TEMA: Robin Hood’s Outfit

“Sartorial Robin Hood: Reconstructing the Yeoman Robin Hood’s Costume from Medieval Literary Evidence and Material Culture”
Dr. Lorraine Kochanske Stock
University of Houston

Invented a Robin Hood and culture UG class.
Taught a Robin Hood seminar in 2011.
Visual side of the middle ages.

Plenty of medieval texts about Robin Hood. Piers Plowman says “by the 14th C everyone knew the rhymes of Robin Hood”

images of Robin Hood from film, tv, pop culture
beer labels, Disney, Errol Flynn

Then discussed a recent underwear commercial series for the Berlin shop “balls.” Apparently Washington, Napoleon, and Bismark wore white or gray boxers. Robin Hood, however, wore green jockey shorts.

Usual look:
Lincoln Green
spandex tights
peaked feather hat
doublet decorated with sequins or leather
or is bare chested

assembling reliable evidence about the clothing difficult

What did a Late Medieval audience think RH looked like?

There were paintings or artistic representations of RH.
One 15th C will gives a Robin Hood painted canvas to a family member.
But even if this was one of many, none of them survived.
We have no paintings or sculptures that we are sure is Robin Hood.

Interesting. I did not know that.

There are representations of other players in the RH adventure around.
The Betley Window in the Victoria and Albert Museum has Morris Dancer, Marian, Friar, but no Robin Hood.

In the 1490s there is a publication of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in which the Yeoman is a standard woodcut and that same woodcut is used to illustrate RH in a 1490s Pynson book on RH.

Text of Chaucer’s “General Prologue” describes the Yeoman:
(yeoman = Robin Hood)
cote, hood of green
sheef of peacock arrows
under his belt
dress the takes yeomanly
baar a mighty bowe
brown visage (his head- hair? or tan?)
arm a gay bracer
swerd and a bokeler
gay daggere
Cristopher on his breast of silver sheen
bawdryk was of green
a forester

Dr. Stock used a lot of examples from Bartlett’s English Longbowman book. The presentation was interesting enough that I ordered the book.

Then she suggested other places we can look for determining how Robin Hood might have looked.

One example was the “Archery Festival” by the Master of Antwerp in 1493.

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