Dress and Illuminated Manuscripts at the Burgundian Court: Complementary Sources and Fashions (1430-1455)

Abstract : Around 1430 Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and Count of Flanders and Artois, established his power in the Northern Territories of Brabant, Hainaut, and Holland-Zeeland. These events coincided with profound stylistic changes in painting in the Southern Netherlands, first in panel painting and very soon after that in book illumination. Around 1445 Philip the Good started a very active patronage of richly illuminated manuscripts, produced mainly in Flanders, Brabant, and Hainaut. From this time, a complete series of accounts from 1430 to 1455 have been handed down and their systematic study has revealed an enormous amount of information on the expenditure for cloth and clothing of the Burgundian court. This allows us to be very precise about the clothing worn by the Duke Philip the Good and part of his entourage. Historians of manuscripts and of clothing can both gain a lot from collaboration, for example in assigning dates to clothes or manuscripts. This has indeed been done with success by historians of dress, such as Mireille Madou, Anne Hagopian van Buren4 and Margaret Scott. A comparative analysis of the sources is needed between the clothing as it was described in the accounts and the clothing as it was depicted in illustrations in manuscripts, to compare, and possibly match, the clothes that were worn with the clothes that were represented. Our side-by-side examination of these two approaches seems stimulating for another reason as well. Manuscripts, both as documentary sources (by their contents) and as luxury products for courtiers, are comparable to luxurious clothing, since both are part of the same cultural and stylistic context. Thus, we would like to reflect on the production and the use by the very same persons at the Burgundian court of, on the one hand, manuscripts and, on the other hand, clothes, both as representative witnesses of their time. One of our main working hypotheses lies in the way in which constructions of identity seem to emerge around the duke, between the 1430s and the 1450s, a movement in which both clothing and books took part. The challenge is to compare and contrast the ways in which dress and books are used in these strategies.
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Contributor : Sophie Desbois-Garcia <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 3:15:41 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-01199527, version 1



Hanno Wijsman, Sophie Jolivet. Dress and Illuminated Manuscripts at the Burgundian Court: Complementary Sources and Fashions (1430-1455). Staging the Court of Burgundy, May 2009, Bruges, Belgium. pp.279-285 & 387-388. ⟨halshs-01199527⟩



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