Cornish Costume

Title

Cornish Costume

Subject

Traditional Costume and national dress in Cornwall
Traditional dress: During the 18th and 19th Centuries a distinctive form of dress evolved in Cornwall defined by industry, geography and the Cornish community’s sense of individuality. For example, each 'gook' (or bonnet) worn by Bal Maidens (women who worked at the mine surface) would be unique depending on which mine a woman worked at.
Cornish Tartan: The images of the fishwives captured by the n ineteenth century artists of the Newlyn School illustrate the traditional use of tartan shawls but it was the Celtic revivalists of the twentieth century that embraced tartan as an expression of Cornish national identity. The 'Cornish National Tartan' was designed by Cornish Bard E.E. Morton-Nance in the 1960s The kilt is described as 'black and saffron'. The tartan depicts the Cornish flag of St Piran, as well as the 'red' of the chough's feet (a chough being a bird which can be found on the Cornish emblem), the 'blue' of the sea and saffron or gold. This quickly captured the public imagination and as well as "Hunting" and "Dress" versions of original "National" tartan several Cornish families have registered tartans in their own name.
Cornish colours: The Cornish colours are black, white and gold. Black and white represent the white cross on black background of the banner of St Piran, Cornwall's patron saint; Gold and black represent the fifteen gold bezants on a black shield, the heraldic representation of the Cornish Duchy. These are the colours adopted by Cornish rugby fans and events proclaiming a strong Cornish identity.

Collection Items

Traditional Costume from Newlyn
Josephine Stewarts project "Work wear of the Newlyn Area in the late 19th Century" follows the story of traditional dress in this area using images from the Penlee gallery and early photographs of the period.

Cornish Tartan
Cornish Tartan: The images of the fishwives captured by the nineteenth century artists of the Newlyn School illustrate the traditional use of tartan shawls but it was the Celtic revivalists of the twentieth century that embraced tartan as an…

Cornish Fish Jousters Costume
The nineteenth century Cornish Fish Jousters - fish vendors - were usually women and also called "Fishwives". Their dress featured a brightly coloured shawl, red or tartan, and a bonnet specially adapted so that the weight of the fish basket could…

Cornish Bal Maiden's costume
During the 18th and 19th Centuries a distinctive form of dress evolved for bal maidens (women surface workers) in the Cornish mining industry. Protective bonnets called "Gooks" developed which were unique to each mine.
Images:
A gook with…
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