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though queens, on the day of their coronation, usually allowed their luxuriant tresses to hang down in all their native richness, their fair subjects appeared to think such a mode by no means an ornamental one.
One coiffure of this period was shaped like a heart, with a semicircular opening at the lower part, for the admission of the head, round which was a border, generally ornamented with jewels. Another of these
curious structures was very high and pointed, and the veil, or fall of linen, spread itself over the two forks, and fell down behind. But in no picture do we find the veil drawn over the face, or apparently used for any thing but an ornament.
The queen of Charles the Sixth of France is accused of having introduced these curious coiffures into that country, from her native land, Bavaria, and, like all other foreign modes, they quickly crossed the Channel, and appeared in England.
The waists of the gowns throughout this reign were remarkable for their excessive shortness, so different from the hour-glass form given by the now despised cdte-hardie. Some robes, with capes or collars of fur, also appeared; and stomachers of various colours, terminating in a point, varied the sameness of the costume.
A picture of the poet Chaucer, mentioned in Granger's "Biographical History of England," has the following lines written under it, and the date 1436. They are characteristic of the dress of that day, though not complimentary to the bard, who, however, is said to have been the handsomest man of his time:—
"His stature was not very tall,
The caps, or, as they were then called, bonnets, were made of fine cloth, silk, and velvet, and were perfectly dazzling with jewellery. Another picture represents a lady in the costume of the year 1454. Around her head she wears a broad embroidered bandeau, from which, on the right side, is suspended, in a festoon, a large string of pearls. The graceful folds of a flowing veil cover the rest of the head, and form a coiffure infinitely preferable to the horned towers we before described. The garment is a long loose vest, plaited in front; it has a richly embroidered collar, and the sleeves are tight down to the wrist, and trimmed with buttons.
The reign of Edward the Fourth may be termed the era of short garments. The gowns and tunics disappeared, except in state and official costumes; and the petit maitres of England appeared in jackets (which they called pourpoints) of a most unseemly brevity, and padded out to a wonderful extent. The sleeves were frequently very short, and puffed at the shoulders, and beneath them exA: tended to the wrist the long sleeves
TM of their shirts. The collar of the
pourpoint lay flat, and underneath it hung a rich gold chain. The chausses were quite tight to the feet, and usually terminated by poulaines. To finish the costume of these elegants of the fifteenth century, their hair was dressed so as to fall over their eyes, and their heads gloried in caps rivalling in height the steeple coiffure of the ladies. The rank of the wearer was then known by the length of the far-famed poulaines. "The men," says Paradin, "wore them with a point before, half a foot long; the richer and more eminent personages wore them a foot; and princes, two feet long."
With a view to check such absurd modes, the king ordered that no one under the rank of a lord should wear shoes more than ten inches long, or short jackets, padded or wadded; and all tailors and cobblers making the like were to pay a fine, and to be cursed by the clergy. Other sumptuary laws relating to rich furs, to cloth of gold, and various manufactures, were also made.
The ladies' coiffures again occupy much attention during this reign. They were often tall and pointed, like steeples; or, to use the words of Paradin, "they resembled asses' ears." Here are drawings of two of the most curious: —
Gowns with bodices laced in front now became the fashion. Strutt imagines they were stays, from their being called corse. Trains were banished, and the ladies' gowns were trimmed with rich fur; they had also sumptuous girdles, with clasps, and long gold chains encircled their necks.
In a print of Richard the Third, contained in Walpole's life of that monarch, we find him represented with long, curling hair, but neither beard, whiskers, nor moustaches. His pourpoint appears to be embroidered with the royal arms across the breast; his pantaloons, or chausses, are quite tight, reach to the feet, and are without ornament; his large shoes are barred across; his sleeves tight, with rosettes at the elbows; and a sort of puffed handkerchief, not unlike a ruff, encircles his neck; his cloak has a train that sweeps along the ground, and is lined with ermine. On his head he wears a crown. His queen has long hair, hanging to her waist, and parted over the forehead; her robe is splendid; her furred mantle (embroidered with the arms of England, and of her own family) is closed at the throat with a magnificent brooch, so that but little of the under garment is visible.
Walpole gives a curious memorandum of the dress of the unfortunate Edward the Fifth, which was ordered for him to wear at his uncle's coronation. The account is preserved in the royal wardrobe roll, and is as follows : —M A short gowne, made of two yards and three quarters of crymsy cloth of gold; lyned with two yards \ of blue velvet; a long gowne made of vi. yards 5 of crimsy cloth of gold, lyned with six yards of green damask; a short gowne, made of two yards t of purpell velvet, lyned with two yards £ of green damask; a doublett, and a stomacher of two yards of blue satin, and a bonet of purpell velvet." The mandate from Richard the Third to his wardrobe-keeper, dated from York, also contains a list of splendid dresses of this period.
The shape of the shoes worn at this time is curious. The dress of Henry the Seventh at his coronation, in 148.5, consisted of a shirt of fine lawn, a vest of crimson silk, with an opening in the front; crimson sarcenet chausses, laced with ribands to the coat, which was lined with ermine, decorated with bows of gold and riband, and trimmed with minever. The mantle was of crimson satin, laced with silk, and adorned with tassels. To this magnificent dress was added a crimson rose made of satin.