Carving and Folding by the Book in Early Modern Europe

In: Journal of Early Modern History
Deborah L. Krohn Bard Graduate Center

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The period 1500-1800 saw the publication of a number of manuals and handbooks containing instructions for carving meat and fruit on the table, and folding napkins and other linens. These books contain information on otherwise invisible aspects of material and social life and are notable for their intriguing and often beautiful illustrations. Part of a larger category of texts that addressed courtesy, etiquette and behavior for household servants, people in charge of them, and those who aspired to this lifestyle, examples of the genre may be found in Italian, French, German, English, Dutch, Spanish and probably other languages as well. Echoes of a suite of engraved illustrations for an Italian carving manual first published in Padua in 1629 can be seen in books printed all over Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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