Table set, Gryphon

The "Gryphon" towel/napkin design is typical of the 14th C. trend in patterns. All the patterns were literally used for centuries, and any medieval design might well appear in the folk textiles still woven in the region. Cats can be seen in this example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, this example in the German National Museum, and this example in the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

The checkerboard and a motif that could be animals or gryphons can be seen in the Lombard manuscript ‘The Story of Lancelot’ dated 1370 (Biblioteque nationale, Paris, MS. fr. 343, 31v). Gryphons were a popular design component and like most patterns of the period are arranged in pairs which face each other (combatant) as in this example in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Gryphons dominate the woven bands on the cloth in this painting of the Last Supper by Ghirlandaio. Complete documentation is included with each item.

This table set contains 1 tablecloth and 4 towel/napkins.

The laying of the cloth on the table is described in great detail in John Russell's 'Book of Nurture'; the cloth is generally laid on the table or sideboard with the decorative bands draped over the end as shown in this plate from Histoire d'Olivier de Castille et d'Artus d'Algèbre. This plate also depicts how similar cloths were used in serving.

In the 14th and 15th C. napkins were shared by 2 or more people, being laid across the laps of adjacent diners. Every diner having their own napkin seems to be a late 15th- early 16th C. evolution in dining custom. Long towels/napkins are frequently seen in use by servers, in the 14th and 15th C., in bringing food to the table,  Appearing very late in the 15th C. the practice of draping the napkin over the shoulder while dining didn't really become standard practice until the 16th C.. Those long cloths were also laid on the edges of the dining table over the tablecloth to protect it.

This set allows for a cover for the table and the 4 towels/napkins can be used in a number of combinations for hand washing, serving, covering a sideboard or tray and of course as napkins for up to 12 diners!

Individual cost for these items is $140.75. Save $15.80 when you purchase the set. That's like getting one towel/napkin FREE!!

  • Design is was taken from visual sources of the period as well as extant originals
  • Linen warp, cotton weft, same as the original
  • Body is woven in the bird's eye weave of the originals
  • Band patterns are woven with indigo-dyed yarn
  • Tablecloth is 60"x120" approx. and has a selvage edge
  • Towel/napkins are 15"x120" approx. and have a discrete blanket stitch edge finish
  • Tablecloth and towel/napkins have a hand knotted fringe
  • Machine washable

(Jug is for display purposes only and is not included with the set)


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  • Model: SL-TL03
  • Shipping Weight: 6lbs

This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 23 September, 2017.