Women's Medieval Heraldic Garments

The Australian Heraldry Society

The Australian Heraldry Society

The Australian Heraldry Society is very pleased to invite you to join us for a special lecture for NSW History Week 2012 titled “Women’s Medieval Heraldic Garments”

“Women’s Medieval Heraldic Garments”

In the Middle Ages, men wore brightly coloured surcoats displaying their coats of arms in tournaments and on battlefields, but what of the women?

Representations of medieval heraldic garments for women appear frequently in many primary sources such as illuminated manuscripts, armorial rolls, brass effigies and funereal monuments; giving a rich visual tapestry of the chivalry and nobility ascribed to medieval courtly life. However, due to the very limited number of extant heraldic garments, a significant amount of debate surrounds the actual existence and use of women’s garments bearing heraldic motifs or complete heraldic arms that are regularly depicted in these medieval sources.

Current scholarly thought is that there is little concrete evidence to support the concept of heraldic gowns being used in a ‘fashionable context’ during the medieval period. Many scholars contend that medieval heraldic garments for women as depicted in various media did not exist at all and that these representations served a purely utilitarian purpose to identify important personages in the various decorative arts throughout the period. An alternate theory is that gowns of this nature may have served as regalia or ceremonial garments, particularly in a royal context. This presentation will discuss the various types of heraldic garments most frequently evidenced in primary sources of the Middle Ages, the likelihood of the existence of such garments, as well as their use in a fashionable courtly context as compared to their potential application as regalia for ceremonial occasions.

The lecture is to be delivered by Robyn Boyer, a long time medieval history enthusiast with interests in medieval heraldry, pageantry and heraldic display, costuming and embroidery, predominantly within a medieval re-enactment context. She holds the degrees of Bachelor of Visual Arts and of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in History from Griffith University. She is currently working towards her PhD in medieval political philosophy at the University of Queensland, focusing on the effects of madness, demonic possession and insanity on the medieval metaphor of the rightly ordered body politic.

  • Entry is by gold coin donation and there will also be a raffle.
  • Refreshments will be served beforehand.
  • Please RSVP by Wednesday 12 September 2012 by contacting:
    The Hon. Secretary, Stephen Szabo on 0431 701 055,
    by e-mail or by post at PO Box 107, Lawson NSW 2783.

The Australian Heraldry Society

The Australian Heraldry Society

The Purposes of The Australian Heraldry Society are: The advancement of education in the science, art, history, practice and development of heraldry and allied subjects and the encouragement of their study and practice in Australia

We fulfil these purposes in a number of ways, including the publication of a journal and a newsletter, the conduct of tours of sites of heraldic interest, meetings of members, and through lectures such as this one.

We have a program of regular meetings in Sydney, with members and other interested parties gathering for a presentation of a paper and to inspect heraldic books and other artefacts.

Further information can be obtained by visiting our website at www.heraldryaustralia.org or by contacting the Hon. Secretary.