59199Re: Table Linens
- Apr 1, 2013Kammy asked:
> What about table cloths? Did they use the nice linen that we use now? DidIt's a question of where & when and also economic levels.
> they decorate it in anyway? What about napkins? My household is from
> 1530's Scotland, Northern Highlands.
The general trend seems to be for a clean, well-pressed white linen tablecloth. Even in humbler environments in the 16th century, you still see some attempt at a clean, white linen tablecloth on the table, at least on special occasions; http://www.wga.hu/html/b/bruegel/pieter_e/10/ provides one example.
There are some lovely tablecloths with brocaded bands along the ends that seem to have been especially popular in the 14th and 15th centuries; see http://www.larsdatter.com/perugia-tablecloths.htm for some examples, or see http://www.larsdatter.com/perugia-towels.htm for examples of towels (which could have also been used as napkins).
We do see some damask linen tablecloths in the 16th century as well.
There are a few examples of napkins made in this manner:
The 16th century also brings along the table carpet -- see examples at http://www.larsdatter.com/carpets.htm -- but these seem to be used in non-culinary situations. (It would be much harder to clean a table carpet after a meal as opposed to a white linen tablecloth, really.) ;)
I'd also recommend reading http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/babees_rickert.pdf to see some of the etiquette manuals from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance -- there are more references in there to the use of these sorts of table linens.
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