Cloth and wealth have gone hand in glove for much of history: where there are textiles there has almost always been money, and often lots of it. The Medicis of Florence started life as wool traders in Tuscany before they became bankers, popes, princes, and queens. It was wool that started them on a journey that saw them become the principal financiers of the Florentine Renaissance, they were the backers of almost everyone who mattered including Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Machiavelli, and Galileo and they weren’t the only ones.
This episode looks at why and how cloth and money have been inextricably linked throughout history. It unravels the story of how what we recognise as the consumer society and the capitalist system began largely with cloth trading. It looks at the times in which cloth itself has become a currency and uncovers some surprising links between textiles and banking that many have forgotten.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast and pictures of some of the work that is explored in this episode. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your inbox, and to have a chance to win some of the textile-related gifts I give away with each episode.
Virginia Postrel’s book which was the principal inspiration for this podcast can be found at https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/haptic-hue-booklist, along with a number of other textile-related books that I have found interesting and enjoyable. It is hosted by a small independent shop in Dorset specialising in Nature and Story.
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