Tuesday, September 8, 2015
17C Woman + 1675 Instructions for Chambermaids
We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but contemporary European prints allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America.
Jean Leblond 1605-1666 Margot; François Ragot (Print made by); Elderly woman, half-length, turned l, holding the portrait of a young woman (or a mirror reflecting a young woman's image) in her hands
Hannah Woolley. The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex. London, A Maxwell for Edward Thomas, Bookseller. 1675.
Instructions for Chambermaids
It will be required of you, that you Dress well that you may be able to supply the place of the waiting-woman, should the chance to fall sick, or be absent from your Lady; you must wash fine Linnen well and starch Tiffanies, Lawns Points, and Laces, mend them neatly; and wash white Sarcenets, with such like things.
You must make your Ladies bed; lay up, and lay out her Night-clothes; see that her Chamber be kept clean, and nothing wanting which she desires or requires to be done. Be modest in your deportment, ready at her call, always diligent, answering not again when reprov'd, but with pacifying words; loving & courteous to your fellow-servants not gigling or idling out your time, nor wantoning in the society of men; you will find the benefit thereof; for an honest and sober man will sooner make that woman his Wife whom he seeth continually imployed about her business, than one who makes it her business to trifle away her own and others time; neither will a virtuous and understanding Mistress long entertain such a servant whom she finds of such a temper.