Friday, June 10, 2011


Engravings of Swiss clothing styles from the 1630s

engraving 1634 - Basel costumes
How to admire one another in a good year

17th century Swiss fashion
Guildmaster and servants

Basler Kleidung j
Maidservants: fast mouth-work, slow housework

Basler Kleidung
Schoolmaster, teacher-assistant and student

Basler Kleidung e
Noblewomen and their maidservants going to church

Basler Kleidung a
The marriage court made up of a board member,
a clergyman and a member of the local council

Basler Kleidung b
Local aristocrats

Basler Kleidung k
A good woman beats the wine out of her drunken husband's head

Basler Kleidung d
Bridegroom and nobleman

Basler Kleidung c
Young fellows

Basler Kleidung f
A woman mourning her husband

Basler Kleidung g
Wine merchant (street crier)

Basler Kleidung h
A sexton and a heat controller (or fire stoker) announce a public auction

Basler Kleidung l
Peasants heading for the market

[All the images were spliced together from screen shots; the first image was slightly background cleaned; click through on any for an enlarged version]

Hans Heinrich Glaser (1585-1673) was an engraver from Basel in Switzerland who is best known for two volumes of fashion illustrations he produced about a decade apart. The first, from the 1620s, was copied from other illustrators.

Glaser's second book - 'Basler Kleidung', the subject of this post - was published in 1634 and remains a well regarded historical source for Basel's 17th century clothing and culture. The illustrator also exhibits a wry sense of humour at times, obviously.

'Basler Kleidung' (~Basel Fashion) is available online at the e-rara site of Universitätsbibliothek Basel (note the thumbnails link at the top of the page).

There are a couple of biographical sources around, both of which become impenetrably mangled by the online translation: One; Two.

I am grateful to typographer/designer Nina Stössinger for help with the caption translations. And, by some extraordinary coincidence, Nina is working on a project this year that includes images from this book. The odds for this must be just astronomical.

Previously: costumes.

Tangentially related: Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands at The Morgan Library [VIA].


Anonymous said...

This finally and scientifically explains why people in Basel always wear such stupid hats!

peacay said...

I'm holding out for a leg of lamb girl. I won't abide these mutton tops!

SKIZO said...


John Hopper said...

Somewhat puzzling, but fascinating costume work.

artied said...

One must assume that these engravings bear the same relationship to real clothes as do the pictures in Vogue/WWD/Bazaar

Post a Comment

Comments are all moderated so don't waste your time spamming: they will never show up.

If you include ANY links that aren't pertinent to the blog post or discussion they will be deleted and a rash will break out in your underwear.

Also: please play the ball and not the person.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Creative Commons License