The Elusive Side-Laced Cotte

Finding evidence for this cotehardie that I want to make is proving a bit more difficult than I thought. It’s out there, but under what conditions, I don’t know.

Here’s the problem: for the most, part the pictures from manuscripts are very cartoon-ish.  They give a general shape and idea, but they don’t show seems or closures.

Here’s what I found so far:

Visitation – 1445
Panel painted on oak
Rogier van der Weyden

This is a definite side-laced fitted gown.  Of course, you can’t just look at the what, you also have to look at the who. The lady on the right is Elizabeth, cousin to Mary (from the Bible).  They are both pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. Thus the intimate feeling of the bellies.

So yes, the cotte exists, but was it maternity wear?

Abegg Triptych
1445 – oil on oak
Rogier van der Weyden

Yes, it’s the same painter. Also, the side-lacing isn’t completely clear. A search for a better resolution of this pic may be in order.

15th Century

The lady in red is definitely wearing a side-laced gown. It is waisted, and I am looking for unwaisted examples. But it is certainly a side-laced dress.

I’m not sure who painted the one above. Heck, I’m not even sure that the name is correct, but it does look like the same style of der van Weyden’s 15th century Flemish style. It gives me something to go on.

Tacuinum Sanitatis

This one is a bit earlier than I wanted, but not so terribly early that it’s un-useful. Those sleeves, though . . . Wow!

I have a couple of other iffy pics from manuscripts. If they were of a better resolution, I could maybe use them. The only other solid thing I have is this one:

I have no idea where it is from, what time period or the artist, but it certainly is a side-laced kirtle. And a good shot of spiral lacing.

Tip: if you are going to make any kind of medieval or Renaissance laced dress, check out Jen Thompson’s Zen of Spiral Lacing post: It will help you get it right the first time.

One thing I find utterly ironic about this quest of mine is that it has led me to Flemish artists as the main source.  At least for the moment.  I was certain I would find what I was looking for in Italy or France, but never back to Belgium. This whole obsession of mine with period garb started out with the 16th century Flemish peasant dress. So in the last year, I’ve come full circle.

One thought on “The Elusive Side-Laced Cotte

  1. Chats to Me says:

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

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