The Durer Jacket

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The Durer Jacket

Postby finnacan on Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:33 am

Just curious,

Have any of you ever attempted a version of the bell-sleeved ionar with the collar worn by the barefoot soldier on the far right in Albrecht Durers Irish illustration?

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... -16thC.jpg

I know we only see a side view, but I have a few thoughts on this detailed image.
One, there appears to be no pleating.
Two, it has some space - it is a semi-loose fitting, full garment.
Three, it likely has a frontal opening, due to the collar flowing over the shoulder. Whether it was belted shut, pointed (tied) or buttoned is anyones guess.
It appears to be somewhat substantial in the draping and the wrinkling, giving me the impression it wool and not linen.

Not a lot can said about it with any clarity, other than Durer saw the garment at Antwerp and drew what he saw.
Any attempt to recreate it would be at best hypothetical.
As a forefather of the pleated-skirt jacket that would appear a few decades later, it is an interesting garment. I frankly consider it more flattering (to my modern eyes) than the later version.
I'd love to give it a shot, but I'd be wary of presenting it as "accurate" or a correct copy of an historic item.

It would be interpretive only.

What do you think? Opinions?

~Finnacan
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby Billy on Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:24 pm

Derek Gallagher wore one of these at a medieval show in Rathangan once. Anyone remember that?
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby finnobreanan on Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:41 pm

If I'm not mistaken, I think McClintock wrote that he thought that Durer misinterpreted a typical Leine and Ionar in this illustration, but I don't have my copy of his book handy.
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby Swifty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:22 pm

finnacan wrote:I know we only see a side view, but I have a few thoughts on this detailed image.
One, there appears to be no pleating.
Two, it has some space - it is a semi-loose fitting, full garment.
Three, it likely has a frontal opening, due to the collar flowing over the shoulder. Whether it was belted shut, pointed (tied) or buttoned is anyones guess.
It appears to be somewhat substantial in the draping and the wrinkling, giving me the impression it wool and not linen.

My opinion is that all the observances that you have described are those associated with the full léine of the 16thC - pleats were only brought into the garment by misinterpretation by re-enactors. As you know there is no other evidence that this jacket existed at all and - like Scott - I think that Durer has misinterpreted the large fold of material hitched at the waist as is normal in a léine. It should also be noted that the colourist was another artist who executed the work after Durer's death. My advice would be to stick to the Ashmoleum Museum depiction for an ionar and/or the Kilcommon archaeological find. The Killery/Leigh type coats provide another alternative. However if you do go ahead making a reconstruction of this jacket - do post some pics - I would be interested in seeing the results!
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby finnacan on Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:02 pm

Swifty,

When I mention the lack of pleats, I refer to the lack of pleats on the Durer jacket/ionar as compared to the heavily pleated skirt of the Tudor Era ionar,like the Kilcommon jacket, not the leine. That was the difference I was noting.
Sorry if I wasn't more clear.

As for this being an inaccurate image, that would certainly answer a load of questions. The more I read on this, the more it appears Durer did not in fact draw these men from life, so the chances of a misinterpretation would be significant enough to discard the image, in my opinion.

All things considered, I doubt I will attempt a reconstruction. It would a.) lead some to conclude it is acceptable, and b.) require taking an apathetic approach to the history of Ireland, something I'm loathe to do.

However, you mention two points of extreme interest to me.
The Ashmolean print as well as the numerous images of Lucas De Heere show the ionar as having a really high neckline, with closure above the heart and the pleated skirt reaching down no further than the middle of the stomach.
The Kilcommon, however, has a much lower neckline, with buttons at the natural waistline and a pleated skirt well below the navel.
Where did this inconsistancy originate?

Second, you mentioned the Killery/Leigh coats. I would love to wear one, but it seems most folks (Dunleavy of "Dress in Ireland" and Kass McGann of Reconstructinghistory.com) have decided that these are 17th century, from the 1600s, and not in the Tudor/Elizabethan time frame. This surprised me, since they have sleeves to accomodate the large leine sleeves, but I found no one who would allow that they were possibly earlier.


This late medieval stuff is still new to me, compared to my digging into the earlier periods, and I really appreciate the input.
~Finnacan
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby Swifty on Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:33 am

Hello again Scott

I'll comment on your second point first as the use of Killery/Leigh style coats outside of the 17thC is something I have been looking into myself of late. I'll first quote Dunlevy from 'Dress In Ireland' pp74-75:

'These 'Irish' coats seem to be derived in style from the doublets worn in the fourteenth century, similiar to that worn by Noah in The Book of Ballymote, 1400 [actually probably 1390-91]'... See p. 37 for the depiction from The Book of Ballymote - the resemblance is uncanny with the coat worn by Noah - and apparently some of his family - with close fitting buttoned sleeves tapering towards the wrist and the buttoned frontage. Dunlevy continues: 'The Killery and Leigh coats have been dated previously through comparison with late seventeenth-century English and French coats, but the coupling in the Calendar of State Papers, 1571, of 'Irish coats' with great shirts [léines], mantles and glib hairstyles, suggests an earlier existence. The vestigial medieval tailoring techniques alluded to above and references by Moryson, Gernon and others quoted below suggest that Irish coats evolved indigenously and then remained in use, in their developed form, until the the late eighteenth century'. This latter 18thC date refers to a late 18thC painting by Nathaniel Grogan entitled ' The Country Schoolmaster' - again many of the features of the Killery type are present: gores, no back seam on the bodice , no hem and seemingly unlined. This would indicate that coats of this type were - at least - known in Gaelic Ireland from the late 14thC and were still in use some four hundred years later in almost the same form.

Today the National Museum of Ireland - officially - dates the type as 17thC as you have pointed out but based on the above and other evidence (e.g. the late 16thC Derrick image of Turlough Luineach O'Neill in his submission to Sir Henry Sidney appears to be wearing an Irish coat) I think that the type had a far longer longevity than had been and is generally officially thought. The Killery coat, for example, was found in 1824 with a pair of trews (and a cloak and pointed sheepskin cap - the latter of which did not survive). The presence of the trews with the ensemble is important as that would indicate that the coat could not date to any later than 1670 - but beyond that - and without context - little more can be said about the date asides the above. Btw even by 1648 trews were deemed suitable for wear only by 'Ulster rogues' although they are still recorded as being worn by older men into the 1660's (Dunlevy, p.78).

McClintlock in his 'Old Irish and Highland Dress' (p. 64) gives the opinion that: 'these are obviously jackets [sic] designed to be worn when necessary over a tunic [sic] or léine; long enough to cover it entirely from the weather and made extra full below the waist in order to accommodate its skirts if pleated [sic]; while the sleeves are made to unbutton in order to let the wide sleeves of the tunic fall through. These jackets therefore date from a time when the wide tunic sleeve was already in use and may reasonably be ascribed to the 15th or 16th century…’ – just as you suggest. The coat still has it’s strongest provenance in the 17thC re historical sources which Dunlevy points out – hence the tendency for most of us to regard the coat as purely a 17thC garment.

From a 16thC (or indeed earlier) point of view you may ask why no léine has ever been found with (or without for that matter) a Killery/Leigh type ensemble in an archaeological context – well the answer to that is that linen rarely survives even in boggy conditions while wool can endure for centuries.

So plenty to think about – all in all I see no reason why you should not wear a Killery type coat with your léine for 16thC interpretations – here are some pix of me in my Leigh coat doing just that…

Image
Image
Image

So now… going back to your first point on the Ashmoleum print v’s the Kilcommon jacket (I’ll ignore the de Heere images here – useful as they are – as they are a little later than the Ashmoleum example), my personal interpretation is that the Kilcommon coat is simply a local variation of the same general form of ionar. There is no reason why in Gaelic Irish society – a society without centralised government – that all ionar’s had to conform to an exact pattern even if fashion would dictate that they at least take some sort of similar form. Another interesting angle is that in her glossary Dunlevy mentions that ‘a leather ionar was worn in battle’ (p.188) – so considering that the six figures in the Ashmoleum print are armed it would appear reasonable to contend that these are therefore wearing representations of the leather type while the Kilcommon jacket could be regarded as the ionar typically used in civilian life.

Btw I enjoyed looking over your article on Irish clothing of the Viking Age - will read it more closely in the near future – is the original artwork your own?

Beir bua//Swifty

PS I think that Albrecht Dürer may well have personally seen that bunch of proto-Wild-Geese in Antwerp – it’s just that I don’t think that they were up for hanging around too long for their picture to be taken…
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby finnacan on Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:37 am

Yeah, that is my artwork - purely my interpretation and not to be considered authoritative at all.

Okay, first of all, I had forgotten McClintock thought the Killery/Leigh coats were 15th-16th century. Combined with Dunlevys independant agreement of that, I would think they deserve a second look .
But before I give the impression that I accept arguments from authority, here are my reasons for thinking they may have been appropriate.

1.) the mention of coats by the Calendar of State Papers, as you mentioned...
2.) The bag-sleeved leine does not seem to have survived into the 1600s, yet these coats all have a buttoned bottom opening to the armpit.
3.) The Moy Gown has almost the exact same sleeve, yet most every scholar agrees it is a creation of the late 1400s.
4.) Derricke, though a propagandist, described both the short pleated ionar and the bag-sleeved leine "whose sleeves hang trailing down almost unto the shoe". Most scholars love to quote that,...
Well, he also mentioned "...jackets or coats which were long, large and of 'shrouding simplicity'" (Dunlevy, P. 57)
Even he made note of them.

I have corresponded with Kass McCann of Reconstructinghistory.com concerning these coats. Well known for her work on developing pattern of the Kilcommon and the Dungiven outfits, I asked her for her opinion.
She disagreed with Dunlevy, saying that though Dunlevy was the textile director at the Museum of Ireland in Dublin, she wasn't a tailor. To Kass, the construction of these coats looked 17th century to her, though I'm not sure what specific elements she noticed.

She was unconvinced.
McClintock and Dunlevy were convinced.
I am, to a degree.

I may have to make one.

PS. I really dig your coat - it is cool to see one worn the way I always pictured them
PSS. Where can I get an Irish Skein, a nice long one? How much are they?

~Finnacan
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby finnobreanan on Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:47 pm

Great discussion here on Irish coats and ionars gentlemen, and on one of those rare occassions, I also tend to disagree with Kass concerning the dating of the coats, but as Finnacan mentioned, I would like to know what 17th Century tailoring techniques she is talking about (I am no tailor). I can't add anymore.

Finnacan, I've had your paper bookmarked on my computer favorites since I found it a while back. Nice to put a name with someone's work.

Boyd Rankin at Irish Arms makes an excellant Irish Skein. I own one, and I think the one Swifty carries was also from Boyd:
http://www.irisharms.ie/
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby Swifty on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:35 am

Very well made points Scott B - I think that the 15thC date of the Moy Gown is particularly compelling - forgot to mention it myself!

I also agree with Scott C in that I would normally be in agreement with Kass McGann - she has done some excellent pioneering research and analysis.

I still think that there is room for argument but for me the scales are tipped in favour of the Killery type coats having the wider date range.

It's great to have this discussion externally with you chaps as the internal mulling only gets me so far!

And yes - all my skeins are made by Boyd Rankin of Irish Arms - highly recommended!
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Re: The Durer Jacket

Postby brendan on Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:59 am

And yes - all my skeins are made by Boyd Rankin of Irish Arms - highly recommended

Why, do you have many blades?
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