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sortes d'ouvrages de Lingerie. Dedie a la Reyne. A Paris, 1578."*
The book opens with a sonnet to the fair, which announces to them an admirable motive for the work itself:—
"Pour tromper vos ennuis, et l'esprit employer."
Aux Dames et Damoiselles.
"Quand a moy, seulement pour chasser mes langueurs.
"Prenez doncques en gre (mes Dames) ie vous prie,
"En ceste nouveaute, pourrez beaucoup apprendre,
Which, barring elegant diction and poetic rule, may be read thus :—
Whilst one man worships lordly state
As yielding all that he desires—
Another, bloody laurels fires.
To dissipate my devils blue,
* This seems to be a somewhat earlier edition of the second book in Mr. Douce's list.
Take then, fair ladies, I you pray,
There's much you here may learn anew,
Proceed we to the—
"Ouvrages de point Coupe," of which there are thirty-six. Some birds, animals, and figures are introduced; but the patterns are chiefly arabesque, set off in white, on a thick black ground.
Then, with a repetition of the ornamented titlepage, come about fifty patterns, which are represented much like the German patterns of the present day, in squares for stitches, but not so finely wrought as some which we shall presently notice. These patterns consist of arabesques, figures, birds, beasts, flowers, in every variety. To many the stitches are ready counted (as well as pourtrayed), thus:—
"Ce Pelican contient en longueur 70 mailles, et en hauteur 65." This pattern of maternity is represented as pecking her breast, towards which three young ones are flying; their course being indicated by the three lines of white stitches, all converging to the living nest.
"Ce Griffon cotient en hauteur 58 mailles, et en logueur 67." Small must be the skill of the needlewoman who does not make this a very rampant animal indeed.
"Ce Paon contient en longueur 65 mailles, et en hauteur 61."
"La Licorne en hauteur cotiet 44 mailles, et en longueur 62, &c. &c."
"La bordure contient 25 mailles."
"La bordure de haut cotiet 35 mailles." This is a very handsome one, resembling pine apples.
"Ce quarre contient 65 mailles." There are several of these squares, and borders appended, of very rich patterns.
But the book contains far more ambitious designs. There are Sol, Luna, Mars, Mercury. Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Neptune, and others, whose dignities and vocation must be inferred from the emblematical accompaniments.
There is "La Deesse des fleurs representant le printemps."
"La Deesse des Bleds representant Teste."
"Ce Baccus representant l'Autonne."
"Ceste figure representant 1'hiver," &c. &c.
Appended is this "Extraict du Privilege."
"Per grace et privelege du Roy, est permis a Jean le Clerc le jeune, tailleur d'histoires a Paris, d'imprimer ou faire imprimer vedre et distribuer un livre intitule livre de patrons de Lingerie, Dedie A La Royne, nouvellement invente par le Seigneur Federic de Vinciolo Venitien, avec deftences a tous Libraires, Imprimeurs, ou autres, de quelque condition et qualite quilz soyent, de faire ny contrefaire, aptisser ny agradir, ou pocher lesdits figures, ny exposer en vente ledict Livre sans le coge ou permission dudict le Clerc, et ce jusques au temps et terme de neuf ans finis et accomplis, sur peine de confiscation de tous les livres qui se trouveront imprimez, et damande arbitraire: comme plus a plein est declare en lettres patentes, donnees a Paris ce douziesme jour de Novembre, 1587."
Another work, preserved in the British Museum, was published at Strasbourg, 1596, seemingly from designs of the same Vinciolo. These consist of about six-and-thirty plates, with patterns in white on a black ground, consisting of a few birds and figures, but chiefly of stars and wreaths pricked out in every possible variety; and at the end of the book a dozen richly wrought patterns, without any edging, were seemingly designed for what we should now call "insertion" work or lace.
There is another, by the same author, printed at Basil in 1599, which varies but slightly from the foregoing.
This Frederick de Vinciolo is doubtless the same person who was summoned to France, by Catherine de Medicis, to instruct the ladies of the court in the art of netting the lace of which the then fashionable ruffs were made.
In another volume we have—
"Corona delli Nobili et virtuose Donne, nel quale si dimostra in varij Dissegni tutte le sorti di Mostre di punti tagliati, punti in Aria, punti Fiamenghi, punti a Reticelle, e d' ogni altre sorte, cosi per Freggi, per Merli, e Rosette, che con 1' Aco si usano hoggidi per tutta V Europa.
"E molte delle quali Mostre possono servire ancora per opere a Mayzette.
"Con le dichiarationi a le Mostre a Lavori fatti da Lugretia Romana.
"In Venetia appresso Alessandro di Vecchi, 1620."
The plates here are very similar to those in the above-mentioned works. Some are accompanied by
short explanations, saying where they are most used and to whom they are best suited, as—
"Hopera Bellissima, che per il piu le Signore Duchese, et altre Signore si servono per li suoi lavori."
"Queste bellissime Rosette usano anco le gentildonne Venetiane da far traverse."
But certainly the best work of the kind is, "The Needle's Excellency," referred to in Mr. Douce's list. It contains a variety of plates, of which the patterns are all, or nearly all, arabesque. They are beautifully executed, many of them being very similar to, and equally fine with, the German patterns before the colouring is put on, which, though it guides the eye, defaces the work. These are seldom seen uncoloured, the Germans having a jealousy of sending them; but we have seen, through the polite attention of Mr. Wilks, of Regent Street, one or two in this state, and we could not but admire the extreme delicacy and beauty of the work. Some few of the patterns in the book we are now referring to are so extremely similar, that we doubt not the modern artists have borrowed the idea of their beautifully traced patterns from this or some similar work; thereby adding one more proof of the truth of the oft quoted proverb, "There is nothing new under the sun."
As a fitting close to this chapter, we give the Needle's praises in full, as sung by the water poet, John Taylor, and prefixed to the last-mentioned work.