May 19, 2021

'Old fashions please me best; I am not so nice to change true rules for odd inventions' - The Taming of the Shrew, act 3, scene 1

French hoods came in a wide variety of styles - composed of many separate elements pinned together (The Tudor Tailor, 2006: 28)

French hoods are international television Starz ...

The Tudor Tailor’s French hoods are set to star in a forthcoming television series focusing on Queen Elizabeth’s early life. Becoming Elizabeth is currently in production for Starz, a US-based international subscription channel but the release date for the eight episodes is under wraps. Ninya spent a day working with costume designer Bart Cariss at Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol. He adapted The Tudor Tailor’s French hood pattern as a handy shortcut to the appropriate 16th century look. The Tudor Tailor (2006: 28) explains that the French hood ‘consisted of several separate elements … pinned together’ including a white linen cap, frontlet, and billiments. The accompanying pattern (pages 149-151) was a solution for the interpreters at Hampton Court Palace, who did not have time to assemble all the separate elements each day. The book also stressed the need for hairlacing (pages 28 & 142) which keeps the hood in place and avoids a bulky bun at the back of the head. The TT team has since pinned down the terminology for the various elements (see The Queen’s Servants, 2011: 21-22) adding a bonnet, paste, and edge, and has developed resources for accurate hairlacing.

A curious feature of French hoods is the arrangement of what appears as a ‘crescent’ section in portraits. The Cunningtons (Handbook of English Costume in the 16th Century, 1954) described this as a ‘raised’ horseshoe-shaped curve (74). However, it seems to have evolved from the turned-back contrasting lining of the black bonnet (as in this example in the Louvre). Elite women’s headdresses are shown with upward-sloping ‘horseshoes’ such as Queen Mary’s (1544). These are arranged over the ridge of laced hair, which also appears to determine the elevation of billiments placed in front or on top of it. In contrast, hoods flat to the head are worn by gentlewomen such as Judith Pelham (1584) and Jane Elliot (1595). Visit Samantha Bullat's recent video for more insights. The Tudor Tailor is developing a new pattern for a headdress ensemble which will include all the component parts for arrangement into various French hood styles – although it is unlikely to be adopted on film sets! More tempting for the Becoming Elizabeth team were the TT's ouches for the recreation of Elizabeth's teenage look in her portrait attributed to William Scrots, which also features a French hood.

... the postman rings once, twice and every weekday

The Tudor Tailor shop has lived in a lot of ‘interesting’ places – Jane’s garden shed in Godalming and Ninya’s basement in the shadow of Nottingham Castle, which were both damper than is desirable for paper-based products and publications. Since it came to rest at The Old Dairy studio, everything has all been better accommodated. Wherever it was, Jane or Ninya, and more recently Melanie, has had to make the almost daily trip to the Post Office – on foot, by bike or by car. Now – for the first time – the Post Office is coming to The Tudor Tailor. The shop now despatches enough parcels for Royal Mail to offer a collection service. This is a very significant milestone! And it provides the team with more time for working on publications and products. Hurrah! Please visit the shop to find something among all the resources and goodies for your next costuming project to make sure the Postie keeps coming!

Teaming up with The Tudor Travel Guide ...

Jane and Ninya enjoyed a rare day out and an even rarer day together at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire at the end of April. They were meeting with Sarah Morris who runs a great online resource for anyone who is currently missing fun days out at interesting Tudor places. Her YouTube channel and blog offer virtual visits to not-so-famous Tudor venues such as Otford Palace in Kent and St Leonard’s Church at Old Warden in Bedfordshire. Cornbury Park has a few Tudor tales to tell too. It was the royal hunting lodge in Wychwood Forest. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who became one of its rangers, died there. It still retains one 16th century gabled wing which is part of the private home currently rented out to wealthy tenants. But The Tudor Tailor was only invited to the (impressively grand) stable block to work on an exciting project to be announced later in the year.

... and just one more thing before you go!

Jane embraced remote working to offer history graduate Emily Melling an internship helping to summarise statistical analysis for The Typical Tudor. Emily’s report on her project is now on the website. The book is still moving towards publication but there is now another delay because Jane is recovering from breast cancer surgery and is awaiting test results to see if further treatment is required. Once she is back at her desk, the overview of the data which underpins the book will be finalised, the introductory chapters laid out, and the proofreading begin. Thanks to all the preorderers for their continued patience. Buy the book at the discounted preorder offer of £35 here saving £10 on the post-publication price.

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