RICHER THAN SPICES by Gertrude Thomas


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When Catherine of Braganza sailed to England in 1662 as the intended bride of Charles II, she bore with her as a portion of her dowry the deed to Bombay, and many tokens that changed the pattern of Renaissance living. Gertrude Thomas relates how that ""fabulous dowry"" influenced British and subsequently American life. In its wake came Indian cotton, the cane Restoration chair that succeeded the severe Cromwell chair, lacquer cabinets, porcelain, and that most entrenched and extensively used commodity, tea. She places the role of the East India Company, organized by Queen Elizabeth toward the close of her reign, in purveying these items and influences. She describes too how the Indian calico was dyed, Chinese porcelain made. The oriental effect pervaded the drawing room with its interior decor, the garden with its asymmetrical landscaping, the arts, and even hair adornment. In the New World, old habits continued, broke off with the ""tea fracas"" in Boston, were once again in the ascendant as the ""China Ships"" and ""Clippers"" plied the seas. A well documented story of the meeting of East and West, when the exotic became the everyday, with bibliography and sources.

Publisher: Knopf