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Gown of Queen Mary of Habsburg


            The Hungarian National Museum has two outstanding items of Renaissance clothing: a lampas cloak with golden thread with a shirt made of fine linen and a decorated gown with a blouse. Tradition has it that they were the wedding gowns of Louis II and his consort Queen Mary of Habsburg. The attire of the king's wife  who died tragically in the battle of Mohács in 1526 was restored between 1980 and 1984 by the experts of the Museum. Its value is highly raised by the fact that it is the second oldest woman attire in Europe that remained intact.

            The robe was designed between 1510 and 1525, and was influenced by the leading fashion of Burgundia and the taste of the German Renaissance. The gown was made of Italian silk damask from the 15th century: the green damask has yellow patterns on blueish fabric. The fabric's width is 58 cm and it is decorated with two rosetta ornamented with small pomegranates. The attire’s high waist is fully open on the front, so the white shirt with silver embroidery dominates in this trapeze-shaped, low neck. The tight arm is ending in a horn-shaped, lampas cuff which covers the hand. The skirt is a full circle and the circular hole for the waist was placed off-center, so the front part is shorter, while the back part is longer and has a tail. The shirt is made of fine, white linen. On the front and back part which are both 120 cm wide the fabrics are corrugated, so they narrow down into 21 cm. The folds are decorated with geometric satin-stitch embroidery in silver thread.

            The attire of Queen Mary and Louis II came into the possession of the Hungarian National Museum in 1928, from Mariazell, a place of pilgrimage. They were preserved there as the wedding dresses of Louis I. the Great and his wife. It only turned out in the very beginning of the 20th century that the robes were made in the first part of the 16th century. Therefore could have been only Louis II who offered the attires to Mariazell to make liturgical vestments from them. The historical role of Louis II. and Mary together with the tragic death of the king could explain the fact that the attires were preserved in their original form.

            Queen Mary of Habsburg is one of those Hungarian consorts who came into the throne through the dynastic marriage policy in the Middle Ages. The new exhibition of the Hungarian National Museum: “Princesses from far away” from September 2009 presents these European dynastical connections. This exhibition first can be visited in Barcelona between May and August 2009.

Gown of Queen Mary of Habsburg
  © 2005 Hungarian National Museum