Tradescant Collection

 

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  The Catalogue: Hawk's Hood  
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About this Resource
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DIMENSIONS:
Height 38 mm; Width 64 mm
DESCRIPTION:
Made of leather, to which is sewn a cover of a red fabric, probably originally velvet. The cover is decorated with gold thread embroidery involving loops of gold, and is edged with gold chain-work. At the front of the hood is an opening for the beak. At the rear the hood is split to allow it to be easily fitted. Draw-strings attached either side of this opening secure the hood to the hawk's head. There is no plume, but at the rear of the crown a length of gold foil is doubled through the cover and bound with gold chain-work.
COMMENTARY:
When the sport of hawking was first practiced in Europe is uncertain, but it was popular from the early Middle Ages onwards. Hoods were used both as an aid to training and to keep the trained hawks quiet and still while sitting on the hawker's glove. Most hoods have a plume on top of the crown which, as well as being decorative, can be used as a handle to help in the fixing and removal of the hood. This particular example, however, appears never to have had such a plume and may, therefore, be of a type referred to as a rufter-hood, a plumeless hood which was used only during training when the absence of a plume prevented the hawk from pulling off the hood at will. There seems no reason to doubt that this hood is one of those referred to in the 1656 catalogue as belonging to King Henry VIII, for, although it is impossible to prove, both the quality and the date of the hood support this provenance.
Museum Id. No:
1656 p. 47: Henry the 8, his Stirrups, Haukes-Hoods, Gloves, or,
1656 p. 49: Henry 8, hawking-glove, hawks-hood, dogs-coller
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