It seems like this week is going to be the week for monogrammes.
We have new in stock this week some gorgeous antique sheets, all of which have wonderful monogrammes.
Some are small and some are large like the one shown below.
Price 60 euros + postage
The marking of linen was not done originally for decorative purposes. Marking was made solely for laundry identification on washday. Each item held the indelible ink mark or stitching of its household on one corner. The Royals had “linen maids”. In the countryside, the whole village participated in the commoners' washdays. The laundresses used to go down to the stream or river together. They would all work alongside each other and it was easy to mix up the household items amongst the workers.
Fine, wealthy families in Europe considered linens precious items, as they were frequently woven in the rarest of fabrics. It was also an opportunity to show off and to display each others linens. They would spread everything out on the meadow to dry. This would call attention to the abundance of household items and social position. Often items were stolen due to their value, so families began marking their linens. Later, commercial laundries were available and the markings kept everything in order.
The monogram evolved in the 19th century, as the French Kings and nobles began personalizing their linens with large symbols of crests and coat of arms. The beauty of the embroidery enhanced the household and confirmed their wealth. Soon thereafter, others followed suit and began imitating the royalty by having their own linens embroidered. This is how the embroidered monogram evolved.
In imitation of the Kings, the trousseau became popular in the 1800's. Monogrammed linen was richly symbolic in the trousseau, as this was their mark of family wealth. Bourgeois European society even set up “trousseau funds” to enable the poorest of girls to have some household linen when they married. The trousseau was always brought by the bride and remained her property in case of widowhood or remarriage.
Included in the trousseau was a list which looked something like the one that appears below.....
Linge de maison :
18 paires de draps/sheets
30 taies d'oreillers/pillow cases
2 douzaines de tabliers/aprons
8 douzaines de torchons/tea towels
4 douzaines de serviettes de toilettes/bath towels
5 douzaines de serviettes de table/table napkins
Hope that you enjoyed learning a little about the history of the monogramme, I am off to continue with photographing the new stock...