Enjoyed presenting another talk earlier this October my ‘Tudor Talk ‘for the Quilters Guild in Bishop Auckland. Costumes included Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots in her execution gown. My son Jamie was happy to appear as King Henry VIII and he proved very popular with the members. Quite a few of the ladies had also seen my Jane Austen and Marie Antoinette talks and travelled quite to way to see my Tudor Talk – I think I now have a fan club!
Thought you may like to hear a few interesting points of my talk
- Strait laced – after my talk on of the member of the Guild mentioned ‘strait lacing’. Apparently the term originated because the higher class ladies laced their dresses across that is to say parallel unlike criss cross lacing. Crossing the laces is much quicker to take on and take off so the lower class of ladies – prostitutes and courtesans had cross laces so they could take them off quicker to ‘get down to business’! Very interesting
- I was asked if the Tudor ladies wore knickers – Ladies of the Tudor period wore no knickers at all – they weren’t worn until about the 1780’s! As they had layers of petticoats and hoop skirts they weren’t deemed essential or necessary – in fact they hadn’t even been thought of.
- A lady inquired if the the men wore trousers – the trouser equivalent of the day were breeches or slops. They were made with strips or panes of fabric gathered onto a waistband with the silky or linen fabric pulled through – as they didn’t have zips in those days there was an opening or slit of fabric at the front – this was covered initially by a small triangular shape of fabric tied at the top corners by ribbons or cords. This evolved to a padded piece if fabric called the codpiece. For Henry VIII it was made of gold fabric and decorated with rich jewels. They were usually padded out by wadding however some gentleman kept their money, coins, jewels or valuables in them – hence the term – ‘ A man’s crown jewels’! Of Course Henry VIII had to have the biggest codpiece.
- I also mentioned that King Henry VIII wore a hat or bonnet as it was called. It was made of buckram edged with wire. Covered in domette (a padding fabric like wincyette today) and then covered in black velvet. It was decorated with feathers, pearls, gold setting with jewels. He wore it as a young man to show his wealth however as he got older he used it to cover his balding head and never took it off in public – even at night he wore a linen cap – it is said the his fifth wife young Katherine Howard was never allowed to see his lack of hair!
When my son James appeared on stage as the King – one of the ladies at my talk exclaimed ‘ Look a nice young Henry‘! I think it certainly brings historical characters to life when the costumes are worn.
The Ladies of the Guild said they really enjoyed my talk – we certainly enjoyed presenting it!