Inital information Matejko's time
- My initial research into whether Poland fell under the Victorian
mentality has reminded me that this particular century was a difficult
one for Poland. This was after the partition that wiped Poland off of
the map, literally. Poland was divided up between, German, Russia and
the Austro-Hungarian empire. It seems that the Austro-Hungarian empire
treated its Polish citizens better that the other two powers. But they
were still seen as an unwanted ruler.
And what I have read so far tells of resistance and a fighting to
regain independence. There seemed to be three options for the Polish
people; resistance, assimilation or emmigration. This was a time of
rising patriotism for Poland while at the same time the "Powers that
Be" were doing their best to supppress the Polish culture such as not
allowing the teaching of the Polish language? Although Victoria's
tentacles reached into the Russian and German royal families I found no
mention of Victorian thought or customs reaching into Poland except
where people decided to assimilate to save themselves and their
families. While those who assimilated may have accepted Victorian
thinking, Matejko was not one of them. I found one mention of him being
involved in at least one situation of resistance fighting. It doesn't
say to me that Matejko would allow false interepretation into his
drawings. He wanted to be historical and accurate. But as I said I
have only begun my research. If anyone comes across any sources of
information on this topic pro or con, please feel free to forward them
to me with the bibliography and/or references.
I believe Turnau makes reference in her work to Matejko because he was
so accurate in his art. If Matejko is not reliable and Turnau refers to
him or makes mention to him (and yes, I do have much of Turnau's work
on clothing which are also highly regarded) then the logical
progression is that Turnau is not reliable. How many people are willing
to swallow this bit of logic?
It's time for people to recognize the error in this line of thinking
and using it as some kind of measuring tool. That's where the disbelief
comes from. Having to take a second look at what we believe to be
correct and accepting that just possibly we aren't corrrect in all
situations. There was more going on in the 19th Century than the
>I have found some German and French work that rivals work done by modern
> It's time for people to recognize the error in this line of thinking
> and using it as some kind of measuring tool. That's where the disbelief
> comes from. Having to take a second look at what we believe to be
> correct and accepting that just possibly we aren't corrrect in all
> situations. There was more going on in the 19th Century than the
> Victorian Era.
> Magdalena Gdanska
scholars. Each work should stand on its own merit in my opinion.
A good example is Norris, who took a really bad rap with the purple
raritarian feather article. While it seems the author of the article
wanted to rightly point out variances between the original artwork and the
redrawings, it had the net effect of over reaction. The good thing is
that people started to look for better archaeological and sources, but the
down side was the loss of discussion about his interpretations and further
investigation. It kind of boils down to the question of if we should
review and revise the work done before, or just ignore it.
A case in point might be the "oriental surcoat" that Norris says came back
from the crusades. I have been told point blank by people that Norris
"just made that up". Further study shows that he did indeed have a
source, and the image, at least, was not a fanciful creation. It appears
that he redrew several of Viollet-le-Duc's drawings. In Viollet-le-Duc's
original drawing, he cites the source as sculpture in Ve'zelay, which he
was responsible for restoring. Currently I have a friend in France who is
a 12th century re-enactor who has promised to go to Ve'zelay to take a
look. I have my doubts about this being a garment, but I won't be
satisfied until the mystery is solved.
I think it would be interesting to write an article about 19th century
costume and medieval historians. This was the life's work and passion for
some of them, and I think it might be useful to have a guide of their
- That's the funny thing about Norris, its a mixed
bag...mostly I use his books for their illustrative
value and pattern value for newbies and new costumers.
OTOH, while I've heard many dissing his books and the
drawings/patterns within, I also tend to see people's
"research" very closely resembling these same patterns
and looks. I'm not dissing anyone, I'm just noting a
Then again, I also use the Medieval Tailors
Assistant for the same uses, though it has much wider
acceptance, especially withing the Laurelate, for
beginning and intermediiate costumers. Maybe its a
utility and application question, as much as being a
historical /artifactual one?
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- I agree that each resource should stand on it's own merit but that
won't happen until people give up on long held beliefs.
I have read that Matejko would put people in historical paintings of
battles who were not at those battles to make polical statements. Or he
would use the faces of himself (Stanczyk the jester) or contemporaties
in paintings. This could be seen by critics as Matejko not being
accurate. What painter does not do this?
My first "resource" was Racinet's book. Even at that level of
inexperience I could see how bizarre and inaccurate alot of those
drawings were. It served it's purpose to make me look further. Braun
and Schneider is IMHO slightly more accurate than Racinet but still
The SCA is supposed to be educational. If it is not, then it is nothing
more than LARP. And being educational, does that cease when you become
a Laurel? For some Laurel is the final achievement. Unfortunately that
is the appearance some, and I repeat some, not all, laurels have given
the rest of us, that once you've become a laurel you need learn no more
(because you now know everything). I will go out on a limb and say that
I would not seek out a book merely because the laurelate approves of
it. If it were for instance, a well documented book or if it were a
book with wide reaching information,that would make me look for it.
New resources are coming out of Poland every day. Things long hidden
are now being donated to museums. As much as I would like to, I cannot
afford a trip to Poland at the moment. Those of you who can, please
share with the rest of us.