Brad Loewen

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This paper reconstructs the history of a family of French beadmakers in Eu County, Normandy, from 1687 to 1747, as well as the context of their migration from the urban beadmaking center of Rouen. While Normandy had produced windowpane and bottles since the Middle Ages, artisans who made “crystal” soda glass – the glass of beads – were newcomers from Italy and Languedoc. They founded glassworks in Paris and Rouen in the late 16th century. Conflicts with Rouen artisans and merchants led the Mediterranean glassworkers to migrate to Eu County in 1634, where their crystal factories spun off a rural beadmaking trade. The present research builds on 19th-century archaeological reports of beads and beadmaking wasters in the villages of Aubermesnil-aux-Érables and Villers-sous-Foucarmont. We have identified three generations of the Demary family of beadmakers in the Eu Forest. Using genealogical methods, we have traced their migration from Rouen, their family history, and their links to Mediterranean crystal glassmakers. The example of the Demary patenôtriers sheds light on a transitional period of beadmaking in Normandy, characterized by its ruralization and its proximity with forest glassmaking in the second half of the 17th century.

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The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.



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