ppfuf: (arms)
While I've been slacking off on this project due to work and stuff, there's been two new trencher-related articles put on the web.

1) A printmaker wants to recreate a set of trenchers. Like Ivan Day, she's chosen the Griffith set (see previous post) to reproduce, even though the originals were not made with prints. A follow-up post: https://21stcenturyrenaissanceprintmaker.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/the-technique-freak-has-a-challenging-week/

2) https://sites.google.com/site/eikenzwijn/sca-presence/small-stuff by Mergriet van Wijenhorst. She includes a painting that I'd love to get a name/date for, does anyone recognize this? (edited to add, same picture also used on this page: http://www.oldfoodways.info/misc/sca-projects/setting-up-an-elizabethan-feast/)
ppfuf: (arms)
The curator at the St Alban’s museum just alerted me to a single roundel (banqueting trencher) at the Cuming Museum in London. It is one of the Persian-edges, center-motif and posy trenchers, similar to the Set of Tudor Roundels at St. Albans, or another single survivor at the Norfolk museum. This particular trencher is interesting as the 4-line secular posy matches a posy in the Fizwilliam collection. I had previously thought the set at the Fitzwilliam were unique posies, but apparently not.
The posy is hard to read, but the website was updated on 9July2014 with this intrepretation:
I knowe full well ye bent of ye bowe
Ther is wth ye but a woorde & a blowe
Well att ease shell ye neighbore be
That dwels not next betwixt ye ichurche and the

I’m hoping the Cuming museum has a complete set, at the moment it’s hard to tell from their website.
ppfuf: (arms)
Malcolm Jones (author of The Secret Middle Ages)* just told me the National Museum of Scotland has put their three partial sets of trenchers into their on-line database! I wrote about this set briefly a while back, and these new pictures also include the box, which was previously unavailable. It looks like a simple turned box with remnants of paint. Unfortunately, I can’t see it clearly enough to determine what (if any) the design might have been. While the floral bands on this set are typical, there's an unusual posy:
Why do you mistrust before you have need?
Your sire is good for word and deed.
As himself, he loves his wife,
Never to change during his life.

*Someone you know probably wants this book for Christmas, it's got a lot of cool stuff in it.


Apr. 11th, 2013 04:05 pm
ppfuf: (elephant trencher)
The curator at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has uploaded a picture of their Squirrel trencher (object number TA2529) to their website. It's a fascinating lone survivor that in spite of its less-skilled presentation, links together several otherwise disparate groups of these little wooden plates.
The central motif of an animal (red squirrel) is similar to a pictureless trencher at the British Museum and another surviving singleton of an elephant & castle at the National Museums of Liverpool. Interestingly, neither the British Museum set nor the Liverpool example have floral bands, but they do have gold belts around the exterior and the center, just as TA2529 does. 
TA2529 's floral band of Peas and Pea Flowers is very close to the floral bands on the V&A’s 333F-1898 and the Ashmolean's rectangular trenchers (barely visible as second out of the box on http://www.bridgemanart.com if you search for "A set of trenchers and their box"). The Ashmolean example also has a very small central roundel, just as TA2529 does. Normally the similarity of the floral band and use of  pale pink in the flowers would make me place this set with the "fundamentalist" groups except instead of the usual densely packed scripture the Bristol trencher has a quote from William Baldwin’s A treatise of morall philosophie (it reads: Be merry and glad, honest and virtuous: For that suffices to anger the envious, page 123 quote attributed to Hermes). The only other known group of trenchers that use that literary source is the “Set of tablemats and their container” in the Colchester Museum (no useful info on their website, sadly). In design the Colchester set is unlike TA2529, they are much more like the round Ashmolean trenchers ermine-rat posted about some time ago.
ppfuf: (arms)
There were a lot of great things at the West Coast Culinary Symposium last weekend, but I think one of my favorites was hearing Eduardo telling the story of how his kids had seen this commercial about a lamb-bit http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7I9x/kmart-easter-shoes-lamb-bit and their first comment being “that would be tasty!”. Other high points included jillwheezul’s wafer class. The handout alone was worth the price of admission; some of the many lovely pictures of secular irons will (hopefully!) support my theory on the evolution of fruit trenchers. I'll be using some of her recipes to make wafers for the West's Market Faire in April, 2014.
Troy Library saved by outrage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw3zNNO5gX0
A link to Jon Stewart ranting about the Monsanto Protection Act: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2013/04/monsanto_protection_act.php
What does 2000 Calories look like? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgaqwFPU7cc (sorry about the ad) My take-away lesson from this video: never eat at the Olive Garden.
ppfuf: (arms)
There’s a lovely set of Cheese and Sweetmeat Trenchers at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery Cheese and Sweetmeat Trenchers at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. It’s a set of 8 (four missing) with a box. It’s double-belt, center-posey set, as described previouslyThe posies are couplets like those on the set at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, see below the cut for modernized spellings. The ROM posies )
ppfuf: (if thou be young)

A new book on fruit trenchers has been published recently. It’s a tiny little book about one woman’s quest to create a set of her own trenchers as a master project for her Diploma in Calligraphy. I’m tempted to buy a second copy and cut it up to use as paste-on trenchers. Would that be wrong? The only part that gives me pause is that she used a set of ten as her model, so I'd always feel like I was missing two.

You can buy your own copy of Ann Frances Hall's Elizabethan Roundels on Amazon UK, with shipping to the USA it costs about 15 pounds/23 dollars. There’s a few pictures on her website, http://www.elizabethanroundels.co.uk/index.html. The set she used as a model is in the  St Albans museum, but they have no pictures of it on their website (there's a picture of 4 of the original trenchers in the book). It's a single belt, red line set like the one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (64.101.1566-1577), but uses the Birmingham posies.
ppfuf: (arms)
The Ryedale Folk Museum in North Yorkshire has a set of double-belted trenchers! You can see a tiny photo of two of them and the box by scrolling down to the 3rd page of their newsletter.*
edited to add: a fun little blog post with pictures about Henry the 8's wine cellar, and James the 1's banquetting house

*Edited to add again: The curator at the Ryedale Folk Museum wrote back. These trenchers are the two partial sets pictured in Treen for the Table. I'm sorry it's not really a new set, but I'm happy the Treen sets are out on display.
ppfuf: (If My Goodman)

Since July of 2011, I’ve been arguing that the letter-shaped sweets in Dutch still-lifes of Elizabethan and Jacobean era banqueting stuff had no English equivalent. Sir Hugh Platt however, feels differently

18 To make a Marchpane. Take two pounds of Almondes beeing blaunched and dryed in a ſieue ouer the fire, beate them in a ſtone mortar, and when they be ſmall mixe with thē two pounde of ſugar being finely beaten, adding two or three ſpoonefuls of Roſewater, and that will keep your almonds from oiling: when your paſte is beaten fine, driue it thin with a rowling pin, and ſo lay it on a botome of wafers, then raiſe vp a little edge on the ſide, & ſo bake it, then yce it with Roſewater and ſugar, then put it into the ouen againe, and when you ſee your yce is riſen vp and drie, then take it out of the Ouen and garniſh it with pretie conceipts, as birds & beaſts being caſt out of ſtanding moldes. Sticke long cōfits vpright in it, caſt bisket and carowaies in it, and ſo ſerue it; gild it before you ſerue it: you may alſo print off this Marchpane paſte in your molds for banqueting diſhes. And of this paſte our comfit makers at this day make their letters, knots, Armes, eſcocheons, beaſts, birds, & other fancies.

Taken from the 1609 version of Delights for Ladies as printed by G.E. and K.R. Fussell. Any errors in transcription are my own.

I’d still like to find an English painting depicting banqueting stuff with letters. While I'm wishing, I'd like a set of letter-moulds in a passably Tudor font. (O, to have a set based on this 16th century pattern book: http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2009/january/a-designers-portfolio-16th-century-style)

ppfuf: (arms)

In Country Life, 16May2012, there was a very short article and picture of a set of double-belted banqueting trenchers. Of course, zino won't sell me a back issue because I don't live in the UK and Country Life hasn't answered my emails. If you know anyone who might have access to this issue, can you ask them to scan the page and send it to me? I'd like to be able to identify the set, if I can.

ETA: While I'd still like to read the article, it looks like the picture is the Bridgeman photo of the Museum of London set. Previous blog about the MOL set.

ppfuf: (arms)
Ivan Day has created several trenchers in sugar plate!. The set he took as inspiration is the
Griffith set, visible online at the British museum ! (If the link does not work, open the search page, search for 1896,0807.8.a, and then click the "See all views (13)" link.
I've posted about this set before.
ppfuf: (If My Goodman)
A photo of a set of trenchers belonging to the Museum of London has appeared on the internet! It's on the Bridgeman Art site as Trenchers and box, made in London, 1601-35 (beech). It's a bit sad they don't show the whole set. The posies in this group are the same as the Metropolitan set, transcribed in a previous journal post. The double-belt designs are the same as three other groups of trenchers: Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Treen for the Table (pp 135-137).  [edited to add, a new picture of the MoL trenchers is on the museum website ! 8July14]

Bridgeman also has several pictures of the Wonders of the World set in the V&A, and one of the rectangular set in the Ashmolean museum of Oxford. 
ppfuf: (Hedgehog and Hare)

It’s been a big week here in trencher land, partly because the pictures I’d ordered from the Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum arrived and they were (in a sad, “whoa, I’m way-too-involved-in-my-project" kind of way) completely mind blowing. The Salisbury museum owns a set of the Labours of the Months trenchers, the very set I now believe was described by Felix Laurent in Notes and Queries 3rd S. XI. April 27, 1867. pp 346-47. What I was not prepared for is that they look so much like the set in the British Museum (1921,0216.34b-m) for a moment I wondered if one was a deliberate forgery of the other. Previously, I had thought that the prints had been used by individual families to create trenchers for home use, but these sets are more probably created by the same workshop for commercial sale. I hate the noise my pet theories make when they crash and burn so dramatically.

The good part is that I’ve got some interesting data points, and the second set of trenchers owned by the Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum are even more weirdly special than the Labours of the Months set. I also (finally) got motivated and wrote to the Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth MA and asked them about their November trencher and got an unbelievably speedy response from them.

Modern Spellings under the cut )

ppfuf: (Hedgehog and Hare)
The British museum has put pictures of the entire Griffith set online! (If the link does not work, open the search page, search for 1896,0807.8.a, and then click the "See all views (13)" link. (edited to add, Ivan Day has re-created some of these trenchers in sugar plate!)

This set is unique, I think, in that the flowers are somewhat naturally rendered, and the rectangular tablets for writing spaces are also framed with decorative geometrics. I can't think of another round set where the writing is deliberately confined to a framed, rectangular space (except the Simpsons set, which I think was copied from this set). In rectangular writing space, the Griffith set seems to more resemble the Bird set (I believe the Bird set is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York as Accession number 64.101.1579–.1591a, b) although the Bird set's floral motifs are more similar to the round sets at the MAG, BMFA and the BM's Ironmonger set (1888,1110.42).  
The edges of the Griffith set have no matches that I know of. Closest black geometrics on a gold ground are two in the Norfolk collection: NWHCM : 1894.76.434.1 : S, and NWHCM : 1894.76.434.2 : S. Or possibly the black and gold spiral designs on the rectangular set in the Ashmoelan museum, Oxford accession number AN2009.6.
The posies of the Griffith set have no matches that I am aware of. The posies are generally in the "moral precepts" category, and gender neutral for 16th century verse. None are about marriage.

Modern Spellings behind the cut )
ppfuf: (Default)

The Metropolitan Posies are named for a lovely set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (64.101.1566-1577). Their excellent website has readable color pictures. This grouping of posies is also used on sets of trenchers in the Museum of London (A7382), British Museum (1888,1110.45.b-l and BM 1921,0216.35.b-m), and the Victoria and Albert (6896-1860). Another unlocated set is described and pictured in Domestic Utensils of Wood by Owen Evan-Thomas.

8 of the posies are male-voiced, 2 are female-voiced and the remaining 2 are neutral.  6 posies are anti-woman accusing her of the various sins of dominance, inconstancy, lust, outspokenness, shrewishness, and martial violence. 1 posy is anti-man; his sin is over-spending. 8 posies advise against marriage, and 0 are for marriage

modern spelling under the cut )
ppfuf: (unknownflower)

A few weeks ago I posted about the group of posies on the Princeton (Taylor MS 19) set of trenchers. That grouping turns out to be a difficult group to place within a "family" as it has considerable overlap with several other groups.

The posies on the Birmingham set of trenchers, however, have hardly any overlap with other groups. I've named this grouping of posies after the set of trenchers visible online at the website of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, England; and also described in Pinto, Edward H. 1961. The Pinto collection of wooden bygones: a short guide, with illustrations. Oxhey Woods House, Middx: [E.H. Pinto].  40 p., [8] p. of plates : ill.)

The same grouping of posies are also on trenchers in the British Museum 1888,1110.43.b-l, the National Museums of Liverpool accession numbers 53.114.449 and M5999, and the Museum of London A7383 a-g. Two other sets of this grouping are described in the literature.

4 of the posies are male-voiced, 2 are female-voiced and the remaining 6 are neutral.  4 are anti-woman accusing her of dominance, greed, shrewishness, and lust.  4 advise against marriage, and 0 are for marriage.

Modernized spelling behind the cut  )
ppfuf: (elephant trencher)

GM and I went to visit his mom for Christmas, and I had an opportunity to go to Princeton's Firestone library and see their set of Elizabethan Roundels (Taylor MS 19, scroll to bottom for brief description). It's a charming set, very similar in design to the Fitzwilliam's Box containing twelve trenchers  and St Albans's Set of Tudor Roundels. The verses are secular (with one exception), and the spaces normally occupied by bible verses are used for the first couplet of the posies. This arrangement of text has only one other exemplar I know of, a lone survivor of a lost set in the Norfolk museum.  Several of the Taylor trenchers are badly damaged, but nearly all the texts were readable, yay!

Modernized spellings behind the cut.... )

ppfuf: (If My Goodman)

Victoria Jackson has written a short article on the Fruit Trenchers owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Click the link for Shakespeare’s World in 100 Objects: Number 27, a set of 12 posy trenchers. This set is also described on the Trust's website, and includes all the posies: SBT 1992-4 A set of twelve Elizabethan sycamore table mats.

The SBT set is also very closely related to a set in the Victoria and Albert museum (not that the V&A ever puts them on display), 6895-1860 Roundel box, Set of roundels. "

edited to add: The SBT has a new webpage with a 1/2 picture of the Acorns/"Who, in the life of his soul, does delight [in] his carnal pleasures? He [who] must mortify [his flesh] quite [completely]" trencher. http://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/collections/treasures/a-posy-trencher-late-1500s.html

ppfuf: (Default)

I've figured out my class for the Culinary symposium.

Give us this day our daily bread: Bread and Trenchers on the medieval table.

This class will cover the use of bread on the 15th and 16th century dining table, including hands-on carving of eating bread and bread trenchers. There will be a PowerPoint presentation of historical trenchers and bread knives. If time, there will be a discussion of wafers and Elizabethan dessert trenchers. Most information presented will be drawn from English sources.

This class will not be about the history of bread, commercial uses or manufacture of bread, nor about the religious role of bread in medieval society.

ppfuf: (bird)

For the West/AnTir cooks' symposium next spring, I'm going to co-teach a class on bread with [livejournal.com profile] gormflaith. She's covering the practical bread-making parts, and I'm doing an overview of the use of bread trenchers and portpains in the medieval feast hall. I might include the instructions for cutting bread at the table c. 1480's England.

If you were going to take such a class, what questions would you like to have answered?


ppfuf: (Default)

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