Poverty and Richly Decorated Garments: a Re-evaluation of their Significance in the Vita Christi of Isabel de Villena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This output addresses the interest Isabel de Villena shows in the Vita Christi in rich clothing; contrasting it with the garments described as ‘fitting for nuns to wear in the Rule of St Clare’. Unlike previous criticism of Villena’s work, this chapter points to the way in which she draws on local depictions of the Virgin for her inspiration for fine garments and rejects her interest in jewellery and embroidered garments as being evidence of a feminine approach to writing. The study fits within the developing research field of medieval clothing and textiles, and is methodologically innovative in medieval Hispanic studies in bringing together entries in medieval conventual records, as well as evaluations of textiles, embroidery, art, and literature to show the context within which writers were working. This chapter was presented at the Thirty-Eighth International Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University in May 2005. It was also the basis of a keynote paper, ‘María: joya entre joyas’ presented at the University of Málaga at a conference in November 2005. It is an invited submission to the third volume of essays on medieval textiles and clothing published by Boydell. This output represents a new direction in Twomey’s research and is being developed into a single authored monograph, 'Isabel de Villena, Conceived as Immaculate'. The book is currently with Tamesis for peer review. Tamesis, part of the Boydell publishing group, is a highly respected publisher on Hispanic subjects. Archival research into the income and expenditure books held in Valencia’s Poor Clare convents was funded by a prestigious award for international scholars from the Spanish Government’s Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores (Becas-MAE) in 2003.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedieval Clothing and Textiles
EditorsRobin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker
Place of PublicationWoodbridge
PublisherBoydell Press
Number of pages221
ISBN (Print)1843832917
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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