Friday, August 23, 2013

I think I have a crush on Pellegrino

Plate from Pellegrino
As usual, I'm neck deep in modelbooks. I've been looking at various interlace designs for use on the Ursula dress, since the original pattern has some heraldic significance. The d'Este's got a fad going (as they were wont to do) and so there are quite a few examples of period versions to choose from. Right now I'm chewing at Francesco Pellegrino's La Fleur de la Science de Pourtraicture Et Patrons De Broiderie. Facon aribicque et ytalique.  (Full scan of Harvard's copy is available at that link, so you too can drool. Or maybe that's just me. . .) Kathleen Epstein mentions this as the first collected pattern book of this type of embroidery design for couched cord work in her introduction to German Renaissance Patterns for Embroidery, a facsimile of Nicolas Bassee's 1568 modelbook. Earlier strapwork and couched patterns certainly existed, and Durer had some published as individual sheets around 1506, but Pellegrino's 1530 book published in Paris seems to be the first collection.

Probably because I'm really not a counted blackwork fan (yes, I understand that it is heresy to say that) I adore the swooping curves and floral ornaments of these designs. More that that, however, I love the thought of how fast they work up with surface couching. Not to mention how much fun they would be to paint, since Arabic calligraphy is where the designs came from to begin with. They'd be lovely done in applique as well. The type is very similar to the pattern I used for the leather applique on my turquoise squirrel lined muff. Imagining similar borders worked up with cording and some wool or leather applique is rather exciting.

And then there's the girdle. I squeeed rather heavily when someone on the fabulous Facebook Elizabethan Costuming group posted links to a Flikr page from the V&A's blog containing gorgeous closeups of the textile girdle in the V&A's collection. You absolutely must go look at them.  The girdle is T.370-1989 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, dated between 1530 and 1580 and listed as either Italian or French. I've considered making it before, but the closeups of the knots and green silk convinced me it has to happen soon. Aurora from The Earth is Flat also reminded me of this 1530 portrait by Pierfrancesco di Jacopo Forschi with a similar girdle tied from cord.

It is a 1530's gown with a similar style to my Ursula dress, so it has the amazingly unusual advantage of being a project I can do that is actually in line with my current project instead of a random tangent. See, it was meant to be!

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