Elizabethan Smelling Salts
…or Spirit of Harts-Horn, or Sal Volatile…
According to the all-knowing and ever-accurate Wikipedia,
In 1736, Richard Bradley, presumably referring to a more contemporarily Elizabethan author, wrote:
Pierre Pomet says that many remedies were prepared from hartshorn and mentions that hartshorn jelly was good against fainting and swooning fits, heartburn, convulsions, falling sickness, hysterical fits, and worms.
While Wikipedia mentions that modern solutions may also contain other products to perfume or act in conjunction with the ammonia, such as eucalyptus oil, historical solutions would likely not have been perfumed.
In case you were wondering, Hartshorn is from the antlers of a red male deer. Hence the picture.
And now you know.
(Original text taken from Eurêka:Luggage. )
Budget Bag or wallet.
Bung Purse, a pocket.
Cap-case Traveling bag.
Penner Leather belt pouch designed to carry pens, penknife and inks.
Trussing Coffer Clothes-chest
Chests and Cupboards
(Originally Published Early 1900’s, edited for publication here. Original text taken from Old & Sold Antiques Auction & Marketplace. )
DURING the Middle Ages and through several succeeding centuries, the chest ranked next to the bed as the most important piece of household furniture. Of course, this statement does not apply to the courts, where more or less luxury was always to be found, but to the people composing the middle rank in life—the bone and sinew of every country.
Throughout the fourteenth century there was a continued improvement all over Europe of what we denominate luxury and elegance, though Italy still presented the fairest picture of domestic life. The use of chimneys and glass in house-building are the two most important improvements in this century, and if the houses were so crude, it may be guessed how simple were their fittings.
“Ela, Countess of Warwick, who died very aged, in the year 1600, was so great a friend to Oxford University, that she caused a common chest to be made, and did put into it two hundred and twenty marks ; out of which such as were poor scholars might upon security at any time borrow something gratis for their wants ; in consideration whereof, the University were obliged to celebrate certain masses every year in Saint Mary’s Church. Which chest was in being in Edward Pith’s time, and called by the name of Warwick chest.”
Very few of these ancient church coffers are still in existence, and even those are housed in museums. Domestic chests have fared better, though few can be obtained prior to the Elizabethan period.
In 1450, and from that date until 1478, Dame Margaret Paston wrote a series of letters from the town of Norwich, England, where she was living, to her husband in London, which give many interesting details as to the dress, manners, and furniture of that time. She writes him in 1454 that she is about to send up to London his “trussing coffer,” or clothes-chest, and says further, that “his meny rob his chamber and rifle his hutches”; “hutch” coming from “huche,” a French coffer or chest standing upon legs.
Besides trussing coffers or chests, which took the place of trunks, and which were generally of stout oak planks iron-bound, there were others of more or less ornate character. The most important of these, at least in the eyes of the gentler sex, were those known as “marriage chests,” generally bought while the daughters of the house were still children, and filled by degrees with linen and woollen cloth, woven under the careful eye of the mother. In this, it is not hard to conjure up the store of fine linens, lace trimmed; the pieces of rich silk damask and cloth of gold; the Venice points and the lengths of velvet which were laid away year after year to swell the marriage portion of the daughter. Sometimes suitors who betrayed a tendency to lag could be made to show a more coming-on spirit by a view of the chests and their contents, which were the lady’s dower.
Like almost everything else of Italian origin, the carved chests were extremely beautiful, whether of the Gothic period or of the more sumptuous Renaissance and later. They were made of other woods as well, painted and gilded, inlaid sometimes with ivory, ebony, tortoise-shell, lapis Iazuli, or anything which the mind of the maker conceived would add to its beauty. On some of these old cassoni were painted figures and scenes by the famous artists of the times, sometimes portraying events in the life of the owner, but oftener, if for a bride, groups of flowers and cupidons, making these chests to-day as valuable as if wrought in gold.
The chests were almost always fitted with tills, either one or two, so that small articles could be conveniently stowed away.
By 1700 the importations of foreign woods had given an impetus to what was called ” smooth-faced ” furniture, — that is, what was inlaid, veneered, or enriched with marquetry, — in distinction to furniture where the decoration protruded from the surface, as in carved or panelled work. Little by little numerous changes were wrought in these chests on frames, and the straight turned leg disappeared. Then presently two legs were dropped, and then the curved stretchers. Although it has not very graceful proportions, it is rendered most ornamental by its beautiful floral marquetry, showing tulips, carnations, and passion-flowers in different coloured woods in a mahogany ground.
Nearly all these later pieces which we call “high-boys” were really chest-on-chest of drawers, or chest on tables. Some-times these two pieces of furniture became separated, and the lower part, if in table form, was called a dressing-table, and used for that purpose. The ages of these chests and high-boys can be roughly guessed by the drawers.
In many inventories references are made to cupboards of various styles, — such as wainscot, livery, court, joined, press, and what is variously known as a butter cupboard, or a trencher-bread cupboard. Often, that which is in shape a court cupboard, has the holes bored in one of the divisions so that the air may enter and keep the food within pure and sweet. Trencher bread was a very important article in the household in Elizabethan times and was generally called “manchet.” It was made of wheat, and Harrison, in his “Description of England,” says :
“Of bread of wheat we have sundry sorts daily brought to the table, whereof the first and most excellent is the manchet, which we commonly call white bread, in Latin, primarius panis; and our good workmen deliver commonly such proportion that of the flour of one bushel with another they make forty cast of manchet, of which every loaf weigheth eight ounces into the oven, and six ounces out.”
It was to keep the trencher bread dry that the cup-board was pierced. This cupboard is a fine one, — of oak, with some good carving upon it, and the original hinges. Upon the shelf in front of the upper doors was room for a row of plate or pewter, and even on the top beakers and jugs which were not in common use could be displayed.
The livery cupboard was really a set of shelves with-out doors. Mr. Litchfield, in his “History of Furniture,” quotes from a record in the British Museum for some joiners’ work which was done at Hengrave about 1518, in which “livery cupboards ” are specified. “Ye cobards they be made ye facyon of livery y is wthout doors.”
The Early Jacobean Period
( Originally Published Early 1900’s, edited for publication here. Original text taken from Old & Sold Antiques Auction & Marketplace. )
THERE was a very close affinity between the Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods, and the two really form one continuous style in which the profusion and over-elaboration of the former period became modified during the first twenty years of the 17th century.
The general system of house planning was very similar to that in the previous reign, although an attempt to produce a more ordered arrangement of rooms was apparent. The true spirit of the Renaissance, however, was not yet properly understood, and the general misapplication of the decorative details continued. The classical orders were freely used, but were by no means understood, and the early part of the 17th century was really the last phase before the work came under the influence of individual designers, who, having studied and realised the true principles of classic design, were able to lift it from the vague and generally inconsistent character of the work of the second half of the 16th and early 17th centuries.
The elaborate staircases introduced during the Elizabethan period formed a feature of Jacobean mansions. That at Hatfield is a good example of its kind.
The heavy newels may be compared with the Elizabethan staircase at the Charterhouse.
Staircases in which the finials are surmounted by carved animals, some-what barbarous and of heavy proportions, and the double “S” scroll work, with the ends carved in the form of leafage, was a favourite motif of this and the later Elizabethan periods. The turned baluster is a favourite style of this era, and serve to illustrate the extraordinary inventive powers at work during the period.
Early Jacobean Staircases:
The chamber or bedchamber is a very public room in a great house; you receive guests there, play cards or chess, and even dine intimately there with a few close friends. The best bedchamber in the house is the great chamber.
If you want some actual privacy, you retire to your wardrobe or closet — a small, private room off the chamber, used for dressing and other private pursuits such as devotions or letter-writing.
The bed itself is an extravagant affair with embroidered or appliquéd or velvet curtains or hangings. Your bed-clothes include linen or holland sheets and woolen blankets with a decorative coverlet, coverlid or counterpane, and pillows or bolsters. Pillow cases are called pillow-beres.
Along with the bed, your chamber is furnished with one or two chairs, some stools, and an assortment of tables and chests (wooden storage boxes), all made of good English oak.
Your tables may be covered with Turkey carpets, if you can afford them. Each stool has its cushion, embroidered by the ladies of the household.
Your valuables—jewels, perfumed gloves, love letters—are kept in various smaller boxes called coffers or caskets, which might be of metal or wood, often highly decorated. The classic dressing-room picture of Elizabeth Vernon, countess to the 3rd earl of Southampton, shows such a table covering and casket. The other items are jewels and a pin cushion, without which no lady can get dressed.
You probably store your clothing in a press, a wooden cupboard with shelves, sometimes with sliding drawers below. Others simply keep clothes in a chest or hang them on pegs. (There are no built-in closets with hangers.) You may keep smaller items in chests or coffers.