Spanish Mourning Gown
When browsing Alcega's Pattern Book a while back, I became interested in the "mourning" gowns listed as f.64a-65. When looking at the definitions and notes in the back of the translation, I got interested in the fact that mourning gowns demonstrated status of "in mourning", and could be worn over top of everyday clothing. The construction based on the pattern would be unique, and I was looking forward to solving the complexities based on the diagrams.
I got curious, and started sniffing around for some idea of mourning in Spain and what the "rules" were. It seems there were some times Some time later, I came across a picture of the "Duchess of Parma". Based on the painting, she looked like she was wearing a mourning gown right out of Alcega's Pattern Book. It is believed that this portrait, by Antonis Mor, was painted in 1562, although I cannot find any evidence that the Duchess was in mourning. The Duchess' whereabouts from 1538 -1567 and Antonis Mor's from 1554 -1564 cannot be acertained for certain at this time, but it would seem likely that her portrait was painted around or by 1557, when her son, Alessandro Farnese was also painted by Mor. It is also interesting to note that Mor also painted another portrait of a Lady in what appears to be the same type of overcoat, but yet, does not look to be in mourning. I also could not find evidence that a state of mourning was a choice for portraiture painting. This starts to emerge in the mid 1660's it seems, and was still very rare even then. Consulting Ruth Anderson's work, "Hispanic Costume 1480-1520", I found a reference seeming to describe the mode of mourning dress among the Spanish: " http://www.dragonslaire.org/Arts_and_Sciences/A&S%20Champion%20competition%202005.htm