Friday, September 18, 2009


"In April 1440, two galleys outfitted on behalf of seven Venetian merchants docked at Southampton on their return voyage from Flanders carrying eighty-three thousand ins as part of their cargo. Documentary evidence hence reveals both trade in and use of vast numbers of straight pins, most of them made of finely drawn wire and fitted with small heads. Such pins would not have served well as cloak fasteners and the like, but instead were used to fashion women's veils - pinning the folds of linen headdresses or securing transparent veils to the hair or around the shoulders to the front of a gown. it is noteworthy that the trousseau of Edward III's daughter, Princess Joan, whose wedding took place in 1348, included twelve thousand pins for fastening her veils, and there are numerous examples of the use of pins in this manner in fifteenth-century art."

Mary C. Beaudry (2006), Findings: the material culture of needlework and sewing, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, p.13


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