A question pondered by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.
The question behind this one was
"where does the lacing go"? So I went looking... (some pics are
lightened to see details more clearly).
Early 1500's example.
||In the early 16thC at least, the Florentine mindset was "if you have
front lacing, you are of a non-upper class, as you cannot afford a
wet-nurse and have to breast feed yourself" (La Moda a Firenze).
This can be seen in Sarto's The Birth of the Virgin, 1513.. The far left detail is of
an upper class woman. the second detail is of a servant, possibly the
we-nurse? (pinned at front??)
But where is the lacing? Is it in the side back, or on the side as in the late 1400's (below left) in Ghirlando's Birth of st John, 1486-90? (spiral laced).
|The An unknown lady
attrib. to Angnolo Bronzino, c.1530-32 (left) has a
possibly sewn in sleeve, so where are the lacings? If the sleeve is
inset, then possibly at the back? If the sleeves are only partially
sewn in (See below - Is it laced or sewn in?), then the opening could be side or side back. We cannot see from this pic where it is.
Looking at the Bronzino portrait of A woman and a boy, 1545-46 (below left), there is no side lacing visible. However... I have a query side lacing for Bronzino's Bia, Illitimate daughter of Cosimo I, 1542. (far right)
It is difficult to tell if this is spiral laced.
|Giorgio Vasari and Giovanni Stradano's 'The arrival of
Leo X in Florence',
1559-60 (left) seen in the Palazzo Vecchio, shows many 'backs' of outfits in
the painting. This is great for researchers, as we can see the side
lacings on at least four women, two of which can be seen on the left.
Right: Zucci, Portrait of Woman,
1560-65 (below), found in the Fridsam
collection, in New York Metropolitan Museum gives a rare glimpse of the
side, with the arm away from the body. There is no visible front or
side lacings. This would suggest back or (more likely), side back
Above: Extant items, such as Eleanora d'Toledo's burial dress (c.1562) shows side back lacing also. (spiral laced).
Is it sewn in or laced in?
|OK, these are not a Florentine paintings...
Far left is by Palma Vecchio (Virgin and child with saints in a landscape, 1518) and left is Jacopo Bassano's Way to Calvary (1550-1). Why then?
Logically the positioning of the lacing can be determined by the sleeve
attatchment. These two paintings appear to show sleeves only attatched
at the top. This could be laced or permanently sewn in....do you think
they look like they are permanently sewn in????
well, that is the question. I continue to research into this.
So where does this leave us?
I keep looking
for more portraits that may give us a glimpse of where the lacings are
and to give us more of a hint of how some sleeves are attatched.
If only there were more paintings like Breugel and Campi that showed us
the middle classes and their activities! That would make life so much
Most of the pictures seem to show spiral lacing. A good practicle page on how to spiral lace can be found at: The Zen of spiral lacing.
most of the early to mid 16thC, Florence it is probably safe if you use
side or side back lacings. If you want to be lower or middle class,
then front lacings are appropriate.
- Arnold, Janet Patterns of Fashion,
MacMillan, London, 1985. ISBN: 0-333-38284-6
- Humphrey, Peter. Painting in Renaissance Venice, Yale University, 1995. ISBN: 0-300-06247-8
- Orsi Landini, Roberta & Niccoli, Bruna. La
Moda a Fioenze 1540-1580. Pagliai Polistampa, Firenze, 2005. ISBN:
- Festive Attyre: Gallery. homepage.mac.com/festive_attyre
- L'Abito della Granduchessa; Vesti di corte di
Madonne nel Palazzo Reale di Pisa. Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale,
- Metopolitan Museum of New York.
- SFarmer's Gallery: http://epee.goldsword.com/sfarmer/SCA/Paintings/
- The Zen of spiral lacing http://www.festiveattyre.com/research/lacing/lacing.html
- Web Gallery of Art:
© K Carlisle. , 2007-2008