27 July, 2012

The Textile Tools of Colonial Homes

A quote from Marion Channing's The Textile Tools of Colonial Homes: From Raw Materials to Finished Garments Before Mass Production in the Factories (Marion, MA: Channing Books, 1982):
So everyone spun years ago, just as most everyone drives today.  One might substitute "automobile" for "spindle" in the following sentence from "Book of Husbandrie" by Anthony Fitzherbert, dated 1523.  "No rank is above the use of the spindle; princesses only have them gilt." (p. 25)
Besides the quote, I like the author's use of primary sources.  Channing refers to museum holdings, archival documents, and a number of works of art that give historical information through their depictions of textile artists or tools.  These include Millet's "The Spinner" and "The End of the Village of Greville," and Van Gogh's painting of a weaver in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, Romney's portrait of Lady Hamilton, Hogarth's "The Idle Apprentice," and a Giotto fresco in the cathedral of Florence's bell tower.

Channing doesn't restrict her information to American colonial tools.  For example, she states that there are spindles in the museum at Housesteads Fort on Hadrian's Wall.

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