A very Tudor Halloween: the French Hood

Portman & Johansson in the Other Boleyn Girl

It’s been three days! How long are the neighbors planning to leave their garbage bins by the curb? *mean girl throat sound*


Anne of Brittany

Anne of Brittany, credited pioneer of the French hood

It occurred to your Blog Hostess that Halloween is encroaching rapidly and if you’re like me, you’d prefer to dress in period costume! Well, I know we all didn’t spend WAY too many dockets on an 18 inch-high Marie Antoinette wig.*cough* your blog hostess totally didn’t. *cough*

Okay, fine…Halloween wasn’t my inspiration. It was all that kokoshnik-talk from a couple of weeks ago. Remember how the traditional peasant kokoshnik was likened to the French hood? Well here We are…and so are you.

The French, English and “gabled” hoods were fashionable in Western Europe in the sixteenth century, especially in England and France (Duh. Wait! No duh…if it weren’t for ridiculous misnomer this stuff wouldn’t have to be clarified.) Both were made from stiff fabrics, often adorned around the edges, and hid the back of the hair with a veil or a snood. (Keep your

Claude de France

Claude de France

pants on, we’ll get to the snood. In the meantime, just laugh at the name. I will…) But let’s start simple with the French hood…it’s Tuesday, after all.

The French hood is characterized by its rounded shape. It is similar to the Russian kokoshnik, but that’s just one of those happy coincidences I suppose. Unlike the Russian peasant kokoshnik, the front part of the hair was always visible in Tudor England, the neck more often exposed and the shape of the headdress’ shape evolved from horse-shoe in shape, covering the ears to more of a waning crescent moon, worn a bit further back on the head. Introduced to the French court by Anne of Brittany. (Anne of Brittany is really fascinating. She was the Duchess of Brittany in her own right, first married to a Holy Roman Emperor and then to two French Kings.)

anne boleyn in a french hoodThe French hood was introduced to England primarily by Anne Boleyn (leftsies!), who had been raised in France. As a result, the hoods were referred to as being “in the French style” thus the evolution of the name. (More ‘duh’ anyone?) To nobody’s surprise, the French hood was rejected by Anne’s successor, Jane Seymour, under whom the English hood returned to vogue at Henry VIII’s court. After her death, the French hood became the headgear of choice at Hampton Court anew.  It was also championed by Anne Boleyn’s cousin and fellow ill-fated wife of Henry VIII, Katherine Howard.

katherine howard, fifth wife of henry viii

suspected images of queen Katherine (or Catherine) Howard

Your Blog Hostess looks at both the painted miniature and watercolor of Katherine Howard with a bit of doubt…for years it was believed that no image of adulterous Queen Katherine existed. Why wouldn’t Henry destroy every existing image of a wife who upon the chopping block announced though she was about to die as a Queen of England she’d

natalie portman as anne boleyn in a French hood

Playing Anne Boleyn wasn’t as Oscar-caliber as you thought it would be…awww. At least you had that psycho ballet movie.

prefer to die Mrs. Thomas Culpeper? Take thy beak from out my heart! [Hey what’s Halloween without quoting Poe?]

At one point the left picture was tentatively “verified” vis-à-vis the necklace she’s wearing which supposedly matches one listed in her personal jewels by court officials. We’re still not convinced. This is information found on Wikipedia. Do you know what your Blog Hostess does for mischievous procrastination? She changes information to the outlandish on Wikipedia. Seriously, if somebody isn’t reading close enough to notice Dolly Madison wasn’t born in 1952, they’ve got much bigger problems. Either way, it makes you wonder how accurate this wax sculpture is.

The court of Versailles was not the only one to tie politics up with fashion. It wasn’t the first and I doubt it will be the last.  Whichever of the two hoods was en vogue was dictated primarily by Henry VIII’s current queen. Just like Marie Antoinette’s love of the repugnant hue of puce, everyone clamored to wear whichever shape hood the Queen of England was wearing. So what was everyone wearing when Catherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour were Queen Consorts? It’s not as elegant but just as political. Hang tight for the English Hood. It’s like wearing a bird house on your head! Yayyy! Who hasn’t dreamed of that?

In the meantime, if you’d like to French Hood it up on Friday…

she’s crafty!

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About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
This entry was posted in england, france, historic royals, period fashions, tiara time! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A very Tudor Halloween: the French Hood

  1. Angelyn says:

    Oh! That Nan Bullen. Always showing off.

    Cat Howard–even though no one really knows what she looks like, folks swear it’s her ghost fleeing down the haunted gallery at Hampton Court. Screaming.

    I did make one of those French hoods once.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cindy knoke says:

    Bujold rocked it best in Anne of a 1000 days! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Map of Time says:

    La! I must have a birdhouse for my head and be the first person in the State to don one. Very chic. Entertaining post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: a very Tudor Halloween: the English Hood | tiaras and trianon

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