Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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Ready made mustard
MUSTARD was an awkward condiment that readily lost its pungency when the MUSTARD SEED was GROUND, and even more so when it was prepared for use by mixing with VINEGAR or the like. This was pointed out by Richard Bradley, who wrote 'Those who live in the Country, or go to Sea, have frequent occasion to use Mustard, when there is no opportunity of getting it without extraordinary Trouble' [Recipes (Bradley, R.)]. By the latter half of the eighteenth century there was a ready market for products that would serve this market, withstand a sea voyage and help to make the food available more interesting. One retailer offered a version, suitably packaged, that he claimed would 'keep to the East and West-Indies' [Tradecards (1800)].
In chemistry the term denotes something purified or refined by renewed distillation; re-DISTILLED. The term was chiefly, but not exclusively, used of SPIRITS as in '6 Gall: Rectified Spirritts' followed by '5 Gall: of Malt Spirritts' [Inventories (1699)]. Rectifying spirits became an important trade during the second half of the seventeenth century and they provided the fuel for the GIN mania of the eighteenth. Distillers and rectifiers operated on almost any product capable of fermentation, hence the patent of 1728 'to rectify spirits distilled from malt, molasses, and other liquors' [Patents (1728)].
A single reference, a patent of 1780 for 'Rectifying spent lees from which soap has been made, and rendering the same of a quality sufficient for making soap again' [Patents (1780)], illustrates the use of the term in a more general sense.
The COLOUR red appears at the lowest end of the visible spectrum (hence 'infra-red' or 'below red'). Its appearance in the natural world in many guises meant that it had an important place in mythology, religion and folklore. It was the colour of magic [Brewer (1907 ed.)] and of blood. This was thought by many to be the vital principle upon which life depends, and therefore became the symbol of Christ's sacrificial death. Red was seen as the colour of the sun and of fire with all its conflicting connotations; heat and warmth but also destruction and war. The RED ROSE, so useful in pharmacy and TOILETRY, was a symbol of love and constancy. It is not surprising, therefore, that red was a colour in demand in the early-modern period; it was also one that was relatively easy to produce both as a PIGMENT and as a DYESTUFF. The exception is RED GLASS, for which a method of production was only found during the seventeenth century, and even then, the techniques of production remained difficult to manage and expensive.
Red or reddish pigments were among the most widely available and the cheapest. Red iron oxides, that is RED OCHRE, occur naturally in many places, though the Forest of Dean and Oxfordshire were the two places most commonly mentioned in the past. Red iron oxides were also produced either by calcining YELLOW OCHRE or by manufacturing CROCUS MARTIS. RED LEAD was the other most easily obtained inorganic red. REALGAR or RED ORPIMENT and VERMILION, respectively the sulphides of ARSENIC and MERCURY, were also known, but were considerably more expensive as well as being toxic. Whereas red ochre and red lead were used by house painters as well as by artists, expense restricted realgar and vermilion to the latter [Harley (1970)]; [Bristow (1996)]. The organic reds, used both as pigments and as dyestuffs, can be divided into two groups. The first includes several vegetative materials of which the most important were MADDER, the various REDWOODs such as BRAZIL, SAFFLOWER or CARTHAMUS, and DRAGONS BLOOD. The second group were the LAKEs extracted from the eggs or the bodies of various insects, the most important being KERMES and COCHINEAL [Harley (1970)]; [Bristow (1996)]; [Ponting (1980, pb 1981)].
Found described by NARROW Found describing ARGOL, BANKER, baracan, barras, BASON, BAYS, BEAD, BEARSKIN, BED, BILIMENT LACE, BLANKET, BOX, BRIDGEWATER, BROADCLOTH, BUCKRAM, BULL, BUTTON, CADDOW, CALAMENCO, CALICO, CAMLET, CAP, CAPUCHIN, CARREL, CHAIR, CHAMBER, CHEYNEY, COTTON, COUNTER, COUNTERPANE, COVERING, COVERLET, COW, CRADLERUG, CRAPE, CREWEL, CRYSTALGLASS, CURTAIN, CUSHION, CYPRUS, DAMASK, DAMASCELLO, DURANCE, EVERLASTING, FERRET, FILLETING, FLANNEL, FRIEZE, FRINGE, FUSTIAN, GALLOON, GLOVES, GRANADO, HANGINGS, HARD SOAP, horn ring, HOSE, INKLE, KERSEY, KIDDERMINSTER, KIRTLE, LACING, LIST, MANTLE, MOCKADO, OX, PARAGON, PASTEBOARD, PENISTONE, PETTICOAT, PIN, PLAIN, PLOD, PLUSH, POCKET BOOK, POINT, PORT, POT, POUCH, PRINT, QUILT, RIBBON, ROOM, ROSE, RUG, SATIN, SATINESCO, SAY, SEGG, SEMPERTERNUM, SERGE, SHAG, SHALLOON, SHOES, SILK, STATUTE LACE, STEER, STOCK BRICK, STOMACHER, STUFF, SUIT, TABLE, TAFFETA, TAMMY, TEA POT, THREAD, TICKING, TRUNK, VELVET, WAISTCOAT, WHIP, WINDOW CURTIN, WOOLLEN - STUFF, WORSTED [thread], YARN, YORKSHIRE CLOTH
Sources: Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Tradecards.
References: Bristow (1996), Harley (1970), Ponting (1980, pb 1981).
Red and white
Red and white was one of the most popular COLOUR combinations in the early modern period, particularly in TEXTILEs. The easiest pattern was to weave a STRIPED or CHECKED fabric using different coloured yarns in the warp and or the weft. Such simple patterns were popular even for up-market fabrics, as a 'red & white stript Indian Silk' [Inventories (1689)]. Stripes were especially popular for making WAISTCOATs, though in these cases the fabrics were usually of the cheaper sort like LINSEY WOOLSEY and FLANNEL. The term, red and white, has also been noted describing PRINTED goods as HANDKERCHIEFs [Inventories (1766)] and CHINA as in 'scollop'd china cups and saucers' [Newspapers (1790)].
Red and yellow earthenware
It is possible that all was intended by this phrase was EARTHENWARE, either with the ground in the one colour, and decorative slip of the other, or earthenware that was either red or yellow. One possible alternative is what has become known as 'Buckley ware' from one of the first noted centres of production, although it was in fact made from the middle of the seventeenth century at many sites in England. Buckley ware exploited a method of using poor CLAY that might otherwise have been unworkable, combining in layers a RED CLAY and a YELLOW CLAY. The vessels made from it were finished with a black glaze and had characteristically ribbed exterior. BUCKLEY ware was used most often for storage vessels and in the dairy [Historic Ceramics (online)]; [SMU Archeology (online)].
Probably the wild angelica, Angelica sylvestris, that has purple-tinged, 'claret dipped' flowers [Mabey (1996)]. Culpeper believed it was not so efficaceous as the garden angelica [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)]. It has been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive in the form of 'Red Angelica water' [Inventories (1625)].
The dark red TARTAR deposited from RED WINE when it is completely fermented, found adhering to the sides of the CASKs as a hard crust. It was a DYESTUFF and used as an assistant in the mordanting process [Ponting (1980, pb 1981)]. In the shops and the stock of dyers, only ARGOL has been noted, suggesting that the wine from which the argol originated was not important. However, WHITE ARGOL was rated more highly than the red, which suggests the former may have been more desirable.
The single reference to red balsam occurs in the newspaper advertisement of a Liverpool druggist and colourman. He had few other DRUGs and the context affords no useful information [Newspapers (1760)]. Possibly it was something akin to the 'Balsam called Mirabile' for which a recipe was given by Fuller in his Pharmacopoeia Extemporanea. It included MASTIC, various SPICEs, HONEY, VENICE TURPENTINE and BRANDY, and produced what he called a 'noble red Balsam' [Fuller (1710)].
BASIL SKINs were a popular form of LEATHER and frequently listed in the Dictionary Archive. RED basils were less common but not rare. Probably basil skins were dyed red to provide a cheaper alternative to some of the other varieties of RED LEATHER available such as MOROCCO, RED LASCH and RUSSIA LEATHER.
Vilmorin-Andrieux described several varieties of red CABBAGE, but the most pertinent to the early modern period was what he called the 'Large Red Dutch Pickling Cabbage' with dark red purplish leaves [Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885 Eng. ed.)]. The SEED has not been noted in the extensive catalogues of VEGETABLE seeds available in the eighteenth century in England and Britain, but both Eliza Smith and Hannah Glasse, for example, had recipes for pickling red cabbage and the latter had one for 'Stewed Red Cabbage' that also included SAUSAGEs and HAM [Smith (1758, facs. 1994)]; [Glasse (1747, facs. 1983)].
WHITE CANDY and BROWN CANDY were both quite common, sold as SWEETMEATs or COMFITs, but also as a basis for medicinal preparations. They were produced using SUGAR in different stages of refinement. RED CANDY does not present itself in the same way, but was almost certainly white candy dyed RED, an easy colour to produce in foodstuffs using an extraction of RED SANDERS or one of the other edible REDWOODs.
A bed of chalk naturally coloured red occurs in Norfolk. However, the so-called red chalk of artists, often in the past called by the French term 'sanguine', is hæmatite (iron oxide) suspended in CLAY. It became popular in the late fifteenth century, for use on its own and to fill the surface contours in outline drawings made with BLACK CHALK. Leonardo da Vinci is only one of many artists who used it to good effect [Miller (1999)]. Red chalk for sale has been noted in newspaper advertisements and other promotional literature during the eighteenth century, not only in London but also in the Midlands. This suggests demand for artists' materials outside the capital and may indicate that artists's needs were less centred on LONDON than is sometimes thought.
A type of legume or PULSE. Vilmorin-Andrieux deemed it a variety of chick pea, Cicer arietinum, with RED seeds, grown in the EAST INDIES and otherwise known as horse gram [Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885 Eng. ed.)]. The label of horse gram is now attached to Dolichos biflorus. The red cicer was used in medicine being deemed hot and dry [Westmacott (1694)].
Red CLAY owes its colour to iron oxide. It is one of the most common clays found that is suitable for making coarse EARTHENWARE such as BRICKs and TILEs, and terra cotta. This will be a reddish colour when fired, unless covered with a glaze. Much ordinary earthenware was made with red clay in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, and it only began to be replaced in the cheaper ranges with the advent of improved techniques in pottery. However, red clay continued to furnish the dairy and the kitchen even when alternatives became available for table use.
Red cloth is one of those awkward terms that was applied both in a specialist way, and hence the term 'reds', and to any fabric that happened to be coloured RED. It was applied in particular, as in an act of 1576 not included in the Dictionary Archive, to CLOTH made in Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
A CLOVER of the species Trifolium pratense, which was recognised since the ninth century at least. Arthur Young, in discussing the use of clover in rotation field management seems to have assumed that red clover was the common clover for which no descriptor was necessary, distinguishing it from the WHITE CLOVER otherwise known as DUTCH CLOVER, which had been introduced later. Red clover could be problematic. It was not always fully winter hardy and its over-use could lead to what farmers called 'clover sickness' [Young (1813, reprint 1969b)]. Even so, it was important as a FODDER crop and as a soil improver. It is a native of this country, but there are now, and probably were then, improved varieties for cultivation [Mabey (1996)]. Its seed was being advertised for sale by an eighteenth-century 'Garden seedsman' among 'SEEDS to improve land' [Tradecards (n.d.)]. Young mentioned that HAY made from red clover was much in demand in LONDON [Young (1813, reprint 1969b)].
An arborescent form of CORAL found in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean and much prized for ornamental purposes. Red coral was an ingredient of GASCOIGN POWDER [Recipes (Ketilby)] and GAIKING POWDER [Recipes (Berington)]. It was sometimes classified as a PRECIOUS STONE and has been noted at values from 1d to 5d OZ.
A cultivated shrub largely derived from the wild Ribes sativum, with some varieties being descended from two other wild species, Ribes rubrum and Ribes petraeum. Unlike the BLACK CURRANT, the red can be grown on a single stem and does well as a standard or cordon or against a wall. The FRUIT of all three types is a small berry with a thin often translucent skin enclosing a number of seeds in juicy flesh. Red currants were once believed to be the source of the CURRANT or RAISIN OF CORINTH, but they are not in any way related to that quite separate fruit. Although red currants have not been located in the Dictionary Archive, the 'currants' among the stock of a London seedsman were probably of this sort [Tradecards (n.d.)]. Rabisha included a recipe 'To pickle Red and White Currants' [Rabisha (1682, facs. 2003)] while Hannah Glasse had one for 'Curran Jelly' and another 'To pickle Red Currans' [Glasse (1747, facs. 1983)].