Ruff Collar

Detail of  “The Governors of the Walloon Orphanage” by Bartholomeus van Helst, 1637 oil on canvas.
I took a photo of this painting during a visit to the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam.

Did You Know?

  •  A ruff is an item of clothing worn as a sort of collar. The original ruff usually had a circular shape and was made of starched, crumpled and pleated linen.
  •  It is also known as a Tudor Ruff due to its considerable growth during the course of Elizabeth I ruling (1558 – 1603).
  • Ruffs were sometimes coloured during starching, vegetable dyes were used to give the ruff a yellow, pink, mauve, or pale blue tint.
  • Ruff collars remained fashionable for another century at the Dutch Republic with beautiful examples seen in their paintings even on the second half of the 17th century.
  •  The elaboration of ruff was a sign of status. Quality ruffs were decorated with lace, gold, silver and fine silk.
  •  Ruffs were often pinned to ears to keep vertical or laid covering the shoulders.
  •  A more discrete version of ruffs still worn by the bishops in the Church of Denmark and Faroe Islands.

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