Research and Experiments

HRG in the Schools


Lullay, Litel, Grom : Baby Care in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

by Christina Ford


Appendix 1: Some Poems and Expressions | Appendix 2: Extract from The French Garden, by Peter Erondelle
Appendix 3: Patterns for Yoke and Sleeve, and How to Use Them | Appendix 4: Primary Examples

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Appendix 1: Some Poems and Expressions

Childhood (Scots; from Ratis Raving, c. 1450; Gray, p. 199)

With flouris for to jape and play.
With stickis and with spalis small
To byg up Chalmer, spens and hall;
To make a wycht horse of a wand,
Of broken bread a ship sailand;
A bunweed til a burly spear
And of a sedge a sword of weir,
A comely lady of a clout
And be richt busy thereabout
To dicht it fetisly with flouris
And luve the pepane paramouris.
And be sic wanton wyrkis weill
Thy daily dawark is done ilk deill.

[pepane = doll, p.372]

The Virgin's Song (English; British Museum MS Harl. 7322 f. 135b, c. 1375; Sisam p. 167)

Iesu, swete sone dere!
On porful bed list _ou here,
And _at me greue_ sore;
For _i cradle is ase a bere,
Oxe and asse be_ _i fere:
Weep ich mai _arfore.
Iesu, swete, beo noth wro_,
_ou ich nabbe clout ne clo_
_e on for to folde,
_e on to folde ne to wrappe,
For ich nabbe clout ne lappe;
Bote ley _ou _i fet to my pappe,
And wite _e from _e colde.
[I have no cloth to fold or wrap you in, so lay your feet on my breast and shelter from the cold.]

The Childhood of James V (Scots; from 'The Complaynt of Schir David Lindesay': Sir David Lindsay, 1490-1555; Gray, p. 206)

… My life full weill he could descrive:
How as ane chapman bearis his pack,
I bore thy grace upon my back,
And sometimes stridlingis on my neck,
Dansand with mony bend and beck.
The first sillabis that thou did mute
Was Pa, da Lyn: upon the lute
Then playit I twenty springis, perqueir,
Whilk was great piete for to hear.
Fra play thou let me never rest…

[mute = child's first attempts at speech (p.371); Pa, da Lyn = 'play, da Lindesay' (p.372); spring = lively tune (p.376); perqueir = by heart (p.372)]

A Select Glossary

Bearn – bairn, child - Ancrene Wisse (c. 1215). This version copied c. 1230; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, England, MS 402 (Burrow and Turville-Petre p.109).
Bib – Herrickp.30, Opie
Bird [maiden/girl] – My Heart is Heich Above. Bannantyne MS; at the latest 1568 but up to 2 centuries earlier (Gray, p.229). Alexander Montgomerie (c.1545-c.1611) Sweet Hairt, Rejoice in Mind (Gray, p.310). Gray, p.361.
Brouch [toy] – John of Trevisa's Translation of Higden's Polychronicon, 1387 (Sisam, p.148); see Appendix 4.x.
Childer [children] - Patience (NW Midlands of England, c. 1400). British Library MS Cotton Nero A X (Burrow and Turville-Petre p.176).
Clout – nappy, diaper. WINDILAN, etc – winding sheet.
Deore deorling – dear darling – Ancrene Wisse, see above. Darling also appears in Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Pageant (Cawley, p. 107) though here the spelling has all been modernised.
Dug – nipple – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Eskibah - ash-fool, child who plays in the hearth – Ancrene Wisse, see above.
Hansel - gift to celebrate the beginning of something – William Dunbar (c.1460-c.1530): A New Year's Gift to the King. (Gray, pp.130-131, 367). Also spelt Handsel, Robert Herrick (1591-1674) – ‘A Child’s Present’ – (Opie p.30)
Litel grom - groom, lad - John of Grimstone (Norfolk, 1372): National Library of Scotland MS Advocates 18.7.21 (Burrow and Turville-Petre p.246).
May - maid, girl – 'Alysoun' and ' When _e nyghtegale singes'. c. 1340 Brit Lib. MS Harl. 2253 (Burrow and Turville-Petre, pp.239-40 and 244-5).
Mop – moppet, little child – Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Pageant (Cawley, p. 107)
Pap – (1) breast – (2) – porridge
Pap cup – cup with spout for administering pap, usually to babies who could not be suckled
reste _e a _rowe - rest a while - John of Grimstone (Norfolk, 1372). See above.
softe slep and faste - sleep well and deeply - John of Grimstone (Norfolk, 1372). See above.
Sweeting – sweet [one] - 'Blow, Northerne Wynd'. 13th C. British Library Harl. MS 225 (Dickins and Wilson, p. 119). Also see anon. poem at beginning of this book.

Appendix 2: Extract from The French Garden, by Peter Erondelle

Peter Erondelle was a Frenchman living in London during the reign of Elizabeth. He wrote The French Garden36 as a text book for his language students.

Lady: How now, how doth the child?
Nurse: Very well, thanks be to God, save that he hath cried somewhat last night.
Lady: Hath he so? What should ail him? It may be he hath some tooth growing. See if he is asleep.
Nurse: He is fully awake, Madam.
Lady: Undo his swaddling bands and give him his breakfast. Make his pap. Take away that firebrand that smoketh, for it will taste of smoke. Where is his little spoon?
Wash him before me. Lift up his hairs. Is that not some dirt that I see upon his forehead? What hath he upon his eyelids? Hath he not a pimple on his nose? His little cheeks are wet. I believe you did leave him alone to cry and weep. Pick his nostrils. Wipe his mouth and his lips. How many teeth hath he? His gums be sore.
What a fair neck he hath! Pull off his shirt. Thou art pretty and fat my little darling. Wash his arm-pits. Oh, what an arm he hath! The palm of his hand is all water. Did he sweat? How he spreadeth his small fingers! His thumb and little fingers are flea-bitten. Is there any fleas in your chamber?
He hath rubbed one foot against the other, for his ankle bone is raw. See how he beateth with his heels. Do you kick, sirrah? You have not washed the insides nor the soles of his feet. Forget not to make clean his toes, the great toe and all.
Now swaddle him again. Where is his little petticoat? Give him his coat of taffeta, and his satin sleeves. Let him have his gathered apron. Now put him in his cradle and rock him till he sleep. But bring him to me first, that I may kiss him. God send thee good rest, my little boykin.

Appendix 3: Patterns for Yoke and Sleeve, and How to Use Them

Here are some basic ideas on how to use the patterns on the pull-out page, which include about .5"/1cm seam allowance. The sleeve side of the pullout has some sketches which may help in visualising some of these directions:

To make the pattern for the back, draw on a sheet of paper a rectangle about 9"/22cm wide. For the smaller size, it should be about 22"/55cm long; for the larger it should be 26"/66cm. These lengths include at least 2"/5cm for hems, which you will probably take up and let down as necessary. Lay the back yoke block on the paper, top edge meeting top edge, and side edge marked 'centre front' meeting side edge. Trace/draw around the block, and then draw a diagonal line from X to the bottom outside corner of the paper. This forms a trapezoidal skirt block When ready to cut out fabric, lay centre back of pattern on fold to create single piece of fabric for back of garment.

To make the pattern for the front, do exactly the same, using the front yoke block. If you want

a) a chemise: slit down the centre front from the neck edge for about 4"/10cm when cutting the fabric. Add a centre front slit from the hem upwards for about 8"/20cm if desired. Unless your chosen period has decorative bindings on chemises, it may be best to roll-stitch all edges on the chemise to keep layers of cloth to a minimum.

b) a v-necked tunic: mark the pattern at centre front, 2-4"/5-10cm down from neck edge. Draw a straight line from Y on the pattern to the point you have marked. Measure around this, doubled, plus the back neck, subtracting seam allowances, to ensure that the neck hole is large enough for the head to fit through: it must be at least 16.5"/43cm for the newborn size, and at least 18"/46cm for the 6-month-old (this is to allow the head to fit through for a reasonable length of time). Lay on fold as described previously to cut out fabric. Cut out a 2"/5cm facing using the neck patterns if desired, or use bias binding, or turn raw edges to the outside and stitch braid over them.

c) a round-necked tunic: when cutting out of fabric, do not lay centre front on fold, but lay it on the fabric allowing an extra 2"/5cm for the centre front vertical hems. If working with a fabric that is not identical on both sides, make sure the two front pieces are mirror-images, not identical… Treat raw edges as for v-necked tunic. Hem centre front edges after putting the garment together, mitring edge of neck binding into the hem edge if possible. Then stitch eyelets down each hem so the garment can be laced up.

To make the pattern for the sleeves, mark out on your paper a rectangle 10"/25cm (or, for the larger size, 11"/28cm) x the width of the sleeve head block. This allows for 1"/2.5cm hem at the cuff. Lay the sleeve block on it, top edge meeting top edge and draw around it. If you want

a) a chemise: cut 2 sleeves exactly like this. Ease the sleeve head before fitting into the armhole.

b) a tunic: measure and mark about halfway down the straight edge (the seam which goes along the underneath of the arm) of the sleeve (hereafter called the elbow mark for want of a better word); measure and mark 1-1.5"/2.5-4cm in from each end of the cuff edge (hereafter called the wrist mark). Now draw a diagonal line from each elbow mark to the wrist mark in its own side to create a slightly trapezoidal lower half of the sleeve. Using this pattern, cut out 2 sleeves alike.

To make the pattern for the bib, mark out a piece of paper 8"/20cm square. In the centre of one side, lay the round neck edge from the front yoke block, beginning at Z, and trace/draw around it. After cutting out two pieces of fabric alike, decorate one if desired. Do not bead it or otherwise decorate with things that could come off and choke the wearer. Make 2 rouleaux about 1"/2.5cm wide and 12"/30cm long; attach them to the shoulders formed on either side of the neck edge on the decorated panel. At the other end of each rouleau, fold up approx. 2"/5cm to make a loop and stitch into place. Now make 2 more rouleaux, this time about 18"45cm long, and attach at side waist edges. Neaten whole bib by backing with the other panel. To use the bib, thread the waist ties through the loops of the shoulder straps: the straps should be vertical if the baby is large, and crossed over (before threading) as for a pinafore apron if the baby is small. Put head through top and arms through sides; tie at waist.

Appendix 4: Primary Examples

In this section I provide some – but by no means all! – primary references which illustrate certain points. This section may seem rather long, but I hope, particularly in the case of the garb, to demonstrate the startlingly wide range of times and places which follow the same patterns and methods. Where I have given a date marked b. (born) or d. (died), I am referring to the creator of the work. Otherwise the date refers to the creation of the work itself. I have tried, where possible, to give the provenance and/or present home of the work, as there are so many books on art available, and those which you have may not be the same as mine. In case they are, I also provide page numbers. Pictures which are re-drawn and provided in this site are marked with an asterisk..

i. Child wearing chemise:

11th Century Byzantine - Vladimir Madonna. Formerly in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Vladimir, but now in Historical Museum, Moscow; Crosby, p. 483. Chemise is round-necked and has wide sleeves, possibly also a deep hem of a different fabric. 'Waistband' of same fabric, without shoulder straps.
12th Cent. Crusader - Frescos in Church of the Resurrection ('The Crusader Church'), Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, Israel. (pers. obs.)
13th Century English - MS Ee.3.59, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, England; McAleavy, p. 54. The chemise has a square neck.
15th Century Flemish – Dirk Bouts (c. 1464): The Last Supper, side panel The Harvest of Manna in the Desert. St. Peter's Church, Leuven, Belgium; Ruwière, p. 51. Child is a little older, perhaps two.
15th Century Russian - Andrei Rublyov (1370-1430): Our Lady of Vladimir. Barry, et al. p. 52.
16th Century Flemish – Gerard David[s] (c. 1510): The Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Fisher, p. 61.
- Gerard David[s] (c. 1500): Virgin with the Bowl of Pap. Royal Museums for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium; Ruwière, p. 71.
- Gerard David[s] (1502-7): Baptism of Christ, left outer panel Virgin with the Christ Child. City Museum Bruges, Belgium; Ruwière, p. 75. *
16th Century Spanish - Pedro Berruguete (c. 1500) Holy Family. Private collection, Paredes de Nava (Spain?); Gudiol, p. 176.

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ii. Child wearing tunic (tunics are long in all but one instance):

7th Century Visigothic - Carving depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac, S. Pedro de la Nave, Zamora, Spain. Gudiol, p. 29. The tunic is knee-length.
11th Century Byzantine - Ivory of Virgin and Child. Dumbarton Oaks Collection, Washington DC, USA; Crosby, p. 214. Round-necked tunic; waistband. It is difficult to tell from the photograph, but it is possible that the child wears a short jacket. Child wears sandals.
11th Century Byzantine - Apse mosaic, Torcello Cathedral; Crosby p. 212. Tunic is dark in colour, and has a round neck and wide chemise-like sleeves.
12th Century Spanish - Master of Maderuelo: fresco from apse of Sta. Maria de Tahull, Lérida, Spain. Museum of Ancient Art, Barcelona, Spain; Gudiol, p. 81. The child wears embroidered chemise, dalmatic and double belt.
13th Century English - Matthew Paris (d. 1259): Virgin and Child. Gaunt, p.10, no. 4.
- School of St. Albans, under guidance of Matthew Paris: Roundel of Virgin and Child. Gaunt, p. 9, no. 1.
- Ascoli Piceno Cope, worked in England c. 1275-80, and given by Pope Nicholas IV (d. 1292) to his birthplace, Ascoli, in 1288. Staniland, p. 56, pl. 59. Round- necked tunic couched in gold thread with motifs all over in red-brown, and marking suggesting braid at neck edge.
13th Century Mosan - (from around Liège, Belgium) – Reliquary of St. Remaclus, St. Sebastian's Church, Stavelot, Belgium; Guide-Michelin Belgium/Luxembourg, p. 232. Appears to be tunic from the way the fabric falls, but whole cut of garment is identical to conventional chemise.
14th Century English - The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Bodleian Library, Oxford, England. MS Laud. Misc 188, fol. 143v (c. 1380-1400); BoH pl. 48. Tunic is red. Nappy draped over Simeon's hands (convention in this period as Simeon felt he was not worthy to touch Christ).
- Chasuble c.1330-1350, owned by Chichester-Constable family. Tunic couched in pattern suggesting all-over motifs or brocade. Staniland, p. 14, pl. 10.
- Bologna Cope c. 1315-35, believed to have belonged to Pope Benedict XI (r. 1303-4). Staniland, p. 11, pl. 9. Lower edge contains several scenes from the infancy of Christ: Massacre of the Innocents, Presentation at the Temple and Adoration of the Magi all show babies in blue, round-necked tunics. Simeon has nappy over hands.
- Pienza Cope, c. 1315-1335. See i. Centre row of roundels includes Presentation at the Temple (square-necked tunic) and Adoration of the Magi (knee-length, round-necked tunic with embroidered or braided hem over chemise with embroidered or braided hem, both hems about 2"/5 cm broad). All garments pale apricot in colour.
14th Century Flemish - Wooden/polychrome statue of Virgin and Child (described as early 14th C.; gothic) from Virga Jesse Church, Kapelstraat, Hasselt, Belgium (pers. obs.). Tunic is particoloured, v-necked, apparently with braid around neck. One side of tunic is plain cream, the other brown and decorated with gold quatrefoil outlines.
14th Century German - Altarcloth embroidered in white linen thread by the nuns Sophia, Hadewigis and Lucardis, at the Convent of Altenburg on the Lahn; Staniland, pp. 59 (pl. 62) and 37 (pl. 36). Tunic round-necked.
14th Century Spanish - Panel from tomb of Don Sando Saiz de Carrilla, Mahamud, Burgos, Spain (c. 1300). Museum of Ancient Art, Barcelona, Spain; Gudiol, pp. 144-5.
- Golden Haggadah (prob. Barcelona, c. 1320), fols. 7r, 8v, 14v. Narkiss, pp. 32, 35, 47.
15th Century French - [probably] Maître François, a Parisian (c. 1475): Wharncliffe Hours. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, MS Felton 1 fol. 46v; BoH pl. 53; Tunic is light red-brown.
16th Century Flemish - Quinten Matsys (1509): Altarpiece of St. Anne. Originally for St. Peter's Leuven, now in Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium. Ruwière, pp.79, 81. 2 tunics. One is v-necked, loose and grey; the other's neck is not visible (bib covers it), but it is green and laces all the way up the front.
16th Century Russian - Athos Madonna of Vladimir. Tunic is of very flimsy material, with wide chemise-like sleeves, and coloured waistband with shoulder straps worn over it.

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iii. Child wearing 'bib'/waistband:

11th Century Byzantine - Ivory of Virgin and Child. See ii.
11th Century Byzantine - Vladimir Madonna. See i.
16th Century English - fol. 11v, MS 26, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, England. BoH pl. 21. Peasant child of toddler age wears apparently plain bib.
16th Century Flemish - Quinten Matsys (1509): Altarpiece of St. Anne. See ii. Bib is in a fine white fabric, decorated in red embroidery, probably blackwork. The painting also serves as empirical evidence for nappies: would you let a nappy-less infant near an illuminated book? *
16th Century Russian - Athos Madonna of Vladimir. See ii.

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iv. Child swaddled:

12th Century Spanish - Altar frontal, S. Saturnino de Tabérnolas, Lérida, Spain. Museum of Ancient Art, Barcelona, Spain; Gudiol, p.97.
13th Century French - Morgan Picture Bible, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS 638, fol. 7v; Narkiss; p. 56. Strapping beautifully clear.
13th Century Italian - Niccolò Pisano, Nativity carving on pulpit, Baptistry, Pisa, Italy; Crosby, p. 273. Strapping very clear.
14th Century English - Bologna Cope c. 1315-35. See ii. Lower edge contains several scenes from the infancy of Christ: Birth of Christ (and, possibly, Flight into Egypt) shows swaddled baby in blue (though all children are in blue in this work).
14th Century French - Master of the Livre du Sacre de Charles V: Edith E Rosenwald Hours. Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA, fol. 111v; BoH pl. 52. Difficult to see clearly.
- Bible Historiée, Paris. New York, Public Library Spencer MS 22, fol. 39v; Narkiss, p. 58.
14th Century Italian – Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1342): Presentation in the Temple. Uffizi Gallery, Florence; Fisher, p. 66. Infant, wearing tunic, is held by Simeon, who has a nappy over his hands, while Mary stands by with a cloth, presumably to re-swaddle when the Presentation is over. Cloth is about 3'x4' (90cm x 120 cm) and has about 6" (15cm) of broad coloured bands (woven?) at each short edge.
14th Century Spanish - Triptych from Monastery of Piedra, Saragossa, Spain (c. 1390). Royal Academy of History, Madrid, Spain; Gudiol, p. 195.
- Retable given to Monastery of Quejana, Alava, Spain by Pedro López de Ayala in 1396. Art Institute of Chicago; Gudiol, p. 149. One arm of child uncovered.
- Golden Haggadah (prob. Barcelona, c. 1320). See v. Fols. 9r, 10v, 11r, 14v, 15r; Narkiss, pp. 36, 39, 40, 47, 48. *
15th Century Spanish - Bernardo Martorell: Nativity. Lippmann Collection, Berlin, Germany; Gudiol, p. 160.

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v. Naked child with clout in picture:

14th Century English - Pienza Cope, c. 1315-1335. Given to Pienza Cathedral in 1462 by Pope Pius II (d. 1464). Said to have been brought to Italy and presented to the Pope by Thomas Palæologus, Despot of the Morea; Staniland, pp. 2 and 3. Centre row of roundels includes Birth of Christ, showing baby wrapped in pale apricot-coloured cloth with embroidered or braided hem, possibly about 2"/5 cm wide, and Presentation at the Temple, where Simeon has a similar, though white, clout over his hands.
15th Century Austrian - Schottenaltar (c. 1470), in Schottenstift, Vienna, Austria. Guide-Michelin Vienna p. 84. Clout is wrapped around baby's shoulders; head left uncovered.
15th Century Flemish - Master of the Dresden Hours: Adoration of the Magi. British Library, London, England Add. MS 17280 fol. 197v; BoH pl. 47.
- Jan van Eyck (b. c. 1390): Madonna and Chancellor Rolin. Musées Nationaux Paris; Speed 1989, p. 73.
- Robert Campin (c. 1430): Virgin and Child before a Firescreen. National Gallery, London, England. Fisher, p. 94.
- Jan van Eyck (1436): Virgin with Canon van der Paele. Originally for St. Donatianus' Cathedral in Bruges, and now in City Museum of Bruges; Ruwière, p. 27.
- Hugo van der Goes (late 15th C.): Virgin and Christ Child. Museum of Ancient Art, Brussels, Belgium; Ruwière, p. 59; Guide-Michelin Belgium p. 29. Clout evidently gauze.
- Master of Mary of Burgundy (c. 1485): Hours of Engelbert of Nassau. BoH pl. 49; Bodleian Library, Oxford, England MS Douce 219-20 fol. 152v.
- Hans Memling (b. c. 1435): Virgin and Child with Saints and Donors. National Gallery, United Kingdom; Fox (September).
15th Century Italian - Domenico di Bartolo (1400-1447): fresco, Hospital Santa Maria della Scala, Siena, Italy; Fox (May).
– Piero della Francesca (c. 1470): the Montefeltro Altarpiece. Pinacoteca Brera, Milan, Italy; Fisher, p. 103.
15th Century Spanish - Fernando Gallego (c. 1480): Epiphany. Museum of Art, Toledo, Spain; Gudiol, p. 169. Clout is gauze.
16th Century Austrian - Anon. (1503) Birth of Mary. Grafenegg Castle Chapel, Austria; Fox (May). Child carried on clout; one corner tucked over groin.*
16th Century Flemish - Early 16th C MS from Antwerp. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Austria, Cod. 1859 fol. 122. BoH pl. 51. Child is wrapped loosely in clout.
– Jan Gossart called Mabuse (c. 1516). Virgin and Christ Child. Royal Museums for Fine Arts. Brussels, Belgium; Ruwière, p. 83.
- Bernard van Orley (1515-18): Tapestry depicting The Legend of Notre-Dame-du-Sablon, Royal Museums of History and Art, Brussels, Belgium; Guide-Michelin Belgium, p. 31. The tapestry shows a statue (14th C.?) of Mary holding the Christ Child wrapped loosely in a clout.
16th Century French - Horae Beate Marie Virginis, 1508, by Jean Babier, printer of the University of Paris for Nicholas Vivien, Bookseller of Notre Dame. Rare Books Collection, State Library of Victoria, Australia; Greetings card, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia.
16th Century Spanish – Juan de Borgoña: decoration in Chapter House, Cathedral of Toledo (1509-1511). Gudiol, p. 231. clout is already partially folded in the technique described earlier in this book.

vi. Child wearing clout:

16th Century German - Marx Reichlich (1511): Birth of the Virgin. Fox (May); Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.*

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vii. clout basket:

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16th Century Flemish – Gerard Davids (c. 1510): The Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Fisher, p. 61. The basket in question looks like fairly fine willow, or perhaps stitched coils of grass, in the shape of an oval hatbox.

viii. Breastfeeding:

11th Century Spanish - Pila de Játiva, marble basin. Museo de Almudin, Játiva, Spain; Dodds, p. 262.
15th Century Flemish – Robert Campin (c. 1430): Virgin and Child before a Firescreen. National Gallery, London, England; Fisher, p. 94. Chemise and gown both open down front; breast fully exposed.
15th Century French – Jean Fouquet (c. 1450): Madonna and Child with Angels, right wing of Melun Diptych (now divided). Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, Belgium; Fisher, p. 51. Bodice unlaces down front, breast exposed by pulling down chemise.
16th Century Flemish – from Antwerp, early 16th C. Rest on the Flight to Egypt. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Austria, Cod. 1859, fol. 122; BoH pl. 51. Gown opens down front, chemise has slits, and Mary has also placed another cloth around her shoulders to tuck into the decolletage.
Note: 'Maternity clothing during the Renaissance must have been simply a matter of letting out and, finally, opening up seams' (Fisher, p. 47). Some paintings of the Madonna del Parto, such as that by Piero della Francesca (c.1460), at Sta. Maria a Nomentana, Monterchi, Italy, show Mary in unlaced gowns, at a late stage of the pregnancy

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ix. Travelling:

15th Cent. German/Italian - Ashkenazi Haggadah (so called because the illuminator, Joel ben Simeon Feibusch, was born and trained in Germany but lived in Italy), c. 1460-75. British Library MS Add. 14762, fol. 14v; Shire, p. 23. Panniers on donkey.*
15th Century German - woodcut entitled 'Travelling Folk'; Ohler, p. 241. Sadly, he does not give the provenance.
16th Century Italian - Cesare Vecellio, pl. 294: Christian woman of the [Scandinavian] northern regions bringing her children to a remote church for baptism; p. 91. Basket is perhaps 18"/45cm long and roughly semi-circular in cross-section. It is attached by two shoulder straps, like a rucksack. Vecellio is not always reliable (to put it mildly) once he leaves Italy, but this looks plausible.

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x. Cradle:

14th Century English – John of Trevisa's (1387) Translation of Higden's Polychronicon, chap. 59, 'Also gentil men children bu_ ytau_t for to speke Freynsch fram tyme _at a bu_ yrokked in here cradel, and conne_ speke and playe wi_ a child hys brouch…'. Sisam, p. 148.
14th Century Italian – Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375): Decameron, 9th day, novel 6.
15th Century French - Jehan Bouteiller (1471), La Somme Rural. Ms. Fr. 202, fol. 9. Bibliothèque National, Paris, France; Fox (June).
16th Century English/French - Erondelle (Appendix 2)
16th Century German – Marx Reichlich (1511): Birth of the Virgin. See ii.
16th Century Spanish – Juan de Borgoña (1509-11). See v. *

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xi. Toys:

8th Century Arabic - Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel. Redrawn for this study from a photograph by CF. *
16th Century Flemish - Marten de Vos (1577): Portrait of Antonius Anselmo, his wife Johanna Hooftmans and their children Gilles and Johanna. Royal Museums for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium; Ruwière p. 117. Gilt rattle with coral at tip. Entirely different from anything in the preceding period, as is the garb.

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xii. Birth Plate:

Note - There appear to be two kinds of birth plate used in our period – one usually of metal and perhaps an inch or two deep, which looks much like the offertory plates used in some churches, and which was apparently used for serving traditional post-partum foods to the new mother; the other a flat object painted with a birth scene, and apparently (Baggio, p. 121) given during the 15th and 16th centuries by the new mother after a birth, presumably to those who assisted at it (15th Cent., School of Domenico di Bartolo: Birth plate showing Birth of St. John the Baptist, Ca' d'Oro, Venice; Baggio, p. 121). All other examples named here are of the first type.

16th Century Austrian – Anon. (1503). Birth of Mary. See v.
16th Century German – Marx Reichlich (1511). See vi.
16th Century Spanish – Juan de Borgoña (1509-11). See v.

xiii. Child wearing coral:

15th Century Italian – Piero della Francesca (c. 1470). See v.
16th Century Austrian - Anon (1503), Birth of Mary. See v.


Abelard, P. 1136. Historia Calamitatum. In The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (tr. and ed. B. Radice 1974). Penguin, Harmondsworth, England.

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With heartfelt thanks to Myfanwy verch Traehearn (Vera Vukovi_), of Adamastor, for redrawing the photographs of Isabella van Tets modelling some of the garb. All other artwork (if you can call it that), including redrawing from period sources where noted, by Christina Ford. Much gratitude is due also to Marared verch Radnor (Margaret Clancy) and Sasha Vladimir Obilin (Alex Kharnam), both of Stormhold, for their help and encouragement.


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