Saturday 4 February 2012

Early Seamstresses in 14th Century Manuscripts and More

My second love is early books and manuscripts for the depictions of daily life they illustrate. This eclectic assortment shows women and girls at work in various textile trading scenes. The two figures stitching in the foreground maybe children or other relatives of the merchant, but it is interesting to see a girl tailoring before this craft became a male dominated profession.
I am not sure if the pair here are stitching - I can't see any needles at work, although the figures seem to suggest some action of adding value to the linen trade displayed here.
I had to pop in the pictures of old market scenes - I so love traditional markets. Many years ago I lived in Ely, in the shadow of the cathedral, and the Thursday Market there was always a day of bustle and celebration. Farmers from the Fens came to town with best bits of string holding up their trousers and there were wonderful and strange objects to be found in the auction. Once I won a chair - a heavy one - and a friend had to be bribed with a pint of beer to help carry it home for me. Sadly, I was not so savvy a purchaser in those days. When another good friend of mine came to call - called Blossom by his friends with the same good humoured irony as Little John - I invited him to sit in My Best Chair. The chair lurched and collapsed into a heap of wormy firewood beneath his blossoming behind.
And just what is happening in this picture..... does it remind you of anything?

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