This is not the post you were looking for promised, but last night my husband REALLY wanted to see Rogue One, and I REALLY wanted to support his initiative to do something fun. So that ate up the time I was planning to spend on the post on what was happening in the Low Countries in the late 15th and early 16th century. Instead, I present to you one of the costumer’s favourite pastimes: Looking at old pictures!!

Like many costumers I’ve spent A LOT of time looking at images in books, and on websites, and with the advent of pinterest, hours and hours and hours and hours re-pinning items that come across my feed (This pinterest board is my catch-all dumping ground for 15th & 16th century probably Low Countries clothing images). But still I can find pictures that I’ve never seen before, and perhaps change one of my theories, or remind me of an idea I had once upon a time but sort of forgot. One source for these images for me in the last year has been the History of Fashion tumblr, which is where all of these images are pulled from.

So, in lieu of the social and political situation post (which would take more time that is available to me on New Year’s Eve) I present: 10 new-to-me images of hovetcleets from the Low Countries and surrounds. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I did (especially nos. 2, 4, 7 & 10)

(not sure about some of the terminology in this article? Check out our 16th century Dutch Clothing Terms page!)

Set 1: definitely hovetcleets from the Low Countries

1. Two memorial panels by the Master of Alkmaar, produced ab. 1515-1520
ab. 1515-1520 Master of Alkmaar - Memorial Panel

Three styles of hovetcleet are shown in this picture. The first is a style I like to call a kite-fold, as worn by Kathrijn Willemdsdr van der Graft (the woman in the front of the picture). The second is the early form of slippens (the tails that appear on some varieties of hovetcleet. Known in the Elizabethan Costuming community as barbels), as worn by the two women immediately behind Kathrijn Willemsdsdr. The third is the hovetcleet worn under a black hood or veil.

2. Altarpiece of the Korsgen Elbertzen family

1500-1518 Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen - Altarpiece of Korsgen Elbertzen family

I love this one, for the size of the various women in the picture, showing their relative rank – such a common iconographic clue around this time, as well as for the various styles of headwear shown on all the women in this picture. As far as I can tell, none of these women are allegorical, so all the headwear we can see in this image is fair game. The original site has this dated between 1500-1518.

3. Portrait of a man and a woman

1525 Anonymous - Portrait of a man and a woman

Dated 1525, but no details on painter, or title, so I am suspicious on the specific dating. However, it’s a very, very cute round-ed faced hovetcleet (as opposed to heart-shaped) with a kite-folded veil. I love the simplicity of her dress as well. If you were going for a pious burgher or academic’s wife then this would be a good starting place.

4. An unknown lady


I LOVE her attitude, and I really wish I knew who she was. Great display of slippens as well. One day I will have a go at them…

5. Margret Halsbeber

16th c Willem Key - Margret Halseber of Basel, also known as ‘The Lady with the two beards’

A small, simple hovetcleet, showing us the meaning of the word, since its literal translation is “head cloth”

Set 2: Probably German, but has interesting things to say about Dutch hovetcleets

7. Beetke van Raskwerd

1530 Anonymous - Beetke van Raskwerd

Beetke looks fierce and I’m not sure I’d want to take her on, but her headwear may hold some clues for us in relation to those elusive slippens.

8. Ivo Fritema and his family

1535 Monogrammist of Valenciennes - Ivo Fritema and his family

I suspect Ivo’s wife is German, however, the folds and shape of her headcloth may provide inspiration for hovetcleet folding methods.

Set 3: Two portraits by Catharina van Hemessen

9. Portrait of a lady

1551 Catharina van Hemessen - Portrait of a Lady

I may have seen this before, but I don’t specifically remember it, this its inclusion. This image is more Margaret’s style, but I love how it shows me where the hovetcleet ends up, as well as being a very delicate version of the white starched cap-and-veil.

10. Girl at the Virginal

1548 Catharina van Hemessen - Girl at the Virginal
I must admit, this one I have seen before, however… I don’t think I’d noticed the chin strap, nor that the strap is threaded THROUGH her veil. Food for thought…