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A little confused..

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:30 am
by lidimy
Wasn't sure whether this belonged here or in 'costumes'.. but here we are :)

Was reading last night in a book by David Starkey about the clothing regulations imposed upon a certain Anne Basset by Jane Seymour upon entering her service. And I quote:

'Lady Lisle had equipped her in the latest French fashion. But that... was anathema to Jane. However... she agreed that 'Mrs Anne shall wear out her French apparel'.... Anne had to have an English-style bonnet or headress and a frontlet or bodice.'

That being the issue. What is a frontlet? And can someone define for me exactly what the French fashion was (obviously a French hood, but what else..?)

Thanks :D

Lidi :D

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:34 am
by Dave B
Perhaps she had a string of onions and a stripey jersey?

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:36 am
by lidimy
French hood AKA beret?


Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:22 pm
by Tuppence
I'd guess that it's part of the bodice? or depeniding on the actual style of the dress, it could be another name for the bodice?

but will look it up in my costume dictionary when I find it.

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:26 pm
by Theotherone
Could the frontlet be part of the headress? Wasn't Jane a bit more puritanical than her predecessor?

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:26 pm
by lidimy
Thanks :)

I don't know what to make of it at all tbh, Comparing Jane's dress with Anne's I can't see any difference but there obviously is :?

Lidi :)

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:27 pm
by lidimy
Theotherone wrote:Could the frontlet be part of the headress? Wasn't Jane a bit more puritanical than her predecessor?
Hmm, I doubt that it would be refered to as a bodice as well as a frontlet if it was something to do with the hood...

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:29 pm
by Theotherone
Just found this dictionary definition

frontlet // n.
1 a piece of cloth hanging over the upper part of an altar frontal.
2 a band worn on the forehead.
3 a phylactery.
4 an animal's forehead.
[Old French frontelet (as frontal2)]

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:35 pm
by lidimy
Well now I'm more than a little confused! Why did Starkey refer to it as a bodice? :? and why in a seperate clause to the headwear instruction? :shock:


Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:40 pm
by Theotherone
This from Antonia Fraser's "The Six Wives of Henry VIII"

"At first the Queen agreed Mistress Anne should wear out her clothes, so long as she added a bonnet and frontlet (forehead band of velvet) to them."

It seems this velvet bonnet didn't make her look as good as the French hood. (one way to detract from a competitor one supposes)

There's more on the subject as well. Apparently eventually the French clobber got banned completely and ended up as petticoats.

Edit The changing of the bodice was an intermediate step between the frontlet and complete ban. Anne had been fitted out to catch the King's eye...

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:42 pm
by lidimy
Hmm, silly Starkey. And he didn't include the bit about the petticoats either, he just said that they got banned :roll:

Thanks for that :D

Lidi :D

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:44 pm
by lidimy
I don't suppose that there are any pictures of this are there...?

Lidi :)

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:18 pm
by Theotherone
I am completely out of my depth here, and stand to be corrected, but I wonder if the frontlet could be the pleated?/in-fill bits visable in these?

I've seen a cleared picture of this

That appears to show the same affect of lines as the Butts one above.

You can see the ctossed band in this too ... 0&role=sit

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:24 pm
by lidimy
Oh that bit is the frontlet. Fair enough then :) You are right, it does look as if it could be pleated... what a splendiferous idea...

Thanks for the pictures, I see which bit you mean now :D

Lidi xD

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:27 pm
by Theotherone
Don't take this as gospel. I don't do Tudor, I'm not a costumer and I've little experience. In a little while some one with more knowledge will be along who'll be better placed to confirm or contradict. :D

Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:20 pm
by myladyswardrobe

Firstly, be careful with Starkey - he is very good on the Tudor people but not so good where Tudor fashions are concerned!

Frontlet is a forehead band. The gable hoods are distinctly English in fashion whereas the French hood is more "French" (but was NOT brought to England by Anne B - it was known earlier than that as worn by the King's own sisters!).

If you look at a portrait of any lady wearing a Gable hood, there is that weird stripy cross over bit on the forehead that completely hides the hair. I think this could be the frontlet. As it is on the forehead, it is likely to quickly get dirty and greasy from hair and so would be changed often!
What I have suggested here is my own conjecture/theory but would fit with what Queen Jane wanted from her ladies.

In terms of the dress itself - there really is very little difference to the French fashions - see Tudor Tailor for full discussion on Tudor gowns!

BTW - I was in Norwich just over a week ago - giving a training session for people from my work! I was thinking of you while I was there!



Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:11 pm
by lidimy
Yay it's nice to be though of xD

That would make sense and thanks for the clarification :D

Often wondered about the myth the A Boleyn brought the FH over as Margaret Tudor looks to be wearing something that might be compared to an early hood and Mary Boleyn wears one on her wedding portrait... though I can't remember whether that was before or after Anne's influence?

Well anyway - if you are at KW Bess I hope you are having a wonderful time, and if not, why not :wink:

Lidi :D

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 3:31 pm
by MedicKitten
Plus, Mary Tudor is wearing a VERY french hood in her portrait with Suffolk...long before AB got over to England. :-D

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:17 pm
by lidimy
Stupid me, Mary Tudor was what I meant, not Mary Boleyn, my mistake :roll:

But yeh! A good example and thanks for clarifying what time it came from 8)

Lidi :D

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:13 pm
by MedicKitten
heh. no worries. it's a great portrait!

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:42 am
by Teagirl
Somewhere in the dim recesses of my mind I've seen the frontlet described as a 'turban' meaning one of those wrap thingys that cross over in the front overlapping like those fabric strap thingys that used to be advertised to hold hair in place when doing makeup or other assorted frippery. Imagine a strip of fabric, perhaps with the edge embellished with the more elaborate fabric as seen in the portraits or simply a whole strip of that fabric that is just long enough to start with the centre of the length at the nape of the neck, brought up to the crown of the head, one end placed on the head and the other overlapped and pinned. That would provide the layout and structure to look like the portraits and also a good place to pin the hood if needed.

It's been years since I looked at the information and have no idea where it is but the idea seems sound.


Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:00 am
by frances
In my view that band you are talking about is made of striped black and gold silk. I think that it was padded in some way and goes around the head completely, like a sausage. Then, when you put on the gable hood it has something soft to rest upon, so the hood is comfortable. Also this would stabilize the rigid hood and prevent it from moving around as you move. I have done some experiments with this and have put some of it on my website.

Also, I seem to think that the frontlet is the triangular piece of fabric that accompanies coifs, embroidered or not. I have seen a few of these in museums. Maybe they were thought to be attractive. Don't know. I do not know the book you are talking about, but writers very often get costume details wrong. I get really annoyed with art historians who write about portraits and get all the details of the costume wrong because they may know about art and artists but they have never worn a bum roll in their lives. Very, very annoying.

(I have just remembered a book that I thought was very good, it was set in Victorian times and when the lady was taking off her clothes he talked about her brassiere. Urgggh. Not invented until about 1924, although Roman lady gymnasts used them for years and years.)