Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ruff Times

I am always intrigued by how certain fashion defines an era. I adore the fashion of the 18th century, but the austere aesthetic of the 16th and 17th centuries fascinates me even more.

The first time I saw a double cartwheel ruff and a fur hat in a painting of an ancestor, I was shocked. I am no fashion maven, but the somber appearance of the black robes, chains, undulating stiff cloth propping up sullen faces and gloves in hand ready to strike the insolent commoner was not the most inviting look. Yikes.

The ruff fell out of fashion at the beginning of the 17th century in most of Western Europe in favor of collars and bands, except for Holland, where it was worn for many more years. It appears the Swiss were taking the fashion tips from Amsterdam and not Paris.

As I have done research, the style appears over and over again in paintings of my ancestors and of other prominent Swiss families from the period. I have grouped a sampling of the fashion below in all its puritanical and repressive glory. Enjoy them, just not too much. 


Barbara von Wattenwyl, painted 1621.


Margaretha Fries, painted in 1670. Photo courtesy of the Swiss National Museums.


Helena von Wyttenbach, painted in 1638. Photo courtesy of the Burgerbibliothek Bern.


Salomé von Erlach, painted in 1623. Photo courtesy of the Burgerbibliothek Bern.


Magdalena Nägeli, painted in 1622. Photo courtesy of the Burgerbibliothek Bern.


Regula Hirzel, painted in 1583. Photo courtesy of the Swiss National Museums.


Lady of Zürich, painted in 1650.  Photo courtesy of the Swiss National Museums.


Maria von Manuel, painted 1638.  Photo courtesy of the Swiss National Museums.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...