HNW - re:Opus Anglicanum History?

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at
Tue Sep 15 20:53:18 PDT 1998

>Also, anything on the use of pearls/beads/etc.

Shortly after I got my Laurel in the SCA, I caught someone using my word as
doccumentation.  That's not scholarship.  Looking at historical sources is.
 I only know what I have found, not if what you want to do is correct for a
given period.  I just happen to have a visual memory and lots of picture

The corronation shoes of Roger II, Norman King of Sicily (no date given in
my book) have double rows of pearls sewn on like beads along the edges of
the jeweled woven-gold trim down the front, and in double-line patterns on
the sides of the shoes.  Estimating from the size of the shoes, the pearls
are the size of the heads of the glass-headed pins I use for sewing.  They
are not all round, nor all exactly the same size.  (pp.28-29, "Crown Jewels
of Europe", by Prince Michael of Greece, ISBN 0-06-015201-X)  

The matching corronation mantle has a repeating design of pearls on the
front and neck trim, and may have a double row of pearls outlining the
aplique designs.  Even in this double-page colour photo I can't tell for
sure.  There are many pictures of this mantle around, but this is the
largest colour reproduction I have found.  

The Italians, Germans, French, Spanish, Russians, and English used little
pearls as beads in embroidery in the 1500's.  I don't know an earliest date
for this useage, but I bet the Byzantines did it.

There is a photo of a beaded Spanish cap from the tomb of someone who died
in 1211, ill. 319, p. 180, in "20,000Years of Fashion" by Francois Boucher
(mine is the expanded edition, ISBN0-8109-1693-2).  The black and white
photo shows beads in two colours.  The text says the beads are "coloured
beads".  I would guess they were glass.

Little glass beads the size of the ones we use now seem to get really
popular in the 17th century.  My pictures of Elizabethan embroidery show no
little glass beads, but I have pictures of Jacobean embroidery which do
show them.  They 'read' so late that I don't use them before the late 1700's.

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