Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

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Frances Perry
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Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby Frances Perry » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:51 am

I have had an interesting but brief discussion with members of my LARP group about hooks which hold up the hem of a dress.

Being involved with Wars of the Roses period costume, I was under the impression that the gown hem was usually tucked into the belt, front or back, or looped over the inner underbelt (making a rather unflattering fuller figure at the same time to the modern eye).

However, Hans Holbein the Younger (1498–1543) sketches a young Englishwoman during his stay in England between 1526 and 1528 which shows a gown 'hook' or 'clip' on a belt or garter of some kind lifting the front hem of the dress. Further to this, is the illustration by Jannie Anderson which details the hok in greater detail for a museum, about half way down the page (http://www.jennieanderson.co.uk/page2.htm).

I was wondering if this type of gown 'hook' has an earlier appearance in costume fashion?
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Tod
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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby Tod » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:55 pm

Over the last few years we looked at lot of early Tudor pictures and I don't remember anything like that. Firstly the artist got the year wrong (not c1500). Next and this is practical thing, if you had a loop on the hem wouldn't it take too long to find? Maybe its some sort of fashion statement but not common, like so may weird things in paintings, drawings etc.
Some where I have a hook like that, part of is broken and I thought it was just a hook for a hook and eye closure.



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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby Graham Cooley » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:17 pm

Tod is quite right in that 1500 is a little early. But you can easily find original examples of clothing hooks from the 16th and 17th century. S few years ago we bought 6 different designs of originals from one trader at one event. They are as common as buttons.

So you can obtain original hooks without difficulty but tryign to find illustations of how they were used is much more difficult. The illustration you have is one of the few. There are a small number of others showing similar use to hold up skirts but also to hold down the back of a ladies partlet aroudn the neck to give it a nice V shape down her back.

In all the paintings there does not appear to be enough detail to show what the hook goes into. But most of the originals are a brass alloy although some are pewter and there is reference to silver ones in wills. The originals we have seen are all quite sharp. So you could hook them into the cloth itself or somethign like a button hole.

Feel free to come and talk to us at the International Living History fair (Reiver Trading) and providing we have the right box with us we can show you the originals and the illustrations we have found.

A quick search on ebay shoudl find some originals in amongst metal decector finds. They don't always know what they are and so often put them in a pile of other stuff.

Graham



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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby Graham Cooley » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:23 pm

Just did a search on ebay and foudn 5 originals. search for hook in antiques / antiquities

I'm confident a little more work and you will find several others.

So if the originals are common to find they must have been used for something. The other option is that they were used for hanging up hose under skirts or some other use that can't usually be seen in pictures.

G



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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby mally ley » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:09 pm

I have a couple of sets and have used them on a Henrician gown (Thomas More family portrait stylee). They don't need any loops or holes as they are sharp and just push through the fabric. As they never go in exactly the same place any holes heal up. The tape/belt they are on just sits round the back of the waist. A combination of the weight at the front and the bulk of the skirt at the back holds them in place. Lovely little things :-)



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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby Sophia » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:23 pm

Hooks in the record seem to come in two size groups IIRC - small for hooking rather than tying woven garters (seen this used successfully by the Hampton Court Tudor Cookery Team) and larger ones for skirts which as Mally says work a treat. They are mainly copper metal alloy. I bought my copper metal allow ones from Annie the Pedlar and my sterling silver ones from Nicky Wade at Gemmeus.


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Frances Perry
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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby Frances Perry » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:28 pm

This is all very interesting - thank you very much!


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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby saracen » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:15 pm

It is a really interesting discussion, thanks all. As Frances asked, any evidence for pre-Tudor?



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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby Sophia » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:48 pm

None that I am aware of in the visual record (remember we have limited resources for England and most portraits are not full length) and have not checked any dig reports or inventories for them. I don't do anything vaguely posh for pre-1485 as I am a camp cook and gunner's wife.

The best clothing book I can think of for early Tudor is 'The Queen's Servants' from The Tudor Tailor though that may still be too late. Their research is always excellent and the bibliographies a great jumping off point if you want to start going into greater depth about something more specific. You could also check the MOL book on accessories to see what shows up and the MOL report on the South Bank digs though that primarily focuses on C16th layers as that is what the site primarily offered.


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Re: Gown Hem Hook - 1500s

Postby guthrie » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:39 pm

THe MoL book on the south bank digs says they are likely late 15th to mid 16th centuries, a fairly brief period in fashion.




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