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Featured Content: Medieval Clothing and Textiles

The study of medieval clothing and textiles has aroused great attention in recent years, as part of the growing concern in material culture as a whole; apart from its own intrinsic interest, it has much to reveal about life at the time. Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is delighted to provide digital access to Boydell & Brewer’s renowned multi volume Medieval Clothing and Textiles series.

This exciting series aims to offer all those interested in the subject the fruits of the best research in the area. Interdisciplinary in approach, it features work from the fields of social and economic history, history of techniques and technology, art history, archaeology, literary and non-literary texts, and language, while experimental reconstruction of medieval techniques or artifacts will also form a particular focus.

This Featured Content is your gateway to delve into this rich and invaluable series.


Image Showing Master of the Coronation Book of Charles V.
Master of the Coronation Book of Charles V (The British Library Board, by permission)

Introducing the Medieval Clothing and Textiles Series

Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is the digital home of Boydell & Brewer’s market-leading Medieval Clothing and Textiles series. Edited by Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker, this rich series is dedicated to the study of Medieval clothing and textiles, drawing from a range of disciplines and with a special focus on reconstruction and re-enactment. Explore the range of volumes available here. Volumes 1 – 16 are available now, with Volumes 17 and 18 due to be added very soon.

Image Showing Medieval Clothing and Textiles Volume 10.
Medieval Clothing and Textiles 10 (Boydell & Brewer)

The Study of Clothing and Textiles

In this chapter from Volume 15, series editor Gale R. Owen-Crocker considers the ways in which the study of clothing and textiles has developed in the last half-century the current state of the art, including its historiography; and potential new directions. The study begins with artefacts, continuing to the earlier material remains of textile and dress accessories, then considers representations of dress and textile in art and text before going on to examine theoretical approaches to the subject, giving particular emphasis to the usefulness of “object biography”.

This image shows Medieval Clothing and Textiles Volume 12.
Medieval Clothing and Textiles 12 (Boydell & Brewer)

Queenship and the Power of Fashion

Research on queenship ideology is undoubtedly a vivid and important field of recent medieval studies. Focusing on the religious basis of the ruler’s consort position and its biblical models, students of the subject have shown the role of the Queen of Heavens, the Virgin Mary, already for centuries titled regina, as an important point of reference for the terrestrial queen. In this article Grzegorz Pac takes three iconographical sources from different contexts respectively Carolingian, Anglo-Saxon, and Ottonian, and demonstrates how dress has been supposed to play a key role in the confirming or undermining of the ideological bond between the terrestrial and heavenly queen.

This image shows the New Minster Charter, 966.
New Minster Charter, 966 (Wikimedia Commons)

Masculinity in the Medieval Era

Whilst in modern parlance the term “gallant” has come to be associated with chivalric virtues and courteous behaviour, it was first used, in Middle English, to describe a stereotype of fashionably dressed young men synonymous with licentiousness and delinquency. The galaunt figure is extremely prevalent in the literature of late medieval England. It is referred to in a variety of literary sources, from verse satire to drama, and is even mentioned in material as disparate as personal letters, legal cases, and guild accounts. In this article Emily J. Rozier, explores the concerns expressed in this large body of literature about the transformative effects of the galaunt’s fashions, which will be shown to have been consistently viewed as being both physically and spiritually distortive.

This image shows Medieval Clothing and Textiles Volume 16.
Medieval Clothing and Textiles 16 (Boydell & Brewer)

Fashion and Material Culture in Depictions of the Seven Deadly Sins

A tabletop painted about 1505–10 and signed with the name Hieronymus Bosch depicts everyday representations of the seven deadly sins. Three of these sins—Envy, Pride, and Lust—are especially associated with fashionable clothing and high-status material culture in late medieval moralizing literature and art. This chapter shows how the artist examines Envy, Pride, and Lust among the upper classes through a critique of their clothing rather than with eschatological regard to the fires of hell. Click here to read more in this article by John Block Friedman and Melanie Schuessler Bond from annual 16 of Medieval Clothing and Textiles.

This image shows Medieval Clothing and Textiles Volume 12.
Medieval Clothing and Textiles 12 (Boydell & Brewer)

Recent Books of Interest in Medieval Clothing Studies

Every volume of Medieval Clothing and Textiles includes a list of Recent Books of Interest. These carefully curated lists are invaluable research tools which provide a rich source of inspiration and guidance for those looking to further their own independent research. This list of Recent Books of Interest from Volume 16 includes a variety of sources, from The Lost Art of the Anglo-Saxon World: The Sacred and Secular Power of Embroidery (2019), by Alexandra Lester-Makin to The Right to Dress: Sumptuary Laws in a Global Perspective, c. 1200–1800 (2019), edited by Giorgio Riello and Ulinka Rublack.

Image of a Shirt, Peru, 1450-1500
Shirt, Peru, 1450-1500 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Discover more from Bloomsbury Medieval Studies

In addition to the entire catalogue of Boydell & Brewer’s Medieval Clothing and Textiles market leading series, Bloomsbury Medieval Studies offers a wealth of valuable content on this dynamic topic. From eBooks such as the A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion in the Medieval Ages to articles from the Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages as well as a rich collection of digitised objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. ]. Explore the Bloomsbury Medieval Studies platform and discover the varied content on offer.

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