Feed aggregator

From the Chancellor of the Exchequer

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-03-06 08:09

From the Chancellor of the Exchequer:

The term of office for the East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer will expire in June 2017.  Applications are now being accepted for this office.  The initial term for this office is two years.  There is the option to request an additional two terms at one year each.   Please note that I am NOT going to be requesting the last additional term.  Having served 3 years in this office, I now need to place my attention elsewhere.


Applicant letters of intent, resumes and questions are to be sent to these three addresses/offices.

Kingdom Exchequer

Kingdom Seneschal

Their Majesties and Their Highnesses


The duties and requirements of the office include:

  • Managing SCA assets.
  • Maintain current membership in the SCA for the duration of the time in office.
  • Serve as a member on financial councils.
  • Is responsible directly to the Crown, but also reports to the Society Exchequer.
  • Will disburse funds in accordance with East Kingdom and Society Financial Policies.
  • Safeguards and maintains records of the monies of the Kingdom and supervises the finances of the Kingdom.
  • Receives monies allocated by East Kingdom Law or donated.
  • Disburses the monies of the Kingdom in accordance with East Kingdom Law.
  • Makes a report of the Kingdom finances on a quarterly basis to The Crown and Kingdom Seneschal.
  • Supervises the Lesser Office of Kingdom Archivist.
  • Supervises the Lesser Office of Kingdom Chamberlain.
  • Supervises the Lesser Office of Kingdom Pennsic Steward.
  • Is responsible for maintaining the financial records of the kingdom, supervising the finances of the kingdom, and assembling financial reports and submitting them to the Society Chancellor of the Exchequer in a timely fashion.

Additional descriptions, expectations and or detailed requirements of this office can be found in CORPORA & SCA governing documents, Society Financial Policy, EK-LAW and East Kingdom Financial Policy.


In service,

Maestra Ignacia la Ciega, East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer



Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Exchequer, kingdom officers

Unique Lodz Ghetto photos at the MFA, Boston

History Blog - Mon, 2017-03-06 00:32

The Lodz Ghetto was the second largest (after the Warsaw Ghetto) of more than 1,000 ghettos created to corral Jews in cities as the first step in the “cleansing,” ie, extermination, of European Jewry. Conditions were appalling by design, so that the overcrowding, disease and starvation would do the Nazi’s murderous work for them. Starting in 1942, ghetto residents were regularly deported to concentration camps. Chelmo, the first extermination camp with a gassing system (trucks, not chambers), opened in December of 1941 just 30 miles from Lodz; its first victims came from the Lodz Ghetto, 70,000 of them in 1942 alone.

Because the Lodz Ghetto was uniquely productive — its factories produced uniforms and other materials for the war effort — it lasted longer than any other World War II ghetto, from 1940 until 1944. In August of 1944 it too was liquidated; everyone was rounded up and sent to their deaths, most of them to Auschwitz-Birkenau. By the end of the war, more than 200,000 Jews had passed through the Lodz Ghetto on, their way to almost certain death at Chelmno and Auschwitz. When the Red Army liberated Lodz on January 19th, 1945, only 877 survivors, 12 of them children, emerged from their hiding places in the ghetto. Out of the 223,000 Jews who lived in Lodz before Hitler’s invasion of Poland, just 10,000 survived the war.

One of those survivors was Henryk Ross, a Polish Jew who before the war had been a journalist and sports photographer. He was employed as an official photographer for the Jewish Council, aka the Judenrat, ostensibly a self-governing body which administered the day-to-day operations of the ghetto and enforced Nazi orders. Working for the council’s the Department of Statistics, Ross’ job was to take pictures of the ghetto factories, demonstrating their productivity, and of the registered workers for their identification cards.

Ross and the other Department of Statistics photographer, Mendel Grossman, secretly took unauthorized photographs of the horrors all around them. Ross captured the deportations, destruction and deprivations — barefoot workers pushing carts of human excrement out of the ghetto (there was no plumbing or sewage), public executions, children torn from their parents during the Sperre, the September 1942 mass deportation of almost all of the children under 10 to Chelmo where they would be murdered. He also captured small moments of daily life, even happy ones, amidst the nightmare, like young lovers kissing behind a shrub and a children’s birthday party. The variety and range of Ross pictures underscored the class divisions that persisted even in so extreme a context. His photos show the contrasts of ghetto life — the workers, the destitute, the well-fed and well-dressed elite.

In the summer of 1944 when it became clear the Nazis were winding down operations in the ghetto and preparing for the final slaughter, Henryk Ross saw the writing on the wall. Not expecting to survive, he buried 6,000 negatives. His wife and a few select friends helped him, so they knew where Ross’ photographic treasure trove was hidden should he die. As it happened, Ross was not deported to the extermination camps. He was one of the 800 Jews ordered to clean the ghetto. Of course they Nazis were going to kill them all once the clean-up was done — they had eight mass graves dug already — but the Soviets arrived before they could get to it.

After the liberation of Lodz, Ross dug his negatives back up and found that more than half of them had survived. He later said of his fateful decision: “Just before the closure of the ghetto I buried my negatives in the ground in order that there should be some record of our tragedy, namely the total elimination of the Jews from Lodz by the Nazi executioners. I was anticipating the total destruction of Polish Jewry. I wanted to leave a historical record of our martyrdom.”

He certainly got his wish — his pictures were used as evidence in the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann — but he left a broader historical record than that, documenting the realities of life and death in the ghetto.

Ross’ collection of photographs and film was donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in 2007. The AGO has collaborated with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) to organize an exhibition of Henryk Ross’ Lodz Ghetto photographs, plus film of the Eichmann trial and Lodz artifacts like identification cards from the ghetto, notices and announcements. Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross debuted at the AGO last year. It will open at the MFA on March 25th and runs through July 30th, 2017.

The AGO has created an exceptional website with more than 4000 images from the Henryk Ross collection. You can search by keyword and create an online collection of your own for the price of a free registration.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Officer Interview – Kingdom Siege Marshal

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-03-04 19:09

THL Rosalia Iuliana Andre, photo by Karen Guth

In our continuing series of the Gazette’s Officer Interviews, THL Rosalia Iuliana Andre answered the following questions regarding her involvement in the SCA, the siege program and her thoughts on  siege activities in the Kingdom.

How long have you been in the SCA and what was your first event? 

I joined the SCA in the summer of 2003 when I started at the University of Pittsburgh. My first event was the Coronation of Henri. It didn’t take long to get involved in the College of Cour d’Or where I held both the office of Chatelaine and then Seneschal while I was at university.

What has made you stay? 

I came to recreate medieval activities. I stayed for the people. So many of my current friends within and outside the Society came from those first few years.

How did you become interested in siege activities and then became the Kingdom Siege Officer? 

I fully blame His Excellency Sir Maghnus de Cnoc an Iora for a harebrained idea of building an arbalest and His Grace Christopher Rawlyns for encouraging my interest in siege. We began with one engine, fairly quickly growing to a battery of three, with a crew of more than a dozen. Recently we added a human powered trebuchet to the mix. I enjoy the effectiveness and the challenge of siege and want to help more people try it out. When the call for letters to the office came out several years ago, I knew that I could really take on that goal and introduce more people to siege.

What is the role of the Kingdom Officer for Siege? 

This office is responsible for warranting siege marshals, collecting information about siege activities in the kingdom and passing them on to the Society Deputy for Siege, making sure that Æthelmearc is not in conflict to updates to the siege rules from the Society Deputy for Siege, sharing those updates, and promoting siege activities in the kingdom. The Kingdom Siege Marshal also rotates as the Pennsic Siege Marshal in Charge.

Do you have a general philosophy about your job? 

Keep it fun! There are always going to be tedious aspects to any job, but make sure to still have fun doing it.

How would someone get involved in Siege activities? 

Start by finding an event that has siege activities, and talk to the people with the siege engines. We always love to talk about what we do. Can’t find an event? Email me and we can brainstorm ways to get you connected with people near you. (She can be contacted at ae.siege@aethelmearc.org )

What is an example of something you think the general populace should know about Siege, but don’t? 

Many people think that siege only serves to support fighters in battles. Recently, at Pennsic especially, there have been Siege and Combat Archery only battles. They provide an entirely different challenge! Some of the scenarios require precision, accuracy and finesse, while others demand speed and mobility. They’re great fun!

Æthelmearc Siege at Pennsic

Where do you see the Siege program going in the SCA or the kingdom – Are there any changes coming? 

We recently started a Siege Marshal in Training sequence for gentles interested in becoming a marshal but not necessarily having the experience of being an engineer. It’s challenging to grow a marshal community without a solid core of marshals. I also want to encourage a youth tabletop siege component, but am still working out what that would look like.

What is the best part about Siege activities in the SCA?

Bridge battles are the BEST! Also, fighters don’t usually call “light” when they’ve been hit. (They usually call us some other things…)

Anything else that you think people should know? 

This fun fact: The official title of Æthelmearc’s Kingdom Siege Marshal is the Brigadier of Siege Weapons.

Siege Photo from SCA.org website

Categories: SCA news sites

Kingdom Website Transfer Alert

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-03-03 16:29

Greetings unto Æthelmearc from your Webminister, Lady Amalie,

The time has come for our Kingdom Website to transfer to a new home on the Internet.

We are projecting the website transfer will take place next week sometime after Tuesday, March 7. This could start as soon as Wednesday, March 8. We want to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible so we are working on having all hands on-deck from our web-related officers and the our new webhost company.

What will be affected:

– The Kingdom Webpage will be down at this time.
– Any sites that are hosted on the Kingdom Server will be down at this time.
– All Kingdom Email Forwards and any group/officer site related email forwards will be down at this time.
– The Kingdom File server will not be accessible at this time.

What is not affected:

– All webforms will be accessible if you have the direct link. (If you need the direct link, please let me know and I can get the link to you.)
– The Kingdom Announcement and Discussion lists will be active and working.

What people need to know about Kingdom/Group/Officer sites:

– All information was backed up 3 weeks ago on our end. Another backup will occur before the switch takes place. Please do your own backup as well.
– Passwords/logins to Cpanels, and other hosted sites, should remain the same.
– All email forwards will transfer to the new server as they are currently configured. They will be active when the domain servers update. (This could be up to 48 hours after the switch, but most likely will not take that long.)

Good stuff that will come of this server switch:

– The Kingdom email issue will be resolved. There will no longer be issues with Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Live, MSN, or Outlook email addresses for forwarding (or elsewise).
– There will be an improvement in website loading speed.
– Bandwidth issues, that have not happened often but have been seen recently, will no longer happen.

If you have any questions or concerns, please message me on Facebook at Peri Nelson-Sukert or email me.

Thank you very much (in advance) for your patience and your support.

In service to Æthelmearc,
Lady Amalie Reinhardt
AE Webminister

Categories: SCA news sites

Arts & Sciences Research Paper #17: Early Quilting and Patchwork: A Short Introduction

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-03-03 11:21

Our seventeenth A&S Research Paper comes to us from Mistress Sarah Davies of the Barony of Bergental, who introduces us to the surprising world of historical quilting, where we discover some familiar friends and some quite unfamiliar new ones! (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)

Early Quilting and Patchwork: A Short Introduction

Silk quilt by Mistress Sarah Davies. Photo by Master Henry McQueen.

The word “quilt” summons a host of images:

  • Thrifty pioneer housewives cutting up worn clothing to piece elaborate patchworks for their families.
  • Album quilts raffled off for a worthy cause.
  • Wholecloth petticoats worn by colonial dames who danced with George Washington, then carefully preserved in a museum.
  • Brightly colored feed sack quilts during the Depression.
  • Community quilts telling the story of a town from its founding to the Bicentennial.
  • Inexpensive versions of patchwork quilts sold in department stores for families wanting that “country look” in the bedroom.
  • Cherished art quilts hanging in museums or going for high prices at auction.

The popular image of the quilt is of the quilt is modern, calico, and as all-American as an apple pie.  If the word “medieval” ever comes up, it’s because someone made a Game of Thrones quilt with appliqued dire wolves in the border.

The problem with this familiar stereotype is thatit doesn’t begin to reflect reality.  Patchwork and applique may be most associated the United States, but quilts themselves are anything but modern. Quilted carpets were prized on the steppes of Central Asia, quilted garments padded Crusader mail and protected Elizabethan fencers, quilted coverlets graced Tudor bed chambers, and quilted heraldic tapestries hung in Hungarian throne rooms. The evidence is scattered and sometimes hard to recognize, but quilting and patchwork were hardly alien to medieval Europe.

The Earliest European Examples
Quilted Armor
Domestic Quilting and Patchwork
A Cloth of Honor and a Pillow
Later Developments
Henry VIII: Quilt Owner
SCA Uses

Further Reading
Where to Examine Historical Quilting Firsthand


“Quilt” and “patchwork” are so strongly associated that most people think that a quilt must be patchwork, and a patchwork must be a quilt.  Not only is this not true, it confuses two very different types of needlework.  A more accurate description would be as follows:

  • Quilting is a type of padded embroidery that takes two layers of fabric sandwiched with padding of some sort, then stitched together in a decorative pattern.  The word derives from the Latin culcita, a padded mattress similar to a modern futon.  Equivalents in European languages include  coltra (Italian), colcha (Spanish and Portuguese), coite  (French, later superseded by courtepointe), and culte (the Netherlands).
  • Patchwork or piecing is a type of sewing that takes several different types and colors of cloth, cuts them into geometric pieces, and stitches them back together in a decorative. Most are lined to protect the seams, but they do not need to be padded or quilted.
  • Patchwork quilts are quilted bedcovers consisting of a pieced upper layer, an inner padding, and a plain backing held together by geometric or decorative stitching.

Most early quilts were whole cloth (non-pieced), usually of fine linen or imported silk.  The first tantalizing hints of what might be medieval patchwork date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with one surviving artifact that might have been both pieced and quilted.  Even then, it’s not at all clear that this item was intended for a bed, as evidence suggests it was more likely intended as a cloth of honor for a royal throne room.

Back to Top


The first known quilted object is a quilted linen carpet dating from around the first century of the Common Era.  It was found in a Siberian cave tomb, and the central motifs (primarily animals, with abstract spirals on the borders) are wool appliques stitched into place with couched cording on the raw edges, while the background is diamond quilted in a coarse running stitch.

Whether the Siberians developed quilting on their own or learned it from outsiders, its advantages in such a cold climate are obvious: warmth without bulk, strength without stiffness, and easily adapted to multiple uses.  It was also unusual enough that it could be traded for luxury goods along the Silk Road and other trade routes running across Central Asia down to the Mediterranean trade ports.

This seems to be exactly what happened.  The next known quilted objects were both trade goods, and were both found in archaeological digs.  One, a quilted slipper that seems to have been cut down from a larger object (a bed quilt or carpet), was actually found in a rubbish tip along the Silk Road.  It was likely made around the eighth or ninth centuries CE, and is a very typical “Turkish slipper” with a low vamp and tilted toe.  It is of linen padded with cotton or linen tow, backed with more linen, and quilted in the backstitch with coarse linen thread.  It was almost certainly intended for indoor wear, as the sole is made from the same quilted item as the rest of the slipper.

The other early quilted object, a quilted wool funeral pall dating from the fifth or sixth centuries, is more problematic.  It was found in a Merovingian tomb in the 1990’s, and unlike the slipper, it seems to have been made in Europe, or at least for the European market; it is of wool, not linen, and is quilted with cotton thread and stuffed with cotton thread, both imported from Egypt.  Without further examples, we can only speculate as to its origins, but the pall’s existence, and the use of expensive imported materials in its construction, suggests that there might have been a quilting industry, at least on a small scale, either somewhere in the Mediterranean Basin or perhaps in Merovingian France itself. Without further examples, we can only speculate.

Back to Top

The Earliest European Examples

Unfortunately, there is almost no evidence of quilting anywhere near the West for the next several hundred years.  There are a handful of references in tax records to silk quilts being sent by the bale to local rulers, but these are exclusively Asian.  There is only one written reference to a quilt in a European record and one painting showing what might be a pieced or quilted item, with no physical evidence until the early fourteenth century.

The written reference is a French poem from the 12th century, La Lai del Desire. This little chivalric romance, only a few hundred lines long, includes a description of a bridal bed covered with a “quilt of two sorts of silk cloth in a checkboard pattern, well made and rich: “Sur un bon lit s’ert apulé / La coilte fu a eschekers / De deus pailles ben fais e chers”. (Lais inédits des XIIe et XIIIe siècles, ed. Francoise Michel, Paris, 1836: 18-19.) The word coite is used so casually that it’s clear that the author simply assumed that his audience, wealthy, sophisticated, and used to the very best, would not need to be told what a coite was, or how it was made.

The painting, by the school of the Italian artist Cimabue, is more intriguing.  Dating from around 1275-1300, this small, elegant panel painting shows the Madonna and Child seated on a low couch, flanked by Saints Peter and John the Baptist while two sweet-faced angels hold up a piece of fabric behind the Madonna as a sort of floating cloth of honor.  The cloth of honor, which is so strikingly different from the usual brocade or cloth of gold seen in such paintings, was hailed by art historian Roberto Longhi as a “stupendous, decorative invention,” and it’s not hard to see why.  Black and white gyronny patterns alternate with blocks of red in what is almost certainly an attempt at showing a patchwork cloth of alternating red brocade and black and white pinwheels.  Whether this cloth was actually quilted is not clear, as the greenish highlights on the red are probably intended to depict a brocade pattern and not stitching.  However, it’s very clear that something that we’d call a patchwork quilt was not out of the question in the SCA period.

Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist, Saint Peter, and Two Angels c. 1290. National Gallery of Art. Samuel H. Kress Collection 1952.5.60.

As tempting as it is to conclude that the little Cimabue painting indicates a thriving patchwork and/or quilting industry in the late thirteenth century, however, there is still no definitive evidence for this.  Spanish silk weavers, steeped in the Moorish decorative tradition of geometric patterns, produced magnificent brocades that bear such a strong resemblance to patchwork that least one quilt historian assumed that a brocade cope from the 1200’s was patchwork.  The same may well apply to a mid-fourteenth century fresco by Florentine artist Taddeo Gaddi of The Marriage of the Virgin.  This homely scene, which includes a groomsman giving St. Joseph a congratulatory slap on the back, shows a geometric textile of red, green, orange and white hanging from a roof…and though it certainly looks like a quilt, and could easily be a quilt, it could just as easily be a piece of Spanish brocade.

Back to Top

Quilted Armor

Fortunately for historians and SCAdians alike, more definite evidence for both quilting and patchwork begins to appear around the year 1300.   Professional armors specializing in quilted gambesons and other forms of padded armor begin to crop up in court records.  The French court had a “courtepointier,” or quiltmaker, while a few decades later someone known only as “Niccolo de la Coltra” worked in Padua as ‘the master of quilts.” These professional quiltmakers were far from unique; professional quilt and quilted armor guilds were active in Bologna, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Genoa by the fourteenth century, often in association with cotton guilds. Southern France was another center of the European quilting industry, particularly whole cloth white quilts.

The primary product of these quilted armorers were closely fitted padded armor intended to be worn on the upper body, either over or in place of steel armor.  They were known as jacks, arming doublets, coat armor, jupons, aketons, or haketons depending on area and period, and their construction was strictly regulated.  One Italian guild required that jupons be padded with linen or cotton tow to the depth of three fingers’ breadths on the shoulders and two fingers’ breadths upon the torso for maximum protection. Aristocratic versions were often made of rich fabrics such as heavy velvets or silk brocades, then padded so heavily in the chest that their wearers were compared to greyhounds.  Less exalted versions, made of linen padded with cotton or wool, were lighter, cheaper alternatives to metal armor, so they became a popular option for foot soldiers, sappers, or archers. There were even jacks where small steel plates were sewn inside the padding, then layered with more cushioning for extra protection.

Several such pieces have survived, most in surprisingly good condition.  The most famous include the “Black Prince’s jupon” in Canterbury Cathedral, the coat armor of Charles VI in Chartres, the doublet of Charles de Blois in Lyon, and a curious German tunic that layers linen, padding, and small steel rings for extra protection.  Less famous but arguably more interesting is the Rothwell Jack, a rare piece of armor worn by a common foot soldier or archer.  Unlike its aristocratic kin, the Rothwell Jack is so crudely made that it was probably thrown together on short notice, either by a sailmaker or possibly its original owner.  Its materials, over twenty layers of raw wool and coarse linen stitched together heavy linen thread, are equally humble, and again indicate that it was made by a non-professional.  Although local historians long claimed that the Jack belonged to John of Gaunt, it almost certainly belonged to one of his archers, as the right armscye is all but worn away while the left is largely intact.

Quilted armor disappeared late in the SCA period thanks to the invention of firearms, as quilted armor was useless against a bullet or other small projectile.  However, protective garments of quilted linen were still popular among court tennis players, as in a 16th century painting by Francesco Becaruzzi, while quilted doublets of leather lined with silk were used as fencing jackets by the wealthy.

There is also an abundance of artistic evidence for quilted clothing and armor during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.  The best known is Hans Memling’s The Chasse of St. Ursula, but there are several funerary sculptures, particularly in Germany and Switzerland, showing knights wearing quilted gambesons or jacks.  There is also a tiny Italian ivory of The Flight into Egypt showing St. Joseph wearing a quilted tunic that might have begun as coat armor, although it equally could show a peasant tunic quilted for warmth.

Back to Top

Domestic Quilting and Patchwork

There is less somewhat less physical evidence for domestic quilting during the early Middle Ages, while aside from La Lai del Desir, there is nothing in writing about patchwork until a French memoir of 1507.  However, there are a handful of extant quilts and two pieces of patchwork that hint at a much richer tradition that has been lost to war, wear, and time.

The oldest known actual whole cloth European quilts are three trapunto, or stuffed quilts from Italy.   Two, the so-called Guicciardini quilts, were probably made for a Florentine wedding in the 1390’s (and may have originally been a wallhanging), while a third seems to have been an actual coverlet.  All are made with the same materials (linen top and back, cotton padding, linen thread) and with the same technique (dark brown backstitched outlines on the decorative motifs, running stitch on the backgrounds).  The iconography and the motifs are so similar that these items were all but certainly made in the same workshop, while the designs and the captions on the Guicciardini quilts are in an otherwise rare Sicilian dialect.

The Tristan Quilt (detail). Victorian and Albert Museum, Museum no. 1391-1904.

The Guicciardini quilts, one in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, one in the Museo di Bargello in Florence, have been the subject of scholarly controversy for nearly a century.  They seem to have been made for a wedding between two powerful Florentine families around 1394, but whether they were originally a set of two quilts for two beds, one quilt for an enormous ceremonial bed, or a huge wallhanging is not known.  Some scholars, notably Arthurian specialist R.S. Loomis and quilt historian Susan Young, believe they were designed as a set, but recent analysis by Sarah Randles indicates that they were probably one huge piece that was cut apart and reassembled into two quilts for reasons that made sense at the time.  The piece in the Bargello belonged to Guicciardini descendants as late as the 1920’s, while the section in the Victoria & Albert was acquired around the turn of the twentieth century.  The iconography, a Sicilian retelling of the story of Tristan and Isolde depicted in large squares similar to the panels on a modern comic book, seems strangely inappropriate for a wedding gift, especially if the quilt(s) was indeed intended for use on the bridal bed.

Less well known is the third quilt, which was owned by the Pianetti family.  This piece, only half of which was extant when it was last photographed, once again showed Tristan and Isolde, only in central medallion surrounded by heavily stuffed fleur-de-lis.  The border shows allegorical figures feasting in vineyards and gardens, but there are no captions so the meaning is not clear.  It was last seen in 1938 and has vanished without a trace, leading to the tragic but unavoidable conclusion that it might have been lost during the massive destruction of World War II a few years later.

Back to Top

A Cloth of Honor and a Pillow

Quilt historians assumed for decades that the Guicciardini and Pianetti quilts were the only surviving medieval quilts.  However, a startling discovery around 2000 in Budapest challenges this assumption.  Archaeologists excavating the old Tekeli Palace found a silk textile depicting the arms of the Arpad and Angevin dynasties encased in mud at the bottom of a rubbish shaft.  The Anjou Textile, as it is now known, was wet-cleaned and disinfected by conservators to remove mud and bacteria, then examined for clues to its construction and original purpose.  The mudball had been found alongside coins dating between 1390 and 1427, while physical analysis of the actual cloth indicated that it was at least a few decades older than the coins.

The Anjou Textile. Budapest History Museum.

Close examination revealed that this textile was pieced and appliqued in red, white, blue, and golden silk, while its age indicated that it was likely made not long after the Cimabue painting with the patchwork cloth of honor.  Stitch patterns on the cloth and a few bits of cotton padding and linen thread clinging to the wrong side clearly indicated that the Anjou Textile had originally been quilted in a diamond pattern at least twenty or thirty years before the Sicilian whole cloth quilts.

Most striking of all, Hungarian court records from the reign of King Charles Robert reference a large order of red, white, and blue silk from Italy, while the king’s Great Seal of 1331 clearly shows a patchwork cloth of honor that is all but identical to the Anjou Textile.  As unlikely as it may seem, the evidence indicates that there is a strong possibility that the Anjou Textile was pieced and quilted no later than 1331, and probably about ten years earlier.

As important as the Anjou Textile, it is not the most elaborate piece of early patchwork.  That honor must go to the Impruneta Cushion, one of the most remarkable surviving pieces of early needlework, regardless of technique.

This small pillow, only one foot square, was found in an Italian tomb in 1947.  The little town of Impruneta, about fifteen kilometers south of Florence, had been bombed in 1944 during the Allied advance up the Italian peninsula.  It wasn’t until 1947 that the town had the money to check on the tomb of its fifteenth century bishop, Antonio degli Agli, which had been knocked open when bombs struck the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell’Impruneta.

Bishop Agli himself had suffered little damage during the attack, but the most significant find in his tomb was the tiny cushion that had been placed under his head by his grieving niece, Deinara, when he died in 1477.  The cushion, which seems to have been one of the bishop’s favorite possessions, turned out to be not a simple pillow but a dazzling piece of early patchwork, with elaborate star and checkerboard patterns on the front and a simple but striking geometric pattern on the back.

The Impruneta Cushion, with the back also visible. Photo by Sailko, under Creative Commons licensing.

Analysis by an early conservator known only as “Signor Clignon,” supplemented by a thorough conservation/stabilization by the Tuscan state conservation agency in 1990, revealed that no fewer than thirty different types of silk lampas, brocade, damask, satin, and velvet were used to piece the front of the cushion.  The actual pieces ranged in size from approximately 1.5 inches to perhaps a quarter inch square, and were so finely and accurately stitched that conservators speculated the makers used stiff paper or pasteboard to stabilize the shapes during construction.  The seams, which had been repaired at some point during Bishop Agli’s lifetime, were all reinforced with couched cording.  The back of the cushion was pieced of inch square pieces of wool arranged in concentric squares.  This not only produced a noticeable sense of movement, but is all but identical to the modern patchwork pattern known as Trip Around the World.  Just as on the front, the seams on the back were reinforced with couched cording.

Italian scholars believe that the cushion was made between 1425 and 1455, as it was clearly used before being put in Bishop Agli’s tomb.  As carbon dating would require destroying a large section of the cushion itself, it is not possible to give a more precise date unless Agli family records surface mentioning the cushion.

Back to Top

Later Developments

The Renaissance brought increased trade with the Eastern countries where quilting originated. The Ottoman Empire had a native tradition of quilted bedcovers and caftans; surviving examples from the courts of 16th and 17th century sovereigns such as Suleiman the Magnificent and Selim the Grim are worked in the running stitch on silk broadcloth and brocade, lined with cotton to get around the Qu’ranic prohibition against silk garments.  Court etiquette dictated that clothing be presented to foreign ambassadors, so it is possible that European diplomats posted to Constantinople returned with quilted caftans in their baggage.

This was the time when European countries established colonies and trading posts in Asia. India had a strong native quilting tradition and quickly began producing export work in cotton and silk (the very word calico, later the name of the favorite quilting cotton, is derived from Calcutta). Portugal in particular imported “pintadoe quilts” from its Indian possessions, as well as palampores and unquilted spreads that were later worked up into “colchas” on the Iberian peninsula. Several of these Indian/Bengali quilts have survived, including one in the collection of Hardwick Hall in England, almost a dozen in the Museum of Antique Arts in Lisbon, and a half-circle cape in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Indo-Portuguese Quilted Cape. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number 23.203.1.

Back to Top

Henry VIII: Quilt Owner

By the sixteenth century, silk and linen quilts were quite popular in wealthy households throughout Europe.  Among the best examples of this is the 1547 death inventory of England monarch Henry VIII.

Henry VIII’s inventory provides a unique look at quilts in aristocratic households.  He owned over one hundred quilts and quilted coverlets, including two quilts assigned to his bath, sixty “holland” quilts of fine linen for bedding, and approximately forty quilts of various types of silk.  One of the quilts, a green sarcenet coverlet worked in roses, pomegranates, and fleurs-de-lis, may have dated from early in Henry’s marriage to his first queen, Catherine of Aragon, or even been part of her trousseau when she married his brother Arthur.  Other quilts were “payned” (pieced) in color combinations such as purple and white, green and white, and five or six colors such as tawny, green, yellow, blue, crimson, and white.  There were even two “quiltes of canvase to cover cartes,” presumably part of the equipment used to move the royal household on Henry’s frequent progresses.

Many of these quilts likely either Indian imports or European copies of expensive Indo-Portuguese work, such as the Indo-Portuguese silk quilts, but the “holland” quilts of fine linen stuffed with wool were likely made in Northern Europe.  Four or five of these would be used as actual bedclothes, while a silk quilt, often very elaborately worked with metal or silk threads, would be used as a bedspread.

Back to Top

SCA Uses

There are several uses for quilts and quilted objects in the SCA. The most obvious, and common, is armor. Although quilting was used for both gambesons and jacks, padded linen jacks cannot be made list legal. However, a finely quilted jack would look spectacular in court. A better choice for a heavy weapons fighter would be a gambeson or a quilted tunic worn over armor in cold weather. The only caution would be to use only cotton batts – synthetic batts do not breathe, and armor made from them could cause a fighter to overheat and suffer a heat stroke. Most pre-quilted fabric is made with polyester batts and should be avoided for this reason.

Another good choice would be quilted bedding, either pillows or bed quilts.  Most fabric stores offer basic quilting classes, by either hand or machine. Machine quilting is obviously not period, but it’s possible to quilt a whole quilt in a day by machine. Virtually all modern quilts are made of cotton broadcloth or calico – again, not period, but washable, cheap, and very practical for camping. And Indian bedspreads are so close to palampores that a quilted version would make a fine addition to any campsite.

One warning: quilting is addictive. The calicos used for modern quilting are among the most beautiful cottons being made today, and who can resist beautiful fabrics? So don’t be surprised if what begins as a single gambeson, or a way to use up scraps, turns into a full blown obsession!

Back to Top

Further Reading

Colby, Averil. Quilting. HarperCollins, 1972.

Evans, Lisa. ‘”The Same Counterpoincte Beinge Olde and Worene’: The Mystery of Henry VIII ‘s Green Quilt”, in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4, Robin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, eds. Boydell Press, 2008.

—. “Anomaly or Sole Survivor? The Impruneta Cushion and Early Italian ‘Patchwork'”, in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 8, Robin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, eds. Boydell Press, 2012.

Von Gwinner, Schnuppe. The History of the Patchwork Quilt Origins: Traditions and Symbols of a Textile Art. Schiffer Publishing, 2007.

Where to Examine Historical Quilting Firsthand

Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia
Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts
International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Nebraska
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
Shelburne Museum in Vermont
Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Back to Top


Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences

Lady Adelyn Idesborne Invites You to the Tournament of the White Hart

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-03-03 00:33

Hello, and may I extend my sincerest welcome to all who are planning on attending the 20th Anniversary Tournament of the White Hart! For those of you who may not know me, I am Adelyn and I am the 20th Lady of the White Hart.  I would like to share with you some of the reasons why this tournament is so special to me, and why I hope that you will give it the opportunity to be special to you, as well.

As you may be aware, my husband, Lord Christian Goldenlok, fought for my honor last year, and through populace vote we were selected to be this year’s Lord and Lady of the White Hart. I was beyond honored, and very sentimental about this wonderful election. To truly explain why, we must go back in time…

Lord Christian and Lady Adelyn, the 20th Lord and Lady of the White Hart

It all started when I was very young, long before I had even met Christian Goldenlok. I grew up with a great love of literature. According to my mother, I started reading when I was only about 3 years old. I really don’t even remember learning how to read, but I do remember reading everything I could get my hands on. Tales of chivalrous knights and adventurous young heroines quickly became my favorite, and as my ability to read often outstripped the age-appropriate materials available to me, my mother soon turned to her friend Joy, who reviewed children’s and young adult novels for magazines. She introduced me to the Alanna of Tortall series—a series of four books by Tamora Peirce where an 11-year-old girl defies her father and convinces her twin brother to trade places with her so that she can go to the capital to be trained in being a knight. From the moment my eyes touched the first page, I was enthralled. From that moment on, I dreamed that I too could find a way to get wrapped in the adventures of a medieval world, where I could dress in armor and fight, or dress is silks and be wooed, or learn the methodical teachings of sewing or weaving or leather-working.

As time elapsed, I continued to read, and enjoyed my time spent in those fictional worlds, but always wanted more. When I was about 13, I had to write and illustrate my own children’s book for a school project.  I wrote about a 13-year-old girl who got sucked through a time-warp and spent the rest of her days in Medieval England. I continued to get older, and continued to dream of an adventurous life—I thought about going to a Renaissance Faire, but was disappointed with the idea that I and so many others would just be dressed in blue jeans and sweaters; it just wouldn’t feel real.

Then, one day almost 10 years after my 13-year-old self wrote that book, I was talking with a new friend I had made at church, a man who would become my husband. He was telling me about a group that got together once a week, dressed in real armor, and for-real beat each other. I was intrigued (and also very shy). I went for four weeks in a row, with a book in hand. I sat in the corner, “reading” my book, and watching the fighters before I really worked up the courage to start talking to people. It was several more weeks before I got the nerve to ask to try on a set of loaner armor to try my hand at armored combat.

It was so much fun! I couldn’t believe the joy that small group of heavy fighters brought to my life. It was around this time Christian asked me to be his girlfriend. It was only a month after we started dating that he said he wanted to take me to an event—a tournament. I was scared. I told him I wasn’t ready to fight in a tournament. He laughed and said I didn’t have to. It was a laid back tournament, one where there was a lady’s gallery, and a lot of people just watched the fighters.  He said he wouldn’t fight so that he wouldn’t leave my side.  My next concern—I didn’t have anything to wear. Christian had already thought of that. He had already spoken with Lady Barbaia of Sable Maul, who had agreed to lend me some garb.

We were going. I was so thrilled.  I was impressed that this new man in my life had put so much thought into taking me to my first SCA event, my first real medieval adventure. We showed up at the Cabell County 4-H Camp, and from the moment I entered my first SCA site I was transported. Not only was being in this place a dream come true, it was a pretty damn romantic first event, as well.

Let’s fast forward again to last year.  Lord Christian and I were now engaged and were returning to the Tournament of the White Hart, the anniversary of our first event together, and my first event.  This time he was fighting for my honor. I had come out of my shell enough to talk to approximately eight people instead of two. At the tournament’s culmination, the White Hart populace voiced their inspiration and named us the Lord and Lady of the White Hart!

I was so humbled and so honored because White Hart is so special to me. White Hart was a celebration of the way Christian and I had grown in our love for each other. It was also a celebration of the way our love had grown for our friends new and old in the SCA and the society in general. White Hart was also a celebration of the way we had grown as individuals. In short, the Tournament of the White Hart means so much to me because it is always a celebration. It isn’t just a celebration of prowess, it’s a celebration of chivalry, honor, inspiration, and above all, of love and of growth. It isn’t just a celebration of the love we have for our consorts, it is a celebration of ideal love. To me, it will always be the best and truest representation of what chivalry and honor in medieval times is supposed to be.

I believe this year will prove to be another wonderful year at White Hart. For me, it will mean my first White Hart with my new husband.  It will mean another year of growth and love to be celebrated. Not to mention, it is the 20th anniversary of the event, and I have some inside information about the amazing things that the autocrat and feastocrat have been doing. It’s going to be epic. White Hart is hosted by the Shire of Port Oasis, in Huntington, WV.  The amazing Autocrat of this year’s Tournament is Lord Sasson della Sancta Victoria. Lady Astridr Vigaskegg will be in charge of the incredible feast to follow the tournament. I can’t wait to be able to indulge in the feast!

It will also be a time of great celebration for Christian and me, because not only will I be serving as the Lady of White Hart, I will also be doing so while pregnant with our first child! We have been waiting patiently to publicly share the news, and thought that advertising for White Hart would be the perfect opportunity!

Baby Goldenlok!

In closing, I invite you to come celebrate with us. Join Christian and me as we celebrate with each of you as the Lord and Lady of the White Hart. Join us in celebrating each other. Join us at White Hart to celebrate growth. Join us at White Hart.



Categories: SCA news sites

Re: Names

SCA Newcomers list (Yahoo!) - Wed, 2013-07-24 00:09
Lalleshwari Sah, called Lalla commented: <<< P.P.S. What I meant, by doing research and documentation and checking with the college of heralds, is that you
Categories: Newcomer Information

More things than not only newcomers might not know

SCA Newcomers list (Yahoo!) - Mon, 2013-07-22 23:59
Erlina said: <<< Greetings Lord Mithgiladan, I have asked questions and have found some of the information you just provided. I am learning from the officers
Categories: Newcomer Information

Re: surrey

SCA Newcomers list (Yahoo!) - Mon, 2013-07-22 16:28
<<< Anyone surrey or Vancouver would like to start a study group and events with things to do close by. We would go to library and read books on medieval
Categories: Newcomer Information

Re: Names

SCA Newcomers list (Yahoo!) - Mon, 2013-07-22 16:17
<<< I'm just getting started in the SCA and looking at names/personas. I was wanting to be irish/gaelic. Something in there. I was looking at the name Aoife.
Categories: Newcomer Information