WOMAN’S CORSET-BODICE AND SKIRT
MAGYAR NEMZETI MÚZEUM
(Hungarian National Museum)
Earlier researches attributed the costume to Pál Esterházy’s (1635–1713) first wife Orsolya Esterházy (1641–1682) and later to his second wife Éva Thököly (1659–1716). The original owner can no longer be traced but the cut and the embroidery ascertain that either could have worn it at her wedding. Contrary to Western European customs, in Hungary later generations gladly donned the ornate costumes of their forebears on some festive occasion. The suite was restored by Mrs Sándor Borsi between 1969 and 1971.
The skirt and the attached bodice constitute an outstanding ensemble of old Hungarian costume, a harmonious alloy of the exotic oriental traditions of earlier centuries and elements of the fast-changing Western European fashions.
(Note from Jen: I’m going to guess the red beads are Coral, I have many such examples of coral beads from Germany in earlier centuries. I’m trying to find more on this.)
Silk, warp-float faced satin weave; underlaid with linen, plain weave; embroidered with linen, silk, gilt-metal strips, and gilt-metal-strip-wrapped silk in satin and split stitches; laid work, couching, padded couching; beaded with coral beads; edged with gilt-metal strip and gilt-metal-strip-wrapped silk, twill and plain weaves; lined with silk, plain weave
113.5 x 66.8 cm (44 5/8 x 26 1/4 in.)
In some sources this pointed orphrey end is often paired with two bead saints heads, from the same museum since they are similar in time frame, and materials. Since they are not from the same piece I am seperating them.
All but the first picture were taken by myself, Jen Segrest.
On parchment with beads and seed pearls
German, 13th Century Blue glass, red coral, gold and seed pearls (most salvaged/looted) on parchment with linen thread.
The two detached pieces are in the V&A collection (the one with the more colorful halo) and the other (still attached to the edging) is in a museum in Germany.
The pair in the V&A appear for all intents and purposes to have been removed from the German piece and were sold in the late 40’s (war happens). I have worked up a comparison, they are as best I can deduce made by the same hand. You can find my notes on them here.
This selection of pictures is to compare contrast the items as they they are assumed to have originated from the same piece.
While they are technically two different pieces, I have decided to present them together as they are from the same work.
Beadwork, (Shire Album #57), by Pamela Clabur
“The american indians… here the beads are threaded and laid on the ground material. The attaching thread is quite separate and is brought up from below and catches down the thread between the two beads. this is in effect, a form of couching.” “Exactly the same method of attachment was used in the german beadwork of the 12th Century. Here it is combined with with the sewing on of single beads where the design required it, but it can be seen that are long strands of the same colours and only a very few single colors even in such detailed parts of the design as the faces. Six hundred years later the method was still being used”
Bead Embroidery By Joan Edwards.
“Long before needlewomen of the nineteenth century discovered the possibilities of beadwork, comparatively coarse beads had been used in various parts of Europe for embroidery for a very long time indeed. A great deal of work was done, for example, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Lower Saxony, examples of which can be seen in Hanover and Darmstadt. The beads were usually attached to vellum, and it has been suggested that the existence of this beadwork might-like the German whitework or “opus teutonicum” of the Middle Ages-be interpreted as a sign of poverty amongst the German convents at this time, and that the beads were perhaps a substitute for work in pearls, precious metals, and the coveted Byzantine enamels. Nevertheless, the vestments and hangings must have gleamed with considerable beauty in the dark, candle lit cathedrals and churches, shining through the dimness like the stained glass in the windows, and there seems little doubt that the designs were good and well drawn.”