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Elizabethan Grapes

As with many things (words, clothes, governments) there have been a lot of changes since the Elizabethan era. Of course, they haven’t changed so much that we just don’t recognize them any longer, but some things have morphed enough that we might need to take a moment to realize we’re looking at something normally very familiar to us -- like grapes.

Elizabethan Grapes represented in drawings and illustrations tended to clustered with recognizable grape leaves (though not always), and shown with a center dot, as in these two illustrations from Trevelyon’s manuscript:

In embroidery, grapes were also shown with a center dot:

Or as a two blocks of colors (light on top, darker on the bottom of the grape), and in some of these groups they were shown in alternating colors:

Grapes were worked in straight stitch, detached buttonhole, or often in a spiderweb stitch:

Interestingly, grapes were never worked in purple -- red, yellow, blue, even with gilt thread. Purple grapes seem to be a slightly more modern concept in embroidery.

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