Friday 21 March 2014

Picturesque Pictish Fashion

Tattoos are appearing everywhere on young women these days - what a sensation Cheryl Cole's roses caused in the British Press recently! But this is not new-fangled fashion. Jacques le Moyne de Morgues' watercolour of a Pictish daughter around 1585 suggests, at first sight, a rather beautifully embroidered body suit. However, eliminating the spear and collar and girdle, this girl of North East Scotland is in fact wearing her birthday suit. De Morgues is illustrating the wonder of Pictish tattoos, which were very in vogue at the time. Some say the name Pict was given to this tribe by the Romans to denote their painted (pictus) appearance. It is very probable that this was a fanciful representation but how interesting it is that it echoes the embroidered fashion of the times as can be seen in the portrait of an unknown lady from the Hampden family below.
Possibly more realistic is this example below by John White (British Museum) showing a girl tattooed with stars and stripes. Though I somehow have a feeling that Pictish girls were not the sort to stand still for any length of time!
The last example is by Theodor de Bry (1528–1598) who was a Flemish designer, engraver, printmaker and publisher. He was born in the city of Liège, but around 1570 he fled to Strasbourg to escape religious persection at the hands of Spanish Catholics. Around 1586 he moved again, to England, where he was exposed to stories and artistic depictions of European explorations of the New World.

Needleprint 10th Anniversary - Save $95.

To share our 10th anniversary celebrations with you, we are offering throughout the month of March 2014 a Free Goodhart Samplers Book or a Free Feller Needlework Collection Volume 1 with every copy of The Feller Needlework Collection Volume 2. You can take advantage of this special offer today. It comes with all our kindest wishes in this our last year before retirement.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous pictures of the Pictish women. The V&A held a Tattoo Day of Record some years back and photographed a lot of tattooed people for their records.
    I was part of it so I'm always happy to say "yes, I am an exhibit in the V&A". Although technically I'm just part of their archive!