German women of high rank in the 16th century were fond of wearing what we call a goldhaube, or Haarhauben, beneath their hats or even without hats. I’ve seen countless portraits depicting goldhaube, and as best I can figure, it’s a gold-decorated caul — nothing more than a fancy golden bag for your hair. I’ve seen them solid, richly embroidered and pearled coifs and as some sort of netting reminiscent of a snood. The material, or ground, often appears to be an goldish-orangish-reddish color — my best guess is that it’s silk. The common elements are the general shape and the use of gold. Here are some portaits by Lucas Cranach — click each for a larger image.
Cauls are easy to make — they are nothing more than circles or ovals gathered into a headband. I’ve made half a dozen so far, with increasing success at how they look on MY head (I prefer to create them less gathered on the top of the caul and more gathered at the nap of the neck). The smallest diameter for the circle is about 12″ — I also go a little larger for a baggier, fuller look. The headband should be the circumference of your head measured from the top of the skull to the nape of your neck, because a caul sits on the back of your head rather than on the crown. Click here for a step-by-step guide to making a simple caul.
I have already made what one might call a goldhaube (click here for the documentation on it), but it was more in an English style than German, with white linen as the ground and floral blackwork as the main decorative element. So I’d like to create one out of gold silk, embroidered with gold thread, and beaded with pearls. Based on the above portaits, a simple lattice over the silk ground would accomplish my goal. And I’d definitely want a larger diameter circle than your usual caul, as it appears these goldhaube covered more of the head. Sounds like a fun project! Now I just need to source the silk and pearls.
Update: The more I think about it, the more I suspect that goldhaube were made from silk damask. I’ve seen several silk damask with geometric patterns, and, with some pearls beaded onto them, they would look strikingly like the goldhaube in the paintings. Damask has the right dimensional look that I see in the goldhaube.