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Hairnet References and Resources


Archaeological Finds and Contemporary Paintings:

BAART, Jan; et. al. Opgravingen in Amsterdam: twintig jaar stadskernonderzoek. Amsterdam: Fibula-vandishoeck & Haarlem, 1977.

Picture of a netting shuttle.

BOCCACCIO, Giovanni. Le Livre des cleres et nobles femmes, Ms. Fr. 599, f 17v. French, fifteenth century. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

A standing woman works a net that is tied around a hook in the wall.

BOGDAN, Nicholas Q. "The Textiles." In The Perth High Street Archaeological Excavation: 1975-77, Scottish Development Department. (Forthcoming).

Catalog description of three nets - two embroidered, and a discussion of similar finds from other locations. Deposited around 1300-1310 in Perth, Scotland.

CROWFOOT, Elisabeth; Pritchard, Frances; and Staniland, Kay. Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: 4. Textiles and Clothing c. 1150 - c. 1450. London: HMSO, 1992. (pp 145 -149)

Four nets or net fragments found and described, dating from the late 13th to late 14th century. Includes pictures of three nets and drawings of two metal shuttles.

DE BOECK, J. et al. Stof uit de Kist: De middeleeuwse textielschat uit de abdij van Sint- Truiden. Provinciaal Museum voor Religieuze Kunst, Begijnhofkerk, Sint-Truiden. Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 1991. (pp 345 - 356)

Catalog descrition of seven embroidered nets - one a fragment. They feature colored ground and/or colored embroidery. Dated to the 13th and 14th centuries and discovered at St. Truiden Abbey, Belgium.

DUNLEVY, Mairead. Dress in Ireland. New York: Holmes & Meier Pub., Inc., 1998.

One net found and pictured (pre-conservation). No other information on it.

FLURY-LEMBERG, Mechthild. Textile conservation and research : a documentation of the textile department on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Abegg Foundation. Bern: Abegg -Stiftung Bern, 1988. (p 262)

"Child's Hairnet from the Tombs of the Counts Von Stubenberg" Chapter 5 (Burial Finds). Sixteenth century. Gold threads knotted together into hexagons rather than diamonds, edged with a silk ribbon with pearls and little gold plaques. No embroidery.

GOMEZ-MORENO, Manuel. El Panteon Real de las Huelgas de Burgos. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1946.

Examples of two embroidered net cushion covers from a 14th century royal tomb (died 1343). (A third cushion cover is from the late 13th century, but the ground fabric isn't knotted.)

HECKETT, Elizabeth Wincott. "Medieval Textiles from Waterford City", in Textilsymposium Neumüster: Archäologische Textilfunde--Archaeological Textiles, 4. - 7.5.1993 (NESAT V), edited by Gisela Jaacks and Klaus Tidow. Neumüster: Textilmuseum Neumüster 1994. (pp 149 - 156)

"E527:1648:2 and E527:1667:2 are pieces of knotted silk mesh filets. There are 7 and 3.7 threads to the cm respectively and the thead diameters are .30mm and c.40mm." Includes a brief discussion of other excavated nets from a similar time period, and how they might have been worn in a Viking context.

HEINEMEYER, Elfriede. "Zwei gotische Frauenhaarnetze" in Waffen und Kostumkunde, Munchen: 1966, 1. (pp 13 - 22)

Two hairnets, held in Dusseldorf, Kunstmuseum, featuring bands of decorative longer meshes alternating with bands of embroidered escutcheons. "...a hairnet of late thirteenth or early fourteenth century date in Dussdorf bears the arms of Middle and Lower Rhenish families, some of which include birds, although in this case the escutcheons have been embroidered separately and then applied to the net..." (Bogdan, forthcoming)

ORMESBY PSALTER. Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Douce 366, fol. 55v.

14th century illumination showing a woman with a unicorn, wearing an embroidered hairnet with a sheer, rectangular veil.

PETERBOROUGH PSALTER. Bibliotheque Royale, MS 9961-62.

Women defend their castle while wearing hairnets with various combinations of circlet and/or veil.

PRITCHARD, Frances. "Silk Braids and Textiles of the Viking Age from Dublin." In Archaeological Textiles: Report from the 2nd NESAT Symposium, edited by Lise Bender Joergensen, Bente Magnus, and Elisabeth Munksgaard. Copenhagen: Arkaeologiske Skrifter 2, 1988. (pp 155-156)

The author mentions that at least seven knotted mesh filets were found in excavations in Dublin, all made of silk. 841-1170 AD. "There is no consistency in the type of silk thread used for the mesh, Z-twisted, S-twisted and two-ply silk thread all occur..." (p. 156)

SCHMEDDING, Brigitta. Mittelalterliche Textilien in Kirchen und Klostern der Schweiz. Bern: Schriften der Abegg-Stiftung, 1978.

Example of lacis in linen on a14th century cushion cover. Done on square mesh.

SORBER, Frieda. "The St.-Truiden Textiles: Embroidered Net, Tablet woven Borders, Braided and Knotted Trim." Medieval Texiles, Particularly in the Meuse-Rhine Area. Saint Truiden: Provinciaal Museum voor Religieuze Kunst, 1991. (pp 51-61)

Nice discussion of the nets found at St. Truiden, but lacking the complete catalog information of Stof uit de Kist. Its benefit is that it's in English.

STEGMAN, Hans. Katalog der Gewebesammlung des Germanischesn Nationalmuseums, II. Teil: Stickereien, Spitzen und Posamentierarbeiten. Nurnberg: Germanischen Museums, 1901.

A 12th-13th century (1300?) embroidered silk mesh hairnet from the tomb of a Hessian "landgrave". It is edged around the bottom with a brocaded tabletwoven band, and was found in the St. Elisabeth Church in Marburg, Germany. (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Inv. Nr. Gew. 2980) Also referenced in: SPIES, Nancy. Ecclesiastical Pomp and Aristocratic Circumstance: A Thousand Years of Brocaded Tabletwoven Bands. Jarrettsville, MD: Arelate Studio, 2000. (Contains a complete description and chart of the brocaded band.)

VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM. Boch collection (From personal correspondence with Ruth Singer and Nancy Spies, with quotes from Bogdan, forthcoming.)

There are 5 pieces in frame I10 all labeled as 14th-15th century German.

#326-1869 is a long and narrow piece (roughly 10cm x 30cm) with heraldic embroidery (shields with different devices in 15 rows of four shields in each row.) The mesh is roughly 1mm. "a fragment of probably fourteenth century date in the Victoria and Albert Museum [326-1896] is ornamented with closely-darned escutcheons, some bearing beasts...."

#8254-1863 looks like part of a hairnet as it is curved in shape, with shields and "cross crosslets" embroidery across each row, there being 8 remaining rows. All the shields have the same device. The mesh is roughly 3mm and the thread is whiteish. "a fragment of delicate silk net embroidered in pink, white and green silk yarns [1854-1863]: this incorporates the cross motif found in 351/A7577a, although worked in solid darning rather than interlace stitch; comparison with German embroideries and silks suggests this was made in the thirteenth or fourteenth century."

#307-1894 is white net with linen and silk embroidery, possibly orginally gathered at the hem. 2mm mesh. "..."has a diaper design, each alternate lozenge containing a double-headed eagle..."

#8643-1863 3-4mm mesh with embroidery in quite a thick silk.

#8331-1863 Part of an Amice (labeled such), 15th century. Has complex embroidery on large black mesh, looks to be darning stitch in gold, silver (?) and black.

VONS-COMIS, Sandra Y. "Medieval Textile Finds from the Netherlands." In Textilsymposium Neumunster Archaologishe Textilfunde (NESAT 1), edited by Lise Bender Jorgensen and Klaus Tidow. Neumunster: Druckerei Simonsen, 1982.

"Two silk nets, almost identical in size and with the same dating (Amsterdam, Nieuwendijk, 1450-1500 A.D.; Dordrecht, Heer Heiman Suisstraat, c. 1450 A.D.) are made of a S-plied yarn. The fragment from Amsterdam measures c. 50 x 20 cm, the thread is 0.2 mm thick and the mesh size 2.0 - 2.0 mm, while that from Dordrechts is c. 75 x 14 cm, with a thread of 0.3 mm and a mesh of 2.5 x 2.5 mm. The semi-circular shape of both pieces was achieved by doubling the meshes in a particular course." (p 154)

WENCESLAS BIBLE. Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek Cod. 2759 fol. 174v.

1390-1400 Bohemian illumination showing two women ("bath maids") washing a naked man. The women are wearing sheer, sleeveless gowns, with their hair hanging free beneath their hairnets.

WYSS, Robert L. "Die Handarbeiten der Maria." In Artes Minores: Dank an Werner Abegg, edited by Michael Stettler and Mechthild Lemberg. Bern: Verlag Staempfli & Cie, 1973. (p 113 - 188)

Many kinds of textile work is depicted, including ten different paintings of tablet weaving on a two-post setup, as well as one of netting: "A German painting dated c. 1460 shows a woman seated by an upright post from which a net is tensioned (Wyss 1973, 121, fig 8). She works at the net with a needle in her right hand, but rather than beginning with a series of loops and working in the round the net increases in width each row." (Crowfoot 1992, 149)


Netting & Lacis (How-to):

CAULFEILD, Sophia F.A. and Blanche C. Saward. Dictionary of Needlework (1882). New York: Arno Press, 1972.

PRESTON, Doris Campbell. Needle-Made Laces and Net Embroideries. New York: Dover, 1984.

READER'S DIGEST. Complete Guide to Needlework. Reader's Digest, 1979.

Do not use this book to learn netting, the diagrams are wrong.