Being the Chronicle of the Courts of Timothy and Gabrielle, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc, held on the sixteenth day of November, AS 54 (2019), at Their Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship, in Their Dominion of Myrkfaelinn. Submitted by Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnarson, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.
After a fine day of food, fellowship, and fantastic arts and sciences, Their Majesties Timothy and Gabrielle bade their court be opened and the populace to seek their comfort.
Their Majesties first summoned forward all children there present. His Majesty, feeling the hall a bit too small to allow the children to safely engage in the traditional chase of the kingdom toybox, bade them go find it instead, saying only that it was already hidden somewhere within the hall. The assembled children scampered forth, seeking to and fro… but without success. Eventually, the box was spotted, cleverly being quietly sat upon by young Ivan Snorrison in a back corner of the hall, accompanied by Timothy of Arindale the Younger, with great mirth on both their faces. The various and sundry other children of the realm soon saw through these shenanigans, and toys were dutifully and gladly distributed to all and happily received.
It was then Her Majesty’s pleasure to invite forward Her Excellency Amalie Reinhardt to speak to all assembled about the AE Leads tokens, to be given by anyone for acts of kindness and service they witnessed.
Next, an announcement that, by Royal Writs duly signed by TRM Æthelmearc and Middle, that Lady Catherine Lumhaghs is a subject of the Crown of Æthelmearc.
Their Majesties then rose and spoke of the spectacular arts and sciences on display that day and noted that there was actually a tie for first place. It being so, Their Majesties then exercised a bit of Royal prerogative and decided that They would choose both a King’s Champion and a Queen’s Champion. To that end, Baron Jasper Longshanks and THL Máirghréad Stíobhard inghean uí Choinne were called before the court and made King’s A&S Champion, and Queen’s A&S Champion, respectively, and they received the regalia of their new offices from His Lordship Robert of Ferness, the outgoing Champion.
Their Majesties then bade them both remain a moment more and told Baron Jasper that they were not yet done with the business They had with him that day, then bade Their herald call forth Their Most Noble Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc and made Baron Jasper a member of that order, with a scroll by THL Vivienne of Yardley.
Baron Jasper and THL Máirghréad. Photo by Elska.
Baron Jasper and THL Máirghréad as the new King and Queen’s A&S Champion (Photograph by Elska á Fjárfelli)Their Majesties saw need to name one further champion that day: a Kingdom Youth Champion of Arts & Sciences, so They had summoned before them Cornelia of Harford. They spoke glowingly of her display of handmade rabbit fur mittens, noting that she had received a score on the same rubric as the adults and would have scored very well were she an adult. In addition, They were also quite impressed with her comportment and speaking about her project, and so named her Their Youth A&S Champion.
His Lordship Matteo presenting Lady Eadgytha and Lord Simon their AOA scrolls during Myrkfaelinn’s weekly practice. Photo by Elska.
At that time, Their Majesties called for Eadgytha and Simon of Myrkfaelinn, or one who could speak for them. His Lordship Matteo Pesci came forward and avowed that he could so speak, and so Eadgytha and Simon were made Lady and Lord, members of the Nobility of Æthelmearc, with Awards of Arms.
Lady Kitty. Photograph by Baroness Amalie Reinhart
Next, Kitty Maclure was called forward, and with much emotion received
her Award of Arms and was made Lady Kitty of the Nobility of Æthelmearc,
with a scroll by Lady Drucilla.
Soon after, Their Majesties called again for Their Most Noble order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc and spoke to them of an omission from their ranks that should then be rectified. The Order being in agreement, Lady Finuola Fenris McGill was called forward and added to their ranks, with a scroll by Master Jonathan Blaecstan.
After that, Their Majesties called for their Most Noble Order of the Pelican to attend Them. Once assembled, Their Majesties stated that an addition needed to be made to their Order and sent for Baroness Aine O’Muirghesan to be brought before them. She was presented with a Writ to contemplate elevation, with a scroll illuminated by Lady Nicola Beese with words from Mistress Cori Ghora, and sent forth to consider her answer with seriousness and thoughtfulness, her reply to be received at a later date.
That happy business being accomplished, Their Majesties saw it right and fit to summon Their Most Noble Order of the Laurel to attend Them. When asked if they wished to add to their number they responded aye, and so the presence of His Lordship Robert of Ferness was demanded. King Timothy spake that, as His Lordship now had extra time (no longer being the kingdom’s Arts and Sciences Champion) he should use such time as was now available to consider elevation, and sent him forth with a Writ commanding the same.
Robert of Ferness
Cornelia of Harford
Queen Gabrielle then rose and spoke with great admiration of the work of Cornelia of Harford, noting that, when her A&S display was unattended between judging times, there was a card left there advising any seeking her that she should most probably be found helping in the kitchens, and that she would return from there to speak upon her project if desired. Her Majesty named Cornelia as Her Inspiration that day, and awarded unto her a Golden Escarbuncle, tinted green for arts & sciences achievement.
Finally, Their Majesties called up all scribes there present who had contributed a scroll to the day’s courts, and each was given a token of appreciation from Their hands.
There being no further business, court was closed.
Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnarson
Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald
With the Arabella Stuart doll entry I continue the journey of researching and recreating various period inspired toys, which have inspired me over the past decade. Though by far, my personal favorite has been spending time making dolls. Re-stepping in familiar territory, each project presents new challenges and skills never before attempted. This was one of my first projects in the SCA and its been a joy to finally recreate one as close as possible from a period masterpiece of art. The series of research is meant to be in-depth with the known depictions of dolls in 16th century art. Then it is to be meticulously recreated in period materials and methods. This is the third in a series of 10 dolls from these depictions.
In this article we shall discuss the layers of 16th century court clothing worn in 1577; comparing the portrait image represented to the construction of on the extant doll as previously researched. Observing the creative process and material choices for this project. Plus, discovering more representations of other fashion dolls in art around the world in the 16th century.
Extant Fashion Doll: The only extent one that physically survived the centuries supplies the core research on which all my other depictions are based. The extant doll is housed in the Livrustkammaren Museum (Royal Armory) in Stockholm, Sweden (see image). She is not a display item at this time and would most likely be in storage. So, with a little luck and the internet, I was able to locate some closeup images of the doll from “Isis Wardrobe” a personal internet blog. Some of these images are displayed on other sites like Pinterest, following the trail back to the museum website (see source 3 for the web address). I noticed this doll while turning the pages of my copy of “Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d” over a decade ago. This little doll is depicted in black and white, saddened there wasn’t a color picture in the book. Color pictures were not found untill recently on a persona blog “Isis Wardrobe” and subsequently on the Livrustkammaren Museum website.
Looking at the Livrustkammaren Museum Facebook page there is a small reference of the traveling of Fashion dolls “This modedocka, or pandora as they were called after the first woman in Greek mythology, must have been manufactured by Maria of Palatinate, Duchess of Södermanland, married to Duke Karl which eventually became Karl IX. Fashion Dolls were common in the business of fashion until the end of the 17th century and was a way to spread new trends before fashion journalism took its place. “Pandora traveled by horseback (?) to different countries and not just royalty and nobility was reached.” This is also referenced in the Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d about how the mode of fashion that traveled with the tailor’s trade. Later in this article the changing mode of fashion is discussed; how these did become a feature in art of children, an eventual evolution as a plaything and found in later inventory of the affluent.
The website of the museum supplied many useful pictures and much information. The recently added full color photos of this doll show at least 19 images in total. I also was able to obtain a list of the materials that the doll is made from, though it is difficult to locate some of them. Since either the type of material is no longer made, it called something else in modern times, or for the sheer translation issues into English. I was able to decipher as much as possible and through looking at prior inventory lists was able to figure out a reasonable kind of material. The doll has a steel wire armature body wrapped in silk and silk thread. (source 3) The extant doll has an elaborately embroidered muff with silver gold threads lined in gold silk. (source 3) Painstakingly detailed gold lace decorates the outer dress of lavender silk, including 3 petticoats; one pink silk lined, one gold velvet lined with silver lace, and an outer gown of purple silk lined gold lace trimmed and blue silk hem. (source 3) (See image illustrating the visible silk fabric, 3 petticoats with decoration and linings, also visible are the thread wrapped wire feet.)
From personal observation it is clear the feet are visible in one of the close-up photos on the blog “Isis Wardrobe”, and they look to be silk thread wrapped; unfortunately, closer inspection blurs the images. Her hands are not visible from any angle due to the muff; I tried blowing up the blog images to see if I could see a peek of something, but to not avail. The face seems to be an off-white or tan colored silk, the face is embroidered on and stretched over the stuffing base with some defining features for the chin and nose, I found by studying the 19 images from the museum website. (source 3)
Portrait of Arabella Stuart: From all this information about the extant doll as a basis then form a real object. Now we also have the portrait painting of Arabella Stuart from 1577 for our fashions for this doll (see close up of the portrait of Arabella Stuart age 23 months. The fashion doll held in left hand seems similar to images of Queen Elizabeth I of the time.) Looking at the image I think the portrait dolls is taller than the extant doll. Therefore, I made my replica about 10” tall. With all the details, I was able to begin the long process of project planning. This entails sourcing materials, pricing and budgeting. Though I also needed to look at the making process of this, how it was going to be done. So also follows; thread wrapping, running stitch, back stitch, couching stitch, whip stitch (wig).
Various techniques like gold-work, wire-work, sewing, and mild embroidery were implemented in constructing my replica. I sourced some handmade bobbin lace in a small enough scale without making miniature bobbin lace. Which I am in the process of learning the skill of making regular size lace. I just gained a book on making miniature versions for dolls. Which during the process would be an undertaking more than I could execute in the current time frame to have the project completed, at least at a semi respectable level. Although it is on the list of learning as my SCA journey continues to develop.
English 16th Century Court Clothing Features: After seeing the extant doll, I knew there needed to be proper preparation for such an undertaking. I noted a few items with major similarity with the extant doll, as the style of the sleeves, gown and fitting of the clothing. I also observed some features that would have been standard in the 16th century, like hair covering and neck ruff, which were not featured on the doll at all. So I made a small survey of the images similarly dressed to the extant doll including the layers that would be proper for the time period. Some of these images were more difficult to find as identifications changed when persons were identified as different individuals contemporary to the time. I identified as many from court life as possible. When I narrowed it down to a 30-year window, a regional trend in fashion became evident. I discovered similarities of a bedecked headdress, neck ruff, and decorated cuffs that were all in the versions of the portrait paintings I located.
I noted all the examples have a fitted bodice, most likely corseted, with metallic trim decoration and flowing pleated skirt. All the gowns are voluminous due to under layers, some split front some closed. All the clothing has decorated long sleeves; some with embroidery. The portraits show a decorated head covering, neck ruff, all have a lace decorated cuff at the end of the long sleeves. This small survey of court fashion over a period of time in the same country, shows there are some similarities between the decoration, style, and accessories about the time the doll would have been made. With such detail as seen in the extant doll photos, there is no way someone would have rushed in putting this together and achieve such quality. Plus, similar court fashion seems to have travelled to other countries similar to the fashions on the Arabella Stuart doll in England at about the same time from 1570’s (see image of Queen Elizabeth I- Pelican Portrait of circa 1575).
The layers of clothing would been as follows: shift (linen); corset (reed/whale bone); outer (silk fabric); petticoats ( silk); padded roll (bumroll); outer gown (red silk taffeta, gold silk slashed sleeves); neck ruff (starched linen); head covering (silk-net, pearls, gold wire); shoes (thread wrapped silk). This is based on the doll and based on the above English court wardrobe and layers of 16th century court dress.
Preparation Materials selection: When making selections for this project, I looked at the material list from the museum website. They are listed on the website as follows: taffeta, wire taffeta, silver wire (tip), silk (embroidery), silk on silk-embroidery, velvet-uncut, pearl velvet, lace, and gold thread. (source 3) Not sure if all of it is translated well enough in detail from Swedish, though it gave me a starting point.
I also looked at the colors and textures from the portrait doll and those influenced my choices: steel wire, twine, air dry clay, red dupioni silk fabric, burgundy tablet woven silk trim, red silk velvet ribbon, off white- silk organza, gold-silk chine, white, red, gold- silk thread, gold gilt wire-hard, smooth purl gold gilt no.8, rough purl gold gilt no. 8, gilt o’s 6mm size, seed pearls, gold embroidery twist, hide glue, gesso and gauche paint, wooden plague, linen fabric, cotton batting, wood and glass display case, doll stand. I looked at the prices and over the first three months of the year (2019) budgeted $300 for the materials, shipping, and sheer cost of some of the materials. I wanted it to really look like something for royalty and using as close as possible materials and not shy away from the precious metals.
And I wanted to address the color choices for this project, compared to the portrait doll. I wanted a deep red silk that had some body to it as based on the pictures. Plus, it needed to address the burgundy tones observed on the photos from the internet. I preferred to use a dupioni silk fabric since it has texture. This one is a very smooth weave, more than normally found easily. I wanted to show which bright colors the doll would have displayed as a new creation in the 16th Century.
The hide glue, also known as gelatin glue, I discovered a medieval recipe in The Compleat Anachronist issue 134 by Maya Heath. I needed glue not to just to secure the hairstyle, the hair needed to be dirty of sorts to behave correctly. I knew this information from having done this hairstyle many times and hair needs some oil and unwashed consistency to stick to itself. This glue was used on the washed human hair procured from a beauty supply store. It could maintain the hairstyle and also protect it from being snagged when sewing the silk hairnet with woven gold wire in it and securing the braids.
The Tudor Child pattern for dolls was used on this project. (source 2) I wanted to try this version, to give a nod to more peg like doll features that represent some earlier styles of fashion dolls. In this pattern there aren’t legs on this doll. Therefore, no stockings, shoes or garters are needed for her. Since I modeled after the Tudor Child doll pattern, this doll uses a wood round base inside the linen lining along with the cotton stuffing to hold everything upright instead. (source 2) Studying the portrait, I wanted to maintain the round conical shape of the skirts. I think there is something more sturdy there than two stuffed wired doll appendages. So that is a distinct difference than the extant in Sweden.
Crafting Process: I began with the accessories first, since they would be smaller and easier to travel with me. I kept the doll itself as a project at home most of the time, although towards the end I took it to work on breaks, lunch, and after work. I found this to be relaxing as well as another way of directing my thoughts to a better place. A therapy of sorts during the day at work.
My process of making the replica doll is as follows:
The body is made of linen fabric, stuffed with cotton batting (see image showing construction). The head and hands are hand sculpted from air-dry clay sealed with gesso (from hide glue and white gauche). The miniature bust is then painted with gauche paint to a natural skin-tone and features. The wig is a strawberry blonde human hair wig made from hair purchased at a beauty supply shop. Although I am still collecting my hair for future dolls.
The hair is styled carefully in a rounded rolled-form with a large netted bun in back, and gold silk twist along with coiled gilt gold wire woven into the head-covering. This took some of the longest to get right like the portrait image. Hide glue attached the wig to the clay head, needing lots of drying time at home. The image to the left shows the process before any accessories were added to the doll, you can see the linen arms wired to the body, and the wig drying. Great to see that the scale was working for the accessories created while at work. This can be problematic and I kept making sure it was still fitting to proportions.
The smaller parts were easy to transport in my purse. I assembled the ruff and cuffs first, then the miniature silk clothing. Added trims and decoration as much as could be done before sewing the clothing to the doll. The under-layers first, the shift, corset, padded roll and embroidered petticoat. From there I sewed the outer gown with back and running stitch, while taking care to not loosen the hair that had been styled so carefully.
The image (image on left with black dress & ruffs) shows the doll before the outer layer gown was added. You see the styled hair, the sleeves, accessories and under-layers. It is all set for the over dress and all the detail for completing the doll. It was a real joy to see all the pieces coming together to form a good quality replica doll. And knowing it is dressed from the skin out properly, even if you cannot see it. This kind of detail makes a good representation of 16th century fashion for the time, and adds to the overall purpose of the dolls as traveling fashion news for that time in history.
The image (image on right of red dress) shows the base decoration of the outer-gown. With beading on the bodice belted accessories, beaded hanging sleeves. You can see the decorated petticoat underneath. The gold silk slashed sleeves show behind the bobbin lace cuffs.
This became a very eye-catching piece, just like the inspirational portrait. Although this is not the end of the journey for me. On the portrait image of the doll there seemed to be a lozenge pattern laid gold-work, beading in those lozenges, and all this seemed metallic gold thread. There was difficulty finding a good quality image from the internet that had clearer details on the outer gown decoration. Recently obtained images show the gold-plated details of o’s that will have pearls centered inside. Also, rows of O’s of 6 mm hammered gold sewed on the skirt, shine when light hits from all directions. The pearl work will be done soon and will be freshwater versions since those are the easiest to obtain in the scale size needed.
I am working on a good laid gold-work twist that will help with the lozenge pattern. The laid work on the petticoat was troublesome in the smaller gauge so I am looking at something in a thicker composition that would be appropriate.
So far so good, and a sturdy based doll with shiny bedazzled gown, appropriate for court of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1570’s has been created. A fashion doll that could make a journey to a distant land to convey fashion, as ordered by Helena Von Snakenborg for her sister (source 1)
Lessons Learned: I definitely plan on many other projects like this again. There were challenges around every turn, I filled many pages of notes, including drawings, scale considerations, materials choices, technique notes, sources, picture details from limited sources. I also need to learn to make a more miniature lace version for future dolls. Although the learning process takes time, I don’t want to make a project without proper techniques represented well, even if not my own. I am happy with the basics I have learned in lace making and will strive to make an ever finer finished product. Luckily period artisans didn’t make every step by their own hand, so sourcing is not out of bounds.
If I had to do it all again, I would like to go to Hardwick Hall and take images of the actual painting instead of relying on the internet. Along with the V&A in London and other museums to see the paintings in person, firsthand accounts are ideal. At some-point in the future a visit to the Livrustkammaren Museum in Stockholm, Sweden is warranted. I looking forward to making the many versions of the dolls as seen on the other period paintings.
The Honorable Lady Mairin O’Cadhla explaining all about her elaborate Arabella Stuart Doll project at the Kingdom A&S Championship.
This article is an abbreviated version. For the complete Documentation please visit Mairin’s blog and click the link “Arabella Stuart Doll” under 16th century Documentation.
Arnold, Janet. “Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d”. Maney, London, England United Kingdom. 1988. Pages 107, 157-158, 248-fig 248 and fig 248A.
Huggett, Jane and Mikhaila, Ninya. “The Tudor Child- Clothing and Culture 1485-1625” Quite Specific Media Los Angeles, Ca-USA and London, England United Kingdom. 2013. Pages 49-50, 150-151.
“Costume Doll “Pandora”. Inventory# 77 (56:15) 260, 2016. Livrustkammaren Och Skoklosters. Slott Med Stiftelsen Hallway ska Museet.
Upon being selected Kingdom Arts & Sciences Champion by Her Majesty Anna Leigh last autumn, it quickly came to my attention that I was the only champion standing in court with nothing to represent the position. The archery champion holds bow and arrows; the thrown-weapons champion sports an axe. Other champions stand in court with swords or shields. Arts & Sciences had nothing, even though the terms lasts an entire year. That’s a lot of events to attend empty-handed.
After some reflection on what item might be appropriate for court, there seemed to be no good answer that would represent the diverse types of arts and sciences practiced within Æthelmearc. That is, until I realized that a book would work: it could represent knowledge, research, study, documentation, teaching. After bouncing the idea off of a few friends, who offered support, I contacted Renata Rouge, the Minister of Arts & Sciences, who agreed that it would be a suitable solution.
Fortunately, a year or two before at Pennsic, I had caught up with a friend from college who had just had a son, and who made a book for people to offer advice for him as he grew up. His bookmaking skills impressed me at the time. Thus, I contacted His Excellency Hayashi Youichirou Norikata about his interest in the project. He graciously offered his skills gratis if material costs were covered, and so we began a collaboration on what he would make.
To summarize, after discussing time period, his comfort level with options, and costs, we chose an early Gothic leather binding, brass furniture (clasps) and Pergamenata for its approximately 100 pages. He incorporated two large raised decorative elements to the front cover: the Æthelmearc escarbuncle and the candle-in-archway insignia representing the arts and sciences. The back cover sports stamped designs, one of which is, again, the Æthelmearc escarbuncle impressed with a brass stamp I had made for the project. His Excellency has provided documentation for the book, including decision points, materials used, exemplars, and in-progress photos; it’s linked from the book’s web page referenced below.
While His Excellency worked on the project, I began to mull over the possibilities the book might serve aside from a bit of regalia. No one would know from afar what the pages contained, or even whether they were totally blank. But why have a perfectly good book with nothing in it? Why not, instead, have each champion write about their project, the one leading to them being chosen as champion? That way there could be an on-going journal of the diverse projects that might inspire future artisans and perhaps educate them or lead them to resources or people they didn’t know about.
Thus, it came to pass, after further thought and discussion, that the book’s first pages would talk about the purpose of the book, and charge successive champions with continuing its raison d’être. Following that would be an index, listing all of the champions since A.S. XL and the monarchs who chose them as champions. Two pages would then be allotted and assigned to each past champion up to the present, followed by a good amount of free space for future champions to summarize their projects.
Not being a scribe, I contacted Lady Asteriya Royarchevicha who lives locally and whose work I had seen previously, and she agreed to write out the initial text, indexes, page headings, and so on (see image title page). I left the book with her for a couple of weeks and was pleasantly surprised to find the first page had become an illustrated title page on its own. Most of her work can be seen on the book’s web page mentioned below.
Finally, with the text skeleton laid out, I began to flesh it out by adding my own entry well into the book on its assigned pages. I wrote a bit about my embroidered-shoes-on-bone-ice-skates project (see image) and then passed it to Elska á Fjárfelli for her to enter her material on Black Sope and she passed it to Hrólfr á Fjárfelli who wrote about his Warp Weighted Loom and textiles.
Now that new co-champions have been selected for the coming year, the book has been passed to them to have and to hold for their term. As stated in the book, it is hoped that past champions will be able to borrow it for a while in order to complete their entries, either directly or with the help of a scribe or illustrator. I very much look forward to reviewing the book in the future to learn about past champions’ projects and see what they are to add to this Kingdom document.
More information, photos, and the text of its first few pages as well as some Champions’ entries can be found on the book’s Kingdom web page.