Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gloves Adventure

After an extended hiatus, I've pounced on a new piece of clothing. Well, perhaps accessory is more to the point. I've determined that there are a few accessories that are easily neglected and I'm going to attempt to work on at least one of them.


Gloves are a challenge to find in paintings and drawings during my period. Why? I believe, depending upon the era, they may have been simply too common. Most paintings I find during my era are fine clothes and jewelry. If a piece of clothing was simply used to keep warm in the great outdoors, it's most likely that it wouldn't have been worn for a sitting. I'm finding that some periods wore gloves more decoratively than others. It's also possible that though they may have worn gloves for decorative purposes, it was more popular to show how perfect your hands actually were (Perfect hands show the lack of hard physical labor, right?). Unfortunately, this is all complete speculation on my part, but I have found a few leads.

Here are some photos that represent gloves within the period I'm studying.

Young Woman Attacked by Death; or, The Ravisher by Albrecht Durer (1494)
The difficult part about finding gloves in drawings or paintings is determining if what you're seeing is actually a glove or perhaps an overlong sleeve? It is my current belief that her right hand is covered in a glove with a long cuff, but it could quite easily be a long sleeve unfortunately. Fingernails tend to be a good give-away, but obviously that can't be used to determine much of anything here.

Self portrait at 26 by Albrecht Durer (1498)

According to the Web Gallery of Art, the gloves in this painting are made of "fine kid". I find it interesting that he drew the seam at the thumb as well as so many intricate pleats at the neck, but nothing between the fingers. Most of the patterns or gloves that I've seen so far have a fourchette between each of the fingers. Basically, pieces of material between the fingers so your fingers can actually move as they were intended.
Landsknecht with his Wife by Daniel Hopfer (1470-1536)

This is fairly close to my period and considering the research I've done thus far, gloves were worn all over the place and for centuries. These are long enough to fold a sizable cuff over the wrist.
Card Players by Lucas van Leyden (county of Holland, 1508-1510)

The Lute Player (c. early 16th century)
This one is getting a bit outside my period of study, but I found the length and fold interesting. It looks like the fold has now become more decorative as opposed to utilitarian. What would humans be if styles didn't change? :D

These aren't extensive representations of gloves in my period, but I believe they were worn more often. I see it as similar to how we wear gloves today to keep our hands warm, but during the 1950's they wore them all the time for decorative and protective purposes (women at least). I see my period along the same lines. We wouldn't see a lot of gloves in modern 'posed' pictures unless it was winter and we were outdoors. On the same token, I don't recall a lot of 'posed' pictures from the 50's where they wore their gloves and they were noticeable. At any rate, I'm done rambling on that aspect of things.

Unless I somehow find otherwise, I've determined that I'm going to use The Renaissance Tailor's pattern for constructing my gloves with some modifications to make them look more like what I want to wear. (I want a pair of the long ones similar to the landsknecht woodcut as well as something smaller, like in the Card Player painting.) The pattern seems basic enough and typical for a lot of gloves that I've seen in period. Unfortunately, my images don't show enough detail for me to determine their actual construction or material.
Since most of the gloves appear thin, I'm going to work on a cloth mock-up to begin with and if that works, try out a very thin leather and perhaps a medium weight cloth. I have this blue suede leather that's screaming at me to make a pair of gloves with it, but that's going to be quite some time in the future (if at all). :D

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