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Holinshed and others

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  • Scott Cross
    Sharon, I think you have brought up some very good points concerning the reliability of some period sources. I have come to realize after beginning my research
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2002
      Sharon,

      I think you have brought up some very good points concerning the reliability
      of some period sources. I have come to realize after beginning my research
      on 16th Century Irish and Highland cultures that on top of the limited
      sources available, one has to be extremely careful when examining those
      limited sources. Also, I believe McClintock discusses some first hand
      accounts of Lowlanders visiting the Highlands to hunt, but don't recall his
      sources.

      When doing historical research the only things you can really look at are
      the surviving artifacts, first hand period written accounts and the
      illustrations of the period. Unfortunately, there are so few surviving
      specimens of many artifacts that it is impossible to say, "This is exactly
      what they wore." The Rogart shirt , to my knowledge, is the only surviving
      example of anything that even closely resembles a Leine, but is it
      representative of all shirts of the time period and is it only an example of
      one local? Only one example of an Ionar exists, which came from a bog, and
      it is made of wool, while illustrations seem to suggest that they were made
      of leather.

      Illustrations of the period are quite risky. Was the artist/engraver
      personally present when he saw the people illustrated, or was he basing his
      work on verbal descriptions or the works of other artists? How accurate were
      those descriptions or previous illustrations? From most first hand accounts,
      the writers claim that Highlanders dressed in a similar fashion as the
      Irish. Is the Ashmolean print circa 1544 accurate to base a costume on. Did
      Dutch artist Lucas De Heere base his 1547 and 1575 prints on personal
      observation or a previous work? And how accurate are John Derricke's "Images
      of Ireland" prints (which date to the 1570's, but show a marked change in
      clothing styles)? Derricke supposedly saw what the Irish were wearing when
      he was there, but did he make the woodcut's or did an artist follow his
      verbal descriptions or did he reinterpret them? Personally, I have doubts
      about Derricke's illustrations.

      Obviously there are major questions that may never be answered.

      Finn O'Braenen
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