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Re: [albanach] Feathers on Bonnets

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  • Sharon L. Krossa
    ... Modernly there is significance, but as far as we have been able to gather, this is modern -- that is, there isn t any evidence for it in the Middle
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 31, 2001
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      At 7:06 PM -0500 12/31/01, Michael England wrote:
      >I have been looking at old paintings from Scotland and have noticed
      >that in many of them the men's bonnets have feathers on them. Does
      >the size and or number of feathers have a significance, or are they
      >just decoration? I know that a white cockade on blue bonnet during
      >the "45" could get transported (a number of my relatives on my
      >mother's side were). but the feathers puzzle me.

      Modernly there is significance, but as far as we have been able to
      gather, this is modern -- that is, there isn't any evidence for it in
      the Middle Ages/Renaissance. (The modern significance is the number
      of feathers indicates rank -- I believe 3 for a chief, etc.) The use
      of feathers in 17th & 18th century pictures seems to be just the
      decorative fashion of the day and not significant of anything but
      being fashionable (you'll notice use of feathers in English headgear
      of those times, too).

      The white cockade is a different issue -- and specific to the 18th
      century rebellions (it indicated loyalty to the Stuart monarchy).
      This was a period when the color of cockades was used to indicate
      such loyalties (and this was not limited to Scotland -- it was common
      elsewhere in Europe, as well -- I believe the most familiar example
      is probably revolutionary France).

      If you check the archives for this mailing list, you should be able
      to find a discussion of the feathers issue.

      Sharon
      --
      Sharon L. Krossa, krossa@...
    • Matt Newsome
      ... And I would add that the specific type of feather is important, as well. It is the large, erect eagle feathers that signify rank. Smaller, or more
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
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        Replying to the question on feathers, Sharon wrote:

        >Modernly there is significance, but as far as we have been able to
        >gather, this is modern -- that is, there isn't any evidence for it in
        >the Middle Ages/Renaissance. (The modern significance is the number
        >of feathers indicates rank -- I believe 3 for a chief, etc.) The use
        >of feathers in 17th & 18th century pictures seems to be just the
        >decorative fashion of the day and not significant of anything but
        >being fashionable (you'll notice use of feathers in English headgear
        >of those times, too).

        And I would add that the specific type of feather is important, as
        well. It is the large, erect eagle feathers that signify rank.
        Smaller, or more "decorative" feathers are just that--decorative.


        I have a question for the list. When I tell people that the use
        of feathers to identify rank is post-period, they inevitably ask
        when the use began. To that I have no answer. Does anyone know
        when feathers were first used in this regard?

        Aye,
        Eogan

        Albanach.org
        Scottish History -- Highland Dress
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