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Posted: 08 January 2008 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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That’s plausible, but you’re talking about gray’s (rarity of) use in heraldry; brightlady was talking about its rarity of use in livery.

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Posted: 08 January 2008 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Whoops, so she was. Sorry.

Nevertheless, I think the point applies to livery, also. “White” in terms of textile colours, before modern chemical bleaches, wasn’t nearly the snow-white we now assume, and very often meant simply the natural colour of the wool/cotton/linen. Futhermore, before dry cleaning, white woollen garments couldn’t be washed and so could get pretty grey with age. Conversely, all but the very best and most expensive black dyes faded to dark grey pretty quickly.

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Posted: 09 January 2008 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 08 January 2008 03:08 PM

Actually grey is known in heraldry, as “cendrĂ©”, but mostly in Continental Europe and even there I understand it is rare.

I am skeptical even of that.  The standard source for “cendrĂ©” is John Woodward’s Treatise on Heraldry.  He cites one Bavarian family, with no date.  I suspect that this is at most well post-medieval, and wonder if it isn’t a misinterpretation of something else, like silver paint that has had a few centuries to tarnish.

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