Recently, while working on new research for this blog, I stumbled into an interesting wardrobe account from Florence. It is an inventory of the trousseau brought by a woman, Giulia, to her marriage to Alessandro di Bernardo de Ranieri, on June 12, 1576.
A transcription of the inventory is available in La Rassegna nazionale, vol. 78, pages 500-503, available through Google Books, here.
Alessandro was a member of the Ranieri family – among the wealthiest noble families in Florence, who made their money as merchants and bankers. He was also the nephew of a senator and administrator of finance to the Grand Duke’s government. Yet despite this excellent pedigree, the Ranieri family would soon be – in his own words – “ruined” by the confiscation of their property following their participation in the anti-Medici plot led by Orazio Pucci.
This inventory is a great snapshot of a moment in this gentlewoman’s life. The items include the usual contents of a gentlewoman’s “wardrobe:” garments, jewelry, sewing supplies, linens with which to clean one’s self, a pillow, and a prayer book. Interestingly, like the 1574 inventory of Cammilla Martelli and her daughter Virginia, there are no shoes listed.
The contents of her wardrobe are surprising in other ways as well. With only three “main” gowns and four “over-garments,” this inventory adds to the evidence that even a gentlewoman had just a few gowns to choose from, and mostly layered or mixed accessories. At the same time, the number of some of those accessories is surprising. She had sixteen shirts, eighteen partlets and fifteen pairs of hose. Moreover, she had listed twenty-nine coifs or nightcaps, yet only one pair of gloves. Her jewelry listed is also little: two necklaces, two diadems, a silver ring and an unspecified number of hair ornaments. Yet there are 133 towels and handkerchiefs listed.
I’ll be writing more about this inventory soon, but in the meantime, here’s a list of the items in Guilia’s trousseau:
6 pairs of sleeves
18 colletti of many sorts
2 gale (per Florio: “a puff of lawne or cipres as women weare about them”)
15 pairs of hose (Calze and Calcetti)
29 coifs or nightcaps
1 pair of gloves
1 silver ring
many “hairdressings” (ornaments) and 1 needle (listed together, so possibly for taping/dressing her hair)
12 face towels
8 towels for the feet
32 towels for the neck
63 hand towels
1 prayer book of the Madonna
ba.64 of various linen cloth
1 skein of thread
1 garland of half shells of egg of perloline (possibly meaning small pearls)
1 checca (meaning unclear) of ermissino (light taffeta)