Saturday, January 05, 2013

Today's research snippet. The bedchamber

Today's research snippet:
More Alexander Nequam. The fittings of a high-ish status bedchamber.

In the bedchamber let a curtain go around the walls decently, or a scenic canopy, for the avoiding of flies and spiders. From the style or epistyle (?)of a column, a tapestry should hang appropriately. Near the bed let there be placed a chair to which a stooll may be added, and a bench nearby the bed. On the bed itself should be placed a feather mattress to which a bolster is attached. A quilted pad of striped cloth should cover this on which a cushion for the head can be placed. Then sheets of muslin, ordinary cotton, or at least pure linen, should be laid. Next a coverlet of green cloth or of course wool, of which the fur lining is Badger,cat, beaver, or sable, should be put. A perch should be nearby on which can rest a hawk... From another pole let there hang clothing... And let there be also a chambermaid whose face may charm and render tranquil the chamber, who, when she finds time to do so may knit or unknit silk thread, or make knots of orphreys, or may sew linen garments and woollen clothes, or may mend. Let her have gloves with the fingertips removed; she should have a leather case protecting the finger from needle pricks, which is vulgarly called a thimble. She must have scissors and spool thread and various sizes of needles - small and thin for embroidery, others not so thin for further stitching, moderately fine ones for ordinary sewing, thicker ones for the knitting of a cloak, still larger ones for threading laces.' 
Note her that 'knit' and 'knitting' means to bind together rather than the craft we know as knitting now.

click to enlarge
Today's research photo.  A bed quilt from the 14th century. Apologies for the reflection, but couldn't be helped!

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