Queen Mary of Hungary

Also known as: Maria of Hapsburg, Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Regent of the Netherlands, Gown created between 1520-1530

Image Gallery:

  Gallery of Garment Photos

Information on the Dress and Mary:

  Info from The Frazzled Frau

  Article by Julia Palotay Szent-Györgyi

  Information from the Hungarian National Museum

  Mary's Wikipedia Entry

  Additional Sources:

  Hispanic Costume 1480-1530 by Ruth Matilda Anderson

  Development of Costume by Naomi Tarrant

My Take on the Original Garment:

The ensemble consists of an overdress, chemise/bodice, belt, and necklace (different belt is currently displayed with the dress than found in the official museum photo).

The overdress is made from silk brocade embroidered with gold thread in an elaborate large bordered floral design. The bodice has an open front with a rusty colored brocade trim around the entire front opening and back neckline. The sleeves are not closely fitted to allow for the sleeves of the bodice to fit inside. They end in large cone-shaped cuffs, made of the same fabric as the neckline, which were common during that time. It seems that the ladies of the era didn't like cold hands and were able to use the cuffs as a muff. The skirt is a large circle with an offset smaller circle that makes the waist of the skirt. It has some pleats at the back and a small train that is formed by the waist hole being offset. There is a small border of a darker green fabric around the base of the skirt, most likely to prevent wear on the silk. I wonder if the skirt was the same color as the border at one time - there is really no way to know how much the fabrics have faded over time. Who knows, it may have started out as a dark green with burgundy accents. The skirt is lined in wool to around the knees - probably to help the pleats at the back drape properly.

The bodice is smocked along the top and around the cuff of the sleeves in various widths. The embroidery is a rather complicated design involving geometric patterns that somewhat resemble flowers which was originally done in silver thread that now looks to be tarnished to more of a black color.

There are two different belts in question - the one on the 'official photo' and the one currently displayed with the dress.

The necklace on the 'official photo' is of the same type found in art of the same timeline.

E-Mail dated 2/3/06 from Kristin:

"While my husband and I were in Budapest two years ago I managed to speak briefly with a docent (and that was a trip and half! my husband was the one who spoke Hungarian and the male docent's English wasn't really up to discussing 16th century underwear.)

Anyway - the chemise. It is much like the venetian chemise at the V&A except that there is no decoration on the sleeves themselves. If you look closely at the photo on your page you'll be able to see that the underarm gusset goes all the way to the neckline. I was unable to look closely enough to examine the embroidery because the whole is inside a plexiglass, climate-controlled box. I was promised better photos than were available in the shop but the've never arrived. The docent was able to remember that it stops at just below mid-calf length but couldn't remember whether the bottom edge of the sleeve was decorated or not.

What he really wanted to show off was the decorated leather coat in the next case, and the collection of armor.

Thanks for posting, Kristin, who is also Eithne of Canterbury"

If you have any information on this dress, please contact me and I will be happy to add it here!


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