Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sewing in the Garden - Illuminated Manuscript 1613

Ladies in a garden doing crafts, mostly needle-crafts such as embroidering - Album Amicorum of Gervasius Fabricius (1603-1637), f.50 - BL Add MS 17025

Album Amicorum of Gervasius Fabricius of Salzburg, dated 1613, shows a number of women doing different crafts in a garden. The woman on the left (next to the woman with the dog) is working on bobbin lace on a pillow resting on a stand. The craft might also be Punto in Aria, an Italian needlepoint.

William Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night around 1601-02, with its first recorded performance is in 1602. In this play, Duke Orsino says:

O, fellow, come, the song we had last night.
Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones
Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.

Weave their thread with bones is an early reference to bobbin lace. Small bones were used then to wind the thread round. Bobbin lace is essentially weaving, with the pins creating gaps to form the patterns. An early term  for bobbin lace was bonelace. 

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, was published in 2 volumes, in 1605 & 1615. This quote from a translation by John Ormsby from Chapter 70, "...I came to the gate, where some dozen or so of devils were playing tennis, all in breeches and doublets, with falling collars trimmed with Flemish bonelace, and ruffles of the same that served them for wristbands..."