16thC-pavilon-art - 5/30/10

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16thC
-
pavilon
-
art
-

5/30/10


"
Constructing a 16th Century European Pavilion
"
by Seamus O
'
Cearbhaill
.


NOTE: See also the files: p
-
tents
-
art, p
-
tent
-
const
-
art, p
-
tents
-
msg,
Pavilions
-
101
-
art, tent
-
making
-
msg, tent
-
fabrics
-
msg, pavilions
-
msg, Select
-
a
-
Tent
-
a
rt.


************************************************************************

NOTICE
-


This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of
files, called Stefan
'
s Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://w
ww.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in
SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any
perm
issions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org


This documentation is for a tent which
won
the Judges C
hoice
award
at Queens
Prize in January 2010 in the Kingdom of Calontir.


Constructi
ng a 16th Century European Pavilion

by Seamus O
'
Cearbhaill



BACKGROUND


Medie
val tent construction is an off
shoot of the professional research I have completed
on tent and sail making in the 18
-
20th Centuries. In that research I was a somewhat amazed that

tent makers and sail makers, at least in Europe and North America, were the one and the same
profession. In the medieval world that also seems to hold true. In lists of medieval occupations
sail makers do appear but not tent makers. In the lists of London

guilds, sail makers appear as an
established guild by the 15th century.
[
1
]
In fact it was between 1550 and 1600 that the word
"
sailmaker
"

came into use. The exception to the distinction seems to be in the Middle East where
tent making is a singular profes
sion which still exists today. In the Middle East the tent makers
of course existed at the time of Christ when Saul who would become St. Paul was identified as a
tentmaker and is now the patron saint for that occupation. Sail makers have no such Patron Sai
nt.
The occupation of pavyler does appear in medieval texts but is defined as one who sets up
pavilions but not one who makes them. There are also references to tent construction in many
contemporary tailors
'

books. I believe tailors were involved in tent
making in interior parts of the
European continent devoid of sail makers


I have concluded that this lack of occupation separation in coastal Europe is due to the
fact that in a maritime based economy sail makers were employed year round making sails, and

with the vast majority of the populace is housed in stationary permanent structures, tent and
pavilion makers would only needed to fulfill the demand for tents for military campaigns. This
would cause frequent and periodic unemployment for those who spec
ialized in just tent making.
However in the Middle East where a large proportion of the population wanders about and live in
tents, the demand for tents would be constant making tent construction a full time profession
totally unrelated to sail making.


Th
e reason for drawing this distinction between Europe and the Middle East is that if
indeed European sail makers are the manufactures of tents and pavilions as they are throughout
the 18th
-
20th centuries, then we can better understand the techniques used to

construct the
medieval tent. While medieval tent construction technique research is limited to extant
contemporary images, and two very later extant examples, medieval sail making is fairly well
documented. Techniques used to construct the sails in Lord N
elson
'
s navy at Trafalgar of the
early 19th century are virtually unchanged from the English ships under Drake that beat the
Spanish Armada, to those sails that propelled the Viking long ships or Henry
'
s
"
Mary Rose
"
.
[
2
]

Because tents and sails tend to be m
ade from canvas and because both must stand to the weather
it is a logical leap of faith that they were probably constructed using the same stitches and other
construction techniques as will be outlined below
.


DESIGN


The Tent chosen to reproduce was a pa
vilion illustrated in the late sixteenth
-
century
fresco in the Hall of Battles in the monastery and royal palace of the Escorial, built outside
Madrid at the request of King Phillip II in 1561
-
1584 (illustration 1).

[
3
]



Although the ubiquitous tent of th
e late middle ages as illustrated in contemporary
images is the conical or round tent. I decided to reproduce one of the rectangular pavilions. The
reasons for this are that the rectangular tents seem to provide more usable space. I wanted a
pavilion larg
e enough to be divided in half to provide a private sleeping chamber and with walls
tall enough to enable entrance without ducking. The final design incorporated a tent with seven
24
"

wide panels long and five 24
"

panels wide as shown in a close up of the
Hall of Battles
fresco (illustration 2). This tent would have a usable footprint of 12
'
-
9
"

by 8
'
. I wanted the top of
the walls to be 7
'

in the clear and to keep the tent in proportion to the illustrations this would
make the peak of the roof 6
'

taller fo
r an overall height of 13
'
.



The interesting design feature in the tent chosen is the edge of the roof or the eave. This
is clearly reinforced from the inside providing an 6
-
8
"

wide reinforced eave around the perimeter
of the roof. As this was common in
many other contemporary illustrations, I decided to engineer
that feature. I believe that the lower roof edge is clearly reinforced with a framework. It also
appears that the peak is supported by 2 uprights and a ridgepole however there is no evidence of
the uprights protruding through the roof or any evidence of storm lines. I opted to add the storm
lines and vases to the uprights as illustrated on another tent in the same painting in order survive
the winds at Lillies. Moreover there is detail of the guy

lines and they are
"
crow
'
s foot
"

in design
and are originating from under the eave.




In order to replicate the look of this pavilion I decided on constructing the roof with
sleeves sewn into the bottom edge. Into the
se sleeves I could insert light
-
weigh
t wooden supports
to hold the eaves rigidly and square. Once the supports were in place it was simply a matter of
inserting the ridge pole, cut to fit tightly, into the peak of the tent and raising it upon the two
uprights. The uprights would be pinned to
the ridge. The guy lines would originate through
grommets placed on the lower edge of the eaves in such a manner that there would be an even
tension along the entire lower edge of the roof. While two individuals held the uprights the four
corner eave lines

could be staked out securing the structure until the remaining lines were
secured. The walls would then be added.



Based on the ca. 1460 Illustration of an
"
Army breaking Camp
"

by Giovanni Bettini
(Illustration 3) I decided to make the lower walls as sep
arate pieces attached to the roof with
toggles. This would have the added benefit of not having to lift the entire structure at one time
for set up. The walls would be made in two sections. The resulting two openings would be
located in the front and rear
of the tent. All the wall sections will have an additional frill or sod
cloth added in the bottom edge as well as grommets and rope loops for staking to the ground.
The walls attached just above the eave and the resulting curve of the roof caused by this
additional weight can be seen in illustration 2. Also visible are the ropes on the exterior that
support the walls. They emerge from the top of the eave and descend through a grommet in the
seam to provide an attachment point.


A survey of contemporary il
lustrations clearly shows two methods of adding decoration
to pavilions. The first is to apply colored panels of over the base white canvas, usually along the
seams and edges (illustration 4). The other method is to dye the canvas and to sew it in
alternat
ing stripes (illustration 5). Based on the source illustration I opted for the dye method. I
planned on using only period techniques as much as possible. Based on the sail making practices
of the day, and albeit the limit of the technology, most sail can
vas was woven in widths of less
than 30 inches, it is entirely possible that, as it was in later periods, the width of canvas for sail
and tent making was limited to 24
-
28
"

because of the inherent strength of the seams and the
necessary distance between t
he grommets to rig the sails. The grommets are traditionally placed
at the thickest part of the work or where the panels overlap. I decided to limit my panel width to
24
"
.


MATERIALS



The materials available for tents and sails in the 16th century are one

of three types of
canvas: linen (flax), cotton, or hemp. The best of these fibers when it comes to strength and
durability is hemp.
"
Hempe
"

first appears in English by the year 1000. This fiber was so
important to the English maritime trade that

beginning

with Henry VIII land
owners with 60 acres
or more must grow some hemp or face a fine. Linen would have been as available as Hemp but
cotton was much more expensive as it would have been imported.



Due to the expense of hemp and linen currently, the pavil
ion was constructed of untreated
cotton canvas or duck 10 oz in weight. I have considerable experience with this material and
knew it would hold out the weather and last many years to come. I used 8/4 cotton warp thread
for sewing the main panels together
. The grommets are hand woven from marlin (tarred line) and
are sewn in using the cotton thread. Leather ties and buttons are used to secure the walls to the
loops formed by the support ropes.



Rope much like canvas would be hemp, linen or cotton. Hemp is

the strongest and the
most commonly made for the maritime trade. Linen is also very strong while cotton is the
weakest. All these ropes were treated, usually with pine tar, in order to last in the elements.

[
4
]

In
the 1850
'
s the preferred rope, hemp, was
replaced by manila. Manila came from the Philippines
and had a natural oil finish that caused it to hold up to the elements. Due to its availability and
cost that is the material chosen for the guy lines
.


CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES



The panels are sewn toge
ther using a sail maker
'
s flat seam. The flat seam was a sail
maker
'
s standard method of construction and provides for the strongest most waterproof seam.

[
5
]

Other options would be the round or wh
ip
stitch which was also in use. The flat stitch
provides
mo
re strength and is more water
tight. Unfortunately only two period tents exist and it is
impossible to tell the stitches used the first in Spain is completely covered with embellishments
while appliqué covers the just post period tent in Basil Switzerland.
Although it is possible that
the latter is actually
whip
stitched.

[
6
]



The frame
work for the eaves is made of two parallel boards held to width with dowels
and the corners are pinned together. The largest concern was keeping the structure rigid but
lightw
eight.


TOOLS




The basic tools used to produce the pavilion all fit inside a small canvas bag. The

primary
tool is the sail maker
'
s needle which has a round barrel but is three sided at the point. This needle
goes between the fibers allowing them to rec
lose the hole upon withdrawal of the needle. These
needles are documented to Viking and Anglo Saxon sites as early as the 7th century and continue
in use to this very day.
[
7
]

The hand is protected by a sail maker
'
s palm. A palm has been found
on the Mary R
ose. However many thumb thimbles were found as well.
[
8
]

The only other
required tools are the fid which is used to make and form grommets and the seam rubber which
is used to crease the canvas. With the exception of the needles all the tools were made by
the
author.


ILLUSTRATIONS




Illustration 1
.

Camp Scene from Hall of Battles 1561
-
1584




Illustration 2
.

Close up of the camp scene




Illustration 3
.

"
An Army Breaking Camp
"

by Giovanni Bettini ca 1460
9





Illustration 4
.

Detail from Simone Martini
'
s fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano.
[
10
]



Illustration 5
.

Pavilion for Henry VIII

[
11
]


Footnotes:

[1]
Hoffman, Tom,
The Rise and decline of Guilds With particula
r Reference to the Guilds of
Tylers and Bricklayers in Great Britain and Ireland
. Unpublished paper, 2007

[
2
] Examples of the original sails and their construction were studied by the author at the
Portsmouth Historic Dockyards

[3]

This Fresco was reprodu
ced as part of an armor exhibit in the National Art Gallery,
Washington D.C.. Images are by the author.

[4]

Gardiner, Julie,
Before The Mast, Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose,
Portsmouth 2005

[5]

Britain's Glory: or Shipbuilding Unvail'd
, 1717. London.
Although this is a post period
publication it reflects very small changes in tools that were available in period and thus the
construction methodology was likely similar.

[6]

Bloch Stephen

/
Step
hen Bloch's Medieval
-

Tents Page
, bloch

at
adelphi.edu

[7]

Bartos, Louie "An Overview of Early Sail Needles" Online article

[8]

Gardiner, Julie,
Before The Mast, Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose,
Portsmouth 2005

[9]

Bloch Stephen

/
Stephen Bloch's Medieval
-

Tents Page
, bloch

at
adelphi.edu
image
attributed to

Bartlett & Embleton's
English Longbow men 1330
-
1515

p.32 1997

[10]

Detail from Simone Martini's fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano

at the Siege of Monte Massi
in 1328 at Scala/Palazzo Pubblico, Sienna

[11]

British Library online


------

Copyright 2009 by Stephen Allie,
11542 US 59 Hwy Oskaloosa KS

6606
6.
<
stephen.allie at us.army.mil
> or <
allies

at
hughes.net
>. Permission is
granted
for republication in SCA
-
related publications, provided the author is
credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to
ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible
receives a copy.


If this article is reprint
ed in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in
the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also
appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being
reprinted. Thanks.
-
Stefan.


<the end>




1

Hoffman, Tom,
The Rise and decline of Guilds With particular Reference to the Guilds of Tylers and Bricklayers
in Great Britain and Ireland
.
Unpublished paper,
2007

2

Examples of the original sails and their construction were studied by the author at t
he Portsmouth Historic
Dockyards

3

This Fresco was reproduced as part of an armor exhibit in the National Art Gallery, Washington D.C.. Images are
by the author.








4

Gardiner, Julie,
Before The Mast, Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose,

Portsmouth 2005

5

Bri
tain
'
s Glory: or Shipbuilding Unvail
'
d
, 1717. London. Although this is a post period publication it reflects very
small changes in tools that were available in period and thus the construction methodology was likely similar.

6

Bloch Stephen

/
Stephen Bloch
'
s Medieval
-

Tents Page
, bloch

at
adelphi.edu


7

Bartos, Louie "An Overview of Early Sail Needles" Online article

8

Gardiner, Julie,
Before The Mast, Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose,

Por
tsmouth 2005

9

Bloch Stephen

/
Stephen Bloch
'
s Medieval
-

Tents Page
,

bloch

at
adelphi.edu
image attributed to Bartlett & Embleton's
English Longbow
men 1330
-
1515
p.32 1997

10

Detail from Simone M
artini's fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano at the Siege of Monte Massi in 1328 at Scala/Palazzo Pubblico, Sienna

11

British Library online