Event—Public Programming

Staying Dry in Flanders: Circulations of the Wired Rain Veil in Sixteenth-Century Costume Books


The Renaissance costume book, a mini-encyclopedia of dress worn around the world, consisted of woodcuts or engravings organized geographically, usually opening with clothing worn in the city in which the book was published. From 1562 onward, artists copied figures from earlier costume books but reframed them with new commentary in prose or poetry. Focusing on costume books from the Newberry's collection, I will follow one figure, a Flemish woman of the middling sort wearing an ingeniously engineered item of rain gear: the wired cloak that framed her head and shoulders, covered her gown, and left her hands free. How do print artists' interpretation of this garment reveal the customs they saw built into such a costume?