I read widely, and over time I amass a variety of articles relating to the history and clothing of the Low Countries. Here’s some that you may find interesting:
A biography of Mary, Duchess of Burgundy. Daughter of Charles the Bold, she ushered in the era that this blog focusses on, through shifting the focus of the culture of the Low Countries away from the French court and fashions towards the German court and fashions through her marriage to Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor.
An article by An Moonen, a Dutch textiles historian and conservator on antique Dutch samplers (there’s also one in Dutch on antique household linens). She states that the earliest example we have of a sampler is a painting by Joos van Cleve in the 1520s (may need to keep an eye out for it). The earliest extant sampler is Friesian from 1572 (held in a private collection). The oldest dated sampler in a Museum is a whitework sampler from 1623 (held in the Open-Air Museum in Arnhem). She found that many of the recognisable region motifs still seen today came from pattern books printed in the early part of the 16th century, a useful piece of information when deciphering designs on clothing
Other interesting information from the article includes:
In 1540 the Dutch laundries requested that all linen and clothing to be washed had to be properly marked with the mark of the owner by means of initials, a number or even a date. Sometimes important items like sheets, pillowcases and shirts, of families of standing, had further decorations around the initials.
Also, on the subject of women’s domestic skills (not sure how relevant this is to the 1500s, but it seems intuitively related):
This linen, for trousseau and interior, was made by girls and women themselves at home or done by professional seamstresses. The possibility to be able to make the trousseau, was in the first instance learned and practised on a sampler, which was the first piece of work of a girl aged between 7 and 14 years.
When the child had finished the sampler, and at the same time had developed good skills in sewing and knitting, she would start on a darning sampler. By then she would have been in her teens. Technically a darning sampler is very difficult to make.
One had to have understanding of interweaving techniques to be able to make the plain weave, and several variations on twill weave. Satin darning hardly occurs in darning samplers.
The ability to sew and repair was then thought to be absolutely necessary for the development of a woman and for becoming a good housewife and mother.
Finally she has a page with links to textile museums around the world with, of course, a great list of Dutch textile museums.
Last, but certainly not least, a list of all of John Munro’s academic articles on the economic history of the Low Countries’ textile industries. This includes freely available articles on the shift from red to black as the colour of urban patriciate clothing in Flanders, articles on shifts in luxury woolen textiles consumption specifically Worsteds and Broadcloths, an article on Spanish Merino wool and its effect on the Flemish Nouvelle Draperies, and an article on the changing nature of textile manufacturing and towns in the Low Countries and England.
Sadly John passed away on 23rd December. That long list of articles above is a testament to the amazing and pioneering research he did in this space.