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Coif

  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (probably, made)
    Italy (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1550-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen with cutwork and needle lace

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss G. I. Weinberg

  • Museum number:

    T.83-1961

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 8

This coif is made of fine linen, gathered into a small needle lace roundel at the top, and with very long lappets which are integral and which taper gradually to a point. It is decorated with horizontal bands of cutwork with needle lace fillings, and edged with small triangular needle lace motifs, each one finished off with a tiny trefoil.

Nothing is known about how the coif was preserved before it entered the Museum's collection in the 1960s, and the survival of such a fragile object, intended to be functional even though it is so decorative, is rare. The needle lace which decorates it is Italian in style, and similar to designs published in Venetian pattern books of the 1590s. The overall shape of the coif, however, with its long lappets, is Flemish. Italian pattern books for lace circulated in Flanders, and the coif may well have been made there.

Physical description

Coif of white linen gathered into a small needle lace roundel at the top, and with very long lappets which are integral and which taper gradually to a point. Decorated with horizontal bands of needle lace in a pattern of small open squares, each one containing a motif arranged diagonally, to give a chevron effect. Edged with small triangular needle lace motifs, each one finished off with a tiny trefoil.

Place of Origin

Flanders (probably, made)
Italy (possibly, made)

Date

1550-1600 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Linen with cutwork and needle lace

Dimensions

Length: 98 cm from crown to point of lappet approx., Width: 43 cm broadest point, Length: 39.5 in, Width: 9 in maximum

Object history note

Nothing is known about how this coif was preserved before it entered the Museum's collection in the 1960s, and the survival of such a fragile object, intended to be functional even though it is so decorative, is rare. It was given from a private textile collection; the donor had a particular interest in lace and whitework embroidery.

Historical context note

The needle lace which decorates this coif is Italian in style, and similar to designs published in Venetian pattern books of the 1590s. The overall shape of the coif, however, with its long lappets, is Flemish. Italian pattern books for lace circulated in Flanders, and the coif may well have been made there. Comparable examples can be seen in 16th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, for example the Family Portrait by Maerten van Heemskerck (b.1498 Heemskerck, d.1574 Haarlem) in the Staatliche Museen, Kassel, Germany.

Descriptive line

Coif of linen with cutwork and needle lace, possibly made in Italy or Flanders region, 1550-1600

Production Note

The lace is Italian in style, but the shape of the coif is Flemish.

Materials

Linen (material); Linen thread

Techniques

Cutwork; Needle lace

Categories

Lace; Hats & headwear; Accessories; Textiles; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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