GLOVES - GLOVES IN HOUSEHOLD ACCOUNTS
- KNITTED GLOVES -
GLOVES FOR WORKERS
are one of the items mentioned by Andreas Capellanus in his 12th
century text, De Amore, when he speaks of what may and
may not be freely given to a lady love without being inappropriate-
A lover may freely accept from
her beloved these things- a handkerchief, a hairband, a circlet
of gold or silver, a brooch for the breast, a mirror, a belt,
a purse, a lace for clothes, a comb, cuffs, gloves, a ring,
a little box of scent, a portrait, toiletries, little vases,
This indicates that gloves were an
item of clothing widely worn as a dress accessory, probably in
winter at the very least, by women of all classes and not solely
for utilitarian purposes. Many time periods in history consider
a well-bred woman improperly dressed for society without hat and
gloves, although there is no way to tell if this also applied
to medieval women. Osbern Bokenham's Life of St Elizabeth
talks of how devout Elizabeth was when she was young saying:
the Solemn Holy days this girl
observed with such devotion that would not permit anyone to
lace up her sleeves until after mass. On Sundays she would not
wear gloves until noon, no matter how cold it might be..
Hawking was a pastime which was very popular amongst upper class
ladies. Naturally, a specific glove would have been worn to protect
the lady's hand. The detail above right comes from the 1300-1320
German manuscript, the Manesse Codex shows a woman wearing
a hawking glove.
in household accounts
The household accounts of the Great Warderobe of 1360-1361, the
king made gifts to the domicella of Brittany. Among them
are listed eighteen pairs of leather gloves.
Only a few knitted items survive in tact from the medieval period,
but among them is a knitted glove, now in the Museum of London.
The lack of finds might be due to the nature of the item itself-
gloves are usually worn until no longer serviceable and then discarded.
The glove shown at right dates to the 15th century and comes from
a London deposit. It is likely that the mitten style shown here
was not worn by the wealthy upper classes, but more likely knitted
at home and worn for warmth. The construction and method is simple.
Gloves were worn by outdoor workers, both male and female, for
practical purposes. The gloves shown here date to 1498 and are
from a misericord at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, in
Maurienne, France. They are typical of a unisex working glove
and look to be made of leather and lined with fur, or perhaps
made of sheepskin with the fleece to the inside. The split fingers
allow for greater ease of manipulation while working without the
need to remove the gloves altogether.