Today’s article in our series on the Kingdom’s Virtual Queens Prize Tourney are about three beautiful Early 15th c. Bourrelet Headdresses, made by artisan Ilaria of Delftwood. As we do not have the ability to converse with our entrants face to face, the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney now offers the opportunity to drool over images and read the documentation right there on the Kingdom Ministry of Arts & Sciences website – even to leave feedback! And to learn a little more about the artisan and their thoughts behind their entry, the organizers decided to broaden our traditional entry of object and documentation with personal interviews.


Ilaria’s entry consists of research into the development of the early 15th c padded roll headdress (bourrelet) in Western Europe, and includes construction of three different versions.

Could you tell me a little about you, your persona.

I’m still fine-tuning my persona because I find it so hard to choose! I’m focusing on Northern Italy, 15th-16th centuries. Although I focused on French sources for this project, there are enough similarities during this time that my persona could plausibly wear these styles of hats.

What inspired you to make your entry?

I am always fascinated by all kinds of headwear: how it’s made, how it stays on, what it symbolizes, how it affects demeanor. I’ve always been drawn to projects small enough to sit down and hold in front of me, so I usually have a hat project going on. This one was a chance to try some earlier styles.

What is your intention with your entry?

This entry is for my own use. I’m interested in how headwear styles change over time, and I’d like to have that chronology reflected in my wardrobe. This is the start of a longer term exploration of 15th century French aristocratic women’s headdresses. Ultimately I plan to have a representative style for every decade or two of the 15th century and early 16th.

Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?

In my documentation I have a description for each hat, and how I changed the construction each time in order to change the shape. Covering the red bourrelet was actually very tricky because of its horned shape. It took a lot of adjusting to get the velvet to lay smoothly.

Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?

I would say that when making very structured hats, especially for the first time, it is important to work on the structure first and be flexible about covering and embellishment.

What motivated you to enter the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney?

It is my honor to represent Delftwood as Baronial A&S champion. Which is difficult when we’re all far apart, so thank you for running this!

Thank you, Ilaria of Delftwood, for sharing your wonderful work with our Kingdom’s artisans and populace!

If you would like to see Ilaria’s entry, follow this link. And if you liked her work, have a question to ask, or a tip to share – please leave your comments with her entry! You can “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the entry’s page. We have two more weeks to peruse, enjoy and interact with the entrants. Make use of the opportunity, if you can!

Would you like to enter your own project? The deadline for entering the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney is June 30th, and you can find all you need to know on how to enter on the KMOAS website.