Four Lectures on Historical Clothing: From Medieval Hoods to Elizabethan Farthingales

  • May 4, 2019
  • Crucible
  • Near East Side
  • 3116 Commercial Ave
  • Madison, WI 53714
  • Phone: (608) 628-7782

Morning Lecturer:  Gale R. Owen-Crocker 

Anglo-Saxon Dress and Textiles
The lecture begins by considering how we come to know anything about dress and textiles in the Anglo-Saxon period (England, c. 450–1066), considering in turn the written evidence, the archaeological evidence, and the evidence of art, and explaining the special value and limitations of each. It continues with a rapid chronological survey of what we know, highlighting what seem to be particularly favorite features throughout the Anglo-Saxon era.

Headgear with a History
Headgear was an immediate identifier of gender, role, and status throughout the Middle Ages (and indeed into modern times). This lecture takes a close look at four surviving items, respectively from thirteenth-century Spain, fourteenth-century Sweden, very early medieval Scotland (third to seventh century), and fourteenth-century England. The first two are closely contextualized; the latter two have no associations, and the objects have to tell their own stories—but what a lot they can tell us!



Afternoon Lecturer: Robin Netherton

The Fifteenth-Century V-Neck Gown
The so-called “Burgundian” style that dominates much of fifteenth-century fashion in Western Europe is in fact two separate styles, which have distinctive characteristics and are apparently constructed in two completely different ways. An examination of artwork over the course of the century demonstrates the differences and provides clues as to how the two styles developed and the ways in which they may have been made.

Inventing the Wheel: The Strange History of the Wheel Farthingale
The “wheel” farthingale, popular in English art from the 1590s through at least the 1620s, has long been described as one of the strangest inventions of Western fashion, with its wide skirt standing out from the wearer’s hips like a dinner plate. For the past two centuries, authors have proposed a variety of ways of achieving this silhouette, based on various arrangements of boned or wired understructures. A close look at the evidence from the period, however, shows clearly that the secret behind the wheel shape was something quite different from what is typically assumed by historians and costumers alike.

  • Times: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Admission: $30 for adults, $20 for high school or college students with current valid ID