Few 17th-century corded needlework textiles have survived; this piece is the oldest of its kind in the IQSCM collection. It is a chauffoir (pronounced show-FWAR ), a standard household item of the period. Its name derived from the French verb “to warm,” a chauffoir would be heated and then placed wherever warmth was desired. King Louis XIV’s valets laid heated chauffoirs on his shoulders after a match of jeu de paume, or tennis. During childbirth piles of chauffoirs were laid on a woman’s womb to comfort her and ease delivery of her baby. Chauffoirs also served as small towels for a lady’s toilette, the floral motifs enhancing her beauty regimen.

Pattern: 
Whole Cloth
Maker: 
Maker unknown
Circa
1680
1700
Probably made in
Provence
France
39.5
55.75
IQSCM, Byron and Sara Rhodes Dillow Collection
2008.040.0144