UPON entering the Spanish territories on the road from Almeida to Salamanca, the traveller is struck with the change that appears in the dress and language of the people: but the circumstance most strongly marking a distinction greatly in favour of the Spaniards, is the cleanliness of their dwellings, which generally exhibit a degree of comfort and independence scarcely surpassed by what is seen in the best cottages of England. The costume of the men is dramatic and picturesque, and is well calculated to display a handsome person. It consists of a dark brown jerkin, having a sort of open stomacher, ornamented with curiously wrought buttons of silver, a sash or girdle round the waist, short cloth breeches, reaching half way down the thigh, with stockings of the same materials meeting them, and buskins tied round the feet and ancles with leathern thongs. A large cloak is drawn over the whole person, or worn folded on the shoulder, not without some attention to graceful effect.
This fashion is not peculiar to this district on the Frontier, but prevails in the neighbourhood of Salamanca, and through a great part of the kingdom of Leon.
Gallery: The Peninsula War.
Sketches of the country, character, and costume, in Portugal and Spain, made during the campaign, and on the route of the British Army, in 1808 and 1809.
Racinet's Costume History is an invaluable reference for students, designers, artists, illustrators, and historians; and a rich source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in clothing and style. Originally published in France between 1876 and 1888, Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume historique was in its day the most wide-ranging and incisive study of clothing ever attempted.
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