April 7, 2021

‘Our purses shall be proud, our garments poor, For 'tis the mind that makes the body rich …’ - The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 3

There are details of more than 1,000 garments provided for poor people in the database

More dress for your dollars! The findings from The Tudor Tailor’s database of 55,000 items of dress and accessories have proved more wide-ranging and more detailed than Jane and Ninya anticipated. It has been possible to analyse the results to indicate trends in dress for specific groups of individuals and not just for the broad sweep of typical Tudors.

Data reveals specific details of dress for all 'sorts' ...

The instructions for 50+ garments including headwear and knitted items promise to provide specific recommendations for dressing lowly people such as husbandmen and fishwives, middling folk such as city shopkeepers and country yeomen, and paupers in receipt of charity – with detailed advice on conventional colours and fabrics for each garment across the era. The Typical Tudor now provides an insight into dress over the long Tudor century from 1485 to 1603 with comparisons between the earlier era (1485 to 1557) and the later era (1558 to 1603) painting a clear picture of ordinary people’s clothing during these time periods and demonstrating the changes that occurred from one to the other.

... and new findings contradict previous theories

This deeper dive into the data has required more investigation into the social context of different groups of people and diligent consideration against corroborative or contradictory evidence. These tasks were not on the original research schedule. Much of this background material has been difficult to access – partly because public and university libraries have been closed owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, there are many more original documents and secondary works available online than was the case in the past but not all of it is easy to track down and access.

Plus an unexpected wealth of data about the poor ...

Much of the past year has been spent analysing the regulations on dress from 1363 - when the first principles of state control were set out – with the subsequent amendments and additions which remained in force for much of the Tudor period. There is ample evidence too for the effectiveness of these controls, despite frequent claims by historians that sumptuary law was largely ignored. The detail in the database on which The Typical Tudor is based shows that 16th century people followed fashion and the law in their choice of textiles, colours, clothes and accessories. The Typical Tudor promises to be a remarkable follow up to The Tudor Tailor with the benefit of 15 years’ worth of research into extant artefacts, artworks and the database drawn from more than 80 volumes of transcribed original documentary records. Jane and Ninya are confident that it will be worth the wait!

Now fuelling up for the final push to the finish line ...

There will be an announcement in this newsletter as soon as the book is with the printers and deliveries are scheduled. The plan is to despatch the books in batches starting with the ones which will travel furthest and ending with those which are going to customers closer to home. Do check your order to be sure your current postal address is on file – especially if you have moved since you placed your order. Once your book has been sent out, you will receive a message confirming this from info@tudortailor.com. If you are one of the patient preorderers but would prefer to cancel your copy, The Tudor Tailor will be happy to refund the discounted preorder price plus postage & packing fee. The book will be available to order once it is published for £45 plus P&P. However, it is still available to preorder at the discounted price on The Tudor Tailor website.

Click the gallery thumbnails to view the full images