The Béguin Hood: A Construction Diary

The two most common head coverings seen on Dutch women of the period 1500-1530 is the white hood (the hovetcleet) and the béguin hood, as seen in the picture of Isabella of Denmark to the left. This hood appears to have developed from the hoods worn in the 14th century, although this particular shape is seen in Flemish and French tapestries and illuminations in the mid to late 15th century. Its precursors are probably most commonly recognised as the style worn by Anne of Brittany (image to right). Why “béguin”? The Oxford English Dictionary states that the béguin cap is named after the beguine communities. The beguines lived in religious communities which were exclusively female and were founded in Brabant in the late 12th century. For a history of the movement this site is very good. They are commonly depicted wearing black hoods similar in style to the one worn by Anne of Brittany, without the decoration that is seen on her hood. The painting of Anne of Brittany to the left was painted in the late 1400s. By the 1520s the sides of the beguin had raised off the shoulders, the front was turned over further and it was sitting further back on the head. 8 October 2004, Initial Construction Theory After surveying all the pictures of Béguins that I have for the decade of the 1520s I have established...

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