The Open Front Two Kirtle Theory

Similar to the open front kirtle and placket theory, this theory looks at the style of dress which consists of a wide-front kirtle but instead of theorising a placket covers the chemise under the laces this theory suggests the wide front kirtle is laced over another kirtle with a smooth front, perhaps one with side or back lacing

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I don’t have a reference for this image, but you can see there is a red kirtle with a wide front black kirtle laced over it and a black gown with a whit collar over that. The red kirtle could also be interpreted as a red placket under the black kirtle.

1475, MEMLING, Hans, The Donne Triptych, National Gallery, London detail4

1475, MEMLING, Hans, The Donne Triptych, National Gallery, London (detail) To the right one can see a young girl in the open laced style kirtle. The red showing under the laces goes quite low, suggesting it may be an underdress.

 

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I don’t have the reference for these pictures, but they are often interpreted as the lady on the left having her kirtle laced up over a red kirtle, and on the right wearing a gown over it all.

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Look carefully at the necklines here. You can see the black continue under the neckline of the blue kirtle, suggesting the blue kirtle is laced over a lack kirtle, not a placket.

1475-80, MEMLING, Hans, Lamentation, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome detail

1475-80, MEMLING, Hans, Lamentation, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome (detail)           This kirtle is not so wide at the front, but the black showing beneath is seen well into the gap in the skirt, suggesting it is a full under gown. The red sleeves show under the sleeves of the brown dress and may be pinned to the sleeves of the black kirtle.

 

 

1476, MINIATURIST, Flemish, Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, Universitätsbibliothek, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena

1476, MINIATURIST, Flemish, Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, Universitätsbibliothek, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena.                                      The juxtaposition of the open laced kirtles and the gowns makes it really easy to envision the gown over the open laced kirtle (laced either over a placket or gown)

1484, MEMLING, Hans, Triptych of the Family Moreel, Groeninge Museum, Bruges detail

1484, MEMLING, Hans, Triptych of the Family Moreel, Groeninge Museum, Bruges (detail) A slight segway to the wide open kirtle is the theory that rather than having a wide open front, the over-kirtle simply had a deeper neckline. Here you can see the black and gold brocade dress laced over what appears to be a sleevless or short-sleeved red kirtle (the longer red sleeves pin on). If one can imagine the lady wearing a v-neck gown over this ensemble then the red kirtle would fill in the neckline and the black and gold brocade would show when the hem was lifted.

 

1491, MEMLING, Hans, Passion (Greverade) Altarpiece (right wing), Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgedichte, Lübeck (detail)

1491, MEMLING, Hans, Passion (Greverade) Altarpiece (right wing), Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgedichte, Lübeck (detail). With the brocade dress kirtled uo you can see the red beneath is a full dress, not a placket.

1490s Boccace, De muileribus claris

1490s Boccace, De muileribus Claris. This image shows a wide laced blue kirtle being laced over what appears the be a black kirtle.

1524,  Jehan de Luc, Book of Hours

The date I have for this is 1524, but I still love this picture.

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I don’t have a reference for this image, but you can see there is a red kirtle with a wide front black kirtle laced over it and a black gown with a whit collar over that. The red kirtle could also be interpreted as a red placket under the black kirtle.

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One thought on “The Open Front Two Kirtle Theory

  1. Pingback: Towards a Burgundian Gown- Research and Theories | Cathelina di Alessandri

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