Throughout human history luxury textiles have been used as a marker of importance, power and distinction. Yet, as the essays in this collection make clear, the term 'luxury' is one that can be fraught with difficulties for historians. Focusing upon the consumption, commercialisation and production of luxury textiles in Italy and the Low Countries during the late medieval and early modern period, this volume offers a fascinating exploration of the varied and subtle ways that luxury could be interpreted and understood in the past. Beginning with the consumption of luxury textiles, it takes the reader on a journey back from the market place, to the commercialisation of rich fabrics by an international network of traders, before arriving at the workshop to explore the Italian and Burgundian world of production of damasks, silks and tapestries. The first part of the volume deals with the consumption of luxury textiles, through an investigation of courtly purchases, as well as urban and clerical markets, before the chapters in part two move on to explore the commercialisation of luxury textiles by merchants who facilitated their trade from the cities of Lucca, Florence and Venice. The third part then focusses upon manufacture, encouraging consideration of the concept of luxury during this period through the Italian silk industry and the production of high-quality woollens in the Low Countries. Graeme Small draws the various themes of the volume together in a conclusion that suggests profitable future avenues of research into this important subject.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction: Luxury textiles in Italy, the Low Countries and neighbouring territories (14th to 16th centuries): a conceptual investigation, Bart Lambert and Katherine Anne Wilson. Part I Consumption of Luxury Textiles: ’In a chamber, in a garderobe, in a chest’: the possession and uses of luxury textiles. The case of later medieval Dijon, Katherine Anne Wilson; ’o per honore, o per commodo mio’: displaying textiles at the Gonzaga court in the 15th and 16th centuries, Christina Antenhofer; Between mass and ’mystère’: the Life of Saint Remigius and the ceremonial function of choir tapestries, Laura Weigert. Part II Commercialisation of Luxury Textiles: ’Se fist riche par draps de soye’: the intertwinement of Italian financial interests and luxury trade at the Burgundian court (1384-1481), Bart Lambert; Florence, Nuremberg and beyond: Italian silks in central Europe during the Renaissance, Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli; Trading silks and tapestries in 16th-century Antwerp, Jeroen Puttevils. Part III Production of Luxury Textiles: The move to quality cloth. Luxury textiles, labour markets and middle class identity in a medieval textile city. Mechelen in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, Peter Stabel; Woolen luxury cloth in late medieval Italy, Franco Franceschi; A luxury industry: the production of Italian silks 1400-1600, Luca MolÃ ; Centres, peripheries and the performative textile: by way of conclusion, Graeme Small; Index.