Images of the past

A chronologue of beauty

Friday, 30 March 2012

Wrapped in Furs

First a necessity then a status symbol and finally a fashion statement,interpreted in many ways these days,fur was the fabric men used to cover and adorn their bodies.Mink,sable,ermine chinchilla and other exotic skins were worn by the nobility while the common people wrapped themselves in lamb and calf to keep warm.Since exotic furs were hard to produce and come by they were ruinously expensive and could only be afforded by royalty,the nobility and the clergy.In the 13th c it is reported that "some barons were known to mortgage their lands to buy ermine for their wives".The white and black tail of the ermine was used for making royal ceremonial robes and the distinctive fur is symbol of royalty,nobility and high status

Coronation of Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile,c. 1223

Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile,c 1220

Clementia of Habsburg,Queen of Hungary in c. 1250 by Antoni Boys

Marguerite of Provence,Queen of France in c. 1250

Maria of Brabant,Queen of France at her coronation in c. 1275

  Wedding of Edward II of England and Isabella of France,1308 by Jean Wavrin

Wedding of Edward II of England and Isabella of France,det.

Wedding of Charles IV of France and Marie of Luxembourg,c. 1320 by Jean Foquet

Elisabeth Richeza of Poland,Queen of Bohemia in c.1330 by Antoni Boys

Isabella of France Queen of England,c. 1350

The Queen of Sheba,c. 1405

A heroine,c. 1420 by Jacques Iverny

A hero and a heroine in 1420 by Jaques Iverny

When the bourgeois classes started getting wealthy in the 14th c and started to adopt the manners and ways of the aristocracy and dress themselves in expensive furs many countries passed sumptuary  laws forbidding the rising merchant classes to wear furs like sable and ermine,stipulating that is is reserved only for the nobility in a bid to differentiate the blue bloods form the plebs.The middle classes compensated by wearing furs from otters foxes and other small rodents.In the middle ages the blueish,gray and white fur of the squirrel as well as the skins of leopards,tigers other big cats were greatly appreciated and were used to trim dresses,capes and other garments.

Blanche of Lancaster,Electress Palatine in 1430

Offering of the heart,early XV century Flemish tapestry

Man wearing an ermine lined coat in the Capodlista Codex manuscript,
early XVth century 

Historie de Helayne,early XV illumination,French

  Like many other sumptuary laws this one was obviously very hard to police and impose so it was not strictly observed.With the merchants getting wealthier and buying for themselves titles,lands and knighthoods the line between nobility and bourgeoisie  became thinner and thinner and by the end of the XVIII century such distinctions became obsolite.In fact the nobility became poorer in the coming centuries as the middle class became wealthier and so became main consumers of luxury goods.

Arnolfini marriage,1434 by Jan van Eyck

Arnolfini marriage,det.

Barbara of Celje,Holy Roman Empress with her daughter Elizabeth of Luxembourg Queen of Bohemia behind ,c. 1440 by the Meister der Chronik des Konzils der Kostanz

Seven Sacraments Altarpiece,c. 1440 by Rogier van der Weyden

Jacqueline of Bavaria Countess of Hainaut,c. 1440 Dutch school

John Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury in 1445 from the Shrewsbury Book 

Marriage of Henry VI of England and Margaret of Anjou in 1445 from Vigiles de Charles VII

Catherine of Cleves Duchess of Guelders in c 1450 from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves by Meester van Catharina van Kleef

Ladislaus the Posthumous,Duke of Austria and Magdalena of France,1447

The presentation in the temple,1463 by Hans Memling

The presentation in the temple,det.

Eleanor of Portugal Holy Roman Empress,1468 by Hans Burgkmair the Elder

Eleanor of Portugal,Holy Roman Empress in c. 1460

Renaud de Montauban,1462-1470

Adoration of the Kings by Hans Memling,1470

Janos Corvinus,1486 by Baldassare Estens

Anne of Beaujeu,Duchess of Bourbon at prayer with her daughter Suzanne 
in 1489-90 by the Master of Moulins

Francesco di Bartolomeo Archinto,1494 by Ambrogio de Predis

Tapisseries de la Vierge,XV century

Tapisseries de la Vierge,XV century

The Triumph of Death of the Three fates,early XIV century tapestry

Wedding,early XVI century

Anne of Brittany Queen of France,1503

Fortune teller with a Fool,1508-1510 by Lucas van Leyden

Lorenzo de Medici Duke of Urbino,1520 by Raphael Sanzio
Isabella I Queen of Castile,1520 by Gerard David

Madeleine of Saxony Electress of Brandebourg,1525 by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucretia,1520s by Lucas Cranach

Lucretia,c. 1520s by Lucas Cranach the Elder

The Chess Players,1530 by Guilio Campi

Charles V Holy Roman Emperor,1532 by Jacob Seissengger

April,1530s by Simon Benning


Early XVI century French

                                               Portrait of a young woman,1530 by Parmigianino

In the XVth century a curious fur garment became popular.The zibellino was made either of a whole skinned sable or a marten and was worn around the neck,the waist or it was simply held in the hand.The animal's face was made by a goldsmith with jewels for eyes and ears and paws hung with pearls.The main purpose is debated today but it's been thought that it acted as a distraction for fleas and kept them away from the body but not everyone is so sure that ladies wanted to advertise their vermin problem so publicly.

Etchings of a design for the head of a zibellino,1562 by Erasmus Hornick

Jeweled head of a zibellino,1550 Italian

Painted tablet,1533 by Martin Schaffner

Giulia Gonzaga in mourning dress,1535 by Cristofano dell'Altissimo

Isabella d'Este,1536 by Titian

Portrait of a woman,1539 by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Portrait of Count Fortunato Martinengo Cesaresco by Moretto da Brescia,1540-42 

Edward VI of England,1550 by William Scrots

Isota Brembati,1552 by Moroni

Queen Mary I of England and Princess Elisabeth entering London,1553

Taufe Christi,1556 by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Patrician Lady,1557 by Sofonsiba Anguissola

Portrait of a woman,1560 by Francesco Beccaruzzi
Alessandro Farnese,1560 by Sofonsiba Anguissola.

Alessandro Farnese,c. 1560 by Anthonis Mor

Antonio Navagero,1565 by Moroni

Venetian woman,1575 from Mores Italiae

Frances Sydney,Countess of Sussex in 1570-75

Catharina MIchaela of Spain Duchess of Savoy,1577 by El Greco

Anna Radziwill,1583

Elisabeth I in parliamentary robes,1585 by Marcus Gheerarets the Younger

Lady,1588 from Album Amicorum of a German soldier.The lady has a white
 zibellino possibly made of squirrel fur on her arm

Lady form Padua,1595 from Album Amicorum of a German soldier

French lady,1595 from Album Amicorum of a German soldier

Lucy,Countess of Bedford in 1595

Elizabethan lady,1595 by William Segar

Gonzaga Family at worship,1604 by Rubens

 Isabella of Valois,Queen of Spain in 1605 by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz

James I of England,1606 by John Critz

Elisabeth Harnister,1611

Lucy Harrington,1616

Catherine Lady Stanhope,1636 by van Dyck

Elisabeth,Lady Thimbleby,1637

Lucy Percy,1637 by van Dyck

Henrietta Maria of France Queen of England,c. 1630

         Portrait of a young girl as Flora,c. 1640 by Cornelis van Poelenbuch

Portrait of Elisabeth von Werdt in a fur hat by Hanz Jacob Dunz,1642

Marie Jeanne,Duchess of Savoy in 1666

Catherine of Braganza,Queen of England in 1667 by Jacob Huysmans

Portrait if a lady,c. 1670 by a follower of Beaubrun

Archduchess Maria Anna Josepha of Austria,Princess Palatine,1678

Margahareta Fries,c. 1670 by Conrad Meyer

Young lady,1672 by Frans van Mieris

Mary II of England,1683 by Caspar Netscher

Marie Caddene,1684 by Rigaud

Cleophea Lavater,1686 by Conrad Meyer

Duchess Violante Beatrice of Bavaria,1690 by Nicolo Cassana

Daughters Henri Prince of Conde,1690 by Gobert

Sobieski family,1693

Lady and her daughter,1720-30 by Coypel

Scene in woods,c. 1730 by Antoine Watteau

Maria Amalia of Saxony Queen of Spain,1738 by Louis de Silvestre

Princess Mary of England,Landgravine of Hesse Kassel,c. 1750

Mademoiselle Dumesnil,c. 1750 by Donatien Nonotte

Farinelli and friends,1750-52 by Jacopo Amigioni

Winter,1755 by Franocis Boucher

Louis Dauphin of France,1765 by Roslin

Franciska Krasinicka,c. 1760

Portrait of a gentlemen,c. 1760 by Guiseppe Baldrighi

Ana Sheremetova,1768 by Ivan Argunov

Gaetano Pugnani  by an artist of the Italian school,1755-70

Carl August of Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach,1769 by Ziesenis

John Scott Banks,1774 by Batoni

Mary Lady Hervey,c 1770 by Zoffany

Woman reading a letter,1775 by Pierre-Alexandre Wille

Two young ladies,c. 1770

Ludwika Zamoyska,1780 by Bacciarelli

                                                     Richard Miles,c. 1780 by Batoni

Maria Amalia,Queen of Saxony  by an unknown Saxon painter,c. 1780

Portrarit of a couple,c. 1780 by Joseph Melling

In the XVIII century fur,imported mainly from Russia,was used to line winter dresses,capes and coats and also muffs were made either entirely of fur or were lined with it to keep the hands warm.Fur hats were worn mainly by men,sometimes by women in Russia,but the ladies wore fur boas which they wrapped around their necks and shoulders.

Madame de Villeneuve,1780-90 by Jean Louis le Barbier the Younger

Johanna Sieveking,1784

                                                       Sarah Siddons,c. 1785 by Gainsborough

          Ignacy Potocki,1785 by  Anna Rijecka

Lady Rowley,1785 by Hoppner

Portrait of a lady,1785 by Alessandro Longhi

Madame Mole-Reymond,1786 by Vigee Le Brun

Madame Stroganova,1787 by Voille

Marquise d'Aramon,c 1789 by Mosnier

Queen Friederike Luise of Prussia,1780-90

Woman with a ruff,c. 1790 by Gauffier

Mary Fagan,1790

Elizabeth Farren,1790 by Lawrence

Archduke Joseph Palatine of Hungary,1800
Lady reading,1886 by Gabriel Schachinger

Natalie Barney,1896 by Pike Barney

Zinaida Yusupova,1894 by Francois Flaming

Camara,1890 by Paul Cesar Hilleu

Ruby Miller,1890 by James Jebusa Shannon

Peggy Lettelier,1895 by Paul Cesar Helleu

Madmoiselle Vaughan,c. 1890 by Helleu

Lady in fur wrap,c. 1890 by Clemens von Pausinger

The fashion for carrying a zibellino had died out in the first few years of the XVIIth century but it made a slightly modified reappearance in the XIX and XX centuries with ladies wearing fox skins around their necks.Wearing of furs is still associated with wealth even today and it is highly frowned upon due to animal rights movements and the option faux fur becoming the more conscientious  way to get the sumptuous look.

Johanna Staude,c. by 1900 Klimt

Sybil Rocksavage,c. 1900

Girl form Moscow,1903 by Ryabushkin

Lady,1905 by Leon Bakst

Mrs Edward-Redfield,c. 1910 by Wiles Irving Ramsay

Mrs.St George,c 1910-20 by William Orpen

Portrait of a lady,c. 1920 by Nicolae Vermont

Yvonne Legeay,1925 by Charles Gesmar

Portrait of a lady,1935 by Marcello Dudovich