Jacobean Era - Jacobean Prints - Fashion Terms of Interest to the Apparel Industry

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According to the “New World Encyclopedia,” the Jacobean era refers to a period in English and Scottish history, which coincides with the reign of King James I (1603-1625). The Jacobean era succeeds the Elizabethan era and precedes the Caroline era, and specifically denotes a style of architecture, visual arts, decorative arts, and literature that is predominant of that period.

James I ruled at a time when the fallout from the Reformation was still impacting on society, with rulers changing from one church to another, and insisting on religious conformity. James I was caught up in this situation of flux. He was, however, a committed Protestant and the Bible translation that he commissioned, known as the King James' or the Authorized Version, has subsequently given millions of English-speakers direct access to the Bible instead of having to rely on a priest explaining the text to them in Latin. The impact on Western culture has been inestimable.

The word "Jacobean" is derived from the Hebrew name Jacob, which is the original form of the English name James.

Regal Fabrics, defines Jacobean prints as “a type of English embroidery with a strong oriental influence—of the type first done during the Restoration period. Common motifs are branches, ornamented in color with fruits and flowers and birds. Jacobean designs are found most frequently as upholstery fabrics.”

Yahoo Education delves further into the description of Jacobean design by defining it as “an early phase of English Renaissance architecture and decoration. It formed a transition between the Elizabethan and the pure Renaissance style later introduced by Inigo Jones. Although the general lines of Elizabethan design remained, there was a more consistent and unified application of formal design, both in plan and elevation (in terms of architecture). Much use was made of columns and pilasters, round-arch arcades, and flat roofs with openwork parapets. These and other classical elements appeared in a free and fanciful vernacular rather than with any true classical purity. Along with them were the prismatic rustications and ornamental detail of scrolls, straps, and lozenges, which are also characteristic of Elizabethan design. The style influenced furniture design and other decorative arts. Jacobean buildings of note are Hatfield House, Hertford; Knole House, Kent; and Holland House by John Thorpe.”

Written for Apparel Search by Regina Cooper February 2010

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