Tuesday, 22 January 2013

XYZ initials

  My theory as to why initials on dowry linen was so important to young French brides runs something like this.   The girls were often born into large families  - a new baby every year!   The girls were all treated alike to a very standard routine in each family and given the same education and were tied to many strict and unchanging traditions of social behaviour, manners and etiquette.  They had little opportunity to show their different characters and talents and until they were of marriageable age, had no space or property that was truly their own.   The dowry was something very personal, destined for their future escape into marriage and their own household where they would be mistress and call the tune, so they took an immense interest and pride in having as fine a collection as they could, and it gave them  great pleasure to show it and count it out when their family and friends looked through the bridal cupboard - the initials denoted ownership of their treasure and the last initial was often left blank so that the husband's name could be added.   I think this small enrichment gave each girl a little status and she would do all she could to make her linen the most beautiful, with the idea of making a good and successful marriage, where goods and property and money were all taken into account by the couple's parents.

1 comment:

  1. A n interesting article to read, thank you.
    I love the red embroidery on the linen.