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 Sumptuary Laws

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PostSubject: Sumptuary Laws   Sun 02 Sep 2018, 14:34

Laws to regulate luxury, extravagance, display and consumption typically put restrictions on fashions, clothing, jewellery and food, depending on a person's rank. As such they were historically intended to regulate and reinforce social hierarchies since they made it easy to identify social rank and privilege. Sumptuary laws could also be used to try and control morals such as the Tudor laws restricting the games people could play and the differing amounts they were permitted to gamble. They could also be issued to try and control state finances, such as those introduced by a succession of Roman emperors to try and stem the flood of silver coinage that was flowing to China to pay for imported silks, or those laws under Elizabeth I which, in an attempt to boost domestic industry, specified that those below a certain rank were forbidden to wear imported cloth.

As a typical example of the sort of detail these regulations went into, here is part of the text of the 'Statutes of Apparel', issued under Elizabeth I (15 June 1574).

"None shall wear in his apparel:

Any silk of the color of purple, cloth of gold tissued, nor fur of sables, but only the King, Queen, King's mother, children, brethren, and sisters, uncles and aunts; and except dukes, marquises, and earls, who may wear the same in doublets, jerkins, linings of cloaks, gowns, and hose; and those of the Garter, purple in mantles only.
Cloth of gold, silver, tinseled satin, silk, or cloth mixed or embroidered with any gold or silver: except all degrees above viscounts, and viscounts, barons, and other persons of like degree, in doublets, jerkins, linings of cloaks, gowns, and hose.
Woolen cloth made out of the realm, but in caps only; velvet, crimson, or scarlet; furs, black genets, lucernes; embroidery or tailor's work having gold or silver or pearl therein: except dukes, marquises, earls, and their children, viscounts, barons, and knights being companions of the Garter, or any person being of the Privy Council.
Velvet in gowns, coats, or other uttermost garments; fur of leopards; embroidery with any silk: except men of the degrees above mentioned, barons' sons, knights and gentlemen in ordinary office attendant upon her majesty's person, and such as have been employed in embassages to foreign princes.
Caps, hats, hatbands, capbands, garters, or boothose trimmed with gold or silver or pearl; silk netherstocks; enameled chains, buttons, aglets: except men of the degrees above mentioned, the gentlemen attending upon the Queen's person in her highness's Privy chamber or in the office of cupbearer, carver, sewer [server], esquire for the body, gentlemen ushers, or esquires of the stable.
Satin, damask, silk, camlet, or taffeta in gown, coat, hose, or uppermost garments; fur whereof the kind groweth not in the Queen's dominions, except foins, grey genets, and budge: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, and men that may dispend £100 by the year, and so valued in the subsidy book.
Hat, bonnet, girdle, scabbards of swords, daggers, etc.; shoes and pantofles of velvet: except the degrees and persons above names and the son and heir apparent of a knight.
Silk other than satin, damask, taffeta, camlet, in doublets; and sarcanet, camlet, or taffeta in facing of gowns and cloaks, and in coats, jackets, jerkins, coifs, purses being not of the color scarlet, crimson, or blue; fur of foins, grey genets, or other as the like groweth not in the Queen's dominions: except men of the degrees and persons above mentioned, son of a knight, or son and heir apparent of a man of 300 marks land by the year, so valued in the subsidy books, and men that may dispend £40 by the year, so valued ut supra ..."


But did any of these sumptuary laws ever really work? How were they enforced and how could one readily identify imported from English cloth, or at a glance tell silk from satin? Did enforcement perhaps simply rely on grudges and jealousy between neighbours? Or was it self regulating in that if you came to court in an outlandish ermine-trimmed silk hat you were unlikely to go to the Tower but if the Queen commented sharply, or worse laughed at you, you could kiss your career goodbye?

Indeed might not the laws themselves actually have created extravagance through their enforced restrictions? I can easily see that if one was confined by rank to the sort of material one could an wear, then it is understandable to try and exaggerate some other aspect of it - is that not partly how in the early 17th century the starched neck ruff gradually grew to such a ridiculous size?
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Sun 02 Sep 2018, 15:06

I don't know whether skeins of unwoven wool (or other textile) could be imported.  I suppose it would not be beyond the wit of someone to weave/knit skeins from overseas with the homegrown variety provided they could obtain the overseas raw material.  I guess smuggling went on as well.  I daresay ways were found around the laws though I could only speculate as to how it might be done.  During the (alcohol) Prohibition Era in the USA people used the speakeasys (speakeasies?) to get round the band on alcohol.  I've found a webpage about renaissance clothing and sumptuary laws. It mentions that the laws were difficult to enforce.  (It's quite a long page).  Apart from fining, embarrassing the wearer of the forbidden garments seems to have played a part in discouraging such wearer.  If anyone doesn't want to read the whole article I suggest searching for "Richard Welweyn" and "Thomas Bradshaw".  The feature mentions that neighbours might not be forthcoming in denouncing others in case they wanted to flout the regulations themselves.  [url=www-personal.umd.umich.edu/~cfinlay/sumptuary.html]www-personal.umd.umich.edu/~cfinlay/sumptuary.html[/url]

www-personal.umd.umich.edu/~cfinlay/sumptuary.html

I've had a problem pasting links of late - when I look at this comment in 'edit' mode it looks as if the link has "taken" but when I save the post it appears unclickable.  (Is there such a word?)  I'm trying pasting the paragraph I particularly had in mind though I quite enjoyed reading the whole post (which was by Paige L Hanson of the University of Michigan-Dearborn)  "
In 1561 restrictions were put on the amount of fabric to be used in hose, and obliged tailors to enter into bonds to observe these provisions. Refusal meant imprisonment and loss of occupation. Searches were made regularly to ensure cooperation, and servants and apprentices were taught also to follow the law (440). On January 24, 1565 Richard Walweyn, a servant whose master had also been brought up on charges for an "outrageous great pair of hose," was detained until he could acquire more appropriate hose for himself. In another instance, merchant tailor Thomas Bradshaw was convicted of wearing unacceptable hose. The court ordered that all the stuffing and linings of one of his said hose shall be cut and pulled out presently, and he to be put in his doublet and hose, and so led home through the street to his Mrs. House, and there the lining and stuffing of the other to be likewise cut and pulled out (441)"


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Sun 02 Sep 2018, 15:17

MM wrote:
 Did enforcement perhaps simply rely on grudges and jealousy between neighbours? Or was it self regulating in that if you came to court in an outlandish ermine-trimmed silk hat you were unlikely to go to the Tower but if the Queen commented sharply, or worse laughed at you, you could kiss your career goodbye?

An interesting new topic, MM! Back later to comment properly, but couldn't resist posting this - the Queen's disapproval of one's fashion choices still goes on! I'm going from the sublime (nord's posts over on the Jesus/Socrates thread) to the ridiculous (Mail-on-Sunday) here, but this article is perhaps of interest!



Duchess of Sussex Refuses to Bow to the Queen's Fashion Rules


So -

1. Always wear tights: no bare legs.

2. No skirts above the knee.

3. No black - except at funerals.

4.No trouser suits.

5. No bare shoulders during the day (OK on a ballgown - Princess Margaret in The Crown wore some amazingly sexy gowns at  evening functions - even very formal ones).

6. Never, ever wear stripper shoes (the late Diana, Princess of Wales, called them "tarts' trotters") - spiky, vertiginous heels, especially strappy ones, are social death. High-heeled court shoes are acceptable, but one must be careful...

I believe also that the rule is still "no diamonds in the country" - just pearls are allowed. Bling - especially very ancient bling - is OK in London, but not at a private country-house party.

Gosh, it's a minefield even in 2018: one is quite glad one is a pleb.


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Sun 02 Sep 2018, 16:45

Tudor sumptuary laws also defined how much and what you could eat. For example those penned by Wolsey and passed into law on 31 May 1517 stated that a cardinal may have nine dishes served at one meal (... oh quelle surprise seeing that Wolsey, ever mindful of his own status and rank, already wore the papal scarlet hat!); a duke, archbishop, marquis, earl or bishop could have seven; lords 'under the degree of an earl', mayors of the city of London, knights of the garter and abbots could have six; and so on down to those with an income of between £40 and £100 a year who could have only three dishes. There were also strict definitions of what was meant by 'a dish'. A dish could be one swan, bustard, peacock of 'fowls or like greatness'; or four plovers, partridges, woodcock or similar birds (except in the case of a cardinal who was allowed six); eight quail, dotterels etc, or twelve very small birds like larks.

But again I assume these laws must often have been ignored either when dining privily at home amongst close family and friends, or when entertaining and trying to impress an important guest (indeed when entertaining a guest of higher rank than yourself it was specifically decreed that you were allowed to dine according to the higher person's estate).

I imagine special occasions such as weddings must also have seen the laws widely flouted, even (or perhaps especially) when everyone was of much the same humble rank. For example the roll of provisions and costing for the marriage feast of Roger Rockley (eldest son of Sir Thomas Rockley of Worsborough, Yorkshire) to Elizabeth Neville (daughter of Sir John Neville of Chete) on 14 January 1526 clearly show that peacock, swan, venison, crane and a sturgeon, plus an enormous quantity of lesser meats, fowls, fishes, pies, tarts, cakes and custards, (as well as three hogsheads of wine) were all on the menu, despite both families not being nobility but just rural gentry of fairly modest means. Given the huge quantity and variety of food prepared, unless all the guests stuck to their obligatory three dishes each, it would seem likely that the whole wedding party broke the law. And since it was all carefully written down, itemised and accounted for, with who was to supply what and when ... there really was little chance of evading the local magistrate's probing questions, should they ever come (he probably being a wedding guest himself), by trying to pass off the swan as, "just another particularly big duck, yer 'onour".
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 03 Sep 2018, 12:36

LiR, I hadn't actually considered the US Prohibition of alcohol to be a sumptuary law (I'd regarded it to be along much the same moral/health lines as laws restricting certain recreational drugs, tobacco, pornography, prostitution etc.), however I see that at the time in America prohibition of alcohol was indeed often seen simply as a sumptuary law (ie one designed to restrict ostentacious, extravagant or lavish display and consumption). William Howard Taft (US President 1909-13) was firmly against prohibition in the United States describing it as "a bad sumptuary law", stating that one of his reasons for opposing prohibition was his belief that "sumptuary laws are matters for parochial adjustment". And during state conventions in 1933 on the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution (ie that for confirming the then current nationwide legal prohibition on alcohol, not just into the law but into the US Constitution itself), numerous delegates throughout the United States decried the prohibition as being an improper "sumptuary law" that never should have been included in the US Constitution.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 03 Sep 2018, 14:33

MM, actually I didn't explain myself properly yesterday.  I wasn't so much thinking of the early(ish) 20th century USA prohibition as being a sumptuary law as I was thinking of the phenomenon of the "speakeasy" as demonstrating that a prohibitive legal measure could be got around (albeit illegally), though I see you have found an example of someone who did consider it (prohibition) thus.

Could the laws (or some of them) introduced by Oliver Cromwell after the subjugation of Ireland have been considered sumptuary?  The ones I remember are the suppression of the brehon law and that a Catholic couldn't own a horse worth more than £5, though there were others.  Could the forbidding of the ownership of a horse worth more than £5 be considered a sumptuary law? 

Going back further I remember that only poshos were allowed to wear Tyrian purple in ancient Rome and found a relevant article onlinehttps://www.ancient-origins.net/.../only-roman-elite-could-wear-tyrian-purple-keep-pe... - sorry I couldn't copy the full title so I hope it works.  Maybe in those days someone might see how dark a mauve hue they could get away with wearing - or is mauve considered a shade of purple anyhow?
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Fri 07 Sep 2018, 17:18

Over on 'The Tumbleweed Suite' LiR mentioned the expression, "Red 'at - no drawers", to mean that brazen red clothes implied loose morals; or in short, that one was presumed to be a prostitute. So given that bright red has always been one of the most expensive dyes, I find it very interesting that 'professional' prostitutes were often legally exempt from any sumptuary laws - the logic being that their expensive costumes, jewellery and other 'embellishments' were a necessary part of their job. This argument - that prostitutes should be able to tart themselves up far beyond what was allowed for nearly everyone else except royalty – does seem to have proven quite persuasive throughout history. One of the first recorded sumptuary laws is this one written by Zaleucus (a Greek living in a colonia on mainland Italy) in the 7th century BC:

"A free-born woman may not be accompanied by more than one female slave, unless she is drunk; she may not leave the city during the night, unless she is planning to commit adultery; she may not wear gold jewelry or a garment with a purple border, unless she is a courtesan; and a husband may not wear a gold-studded ring or a cloak of Milesian fashion unless he is bent upon prostitution or adultery." 
 
… which, in a single sentence of legislation surely reveals more about the social morals, mores, methods and mechanics of ancient Greek society than many other ‘learned’ texts.
 
But it is interesting that even from this early date prostitutes and 'professional' courtesans were permitted to break sumptuary laws on the basis that 'tarting themselves up' was an expected and necessary part of their job (in much the same way as protective work clothes are tax-exempt today).

Later, in 13th century Marseilles, prostitutes were excused from nearly all sumptuary laws but only on the condition that they then wear a striped red-and-white hood and cloak - later reduced to just striped tassels worn on the arm or shoulder - but nevertheless still specifically designed to clearly proclaim their whore/sumptuary-exempt status (is this perhaps where the, 'red hat no knickers', phrase originates from?). The message, then as now, was that though you might wear expensive clothes and fine jewels, unless you were actually born noble, however wealthy you might be, you were still considered a tart ... or at best noveau-riche!
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Fri 07 Sep 2018, 20:47

..."unless she is planning to commit adultery" - oh, that's priceless, MM, or as people might say now "comedy gold".  I read Maurice Druon's "Les Rois Maudits" when I was - younger than I am now.  I seem to remember something about prostitutes being expected to bleach their hair (unless they were already blonde?) so that "respectable" women going about their business would not be bothered by would-be punters. I can't find anything about that on the internet though I did find something that said Roman harlots were expected to have yellow hair. * Did we discuss Hardy's "The Ruined Maid" on another thread at one time?  Where the "ruined" maid was better dressed than the one who was not "ruined".  *  https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/hair-dye-a-history/383934   If this link works (I can't see an ascii characters around it in typing mode) the relevant bit is quite far down the page so it might be worthwhile doing a search on "roman".  The site also asks you to agree to The Atlantic setting cookies on your computer so people would have to think whether they wanted to agree to that.  I'll type the appropriate couple of sentences:- "Prostitutes during the early years of the Roman Empire were required to have yellow hair to indicate their profession.  Most wore wigs but some soaked their hair in a solution made from the ashes of burnt plants or nuts to achieve the color chemically".  (It's an American site).
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 25 Sep 2018, 21:56

Coming back to this thread after a couple of weeks I see that autocorrect had changed Maurice Druon's surname to "Drone".  I mentioned Robert Louis Stevenson's Master of Ballantrae on another thread, initially wrongly attributing it to Walter Scott.  In the summer I watched a few episodes of Outlander - where a World War II nurse travels back in time to around the era of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.  Watching a bit of Master of Ballantrae on top of Outlander a few months ago made me wonder how accurate the depiction of Scots clans wearing tartan at that time was.  Anyway I had a look on Wikipedia and it would seem that the clans did indeed wear tartan because "the Dress Act of 1746 attempted to bring the warrior clans under government control by banning the tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture" and that the law was repealed in 1782 when it was no longer typical Highland dress.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartan  I won't go into all of it here; if anyone is interested they can look at the Wikipedia feature but it seems patterns which were the precursors of tartan existed in places far from Scotland though the remains of a tartan-type textile were found in Falkirk in the 3rd century A.D. (says Wikipedia).
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Fri 28 Sep 2018, 20:39

MM,

"But it is interesting that even from this early date prostitutes and 'professional' courtesans were permitted to break sumptuary laws on the basis that 'tarting themselves up' was an expected and necessary part of their job (in much the same way as protective work clothes are tax-exempt today). "

I just learned it from LiR: that's priceless...
In Dutch "werkkledij" they translate it in my dictionary by: working clothes...and not only protective work clothes seem to be exempt of tax as the factory can subtract it from their earnings?

PS: And I was nealry sure that cloth, kleed and Kleid had some relationship:
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cloth


Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 01:55

This is a very interesting thread.  I think I had heard of sumptuary laws but had not realised what they were.  I have come here because of LIR's mention of 'mauve'.  I don't know what period she was talking about but mauve is quite a new colour.  Simon Garfield wrote a whole book on it, which I read and enjoyed some years ago.  It only came into being, I think, in the 19th century, as a colour that could be reproduced.  I suppose it existed in natural forms.  I am not sure now why it was given the name mauve, but it became very fashionable.  I suppose because in the beginning it was so rare and therefore valuable.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 09:58

Mauve - yes the story of its development is very interesting.

In the 1850s the Royal College of Chemistry in London was investigating coal-tar (readily available as a by-product from coal-gas production for domestic lighting) for new uses. One young laboratory assistant was William Perkin and he was working on trying to synthesise quinine from naptha, one of the constituents of coal-tar (quinine, an extract from a S American tree, was of course then the only treatment/protection against malaria which was decimating British administrators and soldiers in the tropics, especially in India). During the Easter holiday in 1856 he continued working in the laboratory and made an accidental discovery. In his own words: "I was endeavouring to convert an artificial base into the natural alkaloid quinine, but my experiment, instead of yielding the colourless quinine, gave a reddish powder. With a desire to understand this peculiar result, a different base of more simple construction was selected, viz., analine, and in this case I obtained a perfectly black product."

The analine to which he referred was the generic name given to all substances derived from coal-tar naptha. The choice of this material for the second experiment was fortuitous and eventually made Perkin a millionaire because when he washed and treated the "perfectly black product" it became mauve. The significance is that this was the first artificial analine dye - ie a chemically synthesised dye completely unrelated to any natural dyes. After some technical trials the new dye went on sale in 1857 from a small factory outside London which cost Perkin's father every penny he had (Perkin himself had no funds being at the time only nineteen).

Perkin initially called his dye Analine Purple, then Tyrian Purple but changed it to Mauve, or Mauveine, for marketing purposes in 1859. Mauve, for a pale purple colour, is named after the mallow flower (called mauve in French) and was in use, albeit rarely, to describe the colour since at least the 1780s according to the OED. As a dye for fabrics Perkin's new mauve was popularised by Queen Victoria but it eventually dropped out of favour as the original dye tended to fade in strong sunlight.

Meanwhile the raw material for all this - coal tar - was still pouring out, virtually free, from every gasworks in the country, and the race was on to find what else it could produce. Perkin's company first developed a crimson dye, the chemical fuscine, and then a selection of blues, violets and green dyes, which went on display to widespread aclaim at the 1862 Great Exhibition. Meanwhile in 1863 Eugen Lucius, one of the founders of the giant German chemical firm Hoechst, discovered a new green dye. A Lyons silk-dyeing firm called Renard and Villet obtained the monopoly on all the green dye Hoechst could make, and used some of this on a silk that was made into a dress for the French Empress Eugénie. Her dress and the new dye made their first public appearance when she wore it to the Paris Opéra, and, like Queen Victoria's mauve dress of a few years earlier, it took the fashion world by storm. Hoechst's green dye became immediately fashionable, and in terms of this thread it is interesting that part of the allure was that fabrics dyed using the Hoechst dye could be readily distinguished from other green dyes because they didn't appear bluey under yellow gaslight. Use of the dye was never restricted to the rich, other than by cost, but it was social death if one's fashionable green gown was later revealed under artificial lighting to be other than the real deal.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 10:57

I don't suppose people would be quite so precious now, MM.  Actually I had an admiring  look at a green blouse in Marks the other day but it was £27.50 (or thereabouts) which I thought was a lot for a blouse, though Marks' clothes do tend to last.  I know I referred flippantly to my cousins and I calling ourselves "purple people eaters" because our skins looked purple in - I think - sodium street lighting when we were in the Liverpool suburbs.*  I hasten to assure you all we may have looked purple but we never ate any people, purple or otherwise.

* My mum's sister and her family then lived in Waterloo on the north side of Liverpool.  Somebody I knew in Stafford said "Oh that's next to Seaforth, isn't it?".  I said "Yes", but when I told my mum she said "you tell them your relations live the Crosby end of Waterloo" - that was true, you only had to walk down the road and you were in Crosby (Great Crosby anyway) but Mum must have thought Crosby was more up-market than Seaforth.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 14:52

I think I mentioned mauve as a way of avoiding being punished if one were not deemed to be of a high enough rank to wear the Tyrion purple but obviously if mauve as a hue is relatively recent then I was way off the mark.  A pinky-blue to try and ape the purple then?  A dark red (as long as it was not a "red 'at, no drawers") type of red?
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 19:37

Talking about red, sumptuary laws and LiR's comment about "red hat, no drawers"  … red was by far the most expensive of medieval dyes, and so it is not surprising that red was one of the colours most strictly controlled by Henry VIII’s sumptuary laws. Four separate pieces of sumptuary legislation were passed during Henry's reign and all included the rule that no Englishman under the rank of Knight of the Garter was allowed to wear crimson velvet in their gowns, coats or any other part of their clothing. Bright, crimson red was the most expensive dye, and velvet the costliest of cloths. Red cloth in this period was dyed using four main dyestuffs - kermes, cochineal, madder and lichen dyes. Of these the most expensive were kermes and cochineal, both made from the desiccated bodies of insects, which produced a luscious, deep crimson. Imported from Spain and Portugal, they was subject to heavy import duties.

Not surprisingly Henry VIII's coronation costume was a riot of reds. This is listed in his account books as including: "2 Shirts whereof one shall be of lawn the other of Crimson Tartaryn silk... a Coat of Crimson Satin largely opened as the Shirts been to the which Coat his hose shall be laced with Ribbon of Silk... a Surcoat cloth of crimson Satin furred with pure menyver... A great mantle of Crimson Satin furred with pure menyver... And a great lace of Silk with 2 tassels also of Crimson... a little hat or Cap of Estate of Crimson Satin ermined & Garnished with Ribbon of gold." Those who laid claim to the greatest power at court also preferred red, not only for their own apparel but also for the colour of their retinue's livery (the sumptuary laws permitted a person of sufficient rank to dress their entire household in the expensive fabrics and colours they were entitled to wear themselves). For example, at the height of his power at court, Thomas Wolsey (who of course proudly wore a cardinal's crimson hat and gown) had the members of his household dressed in suitably sumptuous red livery: "His gentlemen, being in number very many, were clothed in livery coats of crimson velvet of the most purest colour that might be invented and all his yeomen and other lesser officers were in coats of fine scarlet."

But red of course also had other more negative connotations - especially when worn by women. One of Henry VIII's bits of legislation aimed at restricting vagabonds, beggars and prostitution said that "Comyn strompetes sholde were rayd hodis and white roddis in her hondes" - ie common strumpets should wear red hoods and [carry] white rods in their hands. Is this in fact where the "red hat, no drawers" expression comes from?

Early Protestants no doubt also understood this explicitly from The Book of Revelation, and in the fact that to them the Church of Rome was a "scarlet woman" and the "Whore of Babylon":
"And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth."


It is therefore interesting that despite Elizabeth I’s similar sumptuary laws restricting the use of red cloth to the highest levels of the nobility, she herself was rarely portrayed wearing red. No doubt, as a a female queen, Elizabeth I was all-too aware of the symbolism that attached to her person. She chose lavish embroidery and costly gems rather than scarlet to convey her wealth and power on ceremonial occasions and as the "Virgin Queen" she played on themes of purity and nurture (the ideal female virtues) throughout her long reign. That meant richly embellished white satin gowns for formal occasions, the embroidery pointing up the positive symbols of female rule such as the pelican for self-sacrifice, and the sieve for chastity.

Interestingly the black-and-white film coverage of the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II has the commentary, as the Coronation coach emerged from Buckingham Palace: "Here comes the young Queen, in her scarlet robes of state", whereas in fact, like Elizabeth I, she was richly clothed in white, not red. It was apparently the queen herself who had instructed the royal dressmaker, Norman Hartnell, that her coronation gown should be sumptuous white satin like the wedding gown he had designed for her six years earlier. So while both her father and grandfather had processed to their coronations splendidly dressed in crimson and ermine, in the 1950s it seems a woman in red, even though she be a queen, could still carry too many negative overtones.


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 22:11

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I don't suppose people would be quite so precious now, MM.  Actually I had an admiring  look at a green blouse in Marks the other day but it was £27.50 (or thereabouts) which I thought was a lot for a blouse, though Marks' clothes do tend to last.  I know I referred flippantly to my cousins and I calling ourselves "purple people eaters" because our skins looked purple in - I think - sodium street lighting when we were in the Liverpool suburbs.*  I hasten to assure you all we may have looked purple but we never ate any people, purple or otherwise.

* My mum's sister and her family then lived in Waterloo on the north side of Liverpool.  Somebody I knew in Stafford said "Oh that's next to Seaforth, isn't it?".  I said "Yes", but when I told my mum she said "you tell them your relations live the Crosby end of Waterloo" - that was true, you only had to walk down the road and you were in Crosby (Great Crosby anyway) but Mum must have thought Crosby was more up-market than Seaforth.


Lady,

just lost my message again while Res is extremely slow, had even a page that it was due to maintenance...

I start again...
"I know I referred flippantly to my cousins and I calling ourselves "purple people eaters" because our skins looked purple in - I think - sodium street lighting when we were in the Liverpool suburbs.*  I hasten to assure you all we may have looked purple but we never ate any people, purple or otherwise."
I started with an eulogy about MM his excellent messages as this above...and a whole explanation that he only had that entertaining concept "onder de knee" (under the knee) (master after a learning process)
And then that I say to my wife about all shades of purple: purple. And then she says it is you that has studied colours...
And indeed working in the paint department I knew of the tenths of shades of black or white, all with colourful names (I translate them literally) as anthracyte black, broken white, ultramarin blue, bisamrck blue and all that
And then I wanted especially for MM and also for you LiR explain how a colour was measured with an apparatus, see the link
https://www.aces.edu/dept/fisheries/education/pond_to_plate/documents/ExplanationoftheLABColorSpace.pdf
And when I had read about the three axes on the link in the preview, I tapped in the preview on this link to return to the message and the whole thing was gone..(although I did it a million times in the last years and it never failed...)
I will now explain the link in an addendum for fear that something happens again.
And yes further on metamerism about your "sodium street lighting" and the "colour temperature" in degrees Kelvin...

Kind regards from Paul.

PS Now I give up.  nordmann??? again the maintenance page...
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 22:26

And now it works again quickly...

Addendum.

About the picture of the "LAB" colour measurement.
It is a three coordinates system, with a vertical coordinate axe from white to black, and an horizontal one from green to red and a perpendicular coordinate on the former flat diagram from blue to yellow. As you see on the picture you can define every! colour as a point in this three dimensional sphere, with expressing the length of the three coordinates.
But even that is not good enough for the colour of the different batches of paint, as this electronic measurement is still not equivalent to the human eye which still reacts on colours on a different way than the apparatus (although in slight differences).
So the different batches are painted on panels, which before bringing "on colour" are compared by a "colorist"...
Further in a new addendum.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 01 Oct 2018, 23:18

Addendum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature



For colors based on black-body theory, blue occurs at higher temperatures, whereas red occurs at lower temperatures. This is the opposite of the cultural associations attributed to colors, in which "red" is "hot", and "blue" is "cold".
We called the 3000 Kelvin equator light, desert light and normally we compared under 12,000 Kelvin Northern daylight. But I see nothing named in this sense in the wiki.

[th]Temperature[/th][th]Source [/th]
1700 KMatch flame, low pressure sodium lamps (LPS/SOX)
1850 KCandle flame, sunset/sunrise
2400 KStandard incandescent lamps
2550 KSoft white incandescent lamps
2700 K"Soft white" compact fluorescent and LED lamps
3000 KWarm white compact fluorescent and LED lamps
3200 KStudio lamps, photofloods, etc.
3350 KStudio "CP" light
5000 KHorizon daylight
5000 KTubular fluorescent lamps or cool white / daylight
compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)
5500 – 6000 KVertical daylight, electronic flash
6200 KXenon short-arc lamp[3]
6500 KDaylight, overcast
6500 – 9500 KLCD or CRT screen
15,000 – 27,000 KClear blue poleward sky
These temperatures are merely characteristic; there may be considerable variation
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 02 Oct 2018, 21:26

And now I come to metamerism...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamerism_(color)


To mention LiR:
"I know I referred flippantly to my cousins and I calling ourselves "purple people eaters" because our skins looked purple in - I think - sodium street lighting when we were in the Liverpool suburbs."

Yes, colours turn into a different colour (I suppose (have to all seek it back) due to the reflection?) under another light of as explained above of another amount of degrees Kelvin...
But there is worser and I explain it by LiR's example...
If her cousins and she had worn three times the same colour purple to be a bit provocative (I don't know LiR and her cousins Wink . It's only a guess.) and the same colour under daylight, it could be when the dye or the pigment was from other sources, that they had all a different colour under other light source with another colour temperature.

And in industry is that a real problem, as you see in the wiki:
"Using materials that are metameric color matches rather than spectral color matches is a significant problem in industries where color matching or color tolerances are important. A classic example is in automobiles: the interior fabrics, plastics and paints may be manufactured to provide a good color match under a standard light source (such as the sun), but the matches can disappear under different light sources (fluorescent or halide lights). Similar problems can occur in apparel manufactured from different types of dye or using different types of fabric, or in quality color printing using different types of inks. Papers manufactured with optical brighteners are especially susceptible to color changes when lights differ in their short wavelength radiation, which can cause some papers to fluoresce.
Color matches made in the paint industry are often aimed at achieving a spectral color match rather than just a tristimulus (metameric) color match under a given spectrum of light. A spectral color match attempts to give two colors the same spectral reflectance characteristic, making them a good metameric match with a low degree of metamerism, and thereby reducing the sensitivity of the resulting color match to changes in illuminant, or differences between observers."

We had once this problem with our "machines" and a serious problem. And I was in the eye of the storm. We had two suppliers of paint. While one had a failure in production I asked the other to supply a trial for powder coating. The other supplier made a batch of his powder coating and it came in production. All went well till these parts painted with the new coat were assembled on the outside of the "machine"? And outside in daylight nothing to see, but when these parts together with the machine came in the assembling hall for further work they looked under the light of the assembling hall like monsters. The new parts like brown and the machine a rather hell shade of yellow.
All the machines yet assembled had to be repainted. And as the first supplier was lucky to mention it was due to metamerism, they, using the same pigment in their powder coating as in the liquid paint, had not that problem, but the second supplier using another pigment for that particular powder...
But my boss has supported me and the supplier lost the money of that complete batch, some thousands of (pounds, euros) (it were Belgian Francs in the time). And from then on we knew what metamerism was...but in fact it was the task of the paint supplier to know that...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 02 Oct 2018, 21:38

Which of course is why Hoechst's green analine dye (of 1863) was such a success as the colour remained essentially the same under gas-light as in sunlight, whereas earlier natural green dyes tended to appear blue under yellow gas-light or candles.

You can also get the appeareance of colour due to interferance of light waves by the surface. I think that's how butterfly wings appear so multi-coloured - it's not due to any pigment but due to the tiny scales on the wings diffracting the light to reflect only certain wavelengths. I'm also fairy sure that's how the metallic colours on titanium jewellery are created - again the surface oxide is not coloured, titanium dioxide is pure white (it's used for that in paper and white paint) - but the microscopically thin oxide film diffracts the light to only reflect certain wavelengths of light, and so the metal appears to be coloured blue, yellow or pink. It's similar of course to why we see the sky as blue - despite the atmosphere being composed of nothing more than colourless gases and transparent water vapour droplets. It also of course accounts for all the colours in a rainbow.


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 02 Oct 2018, 22:17

@Meles meles wrote:
Which of course is why Hoechst's green analine dye (of 1863) was such a success as the colour remained essentially the same under gas-light as in sunlight, whereas earlier natural green dyes tended to appear blue under yellow gas-light or candles.

You can also get the appeareance of colour due to interferance of light waves by the surface. I thing that's how butterfly wings appear so multi-coloured - it's not due to any pigment but due to the tiny scales on the wings diffracting the light to reflect only certain wavelengths. I'm also fairy sure that's how the metallic colours on titanium jewellery are created - again the surface oxide is not coloured, titanium dioxide is pure white (it's used for that in paper and white paint) but the microscopically thin oxide film diffracts the light to only reflect certain wavelengths of light, and so the metal appears to be coloured blue, yellow or pink. It's similar of course to why we see the sky - which is essentially composed of colourless gases and transparent water vapour droplets - as blue, and also of course accounts for the colours of a rainbow.

Meles meles,

you are completely right and what a knowledge about all such sophisticated matter. But yes you told already about your background, but even with such a background your fields of interest are "amazing" as our Greek engineer from Thessaloníki would have said...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Wed 03 Oct 2018, 11:48

Paul, my cousins and I were not teenagers then so we were pretty innocent.  I did have one cousin who was always very elegant and pretty even from being a little girl but I don't think she was with us that night. Though I know Paul is joking when he speaks about us being provocative (or not) because of the general context of this thread.

While not being laws of the land, I suppose uniforms and even workplace dress codes place a restriction on the clothing someone can wear.  At my senior school rather than gym slips we had a skirt which mainly ended at the waist but then had a sort of pair of braces made of the same material crossing tag the back and coming over the shoulders.  They weren't really a very good style for pubescent girls who were in the process of going from flat-chested to not flat-chested.  Does anyone where gym slips nowadays?  Though pinafore dresses are very similar.  The teenage or pre-teenage girls in my town seem to wear trousers interchangeably with skirts as part of their school uniform.

Now when I am typing from home I tend to wear what is comfortable.  In the colder months I'll wear slacks or a long skirt to keep my legs warm.  I have a few lounging type outfits (well officially they are tracksuit type clothing but I lounge in them rather than jog round the block.  Although shell suit material is waterproof I've really been put off shell suiting because Jimmy Savile (a British celebrity about whom some very unpleasant facts were revealed after his death) used to wear it often.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Wed 03 Oct 2018, 21:20

Lady,

"While not being laws of the land, I suppose uniforms and even workplace dress codes place a restriction on the clothing someone can wear.  At my senior school rather than gym slips we had a skirt which mainly ended at the waist but then had a sort of pair of braces made of the same material crossing tag the back and coming over the shoulders.  They weren't really a very good style for pubescent girls who were in the process of going from flat-chested to not flat-chested.  Does anyone where gym slips nowadays?  Though pinafore dresses are very similar.  The teenage or pre-teenage girls in my town seem to wear trousers interchangeably with skirts as part of their school uniform."

I tried to visualize what I thought it was in your description. Correct me if I am wrong.





But that are still little children : "roodkapjes" (little red caps)
Not yet "pubescent girls who were in the process of going from flat-chested to not flat-chested." And I promise to not ask, what is "not flat chested"...
That was at least what my sister wore, start of the Fifties, in the catholic youth organisation...but at school they had also an uniform.
I was so lucky to not have been obliged to wear an uniform in the "jongensschool" (boy's school)...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Thu 04 Oct 2018, 12:59

Yes, that is very similar, Paul, though I don't think the skirt part of our uniform had pleats.  My senior school did have a "prep" (preparatory) part that was for fee-paying pupils (well more accurately their parents would have paid the fees) and they had a similar uniform. They were quite okay for little girls but as soon as a youngster got something of a figure they were (at least in my opinion) stupid.  Even though I never liked gym slips a gym slip would have been more practical.  Actually I have been known to wear the adult variant of a gym slip which was called a pinafore dress (in winter for more warmth) - nowadays Marks and Spencers seem to be calling them "tunic dresses" though only the first dress on the linked page (the grey checked one) is what I would really call a tunic.  I think Americans call them "jumpers" though for me a jumper (in the sense of clothing) is a sweater type garment.  https://www.marksandspencer.com/l/women/tunics

For some reason I'm not seeing the "edit" button on the site at the moment - so did anybody notice my "deliberate" (ho-ho) mistake above ('where' instead of 'wear')?
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Thu 04 Oct 2018, 13:06

A modern version of the braces skirt and I still think it is a hideous style for adolescents or adult women.[url=https://www.zara.com %E2%80%BA WOMAN %E2%80%BA TWEED %E2%80%BA TWEED MINI SKIRT WITH BRACES]https://www.zara.com › WOMAN › TWEED › TWEED MINI SKIRT WITH BRACES[/url]  By the way, in my post above I made a mistake - only the grey checked dress is what I would call a tunic dress or pinafore dress.  Some of the "tunics" on the M&S page were more like a sweater/jumper - I suppose the longer length sweaters could possibly be called tunics.


Well - my linking didn't go very well.  I see when I copy and paste "http://www.zara.com > WOMAN > TWEED > TWEED MINI SKIRT WITH BRACES but after I have submitted my post I see "url" though I don't know how it gets there - as I say it doesn't show when I am in edit mode. On the plus side I can see the edit button now.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Thu 04 Oct 2018, 14:44

Further to my comments about Elizabeth I (and the present queen too) being wary of wearing bright red despite sumptuary laws restricting its use to the nobility ... I wonder if the legend that at her execution Mary Queen of Scots was found to be wearing a crimson velvet petticoat under her dark outer dress, was just Protestant anti-Catholic propaganda. Or was she making a final statement of her royal and Catholic status? Or, with red being a 'warm' colour, was she just hoping to keep from shivering and so avoid it being said she was afraid to die? Red was of course also symbolic of martyrdom. I seem to remember somewhere reading that Ann Boleyn at her execution also wore red petticoats under her somber grey damask gown.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Thu 04 Oct 2018, 15:35

That is really odd, MM - I have just come over from the Socrates thread to make the same point about Mary Queen of Scots and her decision to be dressed all in red for her exit from this world.

Lovely double message from Mary "the Papist whore" - red was the liturgical colour of martyrdom indeed. Here is what Antonia Fraser says:

(An eye-witness) Robert Wise noticed that she undressed so quickly that it seemed that she was in haste to be gone out of the world. Stripped of her black, she stood in her red petticoat and it was seen that above it she wore a red satin bodice trimmed with lace, the neckline cut low at the back; one of her women handed her a pair of red sleeves and was thus wearing all red, the colour of blood, and the liturgical colour of martyrdom in the Catholic Church, that the Queen of Scots died.


Apparently there was a "gasp" from the onlookers when the queen's red attire was revealed: it was a superbly theatrical gesture that must have infuriated Elizabeth when she was informed. Those Stuarts did not know how to rule, but they certainly knew how to die. She also apparently looked, tall and stately as she was, absolutely stunning (at least until the head - and wig - were off).
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Thu 04 Oct 2018, 20:25

What a co-incidence Temperance and MM that you both thought about Mary Queen of Scots' death.  In Victorian/Edwardian times red petticoats (when worn) weren't donned for legal reasons of course, but I remember that in E Nesbit's The Railway Children the girls, Bobbie and Phil take off their red flannel petticoats (presumably they were waist petticoats) and waved them to get the train to stop when needs be.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Thu 04 Oct 2018, 22:22

Actually, digging deeper, it seems that petticoats were very often red, even for women outside of the nobility whose clothes, because of cost and sumptuary laws, would have had to be dyed with cheaper, not so vibrantly red, plant dyes (although since it was for an underskirt did that really matter?). But apparently even Puritans and lower classes (like Vermeer's kitchen maid) wore red petticoats:


Vermeer's 'Milkmaid' or 'Kitchen maid' painted in about 1657 or 1658 was almost certainly Protestant, lower class and fairly poor, and so her petticoat was a rather muddy red, probably dyed with madder rather than with expensive imported cochineal or kermes.

The reason may well be that red was considered to be a warm colour, almost literally so. Red fabrics were certainly seen as capable of playing a part in promoting one's health. Conduct books from the beginning of the 16th century (like this from Andrew Boorde) advised: "Let your nightcap be of scarlet and in your bed lie not too hot nor too cold but in temperance".

Similarly red sheets, blankets and curtains etc were part of the treatment for smallpox from medieval to early modern times. When Charles V of France caught it (mid 14th century) he was dressed in a red shirt, red stockings and a red veil. Similarly Edward I's royal physician, John of Gaddesden (died 1361), wrote, "Let a scarlet or red cloth be taken and the variolous [pox-ridden] patient be wrapped in it completely – as I did with the son of the most noble king of England when he suffered those diseases… I made everything about his bed red… it is a good cure and I cured him in the end without the marks of smallpox." Elizabeth I was likewise wrapped in a red blanket and placed by a hot fire when she fell ill with smallpox in 1562.

PS :

Further to red petticoats and again the association of red with "ladies of easy virtue" ... Petticoats, being essentially an undergarment beneath an outer gown (if wealthy) or a simple dress, smock or apron (if poor) were rarely dispayed. So again by clearly showing off one's (typically red) petticoat, one was presumed to also be advertising one's loose morals. Indeed that might explain one of Henry VIII's bits of legislation which I didn't understand at the time but seemed to say that common prostitutes should wear their clothes inside out. I now guess this actually meant that by law they were supposed to wear their (often red) petticoats on the outside, uncovered and clearly visible.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Fri 05 Oct 2018, 11:56

A bit off topic but Temp's mention of her visit to sites pertinent to the life of Mary Queen of Scots has whetted my interest.  Of course at present I can only visit Scotland virtually but at the weekend when I was out at an eatery (and spilling a drink) I picked up some leaflets explaining self-guided walks that one can make.  There was one for the neighbourhood of Stowe-by-Chartley.  Of course, Chartley Castle is very much a ruin now but it played a part in Mary Queen of Scots' entrapment.  My walking boots fell apart some time ago but when I have bought a replacement pair I might catch the bus to Stowe and do the walk.  (Obviously with the nights getting longer I'd have to give myself sufficient time to do the walk in daylight).

Not about Mary, but thinking about tartan, a lady with a background in historical costuming has a YouTube channel where she analyses costumes from (mostly) historical and fantasy shows.  She has done some analysis of the Outlander (circa Jacobite rebellion) costumes - she does mention inaccuracies as well.  The lady critiqued the costumes of Reign and was blasted by some fans of that show because she said that its costumes had some glaring inaccuracies.  Anyway I'm linking one of her videos about Outlander 
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 08 Oct 2018, 12:28

@Meles meles wrote:
Further to my comments about Elizabeth I (and the present queen too) being wary of wearing bright red ...

There again now that Brenda is 92 she probably feels no one is likely to get the wrong message:

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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Mon 08 Oct 2018, 13:33

Presumably nobody is likely to say anything indelicate to Her Maj about red headgear - and even if they did she wouldn't hear it through the posh car door windows.


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 10:51

If the Scottish queen caused outrage by choosing to die dressed in red, her choice of white for her first wedding dress (she married the Dauphin, the sickly little Francis, on April 24th 1558) was also terribly controversial. We are used to brides in white, but in the 16th century white was never the colour for a royal French bridal gown: white was the traditional colour of mourning for the queens of France - an unlucky choice and, so it proved, a bad omen indeed for Mary. All her marriages caused her grief.

Mary seemed not to care - she was advised against the colour, but, impulsive as ever, she insisted on her daring and unconventional - and theatrical - choice. She was, as they say, "making a statement". She knew that white was "her" colour: it suited her delicate colouring and auburn hair. Tall and elegant, she must have looked absolutely stunning, all a-glitter in the spring sunshine, the white satin dress "sumptuously and richly made", covered with diamonds and lustrous with jewelled embroidery. The gown had an immensely long train carried by two maids of honour. On her head Mary wore a diadem similarly all bejewelled, studded with diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. An enormous gemstone at its centre flashed in the sunlight and the rumour went around the  crowd that it had cost "half a million crowns". To the onlookers she must have looked like a young goddess.

The Venetian ambassador, awe-struck, called her "the most beautiful princess in Europe".

Elizabeth's comments about the spectacular white wedding of this rival queen, who was so lovely (and who was ten years younger), are unrecorded.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 11:36

@Temperance wrote:
Mary seemed not to care - she was advised against the colour, but, impulsive as ever, she insisted on her daring and unconventional - and theatrical - choice.

Perhaps all the more surprising because she was only 16 years of age and still largely under the influence of her mother-in-law, the indomitable Catherine de Medici, and her powerful uncles: Francis, the Duke of Guise and Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine. Her husband, "sickly little Francis", as you put it, was only fourteen ... though he was abnormally short and he stammered too (and when he was crowned king a year later the crown was too heavy for him so it had to be held up by a duke positioned on either side). But nevertheless they do seem to have got on well together: Francis's father, Henri II, commented that "from the very first day they met, my son and she got on as well together as if they had known each other for a long time"

@Temperance wrote:
Elizabeth's comments about the spectacular white wedding of this rival queen, who was so lovely (and who was ten years younger), are unrecorded.

... Probably because when they married (24 April 1558) Mary I was still queen of England and apparently in the last stages of pregnancy, while the princess Elizabeth had only just (17 April) been allowed back to court in anticipation of Mary's first child (or Mary's death in childbirth). Mary of course did not give birth, but instead, now clearly dying, she finally recognised Elizabeth as her heir on 6 November. On 17 November Mary died and was succeeded by Elizabeth.


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 12:18

MM wrote:
But nevertheless they do seem to have got on well together: Francis's father, Henri II, commented that "from the very first day they met, my son and she got on as well together as if they had known each other for a long time".

Yes, he adored her - but they were more like brother and sister - playmates - rather than lovers. It is unlikely that the marriage was ever consummated. Mary was a hopeless politician, but she had a gift for love, unlike the "indomitable Catherine de Medici" whom everyone feared, but no one ever adored. I wonder if it is true that the teenage Mary unwisely referred to the Pope's niece as "the Florentine shopkeeper's daughter"? If she did, it really was terribly careless of her: Catherine was the one person Mary should have cultivated, but this impulsive teenager, whom everybody expected one day to wear three crowns - those of Scotland, France and England - was unlikely to think she need fear a woman whose family crest showed three golden balls.
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 13:24

@Temperance wrote:

I wonder if it is true that the teenage Mary unwisely referred to the Pope's niece as "the Florentine shopkeeper's daughter"?

Probably. The French nobility always rather looked down on their Florentine relations from the various branches of the Medici family, because they had gained their wealth and power through sordid banking and trade ... yet they kept marrying into the family because they needed Medici cash - or at least Medici credit. Henry IV apparently referred to his own wife, Marie de' Medici, (who had brought him over half a million écus in her dowry when they married in 1600), as "la grosse banquière" (the fat banker) ... though he didn't dare call her that in public or to her face - that was rather the private name he and his mistress, Henriette d'Entragues, used for her.



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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 13:40

Should have put "rival princess"  Embarassed ! Yes - it was later that year - in November and on an unseasonably warm day (just as it is here in the UK today) - that Elizabeth at last became queen.

But it was on the cards that Elizabeth would triumph, even in the April of 1558 - no one believed Mary was really pregnant. One of the ambassadors (can't remember which one - will have to look it up) reported the swelling in the queen's abdomen was a tumour, not a child.

"The fat banker"  - I have never heard that before - how horribly cruel. No wonder these Medici women tended to put poison in people's tea (well, not tea, but you know what I mean).
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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 13:45

Marie de Medici was only 25 (Henri was nearly 47) and though not thin was hardly fat, though I think the "grosse" bit was rather like "big" ... as in her money bags.

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@Temperance wrote:
...  Catherine was the one person Mary should have cultivated, but this impulsive teenager, whom everybody expected one day to wear three crowns - those of Scotland, France and England - was unlikely to think she need fear a woman whose family crest showed three golden balls.

Yes there is a certain irony there because, amongst all his other health problems, Catherine's son, Francis, ie Mary Queen o' Scots first husband, may well have been infertile because of undescended testes: far from having inherited the golden balls he, poor lad, had no balls at all!


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 13:47

Oh dear - how very unfortunate!

Actually, I'm a bit confused. Here are Catherine de Medici's arms. Why five balls and three balls?


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 13:59

PS Isn't the traditional pawnbroker sign - three golden balls - linked to the super-rich bankers of Italy, presumably the Medici family?


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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 14:48

I seem to remember from a visit to Florence many years ago that there were balls everywhere (hey, I was young and single, it was summer and, well, you know the old Florentine reputation!). But seriously, those attached to ancient buildings were, as I recall, mostly in a group of five within a shield - which I distinctly remember because I expected a group of three. But the Medicis where very fecund and accordingly produced lots of scions and cadet branches, and inevitably with some inter-marriage too. I'm guessing that the the three-ball arms comes from a particular branch of the main tree - and a quick look at Medici heraldry shows that as well as three-balls or five-balls, at some times six-balls and eight-balls were used by some members of the family. However I'm still not exactly sure how the three-balls came to be adopted as the pawnbrokers' symbol, although I, like you, have always understood it to have arisen from the old Medici symbol.

BTW - The Medici arms (and the pawnbrokers' symbol) are always described as being 'balls', not 'disks' (and so not obviously gold coins) ... so what then do they actually represent?

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PostSubject: Re: Sumptuary Laws   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 16:06

All this reminds me of the famous critical assessment of the works of Jane Austen: "What a lot of balls!"

Oh dear, this thread could veer off into silliness - just like the good old days of Res His! Let us return swiftly to more serious historical comment. Smile

So what do the Medici golden balls actually represent? Does anyone know without googling?


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