibig and Esther Cameron (Leather and Leatherworking in York pp. 3366ff) are helpful for understanding the ancestors of this form of scabbard; Roland Warzecha is working intensely on scabbards and suspensions from the 9th and 10th century as part of his Viking shield fighting project.

Scabbards were made in very similar ways from the early middle ages into the 19th century, and a number of texts describe the process. In order, we have the rule of the armourers and scabbardmakers of Angers (1488, see items 11 and 12), the rule of the fourbisseurs of Paris from 1486 and 1566 (item 21), a description by Randle Holme from 1688 (The Academy of Armory, or, A Storehouse of Armory and Blazon book 3 p. 91 “Draw out the Scale. / Rash it even. / Lining of the Scabbard, is the Linnen or Woollen Cloth in the inner side of the Scabbard. / Bind it up and glew it, is to tye the two sides of the scale when lined, together, the Blade being between. / Cover it with leather.”), and finally in Diderot’s Encyclopedie in the 18th century (the French entries for fourbisseur and fourbisserie are available online, and translated in J.D. Aylward, The Small Sword in England [quoted on Will’s Commonplace Book]. A.V.B. Norman summarizes several descriptions of the process in French guild rules in The Rapier and Small-Sword p. 304. These sources mostly say that the wood core should be of beechwood (fagus sylvatica) and the covering of calfskin.

It was very common to carry the sword in hand with the belt wrapped around the scabbard rather than wear it (donors at Naumberg Cathedral, trial scene in Trivulziana MS. 691, BNF Français 343 fol. 4r, 32r, Getty Fior di Battaglia, gambling soldiers by Altichiero at Padua, crucifixion in Schloss Eggenberg, Graz). Bishop Gerhard’s sword still has the belt with buckle and strap-end (mordant) wrapped around the blade.

Scabbards for swords and fighting knives generally had chapes, and copper-alloy and silver chapes appear in many collections. Some are made from bent and slit sheets of metal, others were made from two cast shells soldered together. A round or nut-shaped ornament (knop) was sometimes soldered to the tip.

  • Ottaway and Rogers, Craft, Industry, and Everyday Life p. 2094
  • The Gaukler Collection (the items he is willing to sell are listed at )
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme LANCUM-886FEF Sheet copper-alloy rolled with a knop applied to the point, no visible fastening at the seam
  • [*]Portable Antiquities Scheme SWYOR-601C96 Sheet copper-alloy 0.6 mm thick rolled around the tip of the scabbard, overlapped and soldered closed, the tip slit and folded together
  • [*] Portable Antiquities Scheme NLM-974F94 here the sheet is 0.5 mm thick
  • [*] Portable Antiquities Scheme OXON-E75F00 ugly but they are explicit that the lapped seam was soldered and then the knop was soldered in place
  • [*] Portable Antiquities Scheme SUR-997ED7 Some engraved decoration, and the seam is nice and solid
  • [*] Portable Antiquities Scheme PUBLIC-F103E8 U-shaped chape, again from folded and slit copperalloy sheet
  • [*] Portable Antiquities Scheme DENO-265393 This is like a five-sided box but there are the remains of iron rivets in holes; a few other chapes have single or paired rivet holes near the upper edge
  • [*] Portable Antiquities Scheme BERK-85F302 a (cast?) ‘half clamshell’, I would bet that it was brazed or soldered to a matching half and fell apart at some point

Chapes in the Gaukler collection are often 0.018″ (0.46 mm) or 0.032″ (0.8 mm) thick.

… in progress, illustrations will come later …

Because this style of suspension is hidden between sword and body, and no surviving examples are known, understanding of this topic has been built up over decades by researchers such as Mark Shier, Will McLean, and Ian LaSpina.

Back to table of contents ⇑


In the later middle ages, a “bed” was normally the covers, sheets, matresses, and other removable parts. The bed frame or bedstead itself was rarely mentioned since it was cheap and rarely bought or sold. As with tables and other furniture, the wooden parts were seen as less significant than the things placed on top of them. Respectable beds contained many of the same elements we expect today- matresses, sheets, a bedcover (coverlet, coverture, sometimes quilted for warmth), pillows- but of different shapes and materials- matresses were often stuffed with green branches, pillows were often cylindrical, and bed linens were really linen! Less respectable beds, and beds in cold regions like Norway, could be more primitive (article in Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe, William Patten, The Expedicion into Scotlande).

… more to come …

Back to table of contents ⇑


  • Marko Aleksić, Mediaeval Swords from Southeastern Europe: Material from 12th to 15th Century (Belgrade: Duraplast, 2007)
  • Thomas Amyot, “Transcript of Two Rolls, Containing an Inventory of Effects formerly Belonging to Sir John Fastolfe.” Archaeologia XXI (1826) pp. 1-50 {this inventory from, probably, 1459 is in English and records everything someone very rich owned}
  • Anonymous, Le Ménagier de Paris (Paris, 1393). This unfinished treatise for women on household management (what Xenophon called oikonomia) addresses clothing and its repair and maintenance as well as #cooking, medicine, gardening, food preservation, and sex. The editio princeps was Jérôme Pichon (ed.), Traité de morale et d’économie domestique composé vers 1393 par un bourgeois parisien. 2 volumes. Paris: Imprimerie Crapelet, 1846-1847 and is available on gallica and the Internet Archive. There are translations in Eileen Power, The Goodman of Paris (1928; selective, excerpts on the Internet Medieval Sourcebook) and Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose, The Good Wife’s Guide: Le Ménagies de Paris, A Medieval Household Book (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009)
  • Anonymous, The Times of Edward the Black Prince: Replicas of his Achievements: Knights of the Gartet, Past and Present. Canterbury Papers No. 8 (The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral: Canterbury, 1954) {more information on the achievements of Edward of Woodstock and the construction of replicas to hang over his tomb}
  • Tina Anderlini, “The Shirt Attributed to St. Louis,” in Robin Netherton and Gale Owen-Crocker (eds.), Medieval Dress and Textiles 11 (2015) pp. 49-78 {there is a lot of information about this garment floating around online in English, including including an article by Heather Rose Jones, but this is the first study based on taking the shirt out of its case, and it turns out that modern stitches and hangers made it hard to understand the construction of this garment without laying it flat and handling it}
  • Janet Arnold, “The Jupon or Coat-Armour of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral,” Journal of the Church Monuments Society VIII (1993) pp. 12-22
  • Ruth Matilda Anderson, Hispanic Costume 1480-1530. Hispanic Society of America, New York, 1979. Isbn 87535-126-3. {very important paraphrases of early 16th century tailors and hosiers’ rules from Seville and Grenada … as far as I know, these sources have never been fully published (!)}
  • Louis Douet d’Arcq ed., Comptes de l’argenterie des rois de France au XIVe Siecle. Jules Renouard: Paris, 1851. and Nouveau recueil de comptes de l’argenterie des rois de France Jules Renouard: Paris, 1874. {some information on clothing is buried among other information eg. vol. 1 pp. 142-144, vol. 2 pages 150, 151}
  • Katherine Barich and Marion McNealy, Drei Schnittbücher: Three Austrian Master Tailor Books of the 16th Century (Nadel und Faden Press, 2015) {cutting plans and suggested materials for a variety of garments from late in the 16th century, with a detailed commentary … some important 14th century cuts are missing, but it shows a way of thinking about how to use fabric and some cuts which are good fits for garments in art. There are not as many measurements on the diagrams as in Spanish examples, but you can often use the width of the cloth as a yardstick. Facsimiles of the printed books by Diego de Freyle, Juan de Alcega, and Francisco de Burguen are much harder to obtain but digital editions are sometimes available}
  • W. Paley Baildon, “XXII.—A Wardrobe Account of 16–17 Richard II, 1393–4,” Archaeologia, Vol. 62 No. 2 (1911) pp. 497-514 {many lists of materials used to make specific garments for an English lord– probably Roger Mortimer the 4th Earl of March, say the latest books}
  • Claude Blair, “The Word ‘Baselard,'” Journal of the Arms and Armour Society XI.4 (1984), pp. 193-206, pl. XLVI, XLVII
  • Elisa Tosi Brandi, Abbigliamento e Società a Rimini nel XV Secolo (Panozzo Editore: Rimini, 2000) {summary of 99 inventories from Rimini dating between 1400 and 1468, with comments on the social context, sumptuary laws, etc. One of these is a wool draper’s shop (with full transcription!), two belong to men-at-arms. Her Italian is not complicated.}
  • Dorothy K. Burnham, Cut my Cote (1973) {the standard introduction to clothing assembled from rectangles and triangles, allowing almost all of the fabric to be used … in Datini’s world most clothing was probably assembled in other ways, but triangle-and-rectangle construction was still widespread in rural Europe at the beginning of the 20th century}
  • Cennino Cennini, Il Libro dell’ Arte. This treatise on painting, written before 1437 (possibly in the 1390s?), contains valuable material on block printing, painting textiles, materials used for different trades, and a way of approaching problems. Gaetano and Carlo Milanesi’s Italian text from 1867 is available on the Hathi Trust; the D.V. Thompson translation is available in an affordable reprint from Dover or free as HTML; the latest edition and translation is Lara Broecke, Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro dell’Arte: A new English translation and commentary with Italian transcription (Archetype Publications, 2015) ISBN-13 978-1909492288.
  • Camille Couderc, Les comptes d’un grand couturier parisien du XVe siècle (Paris: n.p., 1911) {Begins in the 1420s and not tremendously exciting (more summaries than complete lists of materials for specific garments)}
  • J. Cowgill, M. de Neergaard, and P. Wilthew, Knives and Scabbards. Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: 1. Boydell Press: Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2000. {The basic reference on knives, sheaths, shears, and scissors from the 12th to the 15th century, with many measurements and B&W drawings}
  • Ann Crabb, The Merchant of Prato’s Wife (University of Michigan Press, 2015) ISBN 978-0-472-11949-3 {basically a book of social history, and tends to summarize rather than quote sources, but many details about how clothing fit into everyday life}
  • Elizabeth Crowfoot, “The Clothing of a Fourteenth-Century Nubian Bishop.” In Veronika Gervers eds., Studies in Textile History in Memory of Harold B. Burnham (Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1977) OCLC 4035631 {Grave of Bishop Timotheos of Ibrîm in Nubia who took office, according to the scroll deposited in the tomb, in 1372. Where in wet sites from Europe the wool survives and the linen is lost, here the linen and cotton survived and the wool was devoured by insects! The grave goods include a tunic, hooded oval cloak, trousers, and woven belt}
  • Chrétien Dehaisnes, Documents et extraits diverses concernant l’histoire de l’Art (Lille: L. Daniel, 1886) volume 1 {mostly on books, armour, goldsmith’s work, and other durable goods but there are some banners and other tailor’s work}
  • Carol van Driel-Murray “Fourteenth-century sword sheaths from Leiden city centre.” In Quita Mould (ed.) Leather in Warfare: Attack, Defence and the Unexpected. (Leeds: Royal Armouries Museum, 2017) pp. 34-47 {the leathers of sword sheaths, probably mostly from the early 14th century}
  • Geoff Egan and Frances Pritchard, Dress Accessories, 1150-1450. Medieval Finds from Excavations in London. London: HMSO, 1991. {Covers buckles and other metal mounts for leather, broaches, rings, buttons, needlecases, combs, girdles and straps, pouches, and mirrors in cases}
  • Joan Evans, Dress in Mediaeval France. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952. {one of the last works in the antiquarian tradition, this book is a good guide to medieval texts to track down and read in the original language … be careful of her paraphrases of the sources, and remember that she was writing when few surviving garments and textile fragments had been published}
  • Guilhelm Ferrand with help from Jean-Pierre Garcia, Les inventaires après décès de la ville de Dijon à la fin du Moyen Âge (1390-1459). Tome I : 1390-1408 (Méridiennes Presses Universitaires du Midi: Tolouse, 2018) ISBN-13 978-2-8107-0544-3 {for 25 Euros you get 660 pages of nice detailed technical sources, what are you waiting for? You can buy it direct from the publisher or find it on Bookfinder}
  • Ilse Fingerlin, Gürtel des hohen und späten Mittelalters. Kunstwissenschaftliche Studien, Bd. 46. München: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1971. {Robert Macpherson tentatively recommends it as a typology of belt furniture}
  • Jessica Finley, “The Lübeck Wappenröcke: Distinctive Style in Fifteenth-Century German Fabric Armor.” In Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker (eds.), Medieval Clothing and Textiles 13 (Boydell and Brewer, 2017) pp. 121-152
  • Édouard Forestié, Les Livres de comptes des frères Bonis, marchands montalbanais du XIVe siècle. Archives Historiques de la Gascogne, Fasc. XX, XXIII, XXVI. Honore Champion and Cocharaux Frères: Paris and Auch, 1890 and 1893 and 1894. {The accounts of this family of drapers list the cloth sold to make specific garments for specific people in specific years; the editor collected references to specific garments, suggested French equivalents of Occitan words, and researched weights, measures, etc.}.
  • François-Alexandre-Pierre de Garsault, Art du Tailleur (1769) English translation of the section on men’s shirts {more detailed than the Austrian and Spanish books from the 16th century, since the author was a scholar trying to explain the art to a wide audience}
  • François-Alexandre-Pierre de Garsault, L’Art de la Lingere (1771) {instructions for men’s (p. 44, pl. III) and women’s shirts and other linens, and he defines all the different stitches with diagrams}
  • Victor Gay, Glossaire Archéologique du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance. Paris: Libraire de la Société Archéologique, 1887. Tome 1 A-G and Tome 2 H-Z have been scanned. {A collection of excerpts from written sources, mostly from France and all in the original language. Useful entries include Armurier, Bourras, Bourreau (related to bourre ‘stuffing’), Chape, Chapron, Chausses, Doublet A. Vetir, Gipe, Gipon (jupon), Gonne, Gambeson, Harnais, Hoqueton (ie. aketon) … Pourpoint
  • A. Geibig, Beiträge zur morphologischen Entwicklung des Schwertes im Mittelalter. Eine Analyse des Fundmaterials von ausgehenden 8. bis 12. Jahrhundert aus Sammlungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Offa-Bücher 71. Neumünster, 1991. {non vidi; pp. 104 ff. discuss scabbards from this early period}
  • Veronika Gervers, “Medieval Garments in the Mediterranean World.” In N.B. Harte and K.G. Ponting (eds.), Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe. Pasold Studies in Textile History 2 (London: Heinemann, 1983) pp. 298-315 {very important diagrams of surviving garments, although their current location and museum number are not always clear}
  • Matthew Gnagy, The Modern Maker Vol. 1: Men’s 17th Century Doublets (self-published, 2014) ISBN-13 978-0692264843 {for the purposes of this project, use it for the lessons in how to draft a pattern using two or three measurements, and the advice on efficiently making clothing by hand … most of the techniques taught and materials chosen are more applicable to 16th century and later fashions, but Gnagy is a trained suitmaker in a field where most makers are self-taught}
  • Olaf Goubitz, Purses in Pieces: Archaeological Finds of Late Medieval and 16th Century Leather Purses, Pouches, Bags and Cases in the Netherlands. 2nd Edition. SPA Uitgevers: 2009. ISBN-13 978-9089320148 {Covers purses, pouches, wallets, bags, and leather cases with a removable lid sliding on cords (etuis) from the Netherlands, with some references to objects as early as the Roman period and as late as the 20th century}
  • Janne Harjula, Sheaths, Scabbards and Grip Coverings: Use of Leather for Portable Personal Objects in 14th-16th Century Turku (SKAS, 2006) ISBN-13 978-9519680149
  • Adrien Harmand, Jeanne d’Arc, son costume, son armure: essai de reconstitution (Paris: Editions Leroux: Paris, 1929) {many, many modern patterns derive from this obscure book, which also contains the most detailed publication of the cloth-of-gold pourpoint of Charles du Blois}
  • Maria Hayward (ed.), The Great Wardrobe Accounts of Henry VII and Henry VIII (London Record Society, 2012) ISBN-13 9780900952524 {covers the years 1498/1499 and 1510/1511, as well as the section of the 1544 account relating to Henry VIII’s campaign in France}
  • Constance B. Hieatt, Brenda Hosington, and Sharon Butler, Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks. Second Edition. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1996. #cooking
  • Ada Bruhn Hoffmeyer, Middelalderens Tvaeggede Svaerd (PhD Dissertation, Copenhagen, 1954) {the pioneering typology of the medieval #sword, unfortunately it was never printed or translated into a world language}
  • Gerhard Folke Wulf Holtmann, Untersuchung zu mittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Messern. Dissertationsschrift, Fachbereich Historisch-Philologische Wissenschaften, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen {a study of 1300 knives from the Germanic world with line drawings}
  • Christine Howard-Davis (ed.) The Carlisle Millennium Project: Excavations in Carlisle, 1998-2001, Volume 2: The Finds. Oxford Archaeology North: Lancaster, 2009. ISBN 9780904220575
  • Wolfgang Jahn, Jutta Schumann, Evamaria Brockhoff (eds.), Edel und Frei. Franken im Mittelalter. Veröffentlichungen zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur 47/04 (Augsburg 2004) ISBN 3-927233-91-9
  • Sophie Jolivet, Pour soi vêtir honnêtement à la cour de monseigneur le duc de Bourgogne, Costume et dispositif vestimentaire à la cour de Philippe le Bon de 1430 à 1455. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Université de Bourgogne, 2003. {I have not read this in full (the focus is too late), but check out the et un garde-corps de cuir de cerf pour vêtir sur son pourpoint à armer on page 242 and similarly on page 271}
  • Elizabeth Jones, “Farsetto Construction of the Italian Renaissance (1425-1470)” (2002) {useful Italian and English bibliography with summary for English speakers, strongest on documents and art and on her own experiences imitating these garments}
  • Heather Rose Jones, “Another Look at St. Louis’ Shirt” (2004) {good suppliment to Burnham’s diagram of the shirt of St. Louis, but now see the study by Tina Anderlini who was allowed to handle the original}
  • Katrin Kania, Kleidung im Mittelalter: Materialien – Konstruktion – Nähtechnik: ein Handbuch (Böhlau Verlag: Wien und Köln, 2010) {well cited and offers a reasonable method of reproducing single and double (not quilted or stuffed) garments without modern tools like measuring tapes or paper patterns, but narrowly focused on surviving artifacts at the expense of texts and art. This is a book which tells you about the oldest surviving cotton fabric in the world and slippers stuffed with raw cotton from the Tang dynasty, but not that there was a growing industry weaving half-cotton fabrics north of the Alps by the 14th century, what they were called, how much they costed, or what parts of what garments were made from them- and that is a problem beacause these fabrics were once common but rarely survive.}
  • Claudia Kusch, Patrizia Mignani, Raffaella Pozzi (eds.), Redire 1427-2009. Ritorno alla luce. Il restauro del Farsetto di Pandolfo III Malatesti. I Quaderni del museo, 2. Museo Civico di Fano: Fano, IT, 2009. {the conservation report on a doublet from a 15th century tomb in Italy, I have not seen this but there is an English summary by Andrea Carloni}
  • L.E.S.J. Laborde, Ducs de Bourgogne: études sur les lettres, les artes et l’industrie pendant le XVe siècle et plus particulèrement dans le Pays-Bas et le duché de Bourgogne, Tome 1 {miscellaneous expenses from the 1380s onwards, note the payment to Chretien de Pisan on page 16}
  • Maurice Leloir, “A Mediaeval Doublet,” Apollo: The International Magazine of the Arts Vol. 23 Nr. 135 (March 1936) pp. 157-160 {the most important publication in English on the pourpoint of Charles du Blois, with measurements and a pattern taken off the garment different from the pattern in Harmand}
  • René de Lespinasse ed., Les métiers et corporations de la ville de Paris: XIVe-XVIIIe siècles. Tissus, étoffes, vêtements, cuirs et peaux, métiers divers (Imprimerie Nationale: Paris, 1886-1897). {Check out tailors pp. 178ff, pourpontiers pp. 205ff, friperers (who refurbished and resold old clothes) pp. 421ff}
  • Rex Lingwood, “John Waterer and the ‘Cuir Bouilli’ Confusion,” https://makersgallery.we cacom/rexlingwood/waterer.html {argues that surviving hardened leather objects from Europe fall into two families produced by two different processes, and that we can’t assume that either existed since time immemorial}
  • Sir James Gow Mann, The Funeral Achievements of Edward the Black Prince. 3rd ed., rev. London: Clowes, 1951. OCLC 931194576 {this booklet describes the great helm, coat armour, sheath, shield, and gauntlets which were displayed with his tomb in Canterbury Cathedral until they were replaced by replicas in 1954}
  • Albert Lecoy de la Marche, “Le Bagage d’un étudiant en 1347,” Mémoires de la Société nationale des antiquaires de France (1889) 5e Série 10e Tome ( = Tome 50) pp. 162-182 {a student from Paris died suddenly on the road on 6 November 1347, and after one look through his saddlebags they decided to inventory his property very carefully}
  • S.M. Margeson, Norwich Households: Medieval and Post-Medieval Finds from Norwich Survey Excavations 1971-78. East Anglian Archaeology 58. Norwich Survey: Norwich, 1993. ISBN: 952069504 {miscellaneous catalogue from a dry site, basic commentary on classes of finds such as aiglets}
  • Maureen Fennell Mazzaoui, The Italian Cotton Industry in the Later Middle Ages, 1100-1600 (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1981) ISBN 9780521089609 {essential reading for anyone interested in trecento clothing, especially the raw materials and guild regulations}
  • M. J. de Mendonca, O Loudel do Rei D. Joao I. Lisboa (1973) {Conservation report on same garment described by Teixara 1999. Said to consist of “a few layers of linen with combed wool quilted in between, and it had a green woolen fabric as outer shell.”}
  • Arkadiusz Michalak et al., “A fourteenth century Baselard from Lake Ostrowite in Northern Poland,” Acta Militaria Mediaevalia XIII (2017) pp. 165-180 {on a quillion dagger with a well-made copper-alloy chape and locket}
  • Luca Mola, The Silk Industry in Renaissance Venice (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000) {non vidi set Gregorius Mele condiscipulis comendat, addresses the lower grades of silk cloth as well as the famous patterned weaves, satins, and velvets won by the richest}
  • Michel Mollat (ed.), Comptes généraux de l’Etat bourguignon entre 1416 et 1420 (Paris: Imprimerie nationale/Libraire C. Klincksieck, 1965-1966). {the prèmier partie (1965) page 197 is said to talk about pourpoints stuffed with cotton}
  • Giovanni Monticolo (ed.), I capitolari delle arti veneziane: sottoposte alla giustizia e poi alla giustizia vecchia dalle origini al MCCCXXX (Roma: Tipografo del Senato, 1896) #documents #regulations {the rules of the zuparii (makers of quilted clothing) of Venice from 1219 onwards; the scan on Google Books is not usable}
  • Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle, and Esther Cameron (eds.) Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York. The Archaeology of York, Volume 17 The Small Finds, Fasc. 16 Craft, Industry, and Everyday Life. York Archaeological Trust: Walmgate, York, 2003. {sword sheaths are mostly before this period but show the development and the stitching is well described}
  • John H. Munro, “The anti-red shift– to the ‘Dark Side’: Colour changes in Flemish luxury woollens, 1300 – 1550.” Medieval Clothing and Textiles, Vol. 3, No. 1 (2007) pp. 55-98 {study of the colours of cloth purchased by Flemish towns based on exhaustive archival research … I wish he made the basis for his statements about the width of cloths and length of different yards and ells clearer, but this reflects 40 years of thought and research and he was very generous to make it available for free before his death in 2013. Notably, he rejects the idea that black cloth was expensive: in the archives he has read, the expensive colours were ‘scarlet’ and ‘in grain’ and the various blacks, browns, violets, blues, greens, and reds all had prices which were statistically indistinguishable from one another. You can get a sense for the kind of person he was on his faculty page}
  • John H. Munro, “The Medieval Scarlet and the Economics of Sartorial Splendour.” This was first published in a Gedenkschrift, namely N.B. Harte and K.G. Ponting (eds.), Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of Professor E.M. Carus-Wilson (Pasold Studies in Textile History 2) (Heinemann Educational Books: London, 1983) pp. 13-70 and reprinted in his collected articles (Textiles, Towns, and Trade: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Aldershot UK, 1994) {the standard article on the highest-quality woolen cloth known as scarlet, and its relationship to cloth dyed in grain (with kermes)}
  • Stella Mary Newton, Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340 to 1365 (several printings, most recently Boydell Press 2012) {the work of a self-educated dress historian at the end of a long career, this book is especially strong on how people reacted to the new fashions of this period and translates many sources, but some of the details can be quibbled with}
  • A.V.B Norman, The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460-1820 (Arms and Armour Press, Lionel Leventhal Limited: London, 1980) {covers sword hilts and scabbards, but not blades}
  • Ewart Oakeshott, The Sword in the Age of Chivalry (ed. pr. 1964, second edition The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 1994) {probably the best introduction to the late medieval #sword in English, very clear on his famous typology and its limits}
  • Ewart Oakeshott, Records of the Medieval Sword (The Boydell Press, 1991)
  • Patrick Ottaway and Nicola Rogers, Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Finds from Medieval York. The Archaeology of York, Volume 17 The Small Finds, Fasc. 15 (Council for British Archaeology, 2002) {Locks and keys, scissors and shears, knives, firesteels (“strike-a-lights”), ceramics and glassware, little metal mounts for leatherwork …}
  • Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth, Maria Hayward eds., Encyclopedia of dress and textiles in the British Isles c. 450-1450 (Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2012) {Useful entries on Aketon, Doublet, Gambeson, Jack, Pourpoint, etc. with some unpublished or very obscure lists of materials, and on weights, measures, and types of fabric}
  • Ernest Petit, Les itinéraires de Philippe le Hardi et de Jean sans Peur, ducs de Bourgogne (1363-1419) (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1888)
  • Rosita Levi Pisetzky, Storia del Costume in Italia, 5 volumi (Istituto Editoriale Italiano {Treccani}, 1974/1975) {the standard reference on written, carved, and painted source, if you are serious about this subject and can read Italian you need to borrow this. It has probably 80% of the artwork which floats around the Internet today (and some art which most people interested in medieval clothing do not know) and a mass of quotes from contemporary documents and literature, and it treats specific places and times in depth rather than dancing over 500 years in 250 pages. It was reprinted in 2005 by the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome. For a table of contents see Volume 2 covers the 1300s and the 1400s}
  • B. Prost, Inventaires, mobiliers et extraits des comptes des ducs de Bourgogne de la maisson de Valois, 1363-1477, 2 vols (Paris, 1902 and 1913)
  • Susan D. Reed, “15th-Century Men’s Doublets: An Overview” (1994, 2004) {very important bibliography for the 14th century, the list of artwork is a good starting point}
  • Luciano Salvatici (ed.), Posate, Pugnali, Coltelli da Caccia del Museo Nazionale del Bargello. Museo Nazionale del Bargello: Florence, 1999. ISBN 88 7242 285X. {half a dozen relevant knives and daggers with one B&W photo and a paragraph of text apiece}
  • Barbara Santich, The Original Mediterranean Cuisine: Medieval Recipes for Today Second Edition (Equinox Publishing, 2018) {unlike the English recipes in The Forme of Cury and Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, this draws on manuscripts from Catalonia and Italy; non vidi sed Stephanus Muhlberger ad lectores commendat #cooking #kitchen}
  • Ferdinando Sartini (ed.) Statuti dell’arte dei rigattieri e linaioli di Firenze (1296-1340). Regia Deputazione di Storia Partia per la Toscana, Fonti e studi sule corporazione artigiane del medio evo, II (Florence: Felice le Monnier, ed., 1940) #documents #regulations {the riggatieri repaired and resold used goods and made new quilted clothing (they combined the roles of fripperers and junk-dealers in England and France); their rule is not as useful as the French rules, but is in easy notarial Latin, and the publication date may explain why the index only covers the first 1/3 of the alphabet}
  • Christiane Schnack. Mittelalterliche Lederfunde aus Schleswig – Futterale, Riemen, Taschen und andere Objekte. Ausgrabung Schild 1971-1975. Ausgrabungen in Schleswig – Berichte und Studien, Band 13. Wachholz Verlag: Neumünster, 1998. ISBN-13 3-529-01463-X. {prices as of summer 2017 are extortionate on Bookfinder, but AntikMakler in Germany has copies for EUR 39,00}
  • Schulze-Dörlamm, Mechthild (1995) Das Reichsschwert: Ein Herrschaftszeichen des Saliers Heinrich IV. und des Welfen Otto IV. Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Sigmaringen. {Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani recommends on the ‘Sword of St. Maurice’ and its gold-plated olivewood scabbard in Vienna}
  • Denis-François Secousse (ed.) Ordonnances des rois de France de la troisième race (Paris) septième volume (1383-1394), huitième volume (1395-1403), and neuvième volume (1404-1411) {the ancien regime had its weaknesses, but they did manage to print all the laws of the Capetians before that trouble at the forks of the Ohio. These volumes can be searched for words such as tailleur, cousturier, and pourpointier}
  • Jeffrey L. Singman and Will McLean, Daily Life in Chaucer’s England. Daily Life through History Series. London and Westport, Connetticut: Greenwood Press, 1995.
  • Susan Moshe Stuard, Gilding the Market: Luxury and Fashion in Fourteenth-Century Italy (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006) ISBN 9780812239003 {chatty book on material culture by someone who mainly works with written sources}
  • Isis Sturtewagen, All together respectably dressed: fashion and clothing in Bruges during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Doctoral dissertation, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Arts, Department of History, 2016 {this book focuses on inventories from the mid-15th-century onwards, but I encourage my gentle readers to buy the printed version as soon as it appears}
  • Maria Emília Amaral Teixeira, tr. Isabel Motta, O loudel de D. João I/The Loudel of D. João I 3rd edition (Museu de Alberto Sampaio, 1999) ISBN 972-776-012-0 {a sleeveless quilted garment said to have been dedicated after the battle of Aljubarrota between Castilian and Anglo-Portugese forces in 1385}
  • Augustin Thierry (ed.), Recueil des monuments inédits de l’histoire du tiers état: prèmière série, chartes, coutumes, actes municipaux, statuts des corporations d’arts et metiers des villes et communes de France, région du Nord. Tome deuxième (Paris: Imprimerie Impériale, 1853) {rule of the pourpointiers of Amiens from Febuary 1428/1429}
  • Augustin Thierry (ed.), Recueil des monuments inédits de l’histoire du tiers état: prèmière série, chartes, coutumes, actes municipaux, statuts des corporations d’arts et metiers des villes et communes de France, région du Nord. Tome quatrième (Paris: Imprimerie Impériale, 1870) {Table of contents lists rules for glovers (1478), pourpointiers (c. 1480), armourers (who also made scabbards), and drapers-chaussers}
  • Sarah Thursfield, The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant: Common Garments 1100-1480. 2nd Edition, Revised and Expanded (Crowood Press, 2015) available from publisher {I have mixed feelings about this book, it teaches practical sewing skills and good philosophy like ‘don’t obsess about finding exactly the right material’ but her doublets are not shaped like originals}
  • Marco Vignola, Riflessioni sulla basilarda. Analisi tipologiche e spunti ricostruttivi (Bookstones: Rimini, 2016) {booklet on basilards with a typology, photos of surviving examples, and details for bladesmiths}
  • Robin Vogelzang tr., Joan Santanach ed., The Book of Sent Soví: Medieval recipes from Catalonia (Barcino-Tamesis, 2008) ISBN-13 9781855661646 #cooking
  • Marquita Volken, Archaeological Footwear: Development of Shoe Patterns and Styles from Prehistory til the 1600’s (SPA Uitgevers, 2014) ISBN-13 978-9089321176
  • Marquita Volken, “Arming Shoes of the Fifteenth Century,” Acta Periodica Duellatorum 5.2 (December 2017) pp. 25-45 {by a very respected expert in shoes, but her friends in armour seem unhappier about medieval shoes than my friends in armour}
  • Annemariek Willemsen. Medieval Chic in Metal: Decorative Mounts on Belts and Purses From the Low Countries, 1300-1600. Stichting Promotie Archeologie, 2012.
  • Annemarieke Willemsen, “‘Man is a sack of muck girded with silver’: Metal Decoration on Late-medieval Leather Belts and Purses from the Netherlands, Medieval Archaeology 56 (2012) pp. 171-202 DOI: 10.1179/0076609712Z.0000000006 {summary of her book on small finds}
  • Annemarieke Willemsen, Honderden… Van hand tot hand: handschoenen en wanten in de Nederlanden voor 1700. Spa uitgevers B.V.: Leiden, 2015. ISBN-13 9789089321275.
  • C.M. Woolgar, Household Accounts from Medieval England. Records of social and economic history, New Series, 17 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992 and 1993) {one book published in two parts: the first explains his methods and talks about the physical documents, the second has most of the clothing and accessories}
  • Ronald Edward Zupko, Italian Weights and Measures from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society 145 (American Philosophical Society: Philadelphia, 1981) {non vidi nam non habemus}

Things to Add

Add Frangioni’s books and articles, then there should be the web resources …

Exploring The Medieval Hunt

Statuts des marchands drapiers et chaussetiers d’Abbeville, 14 août 1497. (THIERRY, Augustin, “Recueil des monuments inédits de l’histoire du Tiers Etat…”)

“L. Statut des Parmentiers, Pourpointiers et Tailleurs” (1480) In Augustin Thiérry, Recueil des monuments inédits de l’histoire du Tiers-Etat. Première série, Chartes, coutumes, actes municipaux, statuts des villes et communes de France. Région du Nord. 2. IV. Contenant les pièces relatives à l’histoire municipale d’Abbeville et à celle des villes, bourgs et villages de la Basse-Picardie… (Paris: Félix Bourquelot et Charles Louandre, 1850-1870) pp. 311-314

Ordonnances de Rois du France XV has the rule of the pourpointiers of Bordeaux from 1462

Statuts des tailleurs de Poitiers, mars 1461. (“Ordonnance des rois de France…”) pp. 402ff.

“4. Ordnung des Raths über die Meisterprüfung der Schneider. 1454, Mai 25. Altestes Rathbuch, Bl. 26.” In Max Bär (ed.), Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Verfassung und Verwaltung der Stadt Koblenz bis zum Jahre 1500 (Bonn: Hermann Behrend, 1898) pp. 236-238 ; the quote is page 237 line 8 (they also have an ordinances for hatters etc.) “(als meisterstück soll er schneidern) eynen gemeynen mans tabert und eyns mans wambusch mit gelenken oder ufglaichten armen, wie man das nent.”

Statuts des chaussetiers de Touraine, février 1447. (“Ordonnances des rois de France…”)

Grimm s.v. Wams n. etc. (note that the Gebrüder Grimm mix a thousand years of language history into one entry, so each requires close attention to the source and date of each passage quoted)

Adolf Diestelkamp, Die Entwicklung des Schneidergewerbes in Deutschland bis zum Ausgang des 16. Jahrhunderts, G. Eilert: Unna in Westfalen, 1922. OCLC 928145795

Ernst Müllerleile, Die Gewandschneidergilde in Hildesheim, 1913. OCLC 71961264. “Aus Zeitschrift d. hist. Ver. f. Niedersachsen. Jg. 78.”

Sabine Struckmeier, Die Textilfärberei vom Spätmittelalter bis zur Frühen NeuzeitÖ Eine naturwissenschaftlichßtechnische Analyse deutschsprachiger Quellen. Cottbuser Studien zur Geschichte von Technik, Arbeit und Umwelt 35. Waxmann: Münster, 1935. {check out pages 39 and following for a list of 14th and 15th century manuscripts with several hundred dyers’ recipes, many of them unpublished but some in Ploss’ Buch von alten Farben or Oltrogge, Datenbank mittelalterlicher und frühneuzeitlicher Rezepte in handschriftlichre Überlieferung =}

Poems of Peter Suchwirt (d. 1395)

Wey, Willian (1458) “A Provision.” In In George Willias and Bulkeley Bandinel (eds.), The Itineraries of William Wey, fellow of Eton college. To Jerusalem, A.D. 1458 and A.D. 1462; and to Saint James of Compostella, A.D. 1456. From the original manuscript in the Bodleian library (Roxburghe Club: London, 1857) pp. 4-7 Condensed, Modern English version at

Zimmermann, P. Die junge Haushälterinn, ein Buch für Mütter und Töchter. Basel, 1792 /Luzern: Anich, 1807 {I have not seen this but the webmistress of recommends it}

Eunice Rathbone Goddard, Women’s Costume in French Texts of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. The Johns Hopkins Studies in Romance Literatures and Languages Volume VII (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1927)

Maria Socorro Mantilla de los Rios y Rojas et al., Vestiduras Pontificales del Arzobispo Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada. Siglo XIII: Su Estudio y Restauracion (Madrid: Instituto Conservación y Restauración de Bienes Culturales, 1995) {on a 13th century shirt}

Kaiser Maximillian’s Technical Mountain Clothing

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