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This branch of industry spread beyond Bavaria, naught of it.” Religious observances he giving employment to thirty thousand persons, strictly recommends; but we shudder at some and producing a revenue of one million thalers. of the stories which even this well-meaning
Italy and Flanders dispute the invention of father relates as illustrations of the efficacy of lace, but it was probably introduced into both religious austerities. Extravagance in dress countries about the same time. The Emperor prevailed at that time among men and women Charles V. commanded lace-making to be taught to such a degree that Parliament was appealed in schools and convents. A specimen of the to on the subject in 1363. From the Knight's manufacture of his day may be seen in his cap, exhortations on the subject, this mania seems now preserved in the museum at Hôtel Cluny, to have affected the woinen alarmingly, and the Paris. It is of fine linen, with the Emperor's examples given of the passion for dress appear arms embroidered in relief, with designs in lace, to surpass what is acknowledged in our day. of exquisite workmanship. The old Flemish Yet the vast increase of materials, as well as laces are of great beauty and world-wide fame. the extended interests and objects opened to
Many passages in the history of lace show woman now, renders the extravagance of dress how severely the manufacture of this beautiful in the Middle Ages far less reprehensible. fabric has strained the nerves of eye and brain. The record of woman's work in the Middle The fishermen's wives on the Scottish coast Ages includes far more than the account of apostrophize the fish they sell, after their hus- what her needle accomplished. The position bands' perilous voyages, and sing,
of the mistress of a family in those centuries
was no sinecure. When we look up at castles “Call them lives of men.”'
perched on rocks, or walk through the echoing
apartments of baronial halls, we know that Not more fatal to life are the blasts from ocean- woman must have worked there with brain and winds than the tasks of laborious lace-makers ; fingers. The household and its dependencies, and this thought cannot but mingle with our in such mansions, consisted of more than a admiration for the skill displayed in this branch score of persons, and provisions must be laid of woman's endless toil and endeavour to sup. in during the autumn for many months. As ply her own wants and aid those who are dear we glance at the enormous fireplaces and ovens to her, in the present as well as in the past cen in the kitchens of those castles and halls, and turies.
remember the weight of the armour men wore, In the British Museum there is a curious we can readily imagine that no trifling supply of manuscript of the fourteenth century, after- brawn and beef was needed for their meals ; wards translated "into our maternall englisshe and the sight of a husband frowning out of one
а by me William Caxton, and emprynted at West of those old helmets because the dinner was ainstre the last day of Januer, the first yere of scanty, must have been a fearful trial to femethe regne of King Richard the thyrd,” called nine nerves. The title of “ Lady” means the "the booke which the Knight of the Towere “Giver of Bread” in Saxon, and the lady of made for the enseygnement and teching of bis the castle dispensed food to many beyond her doughtres."
own household. The Knight of the Tower was Geoffory Lan- The task of preparing the raiment of the dry, surnamed De la Tour, of a noble family of family devolved upon the women; for there Anjou. In the month of April, 1371, he was were no travelling dealers except for the richest one day reflecting beneath the shade of some and most expensive articles. Wool, the produce trees on various passages in his life, and upon of the flock, was carded and spun; flax was the memory of his wife, whose early death had grown, and woven into coarse linen; and both caused him sorrow, when his three daughters materials were prepared and fashioned at home. walked into the garden. The sigbt of these | Glimpses of domestic life come down to us through motherless girls naturally turned his thoughts early legends and records, some of which modern to the condition of woman in society, and he genius has melodized. Authentic history and resolved to write a treatise, enforced by exam- romantic story often show us that women of all ples of both good and evil, for their instruction. ranks were little better in fact, than household The state of society which the “evil” example drudges to these splendid knights and courtly portray might well cause a father's heart to old barons. The fair Enid sang a charming tremble.
she turned her wheel; but when The education of young ladies, as we have Geraint arrived she not only assisted her mother before stated, was in that age usually assigned to receive him, but, by her father's order, led the to convents or to families of higher rank. It knight's charger to the stall and gave him corn. consisted of instruction in needle-work, confec- If she also relieved the noble animal of his heavy tionery, surgery, and the rudiments of church- saddle and horse-furniture, gave him water as music. Men were strongly opposed to any well as corn, and shook down the dry furze for high degree of mental culture for women; and his bed, she must have had the courage and although the Knight of the Tower thinks it skill of a feminine Rarey; and we fear her good for women to be taught to read their dress of faded silk came out of the stable in a Bibles, yet the pen is too dangerous an instru. very dilapidated condition. After the horse ment to trust to their hands. The art of was cared for, Enid put her wits and hands to writing he disapproves—"Better women can work to prepare the evening meal, and spread it
before her father and his guest. The knight,, certainly worthy of having her name handed indeed, condescended to think her “sweet and down through eight centuries in witress of serviceable !"
woman's indefatigable work in the scriptorium. The women of those days are often described One missal prepared by Diemudis was given to only as they appeared at festivals and tourna- the Bishop of Treves, another to the Bishop of ments, ladies of beauty, to whom knights Augsburg, and one Bible in two volumes is lowered their lances and of whom troubadours mentioned, which exchanged by the sang. They had their amusements and their monastery for an estate. triumphs, doubtless; but they also had their We can picture to ourselves Diemudis in her work, domestic, industrial, and sanitary. They conventual dress, seated in the scriptorium with knew how to bind up wounds and care for her materials for chirography. The sun, as it the sick, and we read many records of their streams through the window, throws a golden knowledge in this department. Elaine, when light over the vellum page, suggesting the rich she found Sir Launcelot terribly wounded in the hue of the gilded nimbus, while in the convent cave, so skilfully aided him, that when the old garden she sees the white lily or the modest hermit came who was learned in all the simples violet, which typical of the Madonna she and science of the times, he told the knight that transfers to her illuminated borders. Thus “her fine care had saved his life," a pleasing has God ever interwoven truth and love with assurance that there were medical men in those their correspondences of beauty and developdays as well as in our own, who expressed no ment in the natural world, which were open to unwillingness to allow a woman credit for the eyes of Diemudis eight hundred years ago, success in their own profession.
perhaps as clearly as to our own in these latter Illuminated books sometimes show us pictures days. of women of the humbler ranks of life at their That women of even an earlier century than work. On the border of a fine manuscript of that of Diemudis were permitted to read, if the time of Edward IV. there is the figure of a not to write, is proved by the description of a woman employed with her distaff, her head and private library given in the letters of C. S. neck enveloped in a coverchief. The figure Sidonius Apollinaris and quoted in Edwards's rises out of a flower. In a manuscript of 1316, · History of Libraries." This book-collection a countrywoman is engaged in churning, was the property of a gentleman of the fifth dressed in a comfortable gown and apron, the century, residing at his castle of Prusiana. It gown tidily pinned up, and her head and neck was divided into three departments, the first of in a coverchief. The churn is of considerable which was expressly intended for the ladies of height and of very clumsy construction. A the family, and contained books of piety and blind beggar approaches her led by his dog, devotion. The second department was for men, who holds apparently a cup in his mouth to and is rather ungallantly stated to have been of receive donations. In another part of the same a higher order; yet, as the third department volume is a beautiful damsel with her hair was intended for the whole family and contained spread over her shoulders, while her maid such works as Augustine, Origen, Varro, arranges her tresses with a comb of ivory set Prudentius, and Horace, the literary tastes of in gold. The young lady holds a small mirror, the ladies should have been satisfied. We are probably of polished steel in her hand. Speci- also told that it was the custom at the castle of mens of these curious combs and mirrors yet Prusiana to discuss at dinner the books read in exist in collections. A century later we see a the morning, which would tend to a belief that pretty laundress holding in her hands a number conversation at the dinner-tables of the fifth of delicately-woven napkins, which look as if century might be quite as edifying as at those they might have come out of the elaborately- of the nineteenth. carved napkin press of the same period in the A few feminine names connected with the collection of Sir Samuel Myrick at Goodrich literature of the Middle Ages have come down Court.
to us. The lays of Marie de France are among Although the Knight of the Tower disapproved the manuscripts in the British Museum. young ladies being taught to write, there were Marie's personal history as well as the period women whose employment writing seems to when she flourished is uncertain. Her style is have been; but these were nuns safely shut up extremely obscure; but in her Preface she seems from the risk of billets-doux. In Dr. Mait. aware of this defect, yet defends it by the land's Essays on the Dark Ages he quotes example of the ancients. She considers it the from the biograpy of Diemudis, a devout nun of duty of all persons to employ their talents; and the eleventh century, a list of the volumes which as her gifts were intellectual she cast her she prepared with her own hand, written in thoughts in various directions ere she determined beautiful and legible characters to the praise of upon her peculiar mission. She had intended God, and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, translating from the Latin a good history, but the patrons of the monastery, which was that of someone else unluckily anticipated her; and Wessobrunn in Bavaria. The list comprises she finally settled herself down to poetry and to thirty-one works, many of them in three or the translation of numerous lays she had four volumes; and although Diemudis is not treasured in her memory. Like other literary supposed to have been an authoress she is ladies she complains of envy and persecution,
but she perseveres through all difficulties and to Paris. where she received every advantage of dedicates her book “ to the king."
education, and, inheriting her father's literary Marie was born in France. Some authorities tastes, early became learned in languages and suppose she wrote in England during the science. Her personal charms, together with reign of Henry VIII., and that the patron she her father's high favour at court, attracted many names was William Langue-espée, who died in admirers. She married Stephen Castel, a young 1226; others, that this plus vaillant was gentleman of Picardy, to whom she was tenderly William, Count of Flanders, who accompanied attached, and whose character she has drawn St. Louis on his first crusade in 1248, and was in the most favourable colours. killed at a tournament in 1251. A later sur- A few years passed happily, but, alas ! mise is that the book was dedicated to Stephen, changes came. The King died, the pension and French being his native language. Among the offices bestowed upon Thomas de Pisan were manuscripts of the Bibliotheque Royal at Paris, suspended, and the Astrologer Royal soon folis Marie's translation of the fables which Henry lowed his patron beyond the stars. Castel was Beauclerc translated from Latin into English also deprived of his preferments, and though he and which Marie renders into French. A proof maintained his wife and family for a time, that Marie's poems are extremely ancient is he was cut off by death at thirty-four years of deduced from the names in one of these fables age. applied to the wolf and the fox. She uses other Christine had need of all her energies to meet cames than those of Ysengrin and Renard, such a succession of calamities, following close which were introduced as early as the reign of on so brilliant a career. Devoting herself anew Cour de Lion, and it would seem that she to study, she determined to improve her could not have failed to notice these remarkable talents for composition, and to make her literary names had they existed in her time. A attainments a means of support for her children. complete collection of her works was published in The illustrations in the manuscript volume of Paris in 1820, by M. de Roquefort, who speaks her works picture to us several scenes in Chris. of her in the following terms; "She possessed tine's life. In one the artist has sliced off the that penetration which distinguishes at first sight side of a house to allow us to see Christine in
а the different passions of mankind, wbich seizes her study, giving us also the exterior, roof, and upon the different forms they assume, and re- dormer-windows, with points finished with gilt marking the objects of their notice, discovers balls. The room is very small, with a crimson at the same time, the means by which they are and white tapestry hanging. Christinc wears attained.” If this be a true statement, the what may be called the regulation colour for accuteness of feminine observation has gained literary ladies--blue, with the extraordinary but little in the progress of the centuries, and two-peaked head-dress of the period, put on in a her literary sisters of the present era can hardly decidedly strong-minded manner. At her feet hope to eclipse the penetration of Marie de sits a white dog, small, but wise-looking, with France.
a collar of gold bells round his neck. Before The Countesses de Die, supposed to be Christine stands a plain table, covered with mother and daughter, were both poetesses. green cloth ; her book, bound in crimson and The elder lady beloved by Rabaud gold, in which she is writing, lies before ber. d'Orange, who died in 1173, and the younger is Christine's style of holding the implementscelebrated by William Adhémar, a distin- one in each hand--and the case of materials for guished troubadour. He was visited on his her work which lies beside her, are according death-bed by both these ladies, who afterwards to representations of the miniatori caligrafi at erected a monument to his memory. The their labours; and, as the art of caligraphy was young countess retired to a convent, and died well known at Bologna, so learned a man soon after Adhémar.
Thomas de Pisan must have been acquainted In the Harleian Collection is a fine manu- with it, and would have caused his talented script containing the writing of Christine de daughter to be instructed in so rare an accomPisan, a distinguished woman of the fourteenth plishment. It is not, therefore, unreasonable century. Her father, Thomas de Pisan, a cele-ihat, in the beautiful volume now in the British brated savant of Bologna, had married a daugh. Museum, the work of Christine's hand, as well ter of a member of the Grand Council of Venice. as the result of her genius, is preserved. The So renowned was Thomas de Pisan that the next picture shows us Christine presenting her kings of Hungary and France determined to book io Charles VII. of France, who is dressed win him away from Bologna. Charles V. of in a black robe edged with ermine ; he wears France, surnamed the Wise, was successful, a golden belt, order, and crown. The king is and Thoinas de Pisan went to Paris in 1368; seated beneath a canopy, blue, powdered with his transfer to the French court making a great fleurs de lis. Four courtiers stand beside him, sensation among learned and scientific circles dressed in robes of different colours-one in of that day. Charles loaded him with wealth pink, and wearing a large white hat of Quaker. and honours, and chose lim Astrologer like fashion. Christine has put on a white robe Royal. According to the history, as told by over her blue dress, perhaps as a sign of mournLouisa Stuart Costello, in her “Specimens of ing—she being then a widow. A white veil dethe Early Poetry of France,” Christine was but pends from the peaks of her head-dress. She five years old when she accompanied her parents I kneels before the king, and presents her book.
Another and more elaborate picture represents and the Earl and his adopted son left France tothe repetition of the same ceremony before gether. When Richard II. was deposed, Henry Isabelle of Bavaria, queen of Charles VI. We Bolingbrook struck off the head of the Earl of are here adınitted into the private royal apart- Salisbury: Among the papers of the murdered ments of the fourteenth century. The hang- man the lays of Christine were found by King ings of the apartment consists of strips, upon Henry, who was 80 much struck with their which are alternately emblazoned the armorial purity and beauty, that he wrote to the fair devices of France and Bavaria. A couch, or authoress of her son's safety, under his protecbed, with a square canopy covered with red and tion, and invited her to his court. blue, having the royal arms embroidered in the This invitation was at once a compliment centre, stands on one side of the room. The and an insult, for the hand that sent it was queen is seated upon a lounge of modern shape, stained with the blood of her friend. Christine, covered to correspond with the couch. She is however, had worldly wisdom enough to send dressed in a splendid robe of purple and gold, a respectful, though firm, refusal, to a crowned with long sleeves sweeping the ground, lined head, a succesful soldier, and one, moreover, with ermine; upon her head arises a structure who held hier son in his power. Femiuine tact of stuffed rolls, heavy in material and covered must have guided her pen, for Henry was not with jewels, which shoots up into two high offended, and twice despatched a herald to repeaks above her forehead. Six ladies are in new the invitation to his court. She steadily waiting, two in black and gold, with the same declined to leave France, but managed the enormous bead-gears. They sit on the edge of affair so admirably that she at last obtained the her Majesty's sofa, while four ladies of inferior return of her son from England. rank and plainer garments are contented with Like her father, Thomas de Pisan, Christine low benches. Christine re-appears in her blue seems to have been sought as an ornament dress, and wbite-veiled, peaked cap. She kneels to their courts by several rulers.
Henry before the queen, on a square carpet with a Bolingbroke could not gain her for England, geoinetrical patterned border, and presents her and the Duke of Milan in vain urged her to rebook. A white Italian hound lies at the foot of side in that city. Seldom has a literary lady in the couch, while beside Isabelle, sits a small any age received such tempting invitations ; yet white dog, resembling the one we saw in Chris-Christine refused to leave France, although her tine's study. As we can hardly suppose Chris
own fortunes were anything but certain. The tine would bring her pet on so solemn an oc- Duke of Burgundy took her son under his procasion-far less allow him to jump up beside tection, and urged Christine to write the history the queen-and as this little animal wears no of her patron, Charles V. of France. This was gold bells, we are led to suppose that little white a work grateful to her feelings, and she had dogs were in fashion in the fourteenth century. commenced the memoir when the death of the
We cannot say the portrait of Isabelle gives Duke deprived her of his patronage, and threw us any idea of her splendid beauty ; but “ hand her son again upon her care, involving her in some is that handsome does," and as Isabelle's many anxieties. *But Christine bore berself work was a very bad one in the Middle Ages, through all her trials with firmness and pruwe will say no more about her.
dence, and her latter days were more tranquil. Christine was but twenty-five years of age She took a deep interest in the affairs of her when she became a widow, and her personal adopted country, and welcomed, in her writings, charms captivated the heart of no less a per- the appearance of the Maid of Orleans. We sonage than the Earl of Salisbury, who went believe, however, that she was spared the pain as ambassador from England to demand the of witnessing the last act in that drama of hand of the very youthful princess, Isabelle, for history, where an innocent victim, was given up his inaster.
by French perfidy to English cruelty. They exchanged verses; and although Salis- The deeds of Joan of Arc need no recital here. bury spoke by no means mysteriously, the sage A daughter of France in the nineteenth century Christine affected to view his declarations only had a soul pure enough to reflect the image in the light of complimentary speeches from a of the Maid of Orleans, and with a skilful hand gallant knight. The earl considered himself as she embodi the vision in marble. The statue rrjected, bade adieu to love, and renounced of Joan of Arc, modelled by the princess Marie, marriage. To Christine he made a very singular adorns-or rather sanctifies—the halls of Verproposal for a rejected lover-that of taking sailles. wi:h him to England her eldest son, promising Of woman's work as an artist in the early to devote himself to his education and prefer centuries we have a curious illustration in a ment. The offer was too valuable to be declined manuscript belonging to the Bibliothèque by a poor widow, whose pen was her only means Royale at Paris, which exhibits a female figure of supporting her family. That such a proof painting the statue of the Madonna. The artist of devotion argued a tendered feeling than that holds in her left hand a palatte, wbich is the of knightly gallantry must have been apparent earliest notice of the use of that implement with to Christine ; but for reasons best understood which antiquarians are acquainted. The fashion by herself--and shall we not believe with a heart of painting figures cut in wood was once much yet true to her husband's memory ?-she merely practised, and we see here the representation of acknowledged the kindness shown to her son ; a female artist of very ancient date, Painting, music, and dancing come under the designation to exist, and that the beautiful portrait of herof accomplishments ; yet to obtain distinction self, probably the one mentioned by Vasari in in any of these branches implies a vast amount the wardrobe of the Cardinal di Monte at Rome, of work. An illustration of Lygate's Pilgrim or that noticed by Soprani in the palace of Gioshows us a young lady playing upon a species vanni Lomellini at Genoa, is now in the possesof organ with one hand; in the other she holds sion of Earl Spencer at Althorp. The engraveto her lips a mellow horn, through which she ing from this picture, in Dibdin's Ædes Althorpours her breath, if not her soul; lying beside piance, lies before us. We think the better of her is a stringed instrument called a sawtry. kings and queens who prized a woman with Such yaried musical acquirements certainly eyes so clear, and an expression of such honesty argue both industry and devotion to art. and truth. The original is said to be masterly Charlemagne's daughters were distinguished in its drawing and execution. Sofonisba is refor their skill in dancing: and we read of many presented in a simple black dress, and wears no instances in the Middle ages of women excelling jewels. She touches the keys of a harpsichord in these fine arts.
with her beautiful hands; a duenna-like figure The period of time generally denominated the of an old woman stands behind the instrument, Middle Ages commences with the fifth century, apparently listening to the melody. and ends with the fifteenth. We have, in Whatever of skill or fame women have acseveral instances, ventured to extend the limits quired through the ages in other departments, as far as a part of the sixteenth century, and the nursery has ever been an undisputed sphere therefore include among female artists the name for woman's work. Nor have we reason to Sofonisba Anguisciola, who was born about think that, in the centuries we have been 1540. She was a noble lady of Cremona, whose considering, she was not faithful to this, her esfame spread early throughout Italy. In 1559, pecial province. The cradle of Henry V., yet Philip II. of Spain invited her to his court at in existence, is one of the best specimens of Madrid, where on her arrival she was treated nursery, furniture in the fourteenth century with great distinction. Her chief study was which have come down to us. Beautifully portraiture, and her pictures became objects of carved foliage fills the space between the upgreat value
to kings and popes. Her rights and stays and stand of the cradle, which royal patrons of Spain married ber to a noble is not upon rockers, but apparently swings like Sicilian, giving her a dowry of twelve thousand a modern crib. On each side of these upducats, and a pension of one thousand ducats, rights is perched a dove, carefully carved, whose beside rich presents in tapestries and jewels. quiet influences had not much effect on the inShe went with her husband to Palermo, where fant dreams of Prince Hal. they resided several years. On the death of her Henry was born at Monmouth, 1388, and husband the king and queen of Spain urged her sent to Courtfield, about seven miles distant, to return to their court; but she excused her where the air was considered more salubrious. self on account of her wish to visit Cremona. There he was nursed under the superintendence Embarking on board a galley for this purpose, of Lady Montacute, and in that place this cradle bound to Genoa, she was entertained with such was preserved for many years. It was sold by gallantry by the captain, Orazio Lomellini, one a steward of the Montacute property, and, after of the merchant princes of that city, that the passing through several hands, was in the posheart of the distinguished artist was won, and session of a gentleman near Bristol when enshe gave him her hand on their arrival at graved for Shaw's “Ancient Furniture,” in Genoa.
1836. History does not tell us whether she ever re- In the Douce Collection of the Bodleian visited Cremona, but she dwelt in Genoa during Library, Oxford, there is figured in a manuthe remainder of her long life, pursuing her art script of the fifteenth century a cradle, with a with great success. On her second marriage baby very nicely tucked up in it. The cradle her faithful friends in the royal family of Spain resembles those of modern date, and is upon added four hundred crowns to her pension. rockers. Another illustration of the same period The Empress of Germany visited Sofonisba on shows us a cradle of similar form, the "cradle, her way to Spain, and accepted from her hand baby, and all” carried on the head of the a little picture. Sofonisba became blind in her nursery-maid-a caryated style of baby-tending old age, but lost no other faculty. Vandyck which we cannot suppose to have been uniwas her guest when at Genoa, and said that he versal. The inventories of household furniture had learned more of his art from one blind old belonging to Reginald de la Pole, after enumerawoman than from any other teacher. A medal ting some bed-hangings of costly stuff, describe: was struck in her honour at Bologna. The “ Item, a pane" (piece of cloth which we now Academy of Fine arts at Edinburgh contains a call counterpane) "and head-shete for ye cranoble picture by Vandyck, painted in his Italian dell, of same sute, bothe furred with mynever,” manner. It represents individuals of the - giving us a comfortable idea of the nursery Lomellini family, and was probably in progress establishment in the De la Pole family. The when he visited this illustrious woman, who had recent discovery of that which tradition become a member that house.
to be the tomb of Canute's little Stirling, in his “ Artists of Spain,” states daughter, speaks of another phase in nursury that few of Sofonisba's pictures are now known I experience. The relics, both of the cradle and