Mai 102011

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When I was painting some of the Unicorn tapestries to my living room wall in this project, I already thought about writing a studying page for the costumes in the tapestries and eventually make one or two of them – but that’s still a project for the future.

When studying the tapestries I soon found that many of the costumes shown there use the same patterned brocades – in different colors or sometimes even in the same colors. While I was painting them, I started to ask myself which fabrics I would need to actually make all costumes shown in the tapestries, and wondered how many actual gowns I would have to make if some of them were shown several times.

So… here’s a study costume by costume in each tapestry first; and below that you can find a fabric-wise list of the costumes.

Anyway, until then… here’s the studying page for the costumes that can be seen in the tapestries:

Costumes in the ‚Desire‘ tapestry
‚Desire‘ Tapestry, original (left) and remake (right)

The ‚Desire‘ tapestry shows two costumes: The gown of the ‚Lady‘ and that of the servant.


She’s wearing a red gown over a golden brocade underdress.


Costumes in the ‚Hear‘ tapestry



Costume in the ‚Touch‘ tapestry


Costumes in the ‚Smell‘ tapestry


She seems to wear the same golden underdress as in the ‚Desire‘ tapestry, at least the pattern is the same but it seems as if for the ‚Desire‘ tapestry it had been woven with more colors (and now it’s open for discussion if that was only done in the tapestry or if the real fabric was also woven with more colors). This fabric pattern – or perhaps the complete underdress – also appears on the overdress in the ‚Sight‘ tapestry.
It’s impossible to make out any lining on this underdress.

The overdress seems to be made of dark blue / slightly dark greenish velvet because of the structure that has been woven into it. It seems to be lined with the same red brocade of which the servant’s dress in the ‚Desire‘ tapestry is made of and which also appears in blue colors on the Lady’s underdress in the ‚Sight‘ tapestry and the servant’s overdress in the ‚Smell‘ tapestry.

The Lady is also wearing something that strongly reminds me of the jewelled partlets which Eleonora di Toledo seemed to have much loved, as they appear in many of her portraits:

The same kind of partlet also appears in the ‚Desire‘ costume.


Costumes in the ‚Taste‘ tapestry



Costume in the ‚Sight‘ tapestry


I think the underdress could be the same material as the servant’s overdress in the ‚Smell‘ tapestry – a slightly changeant, light- / mid blue brocade with a darker pattern or – as I have already written for said servant’s costume – it could also be some kind of ‚quilted‘ fabric.
It’s difficult to determine the color of the lining – at the front there seems to be a bit that seems to show a cream / peach lining. but in the right side of the picture, there seems to be a red lining showing.

The overdress could be made of the same fabric as the underdress in the ‚Desire‘ tapestry. Though it doesn’t seem too much likely, by comparing the pattern on the (in the picture) left sleeve on this gown with the pattern on the skirt in the ‚Desire‘ tapestry, I think there’s some kind of likeliness.
The overdress seems to be lined with red velvet – I’m thinking that it’s velvet because of the obvious ’structure‘ that seems to be woven into it.

Fabrics used on the costumes


Red velvets
Desire Lady overdress ‚Hearing‘ Servant middle dress ‚Sight‘ Lady overdress lining ‚Smell‘ servant underdress lining
‚Taste‘ Servant overdress lining
Dark blue velvets Teal/blue velvets
Desire servant overdress:
Dark blue velvet
‚Hearing‘ Lady underdress:
Dark blue velvet
‚Smell‘ Lady overdress:
Teal/blue velvet
‚Touch‘ Lady overdress: Teal/blue velvet


Gold brocade with *much* similar pattern, used on…:
‚Desire‘ Lady underdress ‚Hearing‘ Lady overdress ‚Sight‘ Lady overdress ‚Smell‘ Lady underdress
‚Taste‘ servant underdress ‚Taste‘ Lady: Over- and underdress ‚Touch‘ Lady overdress lining
Looks slightly different; reversed version?
This gold brocade, by the way, *if* that what’s used in the ‚Touch‘ tapestry was indeed a reversed version, is the only fabric that appears in all six tapestries, and also on both the Lady and her servant!
Brocades with same pattern, but different colors:
Deep blue brocade:
‚Hearing‘ servant overdress
Light / mid blue brocade: ‚Sight‘ Lady underdress Light / mid blue brocade: ‚Smell‘ servant overdress
(seems to be the same as the one ion the left)
‚Taste‘ servant overdress: light / mid blue brocade
Note that the above shown brocades look like reversed versions of each other!
Red/dark red brocade:
‚Smell‘ Lady overdress lining
Red/dark red brocade:
‚Desire‘ servant’s overdress
The above two ‚reds‘, seem to depict the same fabric, but the colors in the photos are off.

Other fabrics:

White/cream ‚Gauze‘ / Chiffon: ‚Desire‘ Lady blue/cream changeant lining: ‚Desire‘ Lady Green overdress lining:
‚Hearing‘ Lady
Green underdress:
‚Hearing‘ servant
golden yellow lining:
‚Hearing‘ servant overdress,
‚Smell‘ servant overdress
Ermine fur:
‚Touch‘ Lady underskirt

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