Extant Ruffs and Supertasse.
|Ruff laced edge with wire ornaments with rolled cambric and flowers C17||Lace edged cambric ruff with gilt wire supertasse. Late C16 - C17|
These images of extant Ruffs, can be down loaded with the original document from this wonderful cite that is dedicated to making available out of copyright documents.
|Point Gotico on Upstanding Collar for Décolletage. Late C16 - C17|
Mrs Jackson, in her article mentions the starch required for maintaining Ruffs as 'Devils Broth'. She says that the secret of starching was brought to England from Flanders. She also cites the reason for the destruction of old ruffs is the recycling of the lace, which is more hardy than the lawn or cambric used, into new Ruffs. The recycling of fabric from one garment into another is not an uncommon practice.
Mrs Jackson also discusses cut work and embroidered cambric being used on edgings of the ruffs besides the 'bone' laces and 'purlings'. Frequently small seed pears were sown at the edges, and sometimes "silver and spangles" are mentioned amongst the enrichments of the lace-trimmed ruffs, besides rubies and other precious stones.
This article seems to take an Anglo perspective on Lace and Ruffs. Mrs Jackson often refers to images in paintings to support her argument. While I have seen many examples of seed beads in English Ruffs, I have yet to see evidence of this in Venetian ruffs. The 'rubies and other precious stones' she refers to might be the practice of using 'ouches', small brooches to adorn neck ruffs as seen in "A Lady in White by Domenico Robust, 1581-84, currently in a private collection."
In each of the extant Ruffs shown above, elaborate wiring is clearly visible to allow for the outstanding effect. In one case and elaborate trim has been applied to hide the supertasse. The supertasse, was sometimes whipped over with gold, silver, or silken threads. Stubbs , an English writer of 1583, comments: "There is also a certain device made of wires, crested for the purpose ... called a supertasse or underpropper. This is applied round their neck under the Ruff upon the outside of the band, to bear up the whole frame and body of the Ruff from falling or hanging down"
Even though Sequins are referred to in Mrs Jackson's article, there is no visual or extant references to back this up that I know of for this application. The word 'sequin' is derived from the Venetian word "zecchino", meaning Ducat. It could therefore be hypothesised that sequins were used in Venetian ruffs.
In Gold and Silver Lace, Part I, Jourdain, M. The Connoisseur, Vol. 17 (1906), that can be accessed at this link http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/articles/jm_lacep.pdf Ms Jourdain cites a Venetian sumptuary law in 1542 on gold and silver laces restricting their widths to due dita, i.e. about 5 centimetres.
It is important to note that if a sumptuary law is made in order to restrict excesses of an object, it stands to reason there these excesses are being practised. If not, there would be no need for the laws to be passed.
Gold and silver laces were not able to be worked as finely as linen or silk laces as the base 'threads' were not as fine as their less shiny counterparts. Patterns therefore were larger and simpler than the non metal laces.
Again there is no extant or visual record of wither of these laces being used in Ruff production. We do have ample evidence of both cloths of gold and silver, and gold and silver laces. It is not hard to leap to these materials being used to make Ruffs.
These treasure is from Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Year: c. 1615-35
Unknown artist: dress maker
Technique: Linen batiste
Dimensions: neckband 38 cm
Object number: BK-NM-13112
This collar is made of particularly fine batiste or cambric. As the name suggests, the material originally came from the Flemish town of Kamerijk or Cambrai. It was introduced to the Northern Netherlands by the Flemish refugees who arrived in the late sixteenth century. Haarlem weavers specialised in the fabric. Because of its shape, this kind of collar was known as a millstone ruff*. The millstone ruff is a round collar made of pleated white linen. It was fashionable in Holland from the late 16th century to about 1625. They began small, but became increasing broad until finally resembling millstones. Manufacturing such large ruffs was a complicated and time-consuming task for the specialists who made them - mostly Flemish or Dutch women. A ruff like this required a great deal of material, sometimes as much as 15 metres. Usually cambric was used, a fine linen often decorated with bobbin lace. After washing and starching, it was gathered or pleated and set on a collar and then ironed into circular shapes with 'pipe' irons. These costly collars or ruffs were worn by the well-to-do, both men and women.. These became fashionable in the second half of the sixteenth century under the influence of the Spanish rulers. Early millstone ruffs were starched with regular pleats. This example, however, is looser and less tidy. It is of a type that was popular with young, fashionable men around 1615 to 1635. This is the only surviving pleated ruff in the world.
The millstone ruff is a round collar made of pleated white linen. It was fashionable in Holland from the late 16th century to about 1625. They began small, but became increasing broad until finally resembling millstones. Manufacturing such large ruffs was a complicated and time-consuming task for the specialists who made them - mostly Flemish or Dutch women. A ruff like this required a great deal of material, sometimes as much as 15 metres. Usually cambric was used, a fine linen often decorated with bobbin lace. After washing and starching, it was gathered or pleated and set on a collar and ironed into circular shapes with 'pipe' irons. These costly collars or ruffs were worn by the well-to-do, both men and women.
Taken directly from the Rijksmuseum web page for this item accessed 14 February 2008. http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/aria/aria_assets/BK-NM-13112?lang=en&context_space=aria_encyclopedia&context_id=00046900
and this one...
As it would have been worn.
Flat view of the same ruff.
Looks a lot like some of the standing ruffs in late C16 Venetian imagery.
Title: Falling collar
Year: c. 1625-40
Unknown artist: lace maker
Technique: Linen with needle lace, reticella and punto in aria
Dimensions: b. 66 cm; kant b. 16 cm
Object number: BK-1978-462
Although the needle lace* border was probably from Italy, the collar was made in the Northern Netherlands. The anonymous lacemaker employed the so-called reticella method to produce geometrical patterns. This type of men's collar came into fashion in the second quarter of the seventeenth century. It was attached at the front under the chin with a cord which terminated in tassels known as acorns. They owed their name, 'akertjes'** in Dutch, to their resemblance to these nuts.
|Needle lace is made with needle and thread. The original pattern is drawn on darker paper, with is sewn onto a piece of double linen. This forms the temporary basis for the lace and is later removed. Two threads are then sewn along the outline of the design to hold the needlework in place. The places within the contours are filled with a ground of pars or mesh while scalloping and buttonhole stitches provide the thicker elements of the design. The threads are stitched around the contours, not through the paper and linen. When the needlepoint work is finished, the two layers of cloth are parted and the threads holding the outlines in place are cut loose. Once separated from the paper the lace consists purely of contours, mesh and stitches.|
|Known in Dutch as an 'aker',
this knotted end piece of a cord is often found in highly complex trimming
on shirts or collars. Because the manufacture of these types of
tassels was particularly time consuming, they became expensive status
symbols in the 17th century. The Dutch word 'aker' comes from the
English 'acorn', reflecting the shape of the tassel.
These are some lovely photos taken by a friend of mine, Kiriel, who is currently living in Europe. It is a 17th century Ruff apparently. It has 6 layers of ruffs that make up the depth. Each layer appears to be fine figure 8 style ruffs. The neck band is beautifully white worked, using drawn threads, and appears to be worked on the bias. Location and materials were not given.
Back to Ruff Diary Images showing Ruffs with Dress
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