Monday, 22 December 2014


According to Beth Marie Kosir, “The codpiece came into existence during the Middle Ages, became popular during the reigns of the Yorkist monarchs in England [and] attained full prominence during the reign of Henry VIII.”  Portraits of Renaissance leaders, such as Francis I and Emperor Charles V, attest to its global appeal. 

The over-sized proportions of Henry VIII’s codpieces support the theory that as a fashion accoutrement, the codpiece represented “a statement of the virility of the individual” (Reed).  Acting also as a whimsical sex promotion object, it helped a man establish his rank among other males in competitive royal courts ranging across Europe.


The codpiece fell out of favour during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and, unlike many other fashion trends, it is doubtful that it will ever return to common use again.


Kosir, Beth Marie.  “Modesty to Majesty: The Development of the Codpiece.” Richard
     III Society: American Branch.  Web. 22 December 2014.

Reed, C. S.  “The Codpiece: Social Fashion or Medical Need?”  Internal Medicine
     Journal.  2004: 684-686. Print.

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