Dating, placing, & dressing the horned hennin

Click for the blog post about my Horned Hennin!

Click for the blog post about my Horned Hennin!

When making the second version of the horned headdress – the horned hennin for the January 2018 Historical Sew Monthly challenge – I learned that in the time period this was depicted in my main inspiration images, fashions were changing very quickly, and being ‘out of fashion’ became a more significant social issue. With that in mind, I decided to dig a bit deeper to see if I wanted to make a new garment to accompany this new hat.

While I started the millinery project just with the thought of exploring the style for a friend who wanted to make one – once it was done I thought it might also be useful for the elevation celebration costume for Philippe, who will be elevated to the order of the Laurel (in the SCA) this spring.

Philippe is a lawyer in 1431 Paris. The specific style based on the paintings in the books by Christine de Pizan I am considering French, c.1400-1405 (the depictions, not the style) since the books were published in 1405.

I then wanted to look at additional paintings of this style, with their dates and locations to see the time range and geography for this style. Of course, this doesn’t account for knowing details about the paintings – for instance if an artist painted a portrait based off another portrait… or if a foreigner painted a style not actually common in his (her?) area, or if a painter was of one nationality and the subject was another (and unnamed).

Depiction Title & link Date  or date range Related countries
   Christine de Pisan presents three pairs of lovers to Jean de Werchin, Seneschal of Hainault, in ‘Le Livre des iii jugements’.  published c.1405  French
   Book of Hours – patron praying  Unknown – c. 1400-1425.  Central France (Paris or Bourges)
   Christine de Pisan presents her book to Queen Isabeau  published c.1405  French
   Christine de Pizan Book of the City of Ladies   published c.1405  French
   Portrait of Isabella of Portugal (wife of Philip III Duke of Burgundy) from the workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (a painting copied from an original by Rogier)  between circa 1445 and 1450 Netherlands (painter) French (style)
   Portrait of a Woman with a Winged Bonnet by Rogier van der Weyden  circa 1440  Netherlands (painter)
   Seven Sacraments Altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden


Detail (to left)

 1445-1450  Netherlands (painter)
   Talbot Shrewsbury book – compiled as a gift to Margaret of Anjou, on her betrothal to Henry VI  1444-1445  Normandy
   Isabel of Portugal with St Elizabeth, by Petrus Christus   1457-60  Flemish – Belgium
   Medieval woman
Women Builders (detail). Roman des Girart von Roussillon
 c. 1447  Flemish
  Historiated Initial   Medieval Unknown

So… looking at this VERY brief visual summary, I can extrapolate that all-white horned hennins were depicted from 1405-1445, while coloured horns with white veils were depicted 1400-1460. Horned hennins were depicted in French artwork 1405-1425, while they were depicted in artwork outside of France from 1440-1460.

This gives me a range of about 1400- 1460 for the overall style.  I still feel that this works well for Philippe’s 1431 date, but gives me a nice wide range for styles.

(It’s unfortunate that the last illumination has no information… because it’s very much like what I’ve created!)

Accompanying garments

The next thing I wanted to look at is what styles of dress could be worn with this style of headdress. In the paintings above, there seems to be various options…

Four garment styles seem to be the most common:

  1. Cotehardie – a garment fitted through the torso with a full skirt. Fairly simple compared to the other garments
  2. Houppelande – a very full gown with full sleeves, belted to create shape. Possibly worn over a cotehardie.
  3. Burgundian V-neck gown – full or fitted through the bust, worn with a wide belt under the breasts to shape. Worn over a cotehardie. Likely evolved out of the Houppelande; early versions were loose and pleated with a belt, while later styles were more fitted through the body.
  4. Sideless surcote – Full gown with cut-out sides. Worn over a cotehardie.
Depiction (see above chart for links) Garments worn WITH horned hennin Other garments worn at the same period Other headdresses
n/a Padded roll
   Houppelande n/a n/a
   Cotehardie Houppelande Heart-shaped headdress or horned headdress (different)
   Cotehardie Sideless surcote crown
  V-neck Burgundian gown n/a n/a
  Houppelande n/a n/a
  V-neck Burgundian gown Houppelande
Coif & veil
   Houppelande n/a (women) n/a (women)
   V-neck Burgundian gown n/a (women) – I’m not counting the nun here…. n/a (women)
   V-neck Burgundian gown n/a n/a
   V-neck Burgundian gown  Cotehardie  Heart-shaped/horned headdress

This summary made me quite curious… While the sideless surcote was worn at the same time as the horned hennin… they do not appear to be pictured worn at the same time – on the same person.

I went looking for more images from this era. Additional headdresses I found (in an incredibly brief survey):

A horned/padded heart-shaped headdress

A truncated hennin

A steeple hennin

A forked hennin (the steeple hennin with the padded heart-shape)

A sort of covered padded roll… thing (very unique)

A padded roll

Some sort of odd headband kind of thing – another very unique one…

A really unique triangle-shaped headdress

  • Shown with a sideless surcote. A lot of the hats in this painting are really unique… could this be sheer fantasy on the part of the artist?

The ONLY depiction I could find of something that looks LIKE a horned hennin with a sideless surcote isn’t really that similar to my horned hennin, and unfortunately I couldn’t find a lot of information on the image itself.

It’s listed as “(Voronova) Phillip, son of Louis IX, is crowned at Rheims. (1245-1285) (Plate188.F.261r)” on Three Gold Bees.

Likewise, I looked for the truncated hennin depicted with the sideless surcote and came up empty… If anyone has sources – please let me know in the comments!

So what should I make?

So… if I want to make something specifically to go with my new horned hennin, I think I should make either a Houppelande, a Cotehardie, or a V-neck Burgundian gown.

Mix & match

The outer fabric of the truncated hennin finished - just need to line this hat now.

My second attempt at a Horned Hennin. This hat is made of dark red cotton velvet and embellished with faux pearls and metal billaments.

So.. along with my horned hennin, I also have three other hats (one work in progress) that will work for this era. I would like to make a gown that I potentially could wear with any – or – most of them to expand my wardrobe opportunities.

I’m also in the process of making a truncated hennin, which I have examples illustrated worn with a V-neck Burgundian gown and a Houppelande.

I also have my heart-shaped/horned headdress, which any of the four options – Sideless surcote, Houppelande, a Cotehardie, or a V-neck Burgundian gown.

The 'padded roll' hat based on 15th century Italian/Spanish sources, Completed, and ready to embellish

Finally, I have my padded roll headdress which I made for my Italian 1480s costume, but it would also work with a Houppelande, Sideless surcote, or a V-neck Burgundian gown.

 combination chart Horned hennin Heart shaped headdress Padded roll Truncated hennin Steeple hennin Forked hennin
 Sideless surcote  ✕  ✓  ✕  ✕  ✓  ✕
 Houppelande  ✓  ✓  ✕  ✓  ✕  ✓
 Cotehardie  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✕
 V-neck Burgundian gown  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✓

The above chart just looks at combinations that I could find visual reference for – an ✕ doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worn/depicted.. just that I couldn’t find visuals to confirm the combination.

Luckily, in all of the source images, there seems to be NO connection between the colour of the headdress and the colour of the rest of the garb.  This means I should be able to reasonably mix and match all of my related garments with the period headwear.

I note that the V-neck Burgundian gown is wearable with ALL of the 6 hat styles I focused on, while the Sideless surcote (I already have three) is really only wearable with two hat styles.

Next direction

I think that I’ll be going with the V-neck Burgundian gown, though I will need a cotehardie to go under it as well (and then I can also wear that under my sideless surcoats too). I think the V-neck Burgundian gown will be more flattering than the Houppelande too.

3 comments on “Dating, placing, & dressing the horned hennin

  1. […] constructing the thid version of my horned hennin, (which isn’t complete yet…) I was struck with a different idea, so kind of dropped […]

  2. […] mentioned in an earlier post – which hats can be worn with which styles of hats and headdresses, focusing on the horned […]

  3. […] why I wanted to make another sideless surcote, I thought I’d reflect back on my research on dating and placing the horned hennin to see which of the hat styles I have will work in a documentable way with the sideless […]

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