HNW - blackwork usage in 1500s England and Scotland

MCAMEROUN@aol.com MCAMEROUN at aol.com
Fri Sep 25 19:59:22 PDT 1998


OK, list - I need your help.  I am looking to document the usage of blackwork
in 1500s England and Scotland.  I know the salient points about what it was
used ON (i.e., clothing, "night" caps, bodices, pillow covers, other
furnishings, etc.).  My question has more to do with WHO would have used it -
its usage in a social context.  To be specific, would it have been appropriate
for an upper middle class woman to have worn, for example, a blackwork
embroidered cap?  A bodice decorated in blackwork?  Or was blackwork
decoration on clothing primarily the purview of the rich? 

>From "Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd" I've learned about the Queen's
"silkwomen" (or men), who appeared to be primarily responsible for any
blackwork (along with their other duties and in spite of the existence of the
Queen's embroiderers), but . . . does anyone have any information about the
usage (if any) of blackwork embroidery decoration on the clothing of the
middle class?  Once again, please be specific in your reply (if you think that
you'll run on too long, please email me privately), and (extremely important
for the project I'm working on) cite any sources.

Thanks so much for your help!

Margaret Cameron
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