Online Encyclopedia

COLLAR

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 685 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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COLLAR, something worn or fastened round the neck (Lat. collare, from collum, neck), particularly a band of linen, lace or other material, which, under various shapes at different periods, has been worn by men and women to serve as a completion or finish to the neckband of a garment (see COSTUME); also a chain, worn as a personal ornament, a badge of livery, a symbol of office, or as part of the insignia of an order of knighthood, an application of the term with which the present article deals. The word is also applied to that part of the draught-harness of a horse which fits over the animal's neck, to which the traces are attached, and against which the strain of the drawing of the vehicle is exercised, and to a circular piece of metal passed round the joints of a rod or pipe, to prevent movement or to make the joint steam- or water-tight. Necklaces with beads and jewels threaded thereon or the plain laces with a hanging ornament are among the common braveries of all times and countries. From these come the collar and the neck-chain. Torques or twisted collars of metal are found in burying-places of the barbarous people of northern Europe. British chiefs wore them, and gold torques were around the necks of the leaders of the first of the Saxon invaders of Britain, among whose descendants, however, the fashion seems to have languished. Edward the Confessor was buried with a neck-chain of gold 2 ft. long, fastened with a jewelled locket and carrying an enamelled crucifix. The extravagant age of Richard II. saw a great revival of the neck-chain, heavy links twisted of gold or silver. From this time onward neck chains, with or without pendant devices, were commonly worn by men and women of the richer sort. The men abandoned them in the time of Charles I. Closely allied to the chain are the livery collars which appeared in the 14th century, worn by those who thus displayed their alliances or their fealty. Thus Charles V. of France in 1378 granted to his chamberlain Geoffrey de Belleville the right of bearing in all feasts and in all companies the collar of the Cosse de Geneste or Broomcod, a collar which was accepted and worn even by the English kings, Charles VI. sending such collars to Richard II. and to his three uncles. This French collar, a chain of couples of broom-cods linked by jewels, is seen in the contemporary portrait of Richard II. at Wilton. The like collar was worn by Henry IV. on the way to his crowning. During the sitting of the English parliament in 1394 the complaints of the earl of Arundel against Richard II. are recorded, one of his grievances being that the king was wont to wear the livery of the collar of the duke of Lancaster, his uncle, and that people of the king's following wore the same livery. To which the king answered that soon after the return from Spain (in 1389) of his uncle, the said duke, he himself took the collar from his uncle's neck, putting it on his own, which collar the king would wear and use for a sign of the good and whole-hearted love between them, even as he wore the liveries of his other uncles. Livery collars of the king of France, of Queen Anne and of the dukes of York and Lancaster are numbered with the royal plate and jewels which in the first year of Henry IV. had come to the king's hands. The inventory shows that Queen Anne's collar, was made up of sprigs of rosemary garnished with pearls. The York collar had falcons and fetterlocks, and the Lancaster collar was doubtless that collar of Esses (or S S) used by the duke's son, Henry of Bolingbroke, as an earl, duke and king. This famous livery collar, which has never passed out of use, takes many forms, its Esses being sometimes linked together chainwise, and sometimes, in early examples, bestowed as the ornamental bosses of a garter-shaped strap-collar. The oldest effigy bearing it is that in Spratton church of Sir John Swinford, who died in 1371. Swinford was a follower of John of Gaunt, and the date of his death easily disposes of the fancy that the Esses were devised by Henry IV. to stand for his motto or " word " of Soverayne. Many explanations are given of the origin of these letters, but none has as yet been established with sufficient proof. During the reigns of Henry IV., his son and grandson, the collar of Esses was a royal badge of the Lancastrian house and party, the white swan being its pendant. In one of Henry VI.'s own collars the S was joined to the Broomcod of the French device, thus symbolizing the king's claim to the two kingdoms. The kings of the house of York and their chief followers wore the Yorkist collar of suns and roses, with the white lion of March, the Clare bull, or Richard's white boar for a pendant device. Henry VII. brought back the collar of Esses, a portcullis or a rose hanging from it, although in a portrait of this king, now possessed by the Society of Antiquaries, his neck bears the rose en soleil alternating with knots, and his son, when young, had a collar of roses red and white. Besides these royal collars, the 14th and 15th centuries show many of private devices. A brass at Mildenhall shows a knight whose badge of a dog or wolf circled by a crown hangs from a collar with edges suggesting a pruned bough or the ragged staff. Thomas of Markenfield (d. c. 1415) on his brass at Ripon has a strange collar of park palings with a badge of a hart in a park, and the Lord Berkeley (d. 1392) wears one set with mermaids. Collars of various devices are now worn by the grand crosses of the European orders of knighthood. The custom was begun by Philip of Burgundy, who gave his knights of the Golden Fleece, an order founded on the loth of February 1429-1430, badges of a golden fleece hung from that collar of flints, steels and sparks which is seen in so many old Flemish portraits. To this day it remains the most beautiful of all the collars, keeping in the main the lines of its Flemish designer, although a vulgar fancy sometimes destroys the symbolism of the golden fleece by changing it for an unmeaning fleece of diamonds. Following this new fashion, Louis XI. of France, when instituting his order of St Michael in 1469, gave the knights collars of scallop shells linked on a chain. The chain was doubled by Charles VIII., and the pattern suffered other changes before the order lapsed in 183o. Until the reign of Henry VIIL, the Garter, most ancient of the great knightly orders, had no collar. But the Tudor king must needs match in all things with continental sovereigns, and the present collar of the Garter knights, with its golden knots and its buckled garters enclosing white roses set on red roses, has its origin in the Tudor age. An illustration in colours of the Garter collar is given on Plate I. in the article
End of Article: COLLAR
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