Damask Linen Tablecloths & Napkins
The Book of Fine Linen

While the tablecloths and towels with brocaded bands seem to have been especially popular in the 14th and 15th centuries, especially in Italy, it seems that damask linen tablecloths and napkins were more popular in the 16th century in northern Europe. The brocaded-band linens were largely produced in Italy, whereas these damask linens were produced in the Low Countries, especially Flanders.

See also Heraldic Linen Damasks: Three Centuries of Woven Stories and “Satin Damasks of Renaissance Europe” in Complex Weavers’ Medieval Textiles.

  • V&A 694-1902, a tablecloth with a representation of the Annunciation, c. 1500
  • V&A 169-1869, a napkin with the royal arms of Henry VII of England, c. 1500
  • V&A T.277-1913, a tablecloth with designs including Abraham and Samson in lobed compartments, 1500s
  • Sotheby's AM0945, Lot 247, a tablecloth with a floral pattern, c. 1550-1600
  • V&A T.215-1963, a napkin with the coat of arms of Anne Boleyn with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, c. 1558-1580
  • V&A T.200-1960, a napkin made for Queen Elizabeth I with the arms of Anne Boleyn, c. 1558-1603
  • Met 2010.19, a napkin with David and Bathsheba, c. 1590-1600
  • KIKIRPA 1509, a fragment of a linen tablecloth with deer hunting imagery, c. 1591-1610
  • KIKIRPA 20052959, a tablecloth with hunt imagery, c. 1601-1610
  • KIKIRPA 20052960, a tablecloth with hunt imagery and inscribed with the words AMNON and TAMAR, c. 1601-1610
  • KIKIRPA 20052962, a tablecloth with hunt imagery, c. 1601-1610
  • KIKIRPA 20052963, a tablecloth with John the Evangelist and the story of Jesus and the Samaritan, c. 1601-1650
  • KIKIRPA 20052958, a tablecloth with the crowned initials AE and other figures, 1612
  • V&A T.209-1963, a napkin with two scenes from the story of the Prodigal Son, c. 1590-1625
  • KIKIRPA 20052957, a tablecloth inscribed with the names of Archduke Albert of Austria and Isabella, late 16th or early 17th centuries
  • V&A T.142-1929, a tablecloth with scenes from the story of the Prodigal Son, c. 1600
  • Met 23.80.74a, a napkin with huntresses at a fountain, c. 1600
  • MFA 65.135, a napkin with the royal arms of Denmark, 1602
  • Rijksmuseum BK-1990-15, tablecloth with inscriptions and the heraldry of France and Navarre among fleurs-de-lis, made by Passchier Lammertijn in Haarlem
  • Met 24.90, a tablecloth with inscriptions (DIEV ET MON DROIT; HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE), 1609
  • V&A T.39-1982, a napkin with a view of the city of London, 1616-1635
  • V&A T.132&A-1929, a pair of napkins with scenes from the story of Naboth's vineyard, 1640