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Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities
 1472439872, 9781472439871

Table of contents :
Cover
Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Notes on Contributors
Preface
1 Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities: an Introduction
2 The Cities of Glass: Privileges and Innovations in Early Modern Europe
3 Craft Guild Legislation and Woollen Production: the Florentine Arte della Lana
4 New Products and Technological Innovation in the Silk Industry of Vicenza
5 To Kill Two Birds with One Stone: Keeping Immigrants in by Granting Free Burghership in Early Modern Antwerp
6 The Secret Perfume: Technology and the Organization of Soap Production in Northern Italy
7 Textiles Manufacturing, Product Innovations and Transfers of Technology in Padua and Venice
8 The Spatial Side of Innovation: the Local Organization of Cultural Production in the Dutch Republic
9 Beyond Exclusivism: Entrance Fees for Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries
10 The Coopers’ Guilds in Holland, c. 1650–1720: a Market Logic?
11 The Early Modern Antwerp Coopers’ Guild: from a Contract-enforcing Organization to an Empty Box?
12 The Paradox of the Antwerp Rose: Symbol of Decline or Token of Craftsmanship?
13 Harbouring Urban Creativity: the Antwerp Art Academy in the Tension
14 Innovation in the Capital City: Central Policies, Markets and Migrant Skills in Neapolitan Ceramic Manufacturing
15 Innovations, Growth and Mobility in the Secondary Sector of Trieste
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities

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Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities

Edited by

Karel Davids

VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Bert De Munck

University of Antwerp, Belgium

First published 2014 by Ashgate Publishing Published 2016 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business Copyright © Karel Davids, Bert De Munck and the contributors 2014 Karel Davids and Bert De Munck have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the editors of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library The Library of Congress has cataloged the printed edition as follows: Innovation and creativity in late medieval and early modern European cities / edited by Karel Davids and Bert De Munck. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4724-3987-1 (hardcover) 1. Italy—Intellectual life. 2. Benelux countries— Intellectual life. 3. City and town life—Europe, Western—Case studies. 4. Urbanization—Europe, Western—Case studies. 5. Technological innovations—Italy—History. 6. Technological innovations—Benelux countries—History. 7. Guilds—Italy—History. 8. Guilds—Benelux countries—History. 9. Italy—Economic conditions. 10. Benelux countries—Economic conditions. I. Davids, C. A., 1952– II. Munck, Bert De, 1967– DG538.I56 2014 338’.06409409024—dc 3 2014017429 ISBN 9781472439871 (hbk) ISBN 9781315588605 (ebk)

Contents List of Figures vii List of Tables ix Notes on Contributors xi Prefacexvii 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities: an Introduction Karel Davids and Bert De Munck

1

The Cities of Glass: Privileges and Innovations in Early Modern Europe35 Corine Maitte Craft Guild Legislation and Woollen Production: the Florentine Arte della Lana in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Francesco Ammannati

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New Products and Technological Innovation in the Silk Industry of Vicenza in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Edoardo Demo

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To Kill Two Birds with One Stone: Keeping Immigrants in by Granting Free Burghership in Early Modern Antwerp Jan De Meester

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The Secret Perfume: Technology and the Organization of Soap Production in Northern Italy between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Centuries Alberto Grandi Textiles Manufacturing, Product Innovations and Transfers of Technology in Padua and Venice between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Centuries Andrea Caracausi

115

131

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8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities

The Spatial Side of Innovation: the Local Organization of Cultural Production in the Dutch Republic, 1580–1800 Claartje Rasterhoff Beyond Exclusivism: Entrance Fees for Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries, c. 1450–1800 Bert De Munck and Karel Davids with the collaboration of Ellen Burm

161

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The Coopers’ Guilds in Holland, c. 1650–1720: a Market Logic?225 Janneke Tump The Early Modern Antwerp Coopers’ Guild: from a Contractenforcing Organization to an Empty Box? Raoul De Kerf

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The Paradox of the Antwerp Rose: Symbol of Decline or Token of Craftsmanship? Annelies De Bie

269

Harbouring Urban Creativity: the Antwerp Art Academy in the Tension between Artistic and Artisanal Training in the Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries Dries Lyna Innovation in the Capital City: Central Policies, Markets and Migrant Skills in Neapolitan Ceramic Manufacturing in the Eighteenth Century Alida Clemente Innovations, Growth and Mobility in the Secondary Sector of Trieste in the Eighteenth Century Daniele Andreozzi

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Bibliography355 Index407

List of Figures 5.1 Antwerp burgherships, 1533–1600 5.2 New burghers in Antwerp industries, 1533–1600 5.3 Professional categories of new burghers, 1533–1600 5.4 Absolute numbers of professions of granted burghers, 1533–1600 5.5 Share of granted burgherships in total number of burgherships 5.6 Level of training of granted burghers 5.7 Level of training of granted burghers, 1533–1600 8.1 8.2 8.3

Number of publishers and painters in the Dutch Republic per year, semi-log scale, 1580–1800 Spatial distribution of publishers, per sample year (1580, 1610, 1650, 1710, 1740 and 1780) Spatial distribution of painters, per sample year (1580, 1610, 1650 and 1680)

10.1 New journeymen and apprentices in Haarlem, 1649–1720 10.2 Number of apprentices in Rotterdam, 1683–96 10.3 Number of master trials in Rotterdam, 1649–1720 11.1 Number of new citizen-coopers, per decade 11.2 Number of new apprentices and new masters, per five-year period 11.3 Relative share of masters’ sons, native non-masters’ sons and foreigners in the total number of new masters (1577–1602 and 1671–1793)

103 104 105 107 107 109 109 163 173 174 233 235 243 257 258 264

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List of Tables 8.1 Geographic distribution of publishers and painters according to main work location, 1570–1800, and population of the Dutch Republic in 1675172 9.1a 9.1b 9.2

Entrance fees for selected crafts in Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen, c. 1450–1560 (in guilders and stuivers)209 Entrance fees for selected crafts in Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen, c. 1670–1780 (in guilders and stuivers)211 Entrance fees for selected crafts in cities in the Northern Netherlands, c. 1600–1800 (in guilders and stuivers)213

10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6

Registration fees for new apprentices and journeymen in Haarlem and Rotterdam Origins of journeymen and apprentices in the registers of the coopers’ guild in Haarlem, 1693–1720 Origins of journeymen and apprentices born elsewhere in the registers of the coopers’ guild in Haarlem, 1693–1720 Trial fees for new masters in Rotterdam in guilders Admission fees and trial fees in the coopers’ guild in Haarlem Origins of coopers in the wage registers of Rotterdam’s Chamber of the VOC, 1700–50

12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5

Number of apprentice contracts per decade in the seventeenth-century Antwerp diamond industry Number of rose contracts per decade in the seventeenth-century Antwerp diamond industry Length of apprenticeship terms, 1600–1625 Length of apprenticeship terms, 1680–1700 Number of apprentice contracts according to length in 1680–1690 and 1690–1700

13.1 Occupations of students enrolled in the drawing classes at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts, 1696–1705 13.2 Occupations of students enrolled in geometry/architecture and perspective classes at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts, 1780–89

230 235 236 238 239 241 283 283 288 288 290 306 309

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Notes on Contributors Karel Davids studied Economic and Social History at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, where he received his PhD in 1986. He has worked as an Assistant Professor in Social and Political History at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and as a Research Fellow at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences at the University of Leiden. Since 1994 he has held the Chair of Economic and Social History in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Economics at the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His publications in English include The Rise and Decline of Dutch Technological Leadership. Technology, Economy and Culture in the Dutch Republic, 1350–1800 (Brill, 2008); Religion, Technology, and the Great and Little Divergences: China and Europe Compared c. 700–1800 (Brill, 2013); A Miracle Mirrored. The Dutch Republic in European Perspective (Cambridge UP, 1995) (co-edited with Jan Lucassen); and numerous articles on technological, economic and maritime history. Bert De Munck is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, teaching ‘The Social and Economic History of the Early Modern period’, ‘Theory of Historical Knowledge’ and ‘Heritage and Public History’. He is a member of the Centre for Urban History and Director of the scientific research community ‘Urban Agency. Setting the research agenda for urban history’ and of the interdisciplinary Urban Studies Institute (University of Antwerp). He has published on urban history, craft guilds and apprenticeship, vocational training and the circulation of knowledge and the ‘repertoires of evaluation’ regarding skills and products. His publications include Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp from the 15th Century to the End of the Ancien Régime (Brepols, 2007); Learning on the Shop Floor. Historical Perspectives on Apprenticeship (Berghahn Books, 2007) (co-edited with Hugo Soly and Steven L. Kaplan); and Gated Communities? Regulating Migration in Early Modern Cities (Ashgate, 2012) (co-edited with Anne Winter). Francesco Ammannati has a PhD in Economic History. He attained a degree in Economics at the University of Florence in 2003 (with a dissertation in Economic History entitled ‘The labour books of Andrea di Carlo di messer Bartolomeo and Co. (1470–1476)’, a case study which aimed to reconstruct the activity of a wool workshop in Prato in the second half of the fifteenth century. He obtained his PhD at the University of Bari in 2007 (doctoral thesis ‘The Arte della lana in Florence during the Sixteenth Century – Comparative

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Analysis of the Production and Productivity Through the Busini Partnerships’ Account Books’). His main research field is pre-industrial European economic history (thirteenth to eighteenth centuries). His scientific interests include the history of manufacture and trade, with a focus on guilds, labour markets and international merchant networks. He is also interested in the evolution of accounting practices between the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. At present, he is a Research Fellow at the Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics at the L. Bocconi University in Milan and an Adjunct Professor teaching ‘Economic History’ at the University of Florence. Daniele Andreozzi teaches ‘European Economic History’ and ‘Economic History’ at the University of Trieste. In his research, he is currently focusing on the circulation of goods and labour in the Adriatic sea and along the coast in the eighteenth century, as well as on the relationships between trade mechanisms, social practices, norms, institutions and identities. His many publications on these issues include Trieste e l’Adriatico. Uomini, merci, conflitti (edited with Carlo Gatti, 2005); Acque, terre e spazi dei mercanti. Istituzioni, gerarchie, conflitti e pratiche dello scambio dall’età antica alla modernità (edited with Loredana Panariti and Claudio Zaccaria); and Il peso delle parole. Linguaggi d’esclusione e linguaggi di inclusione nella storia di Trieste in Roberto Scarciglia (ed.), Trieste multiculturale. Comunità e linguaggi di integrazione (Bologna, 2011). He has also published other work on scarcity, crisis and economic growth. Ellen Burm studied History at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), where she wrote a dissertation on the social and economic strategies used by bakers in eighteenth-century Brussels. At the University of Antwerp, she has examined the role of the craft guilds in the broader political arena and civil society in sixteenth-century Brabantine cities (Antwerp, Brussels and Mechelen). Andrea Caracausi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Padua. He obtained a Bachelor in History (University of Padua) and a PhD in Economic and Social History (L. Bocconi University) before working as a Research Fellow at L. Bocconi University (Institute of Economic History), Ca’Foscari University (Department of Economics) and the University of Padua (Department of History). His fields of research include the social and economic history of Italy and the Mediterranean, with a focus on guilds, labour market and legal proceedings in the Early Modern period. His publications on these topics include ‘The just wage in Early Modern Italy. A reflection on Zacchia’s De Salario seu mercede operariorum’ (International Review of Social History, 56, 2011); and ‘Mesurer et contrôler. Les temps du travail dans les manufactures de la laine de Padoue (s. XVI–XVII)’ (Genèses. Sciences Sociales et Histoire, 4, 2011). His monograph Dentro la bottega. Culture del lavoro in una città d’età moderna

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(Marsilio, 2008) has been reviewed in several international journals, including the American Historical Review, Modern Italy and the Review d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine. Alida Clemente is a Lecturer in Economic History at the University of Human Sciences ‘Niccolò Cusano’ in Rome. She graduated in Political Sciences at the ‘Orientale’ University of Naples in 1997 with a dissertation on the methodology of microhistory and obtained her PhD in Economic History at the University of Bari in 2003. Between 2004 and 2009 she was a Research Fellow at the ‘Orientale’ University in Naples, where she worked on the urban and regional economic history of the Mediterranean region, with special regard to social and environmental issues during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She has published several articles and essays on fisheries, migration, maritime trade and luxury consumption in Naples during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her main publications include Il mestiere dell’incertezza, La pesca nel Golfo di Napoli tra XVIII e XX secolo (Guida, 2005); and Il lusso ‘cattivo’. Dinamiche del consumo nella Napoli del Settecento (Carocci, 2011). Annelies De Bie is a PhD Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). She is currently preparing a PhD thesis at the University of Antwerp, where she completed her History degree in 2009. After finishing her master’s dissertation on the chains of interdependency between Antwerp gold and silversmiths between c. 1648 and c. 1748, she collaborated on a research project on investments in technical knowledge in Antwerp’s Early Modern diamond sector. This resulted in several publications, including (co-written with Bert De Munck) ‘Learning on the shop floor in the Spanish Netherlands’, in Sven Dupré, Bert De Munck, Werner Thomas and Geert Vanpaemel, eds, Embattled Territory. The Circulation of Knowledge in the Spanish Netherlands (forthcoming). Subsequently, she was appointed Fellow of the FWO in October 2012 and her current research focuses on how Early Modern households in the Southern Netherlands invested in their children’s education (especially schooling and professional training), drawing on serial accounts of legal guardians. Raoul De Kerf studied Applied Economics and History at the University of Antwerp. After a period of work in industry, finance and lobbying, he published his Masters dissertation, De juiste prijs in de laatmiddeleeuwse stad: een onderzoek naar middeleeuwse economische ethiek op de ambachtelijke markt en in moralistische lekenliteratuur, Studies stadsgeschiedenis 6 (Aksant, 2010), on commercial ethics in the Late Medieval Low Countries. He has recently defended his PhD thesis at the University of Antwerp on the way in which technical knowledge circulated among guild-based artisans in Early Modern Antwerp. His main interest lies in the interchange between the world of ideas

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and economical and political practices, and especially how enlightened concepts such as economy and society have grown in the practical world. Jan De Meester completed his doctoral research at the University of Antwerp’s Centre for Urban History in 2011. His research was part of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) project ‘The integration of Artisan-Immigrants into the Urban Labour Market: The Duchy of Brabant, 1450–1800’ and the IAP programme ‘City and Society in the Low Countries 1200–1800: Space, Knowledge, Social Capital’. His main fields of interest are craft guild history and migration history, and especially how migration affected early urban labour markets. Edoardo Demo is an Assistant Professor of Economic History at the University of Verona, where he obtained his PhD in Economic History in 1999. He was also appointed Research Fellow at the University Ca’Foscari in Venice and subsequently at the University of Padua. He is interested in the economic and social history of the Venetian Terraferma in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. Among his publications are L’«anima della città». L’industria tessile a Verona e Vicenza (1400–1550) (Edizioni Unicopli, 2001); Mercanti di Terraferma. Uomini, merci e capital in ell’Europa del Cinquecento (Franco Angeli, 2012); and various essays and articles that mainly address the mercantile world of Northern Italy between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. He has been the Director of the University of Verona’s doctoral programme in Economic History since 2012. Alberto Grandi is an Assistant Professor of Economic History at the University of Parma. His research interests include pre-industrial economic institutions, the relationships between public authorities and professional groups, urban markets and their regulations, the history of industrial districts, collective resources and their management and vocational education and local development. His publications include ‘Corporazioni e servizi alle attivit produttive. La lavorazione del grasso e delle pelli a Bologna in et moderna’, in Iginia Lopane (ed.), Tra vecchi e nuovi equilibri. Domanda e offerta di servizi in Italia in Et Moderna e Contemporanea (Bari, 2005); Tessuti compatti. Distretti e istituzioni nello sviluppo industriale italiano (Rosenberg & Sellier, 2007); ‘Dalla cooperazione al conflitto. Regime fiscale e gestione di un common in et moderna’ (Archivio Scialoja-Bolla, 1/04, 2004); ‘Managing a natural resource. The Mantova fish market in modern times’ (Food & History, 2, 2008). Dries Lyna is an Assistant Professor of History at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. His main area of interest concerns the historical art world in the Low Countries (seventeenth to nineteenth centuries), including the history

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of collecting, the primary and secondary markets and the Academies of Fine Arts. In recent years he has published on a wide range of topics including the urban economy, material culture and visual studies. He has received research fellowships and awards from the Fulbright Commission, the Getty Research Institute, the International Economic History Association and the Belgian American Educational Foundation. His main publications are: ‘NameHunting, Visual Characteristics and New Old Masters. Tracking the Taste for Paintings at Art Auctions in Antwerp and Brussels (1739–1794)’ (EighteenthCentury Studies, 46/1, 2012); ‘In Search of a British Connection. Flemish Dealers on the London Art Market and the Taste for Continental Paintings (1750–1800)’, in Charlotte Gould and Sophie Mesplède (eds), Marketing Art in the British Isles, 1700 to the Present. A Cultural History (Ashgate, 2012); Art Auctions and Dealers. The Dissemination of Netherlandish Art during the Ancien Régime (edited with Filip Vermeylen and Hans Vlieghe) (Brepols, 2009); and (with Ilja Van Damme), ‘A Strategy of Seduction? The Role of Commercial Advertisements in the Eighteenth-Century Retailing Business of Antwerp’, (Business History, 51/1, 2009). Corine Maitte is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of ParisEst Marne-la-Vallée (Laboratoire ACP). Her main subjects of research are economic and social history of modern Italy, migration history, the history of skills and corporations, the history of the wool (Tuscany, Piedmont) and glass (Italy, France, Low Countries) sectors and working times. She has published, among other things, ‘Conflits et résistances autour du temps de travail avant l’industrialisation’, (Temporalités [online], 16, http://temporalites.revues. org/2203 2012), (with Didier Terrier); La gloire de l’industrie. Faire de l’histoire avec Gérard Gayot (PUR, 2012) (edited with Philippe Minard and Matthieu de Oliveira); Les chemins de verre. Les migrations des verriers d’Altare et de Venise, XVI-XIXe siècles (PUR, 2009); Entreprises en mouvements. Migrants, pratiques entrepreneuriales et diversités culturelles dans le monde (XVe–XXe siècle) (edited with Manuela Martini, Issiaka Mandé and Didier Terrier) (Presses Universitaires de Valenciennes, 2009); ‘Labels, brands and market integration in the modern era’, (Bussiness and Economic History [online], www.thebhc.org/publications/ BEHonline/2009/maitte.pdf, 2009; ‘Identity of products and identity of industrial districts’, in Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi, Lisa De Propris (eds), The Handbook on Industrial Districts (E. Elgar, vol.1: Origin and theories, 2009); and La trame incertaine, le monde textile de Prato aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles (Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2001). Claartje Rasterhoff is a postdoctoral researcher and Lecturer in Cultural Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam and in the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies at the University

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of Amsterdam. In 2012, she completed her PhD in social and economic history at Utrecht University. In her thesis, The fabric of creativity in the Dutch Republic: painting and publishing as cultural industries, 1580–1800, she examined the lifecycles of Early Modern Dutch cultural industries. Her research interests include Early Modern urban history and the economic history of cultural sectors, particularly the social and economic mechanisms that transformed individual creativity into innovation. She is currently studying the seventeenth-century art trade as part of the research project Cultural Transmission and Artistic Exchanges in the Low Countries, 1572–1672: Mobility of Artists, Works of Art and Artistic Knowledge. Janneke Tump studied History at the VU University Amsterdam and the Freie Universität Berlin. After graduating in 2006, she examined the use of sedatives among German psychiatric patients in the period 1870–1920 and the introduction of the MMR vaccine in the Netherlands. In 2012, she has defended her PhD thesis at the VU University Amsterdam on the circulation of technical knowledge in Early Modern Holland, entitled: Ambachtelijk geschoold. Haarlemse en Rotterdamse ambachtslieden en de circulatie van technische kennis, ca. 1400–1720. Her publications include articles on the MMR vaccine in ‘Social Science and Medicine’ and a wide range of other topics in various Dutch journals. Her interests are medical history, the common people and urban history. She currently teaches at the University of Groningen.

Preface This book is an outgrowth of the Dutch-Flemish research project ‘Circulation of knowledge in the Low Countries. Flows of technical knowledge in the western core-area of the Low Countries between c. 1400 and 1700’ which was co-funded by the Dutch and Flemish Research councils (NWO and FWOFlanders). In September 2010, the initiators and supervisors of this project, Karel Davids (VU University Amsterdam) and Bert De Munck (University of Antwerp), together with Marco Belfanti (University of Brescia), organized a session at the 10th International Conference on Urban History in Ghent, with a view to placing the findings of the project in a broader comparative perspective. The participants were invited to discuss case studies from Italy and the Low Countries that addressed technological innovation in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities from the perspective of regulation. Key questions were: how did urban authorities and craft guilds cope with the need for innovative entrepreneurs and skilled workmen? What measures were implemented and what results did they have? Was technological innovation the effect of a deliberate policy or rather the unintended result of regulations with other aims in view? What exactly, if at all, was the connection between regulatory mechanisms and institutions and the supply of technical knowledge and human capital in ancien régime cities? Subsequently, a workshop was held in Rome at the Academia Belgica (2–3 September 2011), at which revised versions of the papers were presented and discussed alongside a number of additional case studies. Maarten Prak (University of Utrecht) and Reinhold Reith (University of Salzburg) were invited as referees and discussants. We are grateful to all participants in these meetings for their critical and valuable contributions. In addition, we thank the co-promoters of the project, Bruno Blondé (University of Antwerp), Ria Fabri (Artesis High School Antwerp), Leo De Ren (Catholic University of Leuven), Koen Goudriaan (VU University Amsterdam), Natalie Ortega (Artesis High School Antwerp), Peter Stabel (University of Antwerp) and Petra van Dam (VU University Amsterdam). Thanks are also due to the staff and personnel of the Academia Belgica for their hospitality and support during our stay in Rome, to Dr Vivien Collingwood for carefully proofreading the texts and to Margot Cattersel for patiently editing and preparing the manuscript. Antwerp–Amsterdam

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Chapter 1

Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities: an Introduction Karel Davids and Bert De Munck

In present-day research, cities are often portrayed as hotbeds of innovation and creativity. The dense, diverse and open features of urban environments are said to be eminently conducive to innovative and creative behaviour. Urban environments are pictured as prime locations for the invention of new techniques, the creation of new lifestyles, the adoption of new consumer products and the development of new ideas and new approaches in the arts and sciences. In particular, cities are viewed as the natural habitat of creative and cultural industries, in which ‘creative classes’ continually invent new products and production processes.1 Creative workers and entrepreneurs, so the argument runs, will cluster in cities to the degree that they display ‘quality of place’, and thus provide diverse, highly skilled and ambitious populations with attractive locations in which to work and live.2 Or else, cities are innovative because they foster a ‘culture of innovation’ in which local norms, values and institutional settings encourage creativity and experimentation. In light of the current fascination with the knowledge economy and the assumption that sustained growth requires ‘creative destruction’ – to put it in Schumpeterian terms – cities are conceived as the sites par excellence of prosperity, progress and civilization.3 While these ideas doubtless chime nicely with present-day policy and public opinion, they should not be taken for granted. What exactly, for instance, makes 1 The ‘godmother’ of these ideas is Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York, 1961); Jane Jacobs, The Economy of Cities (New York, 1969). For a recent critical account, see: Allen J. Scott, The Cultural Economy of Cities (London, 2000). 2 Charles Landry, The Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovators (Near Strout, 2000); Richard L. Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life (New York, 2002); Richard L. Florida, Cities and the Creative Class (New York, 2004). 3 Peter Hall, Cities in Civilization (New York, 1998); Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier (London, 2011).

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up this supposed ‘culture of innovation’ or ‘quality of place’?4 There seems to be a wide variety of factors to take into consideration, ranging from diversity, tolerance, institutional arrangements and infrastructural conditions to variables such as density and proximity, access to information and provisions for safety and protection. Did cities foster creative, diverse and tolerant environments in which meritocracy and risk-taking were valued? Did they offer a superior environment in terms of economies of scale and agglomeration?5 Did they possess better regulations and institutions?6 Moreover, it is not at all clear how cities became centres of innovation and creativity in the first place. Did urban centres actually produce inventions and innovations, or were they rather simply very successful in attracting and exploiting existing ones? What was it that made cities a special environment for innovation and creativity: demography, proximity, a particular cultural atmosphere or specific infrastructural conditions and institutional arrangements within and beyond cities? A key issue is whether innovation can be seen as a consequence of openness, tolerance and accessibility to immigrants or rather as a result of such factors as educational provision, supervision of training and quality, patent systems and other sorts of institutional incentives. Does ‘creative destruction’ thrive better in an environment of deregulation than in a context of regulation? Do innovative and creative cities need large or small governments? Late Medieval and Early Modern cities offer an excellent setting to examine such questions. While rural environments in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe are often associated with feudalism, lordship and vertical social relations, cities in this period are usually seen as more ‘liberal’ environments. In recent historiography it is no longer nation states or ‘enlightened’ thinking that rank as the primary driving forces of political modernity, but rather the guilds, brotherhoods, communal

For a discussion of these concepts, see: Thomas Wieland, ‘Innovationskultur: Theoretische und empirische Annäherungen an einen Begriff ’, in Reinhold Reith, Rupert Pichler and Christian Dirninger, eds, Innovationskultur in historischer und ökonomischer Perspektive. Modelle, Indikatoren, und regionale Entwicklungslinien (Innsbruck, 2006), pp. 21–38; Jan J. Trip, ‘Assessing Quality of Place: A Comparative Analysis of Amsterdam and Rotterdam’, Journal of Urban Affairs, 29/5 (2007): pp. 501–17. 5 For example Anders Malmberg and Peter Maskell, ‘Towards an Explanation of Regional Specialization and Industry Agglomeration’, European Planning Studies, 5/1 (1997): pp. 25–41; Peter Maskell et al., Competitiveness, Localised Learning and Regional Development: Specialization and Prosperity in Small Open Economies (London, 1998). 6 For example Herman Diederiks, Paul Hohenberg and Michiel Wagenaar, eds, Economic Policy in Europe since the Late Middle Ages: The Visible Hand and the Fortune of Cities (Leicester, 1992); Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation, and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008). 4

Introduction

3

government and political discourses which emerged in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities.7 The connection with ‘modernity’ is an ambiguous one. Although preindustrial cities are currently often considered to be leading centres of innovation and intellectual, artistic and scientific creativity,8 there is no denying that at that time, institutions in this domain differed considerably from standard institutional arrangements in the present. On the one hand, institutions in the earlier period appear to have shown a more restrictive attitude than those we see today regarding such aspects as admission to the city and the local economy through citizenship and guild regulations.9 On the other hand, institutional arrangements in the pre-modern period were often more likely to be real levers in the hands of urban actors than at present.10 Central governments only slowly prevailed in their efforts to impose state-centred economic policies and restrict or abolish the powers of urban corporations.11 Specific state regulations relating to the formation of human capital and the encouragement of innovation appeared even later. Compulsory schooling and patent and trademark laws, for instance, did not become widespread until the nineteenth century. Thus, the relationship between institutions, actors, regulation, deregulation and economic outcomes in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities is an intriguing and highly important object of study. For economic and socio-economic historians and historians of technology, Late Medieval and Early Modern cities are as relevant to examining the relationship between institutions, innovation and creativity as they are to those who study the history of government, politics and political discourse. The contributions to this volume set out to examine the relationship between, on the one hand, institutional arrangements and regulatory mechanisms such as For example Robert D. Putnam, Making Democracy Work. Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton, 1993); Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner, eds, Republicanism. A Shared European Heritage (Cambridge, 2002); Katherine D. Lynch, Individuals, Families, and Communities in Europe, 1200–1800. The Urban Foundations of Western Society (Cambridge, 2003). 8 For example Richard A. Goldthwaite, Wealth and the Demand for Art in Italy, 1300– 1600 (Baltimore, 1995); Patrick K. O’Brien et al., eds, Urban Achievement in Early Modern Europe: Golden Ages in Antwerp, Amsterdam and London (Cambridge, 2001); Deborah E. Harkness, The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (New Haven, 2007). 9 A status quaestionis and additional references in: Bert De Munck and Anne Winter, eds, Gated Communities? Regulating Migration in Early Modern Cities (Aldershot, 2012). 10 For an up-to-date perspective on guilds, see Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds. 11 On the abolition of guilds, see, among others, James R. Farr, Artisans in Europe, 1300–1914 (Cambridge, 2000), chapter 8; Steven L. Kaplan, La fin des corporations (Paris, 2001); Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, ed., Das Ende der Zünfte. Ein europäischer Vergleich (Göttingen, 2002). See also additional references there. 7

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citizenship and guild rules and, on the other hand, innovation and creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities. It will be analysed whether, in what context and why regulation or deregulation really mattered for innovation and creativity, and what the impact was of long-term changes in the political and economic sphere, as sketched above. Before discussing what the chapters in this volume have to say on these questions, let us first take stock of the relevant literature and historical debates. Innovation, Institutions and Pre-industrial Cities: an Overview of the Literature Late Medieval and Early Modern cities are often portrayed as paramount centres of accumulation of technical knowledge.12 They are depicted as cradles of artistic creativity and hotbeds of a new material culture. Cities in Renaissance Italy and in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Northwestern Europe are the most obvious cases in point.13 But how did this come about? Why did cities rather than rural environments produce new artistic genres, new product forms and new techniques? How did pre-industrial cities turn into centres of innovation and creativity? The current literature suggests several ways to tackle these questions. From the perspective of economic geography, spatial clustering is a key factor. Economic geographers hold that spatial clustering creates a superior degree of competitiveness, especially with regard to competition on quality, innovation and novelty, rather than on price. The shorter the distance between economic actors in related industries, so the argument runs, the less costly interactive collaboration, information spillovers and learning will be, and hence, the higher the level of organizational efficiency, product innovation and accumulation of knowledge.14 In short: proximity plainly matters. This effect is not only related to inter-firm networking, but also to the existence of local institutions. Moreover, spatial clustering is likely not only to create distinctive 12 Useful overviews in Alexander Cowan, Urban Europe, 1500–1700 (London, 1998), chapter 1; Peter Clark, European Cities and Towns, 400–2000 (Oxford, 2009), chapters 3 and 8. 13 Goldthwaite, Wealth; Michelle O’Malley and Evelyn Welch, eds, The Material Renaissance (Manchester and New York, 2007); Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, eds, Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods (London, 2002); Maxine Berg, Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Oxford, 2005). 14 See footnote 5 and, among many others, Thomas Brenner, Local Industrial Clusters: Existence, Emergence and Evolution (London and New York, 2004); Thomas Brenner and Dirk Fornahl, ‘Lokale Cluster – Theorie, empirische Erkenntnisse und politische Implikationen’, in Reith, Pichler and Dirninger, eds, Innovationskultur, pp. 185–210.

Introduction

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economic trajectories, but also to lead to path dependencies, which imply that patterns of specialization and competitiveness between countries and regions can show a high degree of persistence.15 What is less clear, however, is why this spatial clustering happened in cities rather than in, say, industrial regions in the countryside. Why did one particular city rather than another gain the status of a ‘place of quality’? What part did demand play in this process, and what was the relevance of environmental factors such as the availability of raw materials? Moreover, what role did geopolitical factors and immigration play? To what extent did local institutions create or follow ecological, demographic and geopolitical transformations? Until about the 1980s the origins of economic development were often sought for on the countryside, in either agriculture or proto-industrialization, but this is no longer self-evident – to say the least. Historians have found concentrations of creativity and innovation in pre-industrial European cities in a variety of contexts. The nature of the urban political regime does not seem to have mattered very much. Both oligarchic regimes and regimes with a larger degree of popular participation, for instance, could offer fertile environments for artistic creativity. While the latter kind of regime may have allowed masters more agency and leeway, the former probably entailed a higher level of demand for luxury products on the part of cultural and political elites.16 Moreover, while product innovation and creativity could occur both in periods of economic prosperity and in times of long-term decline,17 outbursts of innovation could take place in very different institutional contexts as well. Many product 15 For example Maskell et.al., Competitiveness; Richard Whitley, Divergent Capitalisms: The Social Structuring and Change of Business Systems (Oxford, 1999); James Mahoney, ‘Path Dependence in Historical Sociology’, Theory and Society, 29/4 (2000): pp. 507–48; Ron A. Boschma and Robert C. Kloosterman, eds, Learning from Clusters: A Critical Assessment from an Economic-Geographical Perspective (Dordrecht, 2005); Thomas Brenner, ‘Cluster Dynamics and Policy Implications’, Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 52 (2008): pp. 146–62. 16 For example Arnold Hauser, Social History of Art (2 vols, London, 1999, 3rd ed.); Robert S. Lopez and Harry A. Miskimin, ‘The Economic Depression of the Renaissance’, Economic History Review, 14/3 (1962): pp. 408–26; Herman van der Wee, ed., The Rise and Decline of Urban Industries in Italy and in the Low Countries (Leuven, 1988); Alfons K.L. Thijs., ‘Antwerp’s Luxury Industries: the Pursuit of Profit and Artistic Sensitivity’, in Jan Van Der Stock, ed., Antwerp: Story of a Metropolis, 16th–17th Century (Antwerp, 1993), pp. 105–13; Goldthwaite, Wealth. 17 For example Herman Van Der Wee, ‘Industrial Dynamics and the Process of Urbanization and De-urbanization in the Low Countries from the Late Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century. A Synthesis’, in Van Der Wee, ed., The Rise and Decline, pp. 307–81; Maxine Berg, ‘From Imitation to Invention: Creating Commodities in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Economic History Review, 45/1 (2002): pp. 1–30. See also Bruno Blondé and Ilja Van Damme, ‘Retail Growth and Consumer Changes in a Declining Urban Economy: Antwerp (1650–1750)’, Economic History Review, 63/3 (2010): pp. 638–63.

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innovations in export industries in the Southern Netherlands in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, for example, were introduced in the context of so-called ‘strong’ guilds – that is, guilds with considerable political influence, dominated by master craftsmen.18 In the Dutch Republic, by contrast, many innovations emerged in contexts where guilds were weak and/or dominated by merchants, or where no guilds existed at all.19 Nonetheless, while the dynamics of proto-industrialization were mostly connected to deregulation and entrepreneurs escaping urban monopolies, institutions take pride of place in much recent research.20 On the one hand, some historians argue that the regulatory mechanisms maintained by urban authorities, craft guilds and other local institutions may have been beneficial to urban centres in pre-industrial Europe, because they helped to guarantee the supply of technical knowledge and the formation of human capital. Urban governments, for example, attracted skilled immigrants by granting temporary monopolies to entrepreneurs in possession of promising new techniques or ‘trade secrets’.21 Craft guilds stimulated innovation by means of their privileges and monopolies, which in effect may have served as kinds of collective patents. Moreover, guilds are supposed to have increased the stock of human capital through the apprenticeship system. Stephan R. (Larry) Epstein, notably, has claimed that as a result of the legal prerogatives of masters, the levy of entry Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Different Paths of Development. Capitalism in the Northern and Southern Netherlands during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period’, Review, 20 (1997): pp. 211–42; Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Subcontracting in GuildBased Export Trades, Thirteenth-Eighteenth centuries’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, pp. 81–113. 19 Karel Davids, The Rise and Decline of Dutch Technological Leadership. Technology, Economy and Culture in the Netherlands, 1350–1800 (2 vols, Leiden, 2008), especially chapters 6 and 7. 20 For example Avner Greif, Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy. Lessons from Medieval Trade (Cambridge, 2006); Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘“Whatever is, is right”? Economic Institutions in Pre-industrial Europe’, Economic History Review, 60 (2007): pp. 649–84; Sheilagh Ogilvie, Institutions and European Trade. Merchants Guilds, 1000– 1800 (Cambridge, 2011). 21 Luca Molà, ‘Artigiani e brevetti nella Firenze del Cinquecento’, in Franco Franceschi and Gloria Fossi, eds, Arti fiorentine. La grande storia dell’artigianato, vol. III: Il Cinquecento (Florence, 2000), pp. 57–79; Carlo Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents, and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge: Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age’, Technology and Culture, 45/3 (2004): pp. 569–89; Carlo Belfanti, ‘Between Mercantilism and Market: Privileges for Invention in Early Modern Europe’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 2 (2006): pp. 319–38; Karel Davids, ‘Beginning Entrepreneurs and Municipal Governments in Holland at the time of the Dutch Republic’, in Leo Noordegraaf and Clé Lesger, eds, Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship in Early Modern Times. Merchants and Industrialists within the Orbit of the Dutch Staple Market (The Hague, 1995), pp. 167–83. 18

Introduction

7

fees (serving as bonds) and the promise of end-term rewards (such as privileged entry into the labour market or access to the guild labour market monopsony), guilds effectively ensured that apprentices would serve out their contracts.22 For such reasons, cities with a highly developed guild system are assumed to have been more innovative than others. Yet, guilds can also be viewed in a less favourable light. Traditionally guilds were seen as coercive institutions, rather than as benign, innovation-friendly organizations.23 From an economic perspective, guilds were assumed to have installed monopolies and cartels out of rent-seeking concerns. From a cultural perspective they were associated with patriarchal social relations, which were institutionalized through the mandatory apprenticeship system. Recently, Sheilagh Ogilvie has forcefully restated these views by pointing again to the exclusionary and rent-seeking concerns of guild boards.24 The institutional approach should thus not allow us to forget that rules and institutions are manmade and hence a matter of politics, instead of being purely technical affairs. Key questions to ask, then, are: who supported which rules or which type of institutions? Who had the power to regulate in the first place? What was the role of master artisans (big or small), of merchants (incorporated or not), of urban governments (dominated by merchants or by nobles) and – last but not least – of territorial states and princes? Although the answers to these questions may show wide variations, a few historical patterns can nevertheless be discerned. In some regions of Europe, it was not at all uncommon to find guilds which were to some extent able to regulate economic activity ‘from the bottom up’. In politically independent German free cities (Reichsstädte) and a host of small towns in other areas, such as Switzerland, craft guilds represented the interests of small independent producers. To the extent that these guilds could influence local politics or were represented in local governmental bodies, they are likely to have been instrumental in shaping an economic policy geared towards the interests of small master craftsmen.25 Large manufacturing centres in Southern and 22 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Pre-Industrial Europe’, Journal of Economic History, 58/3 (1998): pp. 684–713. 23 For an overview, see Farr, Artisans in Europe, 1300–1914 (Cambridge, 2000). 24 Sheilagh Ogilvie, State Corporatism and Proto-Industry. The Württemberg Black Forest, 1580–1797 (Cambridge, 1997); Sheilagh Ogilvie, A Bitter Living: Women, Markets, and Social Capital in Early Modern Germany (Oxford, 2004); Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Guilds, Efficiency and Social Capital: Evidence from German Proto-Industry’, Economic History Review, 57/2 (2004): pp. 286–333. For a specific case study, see: Bert De Munck, ‘Gilding Golden Ages. Perspectives From Early Modern Antwerp on the Guild-Debate, c. 1450– c. 1650’, European Review of Economic History, 15 (2011): pp. 221–53. 25 Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, Worthy Efforts. Attitudes to Work and Workers in Preindustrial Europe (Leiden, 2012), p. 333.

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8

Western Europe, by contrast, normally had different political structures. In the silk industries of Bologna, Genoa and Verona, the silk and wool trade in Milan and silk cloth-weaving in Lyons, for example, all stages of production, up to and including distribution, were encompassed by a single, or a few, ‘umbrella guilds’. These umbrella guilds were controlled by big master-entrepreneurs or merchant-entrepreneurs, who were at the same time economic magnates as well as dominant figures in local politics.26 As such, these heavyweights not only controlled the labour market and monitored product quality, but they also influenced the degree of openness of guilds towards newcomers and the adoption of new technologies. In several towns in the Northern Netherlands, after 1580, supervision of the quality of production in textile industries was entrusted to ‘umbrella’ organizations created by the urban authorities, called neringen. These neringen were governed by representatives from the town government as well as from the major industrial producers. In contrast with guilds, neringen by definition comprised all persons involved in the production process in a particular branch of manufacturing.27 According to Ulrich Pfister, such institutional and power constellations largely explain particular attitudes towards new technologies in a given sector or city. In a stimulating article on the introduction of the engine loom in the European silk ribbon industry, Pfister argued that small independent producers normally favoured only capital-saving process innovations and labour and skillintensive product innovations. Labour-saving and capital-intensive innovations, by contrast, were probably greeted with hostility because they threatened to reduce the producers’ skill-premium and overburden their scarce resources of capital. Large merchant-entrepreneurs, in contrast, may have welcomed capital-intensive and labour-saving innovations in particular.28 This relationship certainly does not hold in every case, however. Karel Davids has shown, for instance, that in the Northern Netherlands, the ban on using engine looms that was issued by the States General in 1623 was for many years most zealously Giorgio Borelli, ‘A Reading of the Relationship between Cities, Manufacturing Crafts and Guilds in Early Modern Italy’, in Alberto Guenzi, Paola Massa and Fausto Piola Caselli, eds, Guilds, Markets and Work Regulation in Italy, 16th–19th Centuries (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 19–31, at pp. 27–8; Luca Molà, The Silk Industry of Renaissance Venice (Baltimore, 2000); Angelo Moioli, ‘The Changing Role of the Guilds in the Reorganisation of the Milanese Economy Throughout the Sixteenth and the Eighteenth Centuries’, in Guenzi, Massa and Piola Caselli, eds, Guilds, pp. 32–55; Ulrich Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds, Theory of the Firm, and Early Modern Proto-Industry’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, pp. 25–51, at pp. 32–6. 27 Davids, Rise and Decline, pp. 384–5. 28 Ulrich Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds and Technological Change: The Engine Loom in the European Silk Ribbon Industry in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, pp. 172–98. 26

Introduction

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enforced in the very city where merchant-entrepreneurs ruled supreme, namely Amsterdam.29 Another way in which institutional and power constellations may have affected innovation in cities is via guilds’ policies towards specific groups of newcomers. Big master craftsmen are likely to have welcomed skilled and unskilled journeymen while scaling back restrictions on workshop size, but merchant-entrepreneurs managing putting-out networks may have been more keen on incorporating a large number of small masters, while limiting workshop size and, hence, the influx of journeymen.30 Regional differences were also related to the role of territorial states and princes. To a large extent, the chronology of state formation and territorial expansion determined the degree of autonomy of individual guilds and the political influence of independent masters. Guilds and master artisans often had a strong voice in local politics in those regions where guilds were founded early, that is, when centralizing powers had barely appeared upon the scene. This was notably the case in early urbanized areas, such as Central-Northern Italy and the Low Countries.31 Divergent patterns can be discerned within these regions, too. In Central-Northern Italy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the power of guilds visibly declined in areas such as the Duchy of Milan and the Venetian Republic, where urban oligarchies were increasingly subjected to territorial governments.32 Within the Low Countries, guilds possessed more political clout in the County of Flanders and the Duchy of Brabant than in the northern and eastern parts of the region, including the areas that later formed the heartland of the Dutch Republic, namely Holland and Zeeland. In southern cities with large manufacturing sectors, such as Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels, guilds, and hence master craftsmen, were as a rule represented in local governmental bodies. In northern industrial cities such as Leiden and Amsterdam, by contrast, both the manufacturing sector and local politics were for a long time dominated by

Davids, Rise and Decline, p. 377. Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp from the 15th Century to the End of the Ancien Régime (Turnhout, 2007), p. 269. See also Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Export Industries, Craft Guilds and Capitalist Trajectories’, in Maarten Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries. Work, Power and Representation (Aldershot, 2006), pp. 107–32; and Lis and Soly, Worthy Efforts, p. 331. 31 Borelli, ‘A Reading’, p. 28; Bert De Munck, Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, ‘The Guilds in the Northern and the Southern Netherlands: A Comparative Perspective’, in Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds, pp. 32–73; Luca Mocarelli, ‘The Guilds Reappraised: Italy in the Early Modern Period’, in Jan Lucassen, Tine De Moor and Jan L. van Zanden, eds, The Return of the Guilds (Cambridge, 2009), pp. 159–78 (International Review of Social History, Supplement 16). 32 Borelli, ‘A Reading’, pp. 29–32. 29 30

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merchant-entrepreneurs.33 Master artisans in these cities lacked both economic and political power.34 Nor did skewed institutional and power relations invariably imply that the policies of urban governments were harmful to the interests of small masters. Amsterdam’s restrictive policy with regard to engine looms, mentioned above, clearly suggests that urban policies could be driven by other considerations than the apparently straightforward logic of merchant capitalism. Even in cities controlled by merchant-entrepreneurs, such as Leiden and Amsterdam, governments in fact often did care about the interests of small craft producers in export industries. In these towns in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ‘small commodity production’, as Robert DuPlessis and Martha Howell have called it,35 was supported by a variety of measures aimed at protecting small independent masters from the vagaries of the market, ranging from municipal provisions for inspecting, selling, storing and pawning goods to governmentsponsored facilities for leasing equipment, purchasing raw materials and marketing products, as well as outright payment of premiums or subsidies to producers. Such policies could be justified from both a fiscal-economic and a moral-ideological point of view. Protecting small commodity producers made eminent fiscal-economic sense, because it meant more employment, higher tax income and fewer claims upon urban poor relief. From a moral-ideological perspective, it was also the proper thing to do, because it demonstrated the commitment of the rulers to the prosperity of their city and strengthened the cohesion of the urban community.36 Regarding citizenship, which was a common precondition for admission to a guild, governments did not necessarily favour the interests of particular urban groups either. Erika Kuijpers and Maarten Prak have demonstrated, for example, that changes in the rate for admission to citizenship in seventeenthcentury Amsterdam were not related to changes in the urban labour market. The magistrate did not lower or raise the rates for admission depending on the growth or contraction of demand for labour. Until the 1660s, the principal reason for raising the rate was not to protect the interests of established master 33 Maarten Prak, ‘Corporate Politics in the Low Countries: Guilds as Institutions, 14th to 18th Centuries’, in Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds, pp. 88–92. 34 Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Craft Guilds in Comparative Perspective: a Survey’, in Prak et al.,eds, Craft Guilds, pp. 1–31, at p. 16. See also footnote 18. 35 Robert DuPlessis and Martha C. Howell, ‘Reconsidering the Early Modern Urban Economy: The Cases of Leiden and Lille’, Past and Present, 94 (1982): pp. 49–84. 36 Karel Davids, ‘Neringen, hallen en gilden. Kapitalisten, kleine ondernemers en de stedelijke overheid in de tijd van de Republiek’, in Karel Davids, Wantje Fritschy and Louise A. van der Valk, eds, Kapitaal, ondernemerschap en beleid. Studies over economie en politiek in Nederland, Europa en Azië van 1500 tot heden (Amsterdam, 1996), pp. 95–119, at pp. 100–112.

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craftsmen, but to generate extra income for urban charitable institutions.37 On the other hand, interest in the purchase of citizenship in Early Modern cities was not a constant, either, as Maarten Van Dijck has argued. In many towns in the Low Countries, the number of citizens as a proportion of the total population remained at best stable or even showed a significant decline, especially in the course of the eighteenth century.38 With regard to human capital formation, recent research has also shown that guilds and the apprenticeship system were much less intertwined than has often been thought. Although apprenticeship was doubtless one of the most ubiquitous institutions for the formation of human capital in Early Modern Europe, it was not dependent on the existence of guilds. Apprenticeship could function outside, and even without, a corporative system. There were many other ways in which agreements between masters and apprentices (or their parents or guardians) could be recorded and enforced. Notaries, neringen, civic courts, orphanages and other sorts of urban institutions could in fact play a similar role.39 Moreover, in the eighteenth century knowledge and skills were increasingly transmitted both via shop-floor learning and via occupational training institutions such as drawing schools, spinning schools and engineering schools, or else through the circulation of books and recipes.40 Thus, supervision Erika Kuijpers and Maarten Prak, ‘Burger, ingezetene, vreemdeling: burgerschap in Amsterdam in de zeventiende eeuw ’, in Joost Kloek and Karin Tilmans, eds, Een geschiedenis van het begrip ‘burger’ in de Nederlanden van de Middeleeuwen tot de 21ste eeuw (Amsterdam, 2002), pp. 113–32, at pp. 121–2. 38 Maarten F. Van Dijck, ‘Towards an Economic Interpretation of Justice? Conflict Settlement, Social Control and Civil Society in Urban Brabant and Mechelen during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period’, in Manon van der Heijden et al., eds, Serving the Urban Community. The Rise of Public Facilities in the Low Countries (Amsterdam, 2009), pp. 62–88, at pp. 63–4. 39 De Munck, Technologies, chapter 1.1; Bert De Munck and Hugo Soly, ‘Learning on the Shop Floor in Historical Perspective’, in Bert de Munck, Steven L. Kaplan and Hugo Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor. Historical Perspectives on Apprenticeship (New York and Oxford, 2007), pp. 3–32, at pp. 8–13; Karel Davids, ‘Apprenticeship and Guild Control in the Netherlands, c. 1450–1800’, in De Munck, Kaplan and Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor, pp. 65–84; De Munck, ‘Gilding Golden Ages’, pp. 227–9. See also: Jane Humphries, ‘English Apprenticeship: A Neglected Factor in the First Industrial Revolution’, in Paul A. David and Mark Thomas, eds, The Economic Future in Historical Perspective (Oxford, 2003), pp. 73–102; Patrick Wallis, ‘Apprenticeship and Training in Pre-industrial England’, Journal of Economic History, 68 (2008): pp. 832–61; Patrick Wallis, ‘Labor, Law, and Training in Early Modern London: Apprenticeship and the City’s Institutions’, Journal of British Studies, 51 (2012): pp. 791–813. 40 For example Anne Puetz, ‘Design Instruction for Artisans in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Design History, 12/3 (1999): pp. 217–39; De Munck and Soly, ‘Learning on the Shop Floor’, pp. 3–34, at pp. 6–8; Clare H. Crowston, ‘From School to Workshop. Pre37

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and enforcement by craft guilds may have been useful instruments for reducing the incidence of free-riding and helping to solve the problem of coordination which is inherent in the provision of a public good such as the transmission of knowledge and skills, but there were also other means to ensure that this public good would be supplied in a socially efficient quantity. On top of this, institutions in cities of course changed over time. These changes occurred not only as a result of interactions between actors in cities themselves, such as artisans, merchant-entrepreneurs or local political elites, but also as a product of forces whose scope and driving power far exceeded the reach of a single group or city. The range and nature of institutions such as guilds, citizenship or apprenticeship were not merely dependent on intra-urban power relations, but to varying degrees they were also determined by external processes. In particular, in the Early Modern period, state formation and centralization had a growing impact on urban governments, corporative systems and institutions for the promotion and transmission of knowledge, as discussed above. In addition, these institutions were also affected by long-term changes in the economic sphere. Studies on Italy, for instance, have shown that merchants and guilds had ‘a complex and difficult relationship’ which was dependent on variations in economic trends: ‘In periods of economic growth, the merchants could operate exclusively through the city guilds; the contemporary demographic increase tended to bring down wage levels. In periods of economic crisis or stagnation, production tended to move outside, to peasant families, thus exalting the figure of the merchant entrepreneur’.41 For Europe in general, Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly have drawn attention to the continuous process of proletarianization – that is, ‘the increase in the number of full-time and part-time wage dependents’ – between c. 1100 and the mid-nineteenth century, which in their view had a much greater influence on attitudes to work and workers than ‘any other social change’, even if it passed unnoticed by contemporary observers. No social group could escape its impact.42 And it certainly must have affected urban institutions and the context for innovation and creativity. training and Apprenticeship in Old Regime France’, in De Munck, Kaplan and Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor, pp. 46–62; Karel Davids, ‘Apprenticeship and Guild Control’; Liliane Hilaire-Pérez, ‘Technology as a Public Culture in the Eighteenth Century: The Artisans’ legacy’, History of Science, 45/2 (2007): pp. 135–54; Bert De Munck, ‘Corpses, Live Models, and Nature. Assessing Skills and Knowledge Before the Industrial Revolution (case: Antwerp)’, Technology and Culture, 51/2 (2010): pp. 332–56; Janneke Tump, Ambachtelijk geschoold. Haarlemse en Rotterdamse ambachtslieden en de circulatie van technische kennis, ca. 1400–1720 (Amsterdam, 2012). 41 Alberto Guenzi and Paola Massa, ‘Introduction’, pp. 2–3. 42 Lis and Soly, Worthy Efforts, pp. 567–8.

Introduction

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A Comparative Approach The perspectives, concepts and insights discussed so far will be instrumental in addressing the central issue of this book: the relationship between innovation and creativity and urban contexts in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. The concept of innovation itself is versatile, of course. In fact, in the last few decades it has been broadened from a focus on great ‘discoveries’ by ingenious ‘heroes’ to one that includes less visible innovations in the sphere of artisans’ embodied and often tacit know-how.43 In line with this literature, our book adopts a broad definition of innovation, including incremental as well as radical innovations, and product innovations as well as process innovations. Moreover, the contributors to this volume examine the relationship between economic innovation and the urban context partly from the angle of economic geography, and partly from institutional and processual perspectives. In so doing, they take stock of recent debates on the role of guilds, citizenship, apprenticeship, town governments and other urban institutions, as well as of discussions on the impact of state formation and long-term socio-economic changes. Geographically, this book concentrates on the most urbanized and technologically innovative regions in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, namely Italy (especially the northern and central regions) and the Low Countries (both the Southern Netherlands and the Dutch Republic). In contrast to the studies in the classic volume edited by Herman Van Der Wee, the focus in this book lies on issues of innovation and creativity instead of questions of deurbanization and de-industrialization.44 The 14 chapters together cover a wide variety of cities and economic sectors in different periods of time. The cities that are discussed show marked differences in economic, political and socio-cultural respects, as well as in size of population and the economic sectors that are studied, which range all the way from the production of low-value goods for local or regional markets to the manufacture of high-quality commodities for customers abroad. This diverse set of cases allows us to make a variety of comparisons, although the eventual objective is not to compare Italy and the Low Countries (including their sub-regions) as such, but to improve our understanding of the 43 See Reinhold Reith, ‘Technische Innovationen im Handwerk der frühen Neuzeit? Traditionen, Probleme und Perspektiven der Forschung’, in Karl Heinrich Kaufhold and Wilfried Reininghaus, eds, Stadt und Handwerk in Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit (Cologne, Weimar and Vienna, 2000), pp. 21–60. For the distinction between micro-inventions and macro-inventions and the historical interaction between ‘prescriptive’ knowledge (technical and practical know-how) and ‘propositional’ knowledge (knowledge on regularities, principles, natural laws), see: Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches. Technological Creativity and Economic Progress (Oxford, 1990) and Joel Mokyr, The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy (Princeton, 2002). 44 Van Der Wee, ed., Rise and Decline.

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causal mechanisms involved. We will not present an entirely new model for the explanation of economic innovation in urban contexts, but we nevertheless hope to offer fresh perspectives for further research. In so doing, we stress complexity rather than mono-causality, contingency rather than predictability, and path dependency rather than teleological necessity. While starting from models, we end up with the thickness of history. This book sets out to address questions such as: did institutional arrangements and regulatory mechanisms such as citizenship and guilds in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities indeed foster innovation and creativity? What measures (ad hoc or structural) were implemented and with what results? What exactly was the connection between, on the one hand, institutions and regulatory mechanisms and, on the other hand, the production and transmission of technical knowledge and the formation of human capital? How did the conflicting interests of merchants, urban authorities and guild-based masters materialize in regulations related to entrance to the city and/or the guilds? Was technological innovation the intended effect of deliberate policies or rather the unintended result of a specific complex of regulations, institutions or – for that matter – wider geopolitical factors and market forces? And finally: what was the impact of state formation, centralization and long-term changes in the socioeconomic sphere on urban institutions and the context for innovation and creativity? These questions are examined against the background of the broader regional and historical divergences that are a well known, though little understood, feature of the economic history of Early Modern Europe. Between the Late Middle Ages and the middle of the eighteenth century, technological leadership in Europe shifted successively from Northern and Central Italy, South Germany and the Southern Netherlands via the Dutch Republic to Britain, where it remained until the end of the Victorian era.45 During the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance era, urban artisans and merchant-entrepreneurs in Italy and Germany were in the forefront of innovation in trades and industries such as textile-making, ceramics, metalworking, glass manufacture, painting, sculpture, instrument-making, soap-making and sugar refining.46 Between the fourteenth 45 Karel Davids and Jan Lucassen, ‘Introduction’, in Karel Davids and Jan Lucassen, eds, A Miracle Mirrored. The Dutch Republic in European perspective (Cambridge, 2011), pp. 438–60; Karel Davids, ‘Shifts of Technological Leadership in Early Modern Europe’, in Davids and Lucassen, eds, A Miracle Mirrored, pp. 338–66. 46 See for example Luca Molà, ‘Il mercante innovatore’, in Franco Franceschi, Richard A. Goldthwaite and Reinhold C. Mueller, eds, Il Rinascimiento Italiano e l’Europa., vol. IV, Commercio e culture mercantile (Treviso-Vicenza, 2007), pp. 623–54; Luca Mola, ‘Il mercato delle innovazioni nell’Italia del Rinascimiento’, in Matthieu Arnoux and Pierre Monnet, eds, Le technicien dans la cité en Europe Occidentale, 1250–1650 (Rome, 2004), pp. 215–50; Wolfgang von Stromer, ‘Nürnberg als Epizentrum von Erfindungen und Innovationen an der

Introduction

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and late sixteenth centuries, cities in Flanders and Brabant rose to prominence as centres of creativity in luxury industries such as the manufacture of high quality woollens, silks and tapestries and the gold- and silversmith’s trade, as well as painting, cabinetmaking, diamond cutting, ceramics, sugar refining and book production.47 Cities in the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were innovative across an extremely broad range of industries, from cloth production, silk weaving, diamond cutting, painting and publishing to sugar refining, distilling, calico printing, Delftware-making and tobacco pipe manufacture. The same is true, but even more so, of urban centres in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The question as to why the urban economies of Northern Italy declined in the medieval period is a hotly debated one. Traditionally, this is ascribed to the guilds’ rent-seeking behaviour, but how should we understand this from the perspective of new institutional economics, in which guilds are seen as having lowered transaction costs and enhanced economic efficiency? By extension, how should we understand both the relationship between strong guilds and economic prosperity in the sixteenth-century Golden Age in the Southern Netherlands and between economic growth and weak guilds in the seventeenthcentury Dutch Republic? And last but not least, what was the impact of these regional differences on the country’s transformation in the eighteenth century, which was characterized by free-market thinking, the decline of guilds and the establishment of new economic and educational institutions? The chapters in this volume follow each other in a roughly chronological order. The first chapter, by Corine Maitte, studies innovations and the circulation of knowledge in glassmaking from the Late Middle Ages until the end of the seventeenth century, by comparing two communities of glassmakers in Northern Italy, namely Murano (near Venice) and Altare (in the former area of Montferrat), and their relations with different cities and sovereigns in Europe. Glassmakers in both places were organized in guilds, but the settings were significantly different: Murano was part of a city, but Altare never officially achieved an urban status. In Francesco Ammannati’s chapter, the focus lies on regulations by the ‘umbrella’ guild for woollen production in Florence, the Arte della lana, and the ducal government’s progressive interference in this industry in the sixteenth century. Edoardo Demo discusses the rise of the silk industry in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Vicenza, which largely developed outside Wende vom Mittelalter zur Neuzeit’, in Karl A. Schachtschneider, ed., Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft und Staat im Umbruch (Berlin, 1995), pp. 668–87; Hermann Maué, Quasi centrum Europae. Europa kauft in Nürnberg; 1400–1800 (Nuremberg, 2002). 47 Herman Van Der Wee, The Growth of the Antwerp Market and the European Economy (Fourteenth-Sixteenth Centuries) (3 vols, Leuven/Paris/The Hague, 1963); Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘Structural Changes in the Antwerp Industry from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century’, in Van Der Wee, ed., Rise and Decline, pp. 207–12; Thijs, ‘Antwerp’s Luxury Industries’.

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Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities

any guild structure at all. Jan De Meester then discusses policies concerning immigration and citizenship, and their relevance to technological innovation, in sixteenth-century Antwerp. Soap production in various cities in Northern and Central Italy between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries is the subject of a chapter by Alberto Grandi. Andrea Caracausi investigates how technological innovation, or the lack of it, in textile manufacturing in Padua in the Early Modern period was influenced by a complex set of power relations between a variety of local and regional actors and institutions (merchants, guilds, charitable institutions, urban and state governments and so forth). The remaining chapters concentrate on developments in the Low Countries. Claartje Rasterhoff examines the mechanisms underlying the development of urban clusters of innovative activities in painting and publishing in the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Following this, chapters by Karel Davids and Bert De Munck, Janneke Tump and Raoul De Kerf discuss the admission policies of guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries. While Tump and De Kerf present in-depth studies of coopers’ guilds in Haarlem, Rotterdam and Antwerp, Davids and De Munck compare a range of guilds in a variety of towns in the Northern and Southern Low Countries between about 1450 and 1800. Annelies De Bie and Dries Lyna analyse the changing roles of apprenticeship and academies of fine arts in the formation of artisans’ skills in luxury industries in Antwerp in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The last two chapters in this volume deal with the relation between innovation in cities, migration of skilled people and the impact of state formation and centralization in eighteenth-century Italy. Alida Clemente demonstrates how the remarkable rise of ceramic production in Naples was first made possible by the promotion of immigration of skilled artisans for employment in manufactories founded by the Bourbon state, which brought growth in consumer demand and an expansion of production in the private sector. In Trieste, by contrast, Daniele Andreozzi shows that the growth of trade and manufacturing activities was not simply a result of half-hearted efforts on the part of the Habsburg imperial bureaucracy to revitalize the city by attracting skilled workers, but rather a consequence of myriad individual choices made in the context of communities and the friendship and patronage relationships available to the merchants and masters who were active in the relevant trade routes. Taken together, these 14 chapters extend our understanding of the relationship between innovation, creativity and urban contexts in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. The main findings, insights and suggestions are discussed in more detail hereafter. The structure of the rest of this introduction is as follows. We start with the familiar question of guilds and technological innovation, then move on to the issue of apprenticeship and other institutions and mechanisms relating to skill formation. Next, we examine migration, citizenship policies and the spatial circulation of knowledge, followed by a discussion of innovation,

Introduction

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urban networks and urban hierarchies and an analysis of the relation between urban institutions, state formation and centralization. We conclude with some reflections about how the debate on the relationship between innovation, creativity and urban contexts may be continued ‘beyond the guilds’. Guilds and Technological Innovation While up to the 1970s historians commonly saw guilds as barriers to technological innovation, today the opposite seems true.48 The issue is still far from settled, however. The famous debate between the revisionist Epstein and the sceptic Ogilvie in the Economic History Review was bound to remain inconclusive, as these historians mostly referred to different types of guilds in different regions of Europe.49 The importance of regional variations has been revealed, among others, by those who claim that guild policies with regard to technological innovation could vary markedly according to the specific local context, in particular according to the power constellations involved. Ulrich Pfister, notably, has insisted that the acceptance of new techniques must have depended to a large extent on the power relations within the guild.50 The problem here, however, is that Pfister’s hypotheses have hardly been tested empirically – if at all. As far as the cases discussed in this volume are concerned, none of them lends support to the thesis that guilds generally put obstacles in the way of technological innovation. A sophisticated industry such as glassmaking, for instance, hardly had any regulations regarding the specifics of the product or the techniques used, as Corine Maitte points out.51 ‘Umbrella guilds’ such as the wool-makers’ guild in Florence did not enforce any strict rules in this respect either. According to Francesco Ammannati, the Arte della Lana often even relaxed its rules when market conditions required this, including the ordinances related to product quality and the exclusive use of certain raw materials, such as English wool.52 Annelies De Bie’s chapter on diamond polishers in Antwerp shows that the rules related to product standards could be adapted if demand 48 Cf. for example Carlo Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution. European Society and Economy, 1000–1700 (New York, 1976), p. 242 and Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds. 49 Ogilvie, ‘“Whatever is, is right?”’; Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds’; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Rehabilitating the Guilds: A Reply’, Economic History Review, 61/1 (2008): pp. 175–82; Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds’, pp. 46–7; Lis and Soly, ‘Subcontracting’, p. 99. 50 Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds’. 51 See the contribution of Corine Maitte in this volume. See also Francesca Trivellato, ‘Guilds, Technology, and Economic Change in Early Modern Venice’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, pp. 199–231. 52 See the contribution of Francesco Ammannati in this volume.

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changed or if manufacturing masters began to specialize. This, at least, would explain why prospective masters in Antwerp were required to cut an ‘à la mode rose’ as part of their master test from 1672 onwards – in contrast with the ordinance of 1582.53 Claartje Rasterhoff ’s study illustrates how painting and publishing guilds in the Dutch Republic also adapted to shifting market conditions. All these examples strongly suggest that rules followed changing consumer preferences, rather than the other way around.54 While guild rules and policies apparently followed market conditions, it remains the case that guilds still felt the need to regulate certain aspects of the trade. To understand why, it is important to know what exactly was being regulated in guild ordinances. The most important challenge for artisans organized in guilds was to be competitive with niche products, as the contributions of Caracausi, De Bie and others in this volume clearly show. What guilds defined in their statutes and ordinances was not, primarily, the use of certain techniques, but the quality and standards of the products. The quality of raw materials employed in the production process could matter in this respect as well, as the examples of the soap-makers and the glassmakers, among others, suggest.55 Soap-making flourished in Venice thanks not only to large demand in the textile sector, but also the easy availability of specific raw materials such as soda, potassium and olive oil. Soap manufacturers outside of the Venetian Republic often used linseed oil, grapeseed oil or, above all, animal fats instead of olive oil, which made these ‘Venetian’ soaps markedly different from the soaps produced in Venice. Thus, changes in material culture and the choice of a particular niche market (and hence specific product standards) are possibly – next to institutional and power relations – better predictors of guilds’ attitudes towards technological innovation. To be sure, obstruction of technological innovation by guilds could occur. Innovations did sometimes encounter opposition in guild-dominated urban environments. Having said that, we should immediately add that it is not easy to predict whether a particular innovation would actually be accepted or not. As Andrea Caracausi demonstrates in this volume, innovations could be rejected in cases where Pfister’s model (on the influence of power relations) would at first sight predict otherwise. Whereas Pfister’s theory predicts that merchantentrepreneurs would welcome labour-saving technologies such as the silk ribbon frame and the woollen knitting frame, merchants in Padua in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – like merchants in Amsterdam before the 1660s – actually opposed the adoption of these process innovations. Distinctions between low See the contribution of Annelies De Bie in this volume. See the contribution of Claartje Rasterhoff in this volume. 55 See the contributions of Corine Maitte and Alberto Grandi in this volume. See also Bert De Munck, ‘Skills, Trust and Changing Consumer Preferences. The Decline of Antwerp’s Craft Guilds from the Perspective of the Product Market, ca. 1500–ca. 1800’, International Review of Social History, 53/2 (2008): pp. 197–233. 53 54

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and high-quality products did not matter either. Caracausi suggests instead that such process innovations were rejected because of the low level of demand and the abundance of cheap labour. In the end, market conditions seem to have dictated whether innovations were accepted or not. And these market conditions could in turn be determined in part by such demographic crises as the plague, which evidently affected the supply of labour and necessitated a certain flexibility. Power relations doubtless played a part, but they cannot be reduced to an abstract scheme that opposes merchants to master craftsmen, or employers to employees. On the one hand, even within specific groups, opinions and interests could differ significantly. In wool manufacturing in Florence, which was dominated by merchant-entrepreneurs, the guild loosened its grip on the collective management of woad and alum in the sixteenth century because it had to balance its needs with the commercial needs of Florentine merchants, who considered the trade in woad and alum a source of profit.56 On the other hand, guilds should be viewed in a larger context of political and economic interests. In Venice, Alberto Grandi explains, the Arte dei Saponari held a trade monopoly on vegetable and animal fats, which to a large extent were used for other professional aims as well – candle production and leather finishing, to name but a couple. In the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, these industries often came to be organized in independent guilds, too. Moreover, textile guilds had a strong say in soap-making because the quality of their product was dependent on the quality of the soap they used. In such cases, the introduction and acceptance of innovations depended on the intricate institutional and economic relations that existed between guilds and industries. The picture becomes even more complex when institutional relationships between cities are taken into account. While in Venice the soap-makers’ guild appears to have monitored product quality itself, in urban centres in the Venetian hinterland this task was often assigned to guilds in branches of industry that used soap as a material in their production processes, such as wool workers, silk weavers, dyers and so forth. Conflicts between soap-makers and textile guilds about the quality of the soap emerged as a result.57 Edoardo Demo points out that the freedom of movement of textile manufacturers in Vicenza to introduce new products was for a long time restricted by the regulations of the Venetian authorities. The eventual foundation of a silk guild in 1562 took place at the instigation of the Venetian government rather than at the behest of the citizens of Vicenza themselves.58

See the contribution of Ammannati in this volume. See the contribution of Grandi in this volume. 58 See the contribution of Edoardo Demo in this volume. 56 57

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Apprenticeship and Skill Formation Although guild rules and policies rarely provided a direct stimulus, or barrier, to technological change, they could in theory also affect innovation and creativity in other, indirect ways. One of the ways in which their impact could be felt, as Larry Epstein argued, was the contribution of guild regulations to human capital formation through apprenticeship. Fees and fines, for example, could be used as means to force apprentices or masters to honour apprenticeship agreements and thus to encourage investment in training. The Antwerp coopers’ guild, examined by Raoul De Kerf, for a long time tried to act as a contract-enforcing institution in this very sense. The sixteenth-century ordinances of the coopers’ guild listed sanctions for apprentices leaving their masters prematurely. Apprentices who absconded from their masters were forced to pay the entire tuition fee. Masters who lured apprentices away from other masters were punished with heavy fines.59 De Kerf ’s study also shows, however, that the role of the guild did not remain constant over time. Willingly or unwillingly, the coopers’ guild gradually transformed from an enforcer into a mediator. When a conflict between the two contracting parties (master and apprentice) arose, officials of the coopers’ guild increasingly tended to monitor the transfer of an apprentice to another master rather than to exact the continuation of the contract. What they in fact guaranteed, then, was not the quality of training or the benefits of an agreement for an individual master or apprentice, but the persistence of entry barriers to the guild. The deans of the guilds ensured that only those who had trained according to the rules could become regular masters. While this finding on Antwerp coopers could in a way still be viewed as evidence in favour of Epstein’s theory – end-term rewards serving as a type of bond which helped to ensure the growth of human capital stock – Andrea Caracausi’s chapter on Padua and Venice reminds us that distributional conflicts and the local social context mattered greatly as well.60 Caracausi’s case study shows that guilds could be founded in order to ensure the distribution of resources within a social group, and to defend this group’s rights against other groups. Insofar as guilds actually tested and certified technical competencies, they certified a worker’s ‘familiarity’ with local standards and customs rather than transferable skills. Thus, even if guilds on balance were instrumental in promoting human capital formation, the benefits of their actions were by no means equally spread. Annelies De Bie’s chapter on the Antwerp diamond cutters also demonstrates that guild regulations on entrance and learning practices could emanate See the contribution of Raoul De Kerf in this volume. The stipulation that apprentices had to finish their terms and the prohibition of masters luring away and employing apprentices who had absconded were standard in the Antwerp guild ordinances of the sixteenth century. De Munck, ‘Gilding Golden Ages’, p. 240. 60 See the contribution of Andrea Caracausi in this volume. 59

Introduction

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from social concerns. The main reason why the diamond cutters’ guild in late seventeenth-century Antwerp adapted the length of the apprenticeship terms and the maximum number of apprentices per master was to combat unemployment and to counteract the exploitation of apprentices as cheap workers. Moreover, in response to times of uncertainty, the number of apprenticeship contracts registered with a notary increased, too, in order to assure that apprentices were learning the job rather than being exploited as cheap labour. While these contracts were obviously registered at the initiative of individual masters or apprentices (or their parents and guardians), the diamond cutters’ guild was only concerned with this practice to a limited extent. Although the guild figured in these contracts whenever the masterpiece was referred to as a kind of learning objective, this appears to have been a side-effect rather than a matter of purposeful policy.61 At best, then, any impact on the part of the guilds on innovation or economic efficiency must have been unintended. Rather than shaping market forces, guilds responded to them. Market forces not only affected the involvement of guilds in the everyday practice of apprenticeship, but also influenced their policies with regard to entrance fees. Entrance fees were related to both intra-urban and inter-urban contexts. Guilds faced the challenge of not only how to regulate admission to a particular craft inside a given city, but also how to manoeuvre in a context of constant competition between cities for the most highly skilled people. In the comparative chapter on the Southern and Northern Netherlands by Karel Davids and Bert De Munck, it is shown that in some contexts, guilds actually devised inclusive strategies. According to their analysis, guilds in the Southern Netherlands faced severe financial problems, especially after 1585. While altars, chapels and houses had to be rebuilt in the wake of the destruction or neglect caused by the Revolt, the income of the guilds was reduced because of declining numbers of new apprentices and masters. Given the inconvenience of taxing members, the only way for guilds to avoid bankruptcy was to raise their fees. They softened the effect of this measure by simultaneously making masterpieces simpler and cheaper and abolishing expensive meals for guild members. Some guilds moreover raised the registration fee for apprentices while making part of it deductible from the master fee in order to prevent apprentices from absconding, and to encourage them to become a master in their city of birth instead of leaving. In introducing these policies, the overriding purpose of Flemish and Brabantine guilds was to ensure their own survival. In the Northern Netherlands, Davids and De Munck argue, this particular mechanism did not apply, because the consumption patterns of guilds and the situation on the labour market were markedly different. Entrance fees in guilds in the Dutch Republic were generally much lower than

See the contribution of De Bie in this volume.

61

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in the Southern Netherlands.62 In her case study on coopers in Rotterdam and Haarlem, Janneke Tump shows that guilds as a rule were reticent in adapting the levels of entrance fees; they normally preferred to let market forces determine the supply and demand for apprentices, journeymen and masters.63 Guild regulations that were seemingly related to skill formation, such as those pertaining to apprenticeship, thus often sprang from very different concerns than skill formation per se, and their effect on the formation of human capital is difficult to pin down. Moreover, several chapters in this volume lend support to the argument made by Crowston, Davids, De Munck and others that skills could also be acquired, or supplemented, in other settings than in a guild-dominated context.64 Andrea Caracausi points out that in Padua, formal apprenticeship regulations were not necessary to produce fine and high-quality woollen cloth or silk ribbons. Family training, private contracting and urban institutions such as hospitals and orphanages also proved to be adequate mechanisms for the transmission of skills.65 Dries Lyna shows that in Antwerp and other European cities in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, academies of fine arts and public drawing schools, next to craft guilds, became increasingly important institutions for the formation of various artisan skills.66 Nor were guilds indispensable for the certification of skills. In Padua, informal ad hoc mechanisms such as personal testimonies were at least as effective a guarantee for the skill of a craftsman as the successful completion of a formal master test. Guild-controlled master tests were even entirely absent from the Arte della Lana in Florence and the glassmaking guild in Altare.67 Migration, Citizenship and the Spatial Circulation of Knowledge Innovation and creativity in cities in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe could never have been sustained by the mere reproduction of a ‘pool’ of knowledge and skills available in a given place alone. Formation and transmission of knowledge and skills within cities had to be supplemented by the acquisition of knowledge and skills from outside. Generally, technical knowledge in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities more often than not travelled through the movement of people rather than in some disembodied form. Most of the See the contribution of Karel Davids and Bert De Munck in this volume. See the contribution of Janneke Tump in this volume. 64 Cf. footnotes 39 and 40. Female work figures prominently here, although women could be organized in guilds as well. See for example, Clare H. Crowston, Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675–1791 (Durham, 2001). 65 See the contribution of Caracausi in this volume. 66 See the contribution of Dries Lyna in this volume. 67 See the contributions of Ammannati, Caracausi and Maitte in this volume. 62 63

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relevant knowledge and skills were difficult to codify into texts, schemes and diagrams. While some ‘trade secrets’ may have migrated in the form of recipes, and model books may have been important in such segments of the luxury trades as painting, sculpture, cabinetmaking and the gold- and silversmith’s trade, the most important way in which knowledge in this period circulated was through migration.68 Hence the importance of migration in much research, our volume not excepted. The ‘urban graveyard’ effect, for a start, implied that cities could only survive in demographic terms if they were able to attract a continuous stream of newcomers. Immigration was even more urgent from an economic point of view. Economic dynamism in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities was not only related to the influx of large numbers of workers, but the very economic capacity and resilience of a city was heavily dependent on the attraction of skilled workers and technical knowledge. While a certain level of skill was a sine qua non in most urban trades, crafts and industries, skills were at a premium in luxury industries and other sectors with high added value, because competition between cities often played out at the level of product quality. Moreover, from the viewpoint of individual cities, intra-urban competition was often a matter of developing new products and, as a result, the creation of market niches in which a local guild or a group of entrepreneurs could operate as a ‘monopolistic competitor’. Guilds were involved in migration processes in several ways, although as a rule they were not concerned about the economic effects of migration on an aggregate level, but about monitoring skills and regulating entrance to their own particular craft. In fact, guilds could be very hesitant to accept immigrants, especially when their trade secrets were assumed to be exceptional. Glassmakers in Murano, Corine Maitte reminds us, were very anxious about disclosing their trade secrets and tended to become more restrictive in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.69 On the other hand, mechanisms to monitor the spatial circulation of technical knowledge could extend beyond the locality of the guild. The glassmakers of Altare founded a guild endowed with powers to impose rules on

68 Stephan R. Epstein, Transferring Technical Knowledge and Innovating in Europe, c. 1200–c. 1800 (Working papers on the nature of evidence: how well do ‘facts’ travel?, 01/05. Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, 2005); Salvatore Ciriacono, ‘Migration, Minorities, and Technology Transfer in Early Modern Europe’, Journal of European Economic History, 34/1 (2005): pp. 43–64; Davids, Rise and Decline, pp. 207–42 and 270–79. 69 See the contribution of Maitte in this volume. See also: Patrick MacCray, Glassmaking in Renaissance Venice. The Fragile Craft (Aldershot, 1999), p. 44; and for a later period, Francesca Trivellato, Fondamenta dei vetrai. Lavoro, tecnologia e mercato a Venezia tra Sei a Settecento (Rome, 2000).

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local glassmakers wherever they worked, at least within a certain area (Milan, Parma and Plaisance).70 Spatial circulation of knowledge could also occur via the practice of tramping. In France and Germany, artisans in all sorts of crafts commonly moved from city to city during their Wanderjahre, in the course of which they could become acquainted with new products and production techniques. In the Low Countries and Italy, while there were hardly any formal obligations for journeymen to ‘tramp’, for a while, certain practices may have produced similar effects. Interestingly, Raoul De Kerf points to the practice of ‘reciprocal freeing’ among cities in the Duchy of Brabant (and beyond). This multilateral system of agreements implied that immigrating artisans who wanted to become masters, and who had finished their apprenticeship in another city (with guilds), did not have to start a new apprenticeship term in their city of arrival, but were allowed to do the master test immediately. This system probably remained in operation throughout the sixteenth and most of the seventeenth century, but collapsed from the end of the seventeenth century onwards due to growing distrust between guilds and cities.71 Janneke Tump discusses yet another aspect of the relation between guilds and migration: the temporary employment of craftsmen in large organizations such as navies and trading companies. The coopers’ guild in seventeenth-century Rotterdam had to cope with sudden variations in numbers due to the fact that many masters and journeymen entered the service of the Admiralty and the Dutch East India Company (and sometimes died at sea); fees were adapted accordingly.72 Here again, guilds appear to have been reactive rather than have acted proactively. Typically, city governments were more active than guilds in attempting to regulate the migration of skilled labour. On the one hand, cities sometimes issued prohibitions on the emigration of particular groups of artisans. Several examples of such restrictive policies can be found in Italian cities since the Late Middle Ages, including Venice.73 On the other hand, urban governments stimulated immigration in various ways. Urban authorities in the western parts of the Dutch Republic, as Davids and De Munck point out, generally eased the supply of labour by keeping entry barriers to citizenship low.74 Moreover, urban governments in many parts of Western Europe intentionally tried to See the contribution of Maitte in this volume. See the contribution of De Kerf in this volume. 72 See the contribution of Tump in this volume. 73 Astone Gasparetto, Il vetro di Murano dalle origine ad oggi (Venice, 1958), pp. 70 and 110–13; Eliyahu Astor, ‘The Factors of Technological and Industrial Progress in the Later Middle Ages’, in Eliyahu Astor, Technology, Industry and Trade. The Levant versus Europe 1250–1500 (Aldershot, 1992), pp. 20–21. 74 See the contribution of Davids and De Munck in this volume. 70 71

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attract newcomers with special innovative skills and knowledge by offering them free citizenship, providing lodging or infrastructural facilities or granting exemptions from taxes, guild membership or civic duties such as participating in the night watch.75 Regulation and openness were not mutually exclusive. Jan De Meester discusses numerous examples of free citizenship granted to immigrants in Antwerp in the sixteenth century. Yet, he also stresses that it was often the case that free citizenship was not granted to the most highly skilled and most inventive artisans. De Meester challenges us to think beyond the simple logic of attracting and keeping skills and technical knowledge in the city. His analysis suggests that in citizenship policies, a certain level of commitment or loyalty to a city or to urban officials may have played a role as well.76 The most effective means to attract skilled, innovative newcomers appears to have been the granting of privileges other than free citizenship. Privileges could be granted by a variety of actors and institutions, including guilds. In Florence, for instance, guilds were active on that front from at least the fifteenth century onwards. The Grand Dukes granted about 200 industrial privileges between the mid-sixteenth and the mid-seventeenth centuries, most of them in the textile sector.77 The Arte della Lana stimulated their members to provide newcomers with houses and looms, or they removed prostitutes so as to make room for incoming workers – thus stimulating newcomers to become part of their privileged groups. Andrea Caracausi suggests that even individual merchant-entrepreneurs may have encouraged migration by, for instance, stimulating private contracting, providing accommodation, food and work and acting as brokers for other employers.78 In the context of mercantilist policies or territorial states, princes and their bureaucrats were also active in attracting artisans with rare knowledge and skills from abroad. The royal porcelain factory in eighteenth-century Naples, discussed by Alida Clemente, is a telling case in point. Clemente presents a detailed picture of how the Bourbon court and the royal factory tried to ‘bribe’ artisans with the desired know-how to settle in Naples, offering, among other attractions, the prospect of earning high and fixed salaries.79 75 For example, Raingard Esser, ‘“They obey all magistrates and all good lawes … and we thinke our cittie happie to enjoye them”: Migrants and Urban Stability in Early Modern English Towns’, Urban History, 34/1 (2007): pp. 64–75; Ulrich Niggemann, Immigrationspolitik zwischen Konflikt und Konsens. Die Hugenottenansiedlung in Deutschland und England (1681–1697) (Cologne, Weimar and Vienna, 2008), pp. 290–301. Additional examples and references in De Munck and Winter, eds, Gated communities, and Davids, ‘Beginning Entrepreneurs’. 76 See the contribution of Jan De Meester in this volume. 77 Molà, ‘Artigiani e brevetti’. 78 See the contribution of Caracausi in this volume. 79 See the contribution of Alida Clemente in this volume.

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What is striking, however, is that such measures usually had a very limited impact. While privileges could stimulate immigrants to stay or, at best, stimulate already mobile entrepreneurs to choose one city instead of another, cities mostly appear to have been dependent on migration flows and chains beyond their reach. When the economic centre of gravity in the Low Countries shifted from the South to the North after 1585, the guilds and local authorities in Flanders and Brabant could only gild the pill at best. Thus, Antwerp’s diamond cutters appear to have sought a compromise between, on the one hand, the necessity of maintaining higher entrance barriers and generating higher income in times of crisis and, on the other hand, the demand for knowledge and skills from outside. While the financial barriers to entry were raised and apprenticeship terms were extended, immigrant apprentices continued to enjoy advantageous conditions.80 When skilled immigrants actually settled, it always remained to be seen how long they would stay and whether their knowledge would be shared locally. Whenever privileges were granted, urban authorities often expected that local youth would be trained in return. This appears at least to have been the custom in the eighteenth century. The enforcement of this rule was not self-evident, however. As Corine Maitte shows, it could become a hotly debated topic in a period when economic nationalism was gaining ground.81 The case studies in this volume suggest that immigrating artisans and entrepreneurs actually enjoyed a large degree of agency. Maitte’s contribution on the glassmakers from Murano and Altare shows that the urban authorities were left at the mercy of the strategies of these highly skilled artisans, who could play cities off against one another and move to those places where they could obtain the best conditions. In 1598, for example, the holders of the Antwerp privilege for crystalline glasswork took advantage of political rivalries between the provinces under Spanish control and the newly created United Provinces when they negotiated about their privileges should they migrate to the north.82 In the eighteenth century, as Daniele Andreozzi’s case study demonstrates, the Habsburg state and bureaucracy, despite its liberal policy and the granting of individual privileges, failed in its effort to revitalize Trieste by attracting skilled workers. The unsuccessful attempt to establish a soap industry in Trieste in the 1720s illustrates how the inflow of human capital in reality remained tied to existing networks and mobility chains. The growth of trade and manufacturing activities in Trieste was embedded in communities and friendship and patronage relationships available to merchants and masters active in the relevant trade

See the contribution of De Bie in this volume. See the contribution of Maitte in this volume. 82 Ibid. 80 81

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routes, rather than being a product of the operations of privileged companies or of direct state intervention.83 Nor should spatial circulation of knowledge be seen as a top-down process in which new techniques and knowledge simply trickled from centre to periphery.84 Often, innovation turns out to have been a result of a combination of efforts of a broad group of actors from diverse professional and geographical backgrounds. The porcelain factory at Capodimonte (Naples), first established by Charles of Bourbon in 1741, actively attracted foreign specialists such as painters and modellers from Northern Italy and metal workers from Germany, next to ceramicists, faience-makers, architects and experienced manufacturers from Naples and its hinterland.85 A similar thing happened in the case of flint glass. While flint glass appears to have been invented in the Dutch Republic, the process of invention involved French and Italian glassmakers, drawing on experiences from different industries in England, Belgium, Sweden, and Ireland, before it culminated in a patent application by an English entrepreneur.86 Next to immigration, circulation of techniques could also be predicated upon the particular characteristics of local raw materials – perhaps especially so in industries which used raw materials that were expensive to transport, such as pottery and glass. The examples given by Corine Maitte in this volume in any case suggest that adaptation and appropriation of techniques depending on local circumstances were important. Bohemian glassmakers, for instance, used wood to remove impurities from the surface of glass under preparation and, triggered by the Venetian-style preparation of soda, started to employ manganese oxide as a whitening agent.87 Thus, even though local urban actors and institutions tried to influence migration flows and the spatial circulation of knowledge for a variety of reasons, in reality the effects of their efforts often fell short of the objectives. Migration, the circulation of knowledge and innovation were in fact only to a limited extent guided by a kind of ‘visible hand’, be it a guild, an urban government, an imperial bureaucracy or a privileged company. See the contribution of Andreozzi in this volume. Lilian Hilaire-Pérez and Catherine Verna, ‘Les circulations techniques: hommes, produits, savoirs au Moyen Age et a l’epoque moderne’, in Michel Cotte, ed., Circulations techniques en amont de l’innovation: hommes, objets et idées en mouvement (Belfort, 2004), pp. 11–36; Liliane-Hilaire Pérez and Catherine Verna, ‘Dissemination of Technical Knowledge’, Technology and Culture, 47/3 (2006): pp. 536–66. 85 See the contribution of Clemente in this volume. 86 See the contribution of Maitte in this volume. 87 See the contribution of Maitte in this volume. See also: Karel Hettes, ‘Venetian Trends in Bohemian Glassmaking’, The Journal of Glass Studies, 5/39–53 (1963): pp. 39–53; and Arnost Klima, ‘Glassmaking Industry and Trade in Bohemia in the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries’, The Journal of European Economic History, 13/3 (1984): pp. 499–520. 83 84

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Urban Networks, Urban Hierarchies, State Formation and Centralization Why did artisans move to one place rather than another? Why did they move to an urban environment or to a particular city? These questions bring us to the issue of economic-geographical and geopolitical factors, and, more specifically, to the relevance of urban networks and urban hierarchies. The relationship between innovations, urban networks and urban hierarchies, and the changes therein, is examined in a number of chapters in this volume. These chapters also draw attention to striking differences in this respect between Italy and the Low Countries. Edoardo Demo, Francesco Ammannati and Andrea Caracausi demonstrate how the combined political and economic dominance of large cities in Northern and Central Italy greatly affected the range of possibilities for innovation in their hinterland. In the medium-sized city of Vicenza in the Veneto, for instance, room for the expansion of silk weaving was restricted by rigorous prohibitions issued by the government of the Venetian Republic, which wished to protect the industries in the capital. Notably, the production of silk draperies was not allowed until 1561. A similar fate befell all cities on the Venetian mainland. What typically remained outside the Dominante was either the production of raw materials and semi-finished products (both for export in Italy and abroad) or of finished products destined for local markets, such as – in the case of silk – clothing accessories and handkerchiefs.88 During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Padua’s countryside was also penetrated by Venetian noblemen and merchants, reducing it to being a supplier of raw materials and food for the capital city. In the case of Florence, the guilds of the capital city increasingly dominated production in a wider territory, including the smaller cities within that area.89 A different kind of inter-urban relations could be found in the Low Countries. From the Late Middle Ages onwards, the Low Countries saw a shift from a situation where several more or less equal cities existed side by side, to a more hierarchical pattern where a few gateway cities stood out above the rest, but this change never went so far as to result in outright political dominance by the economically most powerful urban centres. Large gateway cities such as Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam reconfigured the urban network in such a way that smaller towns (along with the countryside) were assigned a particular function in the network, for example as a supplier (staple port) of a specific type of raw material or an exporter of a specific type of finished product, but these leading cities never acquired a similar degree of political supremacy in their region to that of Venice or Florence. Accordingly, innovation and creativity in this context evolved in different ways as well. See the contribution of Demo in this volume. See the contributions of Ammannati and Caracausi in this volume.

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Claartje Rasterhoff ’s case study explains how innovative activities developed in two luxury industries in the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Both painting and publishing showed a tendency to cluster spatially. These clusters were remarkably persistent over time (although not entirely so) and in many cases functioned as hothouses of specialization and innovation. While clustering was to some extent underpinned by institutional structures, especially guilds, it was never controlled by political factors. Clustering was a result of geography, demography and market forces, strengthened by corporate organization, not a product of political dominance and institutions.90 The concentration of many innovative activities in painting and publishing in Amsterdam was not dependent on the city’s power in the political sphere. Still, both regions were subject to larger changes in the political sphere that – to a certain degree – were similar. State formation and centralization left their imprint on cities, and directly or indirectly on innovation and creativity as well. These were long-term processes, which again showed variations in pace and by region. In Northern and Central Italy, the general tendency appears to have been, first, that urban guilds were incorporated into a territorial state (from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries onwards) and, next, that their powers were increasingly curtailed or marginalized by state authorities (in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries). In Tuscany, as Ammannati points out, the Arte della Lana became entirely subordinated to the economic policy of the Grand Duke and his bureaucracy from at least the sixteenth century onwards. From then on, state regulation determined wool production in the Florentine territory in almost every respect. Whenever new guilds were erected in Italy in the Early Modern period, these typically enjoyed only limited power. Their function could, for instance, be purely devotional and charitable; the companies of weavers, dyers and wool-beaters established under the umbrella of the Florentine Arte della Lana in the sixteenth century are a case in point. Another example is the silk craft guild established in Vicenza in the Veneto, discussed by Demo. The powers of this guild were strictly restricted to control over product quality.91 However, this is not to say that innovation was barred entirely. While the wool-makers’ guild in Florence itself entered into a profound crisis, other cities in Tuscany, especially Prato, nonetheless proved to be able to innovate their production systems.92 State formation and centralization thus did not necessarily put a brake on innovation and creativity either. Moreover, while guilds in Italy from the sixteenth century were increasingly subordinated to central state bureaucracies, the Low Countries saw a more See the contribution of Rasterhoff in this volume. See the contribution of Demo in this volume. 92 See the contribution of Ammannati in this volume. 90 91

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varied pattern. In some cases, the rise of the Burgundian-Habsburg state led to a curtailment of the autonomy of cities and a severe reduction of the powers of guilds. Ghent is a notorious example. In 1540, Charles V did away with the presence of guild representatives in Ghent and even abolished the masters’ right to elect their own boards. By contrast, in most Brabantine cities, including Brussels and Antwerp, guilds continued their political activities until their final abolishment in 1795. What cities in the Southern Netherlands from the late seventeenth century onwards had in common was a creeping, indirect erosion of local guild powers by the central government in Brussels. One of the strategies of the central government, discussed by De Kerf, was to grant dispensations for apprenticeship. De Kerf shows that the guild of the Antwerp coopers in the eighteenth century found it increasingly difficult to defend its privileges against ‘illegal’ masters (including immigrants). The latter enjoyed the backing of the central government in Brussels, which, under the influence of meritocratic and laissez-faire ideas, was often inclined to grant them dispensation from the guilds’ entry requirements and thereby steadily undermined the rules relating to master status.93 In the Northern Netherlands, as Davids and De Munck remind us, guilds seldom carried any political weight in urban governments at all. On the other hand, before the end of the eighteenth century, guilds and urban governments in this part of the Low Countries did not suffer a diminishment of power through the agency of central authorities either.94 As a result, not only for guilds but for urban governments as well, it was increasingly difficult to plan or influence the transmission and circulation of technical knowledge – let alone innovation and creativity. This was even the case for relatively autonomous institutions such as Antwerp’s guilds in the Southern Netherlands, as the chapters by De Kerf, De Bie and Lyna demonstrate. While Antwerp in the eighteenth century was still the leading gateway city in the Southern Netherlands and the Antwerp Academy even claimed to be the premier centre of knowledge in the fine arts, local coopers’ and diamond-cutters’ guilds were progressively losing their grip on practices related to apprenticeship. After 1700, both guilds were less and less able to guard the distinction between regular masters (who had finished an apprenticeship term and completed a masterpiece) and skilled craftsmen from outside Antwerp. In contrast with Venice or Florence, these local institutions in a city at the top of the urban hierarchy could not benefit from political dominance to protect their own special economic position. Neither should the growing impact of state formation and centralization on guilds, urban governments and other urban institutions in the Early Modern period be seen as a straightforward top-down process that was entirely steered See the contribution of De Kerf in this volume. See the contribution of Davids and De Munck in this volume.

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by supra-local forces. Local and ‘footloose’ agents (such as merchants) were instrumental in these developments. Maitte’s chapter shows that as early as the sixteenth century, the glassmakers of Venice and Altare themselves solicited the support of territorial states and princes, even in regions with relatively strong guilds and relatively independent cities, such as Antwerp.95 In eighteenth-century Trieste, Andreozzi demonstrates, guild-based masters and urban patricians did not lose the levers of powers and regulation simply due to interference on the part of the imperial bureaucracy in Vienna. The promotion of Trieste as a free port to attract wealthy and skilled merchants, manufacturers and workers meant that not only were vested local interests and local privileges ignored, but also, at a more fundamental level, that a ‘free market’ was being constructed through the networks of another, emerging elite; that is, an elite whose interests and resources neatly matched the larger political project of the Empire, including the aim of outcompeting Venice.96 Beyond Guilds, Across Cities: Perspectives for Further Research One of the main conclusions to emerge from the contributions in this volume is that the discussion on the relationship between innovation, creativity and urban contexts should now move ‘beyond the guilds’. Guild rules in Late Medieval and Early Modern cities could indeed often, intentionally or not, be beneficial for innovation and creativity, but corporative institutions were by no means necessary for the production, transmission and circulation of technical knowledge. Training, certification of skills, stimulation of new inventions and the encouragement of skilled labour migration all could occur outside of the guild framework, and indeed did so at many times and in many places. One of the most spectacular achievements of European industry in the Early Modern period, the successful imitation of Chinese porcelain, which required huge investments in the acquisition of knowledge, experimentation and education, took place outside corporative structures.97 Apart from guilds and guildsmen, various other institutions and actors proved to be able to carry out the production, transmission and circulation of technical knowledge as well. Guild rules could be supplanted by the regulations of urban governments. Apprenticeship could be monitored outside, and even without, a corporate system. And the case of

See the contribution of Maitte in this volume. See also Alexandre Pinchart, ‘Les fabriques de verre de Venise d’Anvers et de Bruxelles aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles’, Bulletin des Commissions royales d’Art et d’Archéologie (1882): p. 372. 96 See the contribution of Andreozzi in this volume. 97 See the contribution of Clemente in this volume. 95

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Vicenza demonstrates that noblemen outside a guild system could be just as innovative in urban industry as guild-organized artisans or merchants.98 Something similar applies to urban governments. Many chapters in this volume actually show that guilds, urban governments and other urban institutions were themselves often subject to larger economic and political forces that they could hardly influence, let alone control, such as changes in consumer taste, transformations in the labour market, shifts in economic geography or processes of state formation and centralization. While before 1800, large cities generally led the way in artistic creativity and luxury production – in contrast to the organization of production and low price competition, in which rural districts were often more innovative – the transmission and circulation of knowledge and skills in cities were often vitally dependent on flows of skilled migrants. On this front, in particular, urban institutions could act only reactively, by entering into competition with other cities when granting privileges and other benefits to innovators and highly skilled entrepreneurs and artisans. Geographical and geopolitical factors appear to have dictated economic policies, rather than the reverse. Moreover, as the Northern Italian case studies have highlighted, regulations from either guilds or urban authorities always came about in confrontation with the rules and practices of other actors and institutions – either within the same city or beyond. Thus, although the connection between the urban context and economic innovation was clearly predicated on power relations, we have learned that Epstein’s, Pfister’s and other models can never be applied in straightforward fashion. The overall image is one of constant negotiation between not only different power groups and organizations within one sector or one city, but also across sectors, guilds and cities. The next question, then, is how this relationship evolved over time. It appears that both guilds and local ruling elites increasingly faced the joint interests of, on one hand, the raison d’état of territorial states and bureaucracies and, on the other, geographically mobile mercantile elites. While Venice and Florence already enjoyed supra-urban powers in the Late Middle Ages, and the glassmakers of Venice and Altare turned to territorial states and princes when applying for privileges as early as the sixteenth century, in the eighteenth century, economic policy was to a large extent decided in metropolises such as Brussels, London, Paris and Naples. The example of Trieste clearly shows that neither laissez-faire nor state formation can be held solely responsible for this. It was, rather, a process in which a so-called free market was constructed through the networks of other elites. While the court in Vienna, for instance, abandoned its policy based on development through one privileged company and direct state intervention in the first half of the eighteenth century, it granted and installed institutions that benefited the more powerful mercantile class, such as a bourse See the contribution of Demo in this volume.

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and nations – the latter even enjoying the privilege of monitoring the inflow of immigrants.99 To be sure, the role of guilds and other urban institutions did not always evolve in the same way or at the same pace. While the guilds in the Italian peninsula appear to have been more restrictive, and the urban authorities at least in the large dominant cities more powerful, the chapters in this volume have drawn attention to interesting differences between developments in NorthCentral Italy and the Southern and Northern Netherlands. Path dependencies in the manner and timing of the creation of guilds, their incorporation in local political institutions and the formation of territorial states clearly mattered a great deal. Yet, even in regions with a guild tradition in which manufacturing masters held the reins and with more autonomous cities, such as the Southern Netherlands, other interests prevailed from at least the end of the seventeenth century onwards. In the course of the eighteenth century, meritocratic and laissez-faire ideas justified the gradual but steady undermining of rules related to master status – of which apprenticeship requirements were the most important – by the central authorities in Brussels (and Vienna). Simultaneously, metropolises and courts established drawing schools and scientific institutions, which became increasingly important in the invention of new product forms. This is again illustrated by the case of porcelain, the imitation of which required both the hands-on experience of artisans and the epistemic insights of scientists.100 Overall, the comparisons in this volume have brought to light many similarities in patterns in Italy and the Low Countries. The common traits discussed above are, in our view, at least as salient and significant as the observed differences by region. While this is in itself an important reflection upon which to build in future research, a variety of other possible directions lie ahead, all of which, to our mind, are equally relevant and promising. New studies may look in depth at changing relations between guilds and other urban institutions, such as drawing schools, academies and privileges and regulations issued by urban governments in the creation and development of new products and techniques. Fresh investigations may scrutinize long-term changes in the nature of product innovation, focusing especially on such aspects as the increasing importance of fashion and design. Clustering, cooperation and competition between cities, and between cities and rural areas, deserve further attention as well. Finally, future research on innovation and creativity may move further beyond the institutional perspective and take the actors’ perspective as a starting point instead: craftsmen, artists, merchants, consumers, officials, rulers. After all, institutions were made by actors, and it was actors who made new things happen.

See the contribution of Andreozzi in this volume. See the contribution of Clemente in this volume.

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Chapter 2

The Cities of Glass: Privileges and Innovations in Early Modern Europe Corine Maitte

In urban Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, few cities had glassmaking guilds. First, the bulk of the activity was located in the countryside, where wood and sand were plentiful; and second, so few glassmakers settled in cities that establishing a guild made little sense.1 The two urban areas studied in this article were thus relatively exceptional. Venice, where the guild was recognized in 1271, featured a sizeable glassmaking community in Murano, whereas Altare, in the former Montferrat area in Northern Italy, was never officially a city and represents the more atypical case of a ‘rural’ guild, recognized in 1495. This exceptional situation calls for an examination of the connections that developed between guilds, innovations and mobility. The historiography has proved important, for it demonstrates that guilds were not archaic and retrograde institutions, contrary to the image that has long held sway and that eighteenthcentury liberal thought helped forge.2 The multiple innovations that were to be called façon-de-Venise glassmaking started to appear in the Venetian guild in the fifteenth century. Far from impeding the emergence of new products, the guild encouraged it in order to meet the urban elites’ demand for refinement; these

1 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, Journal of Economic History, 58/3 (1998): p. 689. 2 A selection of key works: Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, ‘Introduction: Guilds, Innovation, and the European Economy, 1400–1800’, in Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008), pp. 7–11; Jan Lucassen, Tine De Moor and Jan L. van Zanden, eds, ‘The Return of the Guilds’, International Review of Social History, 53 (2008), supplement 16; and for France: Philippe Minard, ‘Les communautés de métier en France au XVIIIe siècle: une analyse en termes de régulation institutionnelle’, in Stephan R. Epstein et al., Guilds, Economy and Society. Proceedings Twelfth International Economic History Congress (Madrid, 1998), pp. 109–20; Steven L. Kaplan, Philippe Minard, La France malade du corporatisme? XVIII– XXe siècle (Paris, 2004).

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innovations would conquer the courts, the aristocracies and later the bourgeois classes throughout Europe.3 Similarly, the Altare glassmakers seem to have quickly integrated the façons they encountered in the work of other craftsmen into their own practice; notarial contracts show that they sold and manufactured ‘Venetian styled’ glassware as early as the end of the fifteenth century.4 This extreme receptivity to innovations is linked in part to the rather surprising fact that when compared to the image of institutions with extremely fastidious regulations, the two guilds studied here only started to weakly regulate the technical characteristics of their products at a very late stage. The other reason is that there was extremely dense circulation between both cities and branches. This density leads to the examination of another well-studied theme, that of the relationship between the mobility of individuals and the circulation of techniques. Venice and Altare illustrate the two contrasting attitudes that guilds adopted with regard to migration. The former forbade emigration, which is perhaps the most common attitude for an institution that represents the vision of a sedentary group, even if many of its members did leave. The latter, by overseeing migration, illustrates the approach of a group that defines itself through mobility; we could even say that the Altare corporation was at least in part created to oversee pre-existing migration. Whatever the case may be, members left and settled in new towns and new glassworks. Contrary to what is often suggested, I will show that cities rarely generated these movements and that states themselves often welcomed, rather than triggered, the migration of these men. Furthermore, the historiography of craft migrations has long underlined the phenomenon of the resulting technical transfer, which is perceived as being inherent to migration.5 Recent research has added considerable nuance to this vision. On the one hand, it has highlighted the inevitable phenomenon of what was often the creative adaptation of knowledge, as the circulation of technical knowledge was never purely and

3 Jutta-Anette Page, ed., Beyond Venice (New York, 2004); Patrick MacCray, Glassmaking in Renaissance Venice. The Fragile Craft (Aldershot, 1999) and Patrick MacCray, ‘Creating Networks of Skill: Technology Transfer and the Glass Industry of Venice’, The Journal of European Economic history, 28/2 (1999): pp. 301–33; Francesca Trivellato, Fondamenta dei vetrai. Lavoro, tecnologia e mercato a Venezia tra Sei e Settecento (Rome, 2000). 4 Corine Maitte, Les chemins de verre. Les migrations des verriers d’Altare et de Venise, XVI–XIXe siècle (Rennes, 2009). 5 Notably since the works of William C. Scoville, ‘Minority Migrations and the Diffusion of Technology’, The Journal of Economic History, 11 (1951): pp. 347–60; Carlo Cipolla, ‘The Diffusion of Innovations in Early Modern Europe’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 14 (1972): pp. 46–52.

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simply a matter of identical transfer.6 On the other hand, it has also examined the propensity on one side to divulge secrets, and on the other to learn new techniques from others; the ‘naturalization’ of foreign techniques is a complex phenomenon.7 In the following, I will demonstrate that the many privileges obtained by the glassmakers did not systematically lead to the rapid spread of innovations, even if in the long run migration multiplied the fertile contacts between different glassmaking traditions and contributed to the development of further innovations. Guilds, Innovations and Mobility in Venice and Altare Guilds and Work Regulations in Venice and Altare The revival of studies on guilds has revealed significant intra-city, and more notably inter-city, differences between these corporations. Without undertaking a detailed comparison of Altare and Venetian guilds,8 certain points – which are surprising in view of other realities – deserve to be mentioned. First, although Venetian guild regulations refer to apprentices, master craftsmen and furnace owners as early as 1271, they contain no mention of a final examination. This process, whereby an apprentice performed a ‘demonstration’ before the gastaldo and guild officers to qualify for master craftsman status, is not specified until the 1441 charter, and even then, in a highly generic fashion (arts 27 and 28).9 No details are provided regarding the length of the apprenticeship or the nature of the tests before the seventeenth century.10 Clearly, the management of workforce abilities was long regulated internally, even in Venice. This was particularly true in Altare, where only the article concerning ‘foreigners’ mentions a career path: stoker for four years, then apprentice for four years; that is, a total of eight years before an individual could aspire to become a master craftsman. (This is more presupposed than actually stated, for none of the articles stipulate career steps, nor do they explain how a worker changed from one status to another.) 6 For a summary, see: Liliane Hilaire-Pérez, ‘Pratiques inventives, cheminements innovant, crédits et légitimations’, in Liliane Hilaire-Pérez and Marie-Françoise Garçon, Les chemins de la nouveauté. Inventer au regard de l’histoire (ed. du CTHS Histoire no. 9, 2003), pp. 9–39, as well as Liliane Hilaire-Pérez and Catherine Verna, ‘Dissemination of Technical Knowledge in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era. New approaches and Methodological Issues’, Technology and Culture, 47 (2006): pp. 536–56. 7 See for example, Lien Luu, Immigrants and the Industries of London, 1500–1700 (Aldershot, 2005). 8 Maitte, Les chemins, chapter 1. 9 Luigi Zecchin, Vetro e Vetrai di Murano (Venice, 1989) vol. II, p. 108 and beyond. 10 See Trivellato, Fondamenta.

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Obviously this does not mean there were no differences in status among glassmakers in Altare, or that the qualifications required to change status were not already in place. However, these rules remained tacit, no doubt because it was not yet considered necessary to make them explicit and official by writing them down. The second ‘surprise’ concerns the technical rules. The Venetian guild was very laconic on the topic and, as Francesca Trivellato reminds us, it prescribed very few rules, for example regarding the number of pots in each furnace and the type of wood and ashes to be used.11 The Altare guild had no prescribed rules; this was clearly not a concern. Thus, in both cases, glassworks owners and master craftsmen were free to innovate technical processes, which they did not fail to do. Their creativity came in response to pressure from the peninsula’s many competing centres of activity, as a result of widespread mobility that encouraged technical exchanges, and also to meet the demand for luxury goods that could no longer be satisfied by products from the Eastern Mediterranean. Innovations, Guilds and Privileges It is not our intention here to draw up a list of Venetian innovations from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries.12 It is suffice to say that there were innovations in the composition of glass and the decoration and shapes of glass objects. These innovations gave rise to the creation of new products, of which the two most important were mirrors and beads. As Francesca Trivellato points out, ‘the presence in Venice, as in most European towns, of a multifaceted and pervasive corporate world created an “industrial atmosphere”’ that encouraged innovation.13 Furthermore, it is rather indicative that certain innovations testify to transfers from one branch to another. Thus, maiolica, enamelling, painting and engraving on glass must all be considered together. Venice played a fundamental role in all these decorative techniques and there is evidence of transfers between branches.14 All were closely linked to paper engraving, and were often directly

11 Francesca Trivellato, ‘Guilds, Technology, and Economic Change in Early Modern Venice’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, pp. 199–231, especially pp. 223–4. 12 Rosa Barovier Mentasti, Attilia Dorigato, Astone Gasparetto and Toninato Toninato, Mille anni di arte del vetro a Venezia (Venice, 1982); Astone Gasparetto, Il vetro di Murano dalle origini ad oggi (Venice, 1958). 13 Trivellato, ‘Guilds, Technology’, p. 221. Also: Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (London, 1891), vol. 7. 14 Giuliana Gardelli, Italika. Maiolica italiana del Rinascimento (Ravenna, 1999) about Venitian maiolica, p. 10. About the importance of technical transfers between branches, see especially Hilaire-Pérez, ‘Pratiques inventives’, starting with p. 35.

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inspired by it, particularly because copying and reproducing often prestigious models ensured a product’s success.15 Similarly, in developing façon-de-Venise mirrors, local history recounts how the polishing of sheet glass after firing was introduced in the 1540s by Vincenzo Redor, a metal mirror-maker. Whatever the role of this individual, who may very well be mythical,16 the technique of polishing glass was certainly developed by analogy with polishing metal, which confirms the importance of communication between branches in the development of innovations. All these innovations were made possible by the climate of both cooperation and competition that reigned between the various producers belonging to the glassmaking guild. It is difficult, however, to know whether, as Stephan Epstein maintains, there was any de facto recognition of the property rights of inventors within the guild that would prevent them from being copied by their colleagues before a certain amount of time had elapsed, and therefore allow them to recover the investment, expenses and risks related to the innovations.17 The apprenticeship contract stipulations made in 1460 by the brother of the famous glassmaker Angelo Barovier seem to confirm this assertion, as the contract provides for both passing innovations on to the apprentice and guaranteeing a 10-year period of ‘trade secrets’.18 By contrast, in 1548, the podestà of Murano explained that Vincenzo d’Angelo, who claimed to have developed glass engraving, was soon being copied.19 These two contrasting cases make it impossible to say which procedures were the most common. No doubt processes were imitated more swiftly when they were visible, which must have been the case for engraving techniques, but surely not for new glass compositions. On the other hand, very few glassmakers made use of the inventor’s privilege, an instrument legalized in Venice in 1474.20 In the field of glasswork in the strictest sense, six families (Barovier, D’Angelo, Catani detti Serena, dal Gallo, de Simon and Bigaglia) used this institution to claim, protect and enhance the value of their inventions; this is a very small number, considering the creativity demonstrated by the Murano craftsmen. Why did these artisans make such limited use of this possibility? The answer no doubt lies both in the way the Page, ed., Beyond Venice, pp. 10–11. Philippe Braunstein, Travail et entreprise au Moyen Age (Brussels, 2003), p. 74. 17 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Journeyman Mobility and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge in Europe, 14th–18th centuries’, in Hilaire-Pérez and Garçon, eds, Les chemins, pp. 411–29. 18 This contract was published by Zecchin, Vetro, II, p. 226. 19 Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Senato Terra, F. 9. 20 Much has been written on this subject; see for example: La legge veneziana sulle invenzioni. Scritti di diritto industriale per il suo 500e anniversario (Milano, 1974); Marco Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge: Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age’, Technology and Culture, 45 (2004): pp. 569–89. 15 16

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glassmaking community of Murano operated and in the nature of most of the innovations. First, the individualized approach and the claim to invention that it presupposed remained a minor phenomenon in the guild, because the habit of maintaining composition ‘secrets’ was associated with the tacit understanding that they would be shared within a relatively short period of time. Second, as Christine MacLeod rightly remarks, most inventors’ privileges concerned mechanical innovations, which were easy to describe and identify, whereas there were very few privileges for innovations in the field of ‘chemistry’, where trade secrets were easier to keep and the use of privileges less common as a result.21 Let us look now at the transfers that took place within and beyond the Venetian world. Guilds and the Management of Mobility The Reception Given to Foreigners From the Middle Ages, the guild statutes of Venice and Altare devoted careful attention to the status of foreigners. Indeed, although the Venetian charter of 1271 appears rather contradictory, it seems that Article 39, which provided for the payment of a tax by foreigners, was observed.22 The same contradiction was still present in the 1441 charter: the presence of foreigners was prohibited by Article 45 but authorized by Article 49, upon payment of a tax. As Patrick MacCray notes, the guild officials were constantly torn between their desire for a plentiful workforce to man the furnaces and their determination not to disclose any ‘trade secrets’.23 In practice, however, foreigners had always been present in the Venetian guild. An article of 1454 even provides that ‘henceforth, each furnace owner may take on as many master craftsmen and boys as he wishes and of any type and origin [stagion]’.24 In fact, in 1501, furnace owners recalled that before the end of the fifteenth century, there had been ‘workers from beyond the Alps, from Genoa and Florence and other places and foreign lands’ in the guild.25 However, once the Murano glassmakers realized they had developed differentiating innovations in composition, they tried to restrict the entry of foreigners into their ranks. In 1469, ducal letters expressed the Murano artisans’ wishes by reasserting that ‘foreigners’ could be admitted into the Arte, but only Christine MacLeod, Inventing the Industrial Revolution. The English Patent System, 1660–1800 (Cambridge, 1988), p. 785. 22 Zecchin, Vetro, II, p. 9. 23 MacCray, Glassmaking, p. 44. 24 Zecchin, Vetro, II, p. 80. 25 Zecchin, Vetro, I, p. 231. 21

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natives of Murano could work on cristallini glass pieces, which no doubt had been invented rather recently:26 this was therefore very clearly an attempt to preserve for local artisans both the economic benefits and the ‘secrets’ of technical innovations that had been developed. While these decisions, reiterated in 1489, signalled an important change in the legal conditions governing foreign entry, the practice of hiring foreigners seems to have continued. In theory it was prohibited entirely in 1544, when the regulations stipulated that henceforth any person admitted into the Arte must be ‘born of a Venetian father’.27 Yet, despite this apparent tightening of the rules, numerous foreigners were still present in the Murano glassmaking workshops in the seventeenth century. Beyond the letter of the law, the craft had always permitted and even required the hiring of foreigners, even though the majority never became guild members. However, after the plague of the 1630s, some of them were admitted into the Arte.28 As for Altare, Article 8 of the statutes created the possibility for foreigners to join the group provided they complied with the rules and made a deposit if they did not own property in the village. The deposit served to guarantee compliance with the rules by people that could always turn around and go home at any time. It was also the only article that mentioned a career path. Innovation and Circulation These situations allowed for a relative degree of openness, which no doubt also explains the burgeoning dissemination of certain innovations. Indeed, glass mirrors were produced in the Germanic region before they were imitated and then improved in Venice.29 The replacement of the bullion technique by cylinders, imported from Venice in the late fifteenth century by a Lorraine manufacturer30 and applied to the production of sheet glass needed to make mirrors, must have made it possible to enlarge the products.31 Finally, the adoption of crystalline glass noticeably improved the quality of the sheets. No doubt the combination Zecchin, Vetro, II, p. 35; II, pp. 79–90 about foreigners. Zecchin, Vetro, II, pp. 85–6. 28 See Trivellato, Fondamenta, chapter VI. 29 Sophie Lagabrielle, ‘Miroirs et faiseurs de miroirs du Moyen Age à la Renaissance’, in Geneviève Sennequier, ed., Miroirs. Jeux et reflets depuis l’Antiquité (Rouen, 2000), pp. 112–19; it is stated on pp. 115–16 that Arnulf de Bâle exported little glass mirrors to Genova in 1216. Nuremberg exported a huge quantity of these mirrors in the fifteenth century, cf. Gasparetto, Il vetro, p. 161. 30 Paolo Zecchin, ‘Gli specchi veneziani’, Rivista della Stazione sperimentale del Vetro, XXIII/6 (1993): pp. 299–306. The manufacturer was Robert le Lorrain, called the franzoso; see also Michel Philippe, Naissance de la verrerie moderne, XIIe–XVIe siècles. Aspects économiques, techniques et humains (Turnhout, 1998), p. 163. 31 Lagabrielle, ‘Miroirs’, pp. 112–19. 26 27

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of these different techniques was behind the ‘invention’ for which two brothers, Andrea and Domenico d’Angelo del Gallo, requested and obtained a 25-year privilege from the Council of Ten in 1507. In the 1540s, shortly after polishing was adopted, tinning was modified by the use of mercury and tin, according to a technique that may have been used in Northern Europe before being adopted in Venice.32 The manufacture of glass beads underwent similar improvement processes and reciprocal influences between Venice and Northern Europe, resulting in an unrivalled volume of new production. In 1505, the charter officially recognized and legalized the fabrication of these beads, … because our Murano glassmaking trade produces daily innovations thanks to the genius and subtlety of our master craftsmen, as evidenced daily through experience, … since the Germans came up with a new invention about twenty years ago to have our Murano glassmakers manufacture multi-coloured rods of common crystalline glass, which the Germans brought back to their land to be pierced, strung, and cut and they then brought them here to Venice to be sent to the Levant; and as these goods now enjoy a very great reputation due to the aforementioned voyage, it is necessary [to legalize this process] in order to preserve it, as is fitting, within our Murano glassmaking trade. 33

While this is proof of the importance of technical contacts between Northern Europe and Venice in the development of certain innovations, it also clearly shows how indebted they were to human circulation.34 Yet, during the same period, Venice prohibited the migration of its own glassmakers. Forbidden or Supervised Migration? Starting with the earliest regulations, the emigration of Murano glassmakers was strictly prohibited and subject to various penalties as the years went by. However, as early as the thirteenth century, ‘foreign’ archives continually mentioned the presence of expatriate Venetian glassmakers working alongside Tuscans. Many historians have therefore simply concluded that the prohibitions were not Gasparetto, Il vetro, p. 164. For an overview of Venetian mirrors, see Zecchin, ‘Gli specchi’. 33 Gasparetto, Il vetro di Murano, pp. 185–6 (translation by us). 34 On the migration of German artisans to Italy during the fifteenth century, see: Knut Schulz, ‘Artigiani tedeschi in Italia’, in Siegfried De Rachewiltz and Josef Riedmann, eds, Comunicazione e mobilità nel Medioevo. Incontri fra il Sud e il Centro dell’Europa (secoli XI–XIV) (Bologna, 1997), pp. 197–228 and Knut Schulz, ‘La migrazione di tecnici, artigiani e artisti’, in Philippe Braunstein and Luca Molà, eds, Produzione e tecniche, vol. 3, Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa (Treviso, 2007), pp. 89–114. 32

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effective. Rather than settling for this answer, it is necessary to understand the subtle links between practices and regulations that research in economic history has brought to light, and consider the interaction between various factors. On the one hand, the policy of restricting freedom of movement, commonly adopted in the Middle Ages with regard to artisans in Italian city-states, was no doubt reinforced in Venice when the government realized the full commercial value of glass production.35 On the other hand, once the corps of tradesmen were established and considered themselves sedentary – which seems essential – it was in their collective interest to prevent the dissemination of glassmaking to other city-states, especially neighbouring ones. However, just as it was in the interest of the Venetian glassmaking guild to ensure that none of its members divulged their increasingly envied and sought-after methods to outsiders, it was in the individual glassmaker’s interest to be the sole person to do so. Indeed, a number of glassmakers tried their luck, and their ranks grew throughout the second half of the fifteenth century, when innovations increased. These potential migrants were not a homogenous group. Certain glassmakers were banned from the city for criminal offences; they were the only ones who did not choose to leave.36 The majority however, tried their luck outside of Venice. They left alone or in small groups, and when they found a good opportunity to settle elsewhere, they sent for collaborators. Migration could sometimes be a chance to acquire entrepreneur status, and it was also a chance to negotiate an advantageous return to Venice.37 Contrary to the image projected by ancient historiography, these migrations were rarely simple trajectories from point A to point B; they were more often a means to maintain, rather than to break, with their native city.38 Whatever the individual case might have been, the Murano glassmakers slipped out from under any collective authority once they had crossed the lagoon. While travelling, they would have encountered Altare glassmakers, who had an altogether different attitude towards migration in the fifteenth century. The main goal of the Altare guild was to supervise the mobility of its members, which On the silk industry, see: Luca Molà, ‘Oltre i confini della città. Artigiani e imprenditori della seta fiorentini all’estero’, in Franco Franceschi and Gloria Fossi, eds, Arti fiorentine. La grande storia dell’artigianato, II: Il Quattrocento (Florence, 1999), p. 102 and following. 36 On the importance of these movements during the Middle Ages, see: Maureen F. Mazzaoui, ‘Artisan Migration and Technology in the Italian Textile Industry in Late Middle Ages (1100–1500)’, in Rinaldo Comba, Gabriella Piccino and Guiliano Pinto, eds, Strutture familiari, epidemi, migrazioni nell’Italia medievale (Naples, 1984), pp. 522–3. 37 On the subject, see: Maitte, Les chemins. 38 On the archetype of craft migrations, see, for example, Mazzaoui, ‘Artisan Migration’. For an analysis of the dynamics of maintaining or breaking with places of origin through the migratory process, see: Paul A. Rosental, ‘Maintien/rupture: un nouveau couple pour l’analyse des migrations’, Annales ESC, 54/6 (1990): pp. 1403–31. 35

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was controlled by the guild’s elected councillors. The guild statutes imposed the same seasonal regulations (but no technical prescriptions or product standards) on all Altare glassmakers, wherever they worked, thereby establishing a spirit of solidarity and constant oversight. Initially, it was sufficient to accept guild rules to be accepted as a member; foreigners were also required to deposit a financial guarantee.39 The group did not consider itself sedentary, or at least not strictly, but rather took into account the reality of the mobility of artisans within what was initially a well-defined territory (Milan, Parma and Plaisance). These migrants were either ‘entrepreneurs’ looking to establish a glassworks in a suitable spot or teams that would work ‘seasons’ abroad for glasswork owners, be they from Altare or elsewhere.40 The ‘entrepreneurs’ spearheaded village migratory networks, whereas the latter engaged in ‘typical’ seasonal migrations. The drafters of the regulations also wanted to ensure that foreign glassworks owners who used Altare workers complied with their rules (Article 6) and paid a fee to the guild. Altare thus founded a guild for a mobile group of artisans who nevertheless remained rooted in a place that was not a city. Their migrations can be compared to those of mountain populations, which have been studied for the past 20 years.41 However, by the end of the fifteenth century, Altare glassmakers, either by working directly in Venice or (more probably) by working with Murano artisans in glassworks located in the plain of Padania, had acquired certain façon-deVenise techniques that they would help to spread throughout Europe. Setting out to Conquer Cities and Privileges: the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries Analysis of migratory flows clearly reveals that once outside Italy, people and products from Venice and Altare headed for cities. This distinct preference for urban areas is not hard to understand: cities were the greatest consumers of innovations for the table arts and the refinements of Italian glass gobletmaking. In urban settlement strategies, easy transport took precedence over the 39 During the seventeenth century, these rules were changed; cf. Maitte, Les chemins, pp. 19 and 268–70. 40 Foreign furnace owners who were not members of the Altare guild paid higher fees to hire Altare workers. This was the case, for example, in Liège in the seventeenth century; cf. Maitte, Les chemins, pp. 138–41. 41 Among others: Pier P. Viazzo, Upland Communities. Environment, Population and Social Structure in the Alps since the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989); Laurence Fontaine, Histoire du colportage en Europe, XV–XIXe siècle (Paris, 1993); Luigi Lorenzetti and Raoul Merzario, Il fuoco acceso. Famiglie e migrazioni alpine nell’Italia d’età moderna (Roma, 2005).

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local availability of raw materials. Thus, artisans from both Venice and Altare travelled throughout the Po river valley in Italy and the Rhône, Saône and Loire regions in France. They seldom strayed far from these major routes and took up lengthy residence in the main centres of communication. There is no denying the fact, however, that Venetian and Altare artisans settled in different cities. First, they seem to have divided up the terrain; neither Venetians nor the Altare artisans crossed over into the other’s territories. Second, they adopted different approaches: the Venetians appear to have travelled primarily to political and economic capitals in which the reputation of their city and their products could garner them political and economic support. They went from Paris to London and from Vienna to Stockholm, via Antwerp, Brussels and Amsterdam, but did not stop on the way in Nevers, Chalon or other similar cities. Their Altare counterparts, on the other hand, clearly chose to spread out in networks of smaller cities; the lack of a solid Altare reputation and a wider range of products most probably explain such a choice. The common characteristic of all the urban centres where they settled was the absence of guilds and often even of glassmaking activities. Avoiding the protestations of potential local competition seems to have predominated in their choice. Did Cities Drive Mobility? Were cities therefore a driving force in encouraging the phenomenon of glassmaker migration? The evidence seems to indicate that they were not. Overly political historical accounts have often asserted that skilled artisans migrated during the Early Modern period mainly in response to calls for workers issued by urban or royal authorities. A closer look at glassmaker mobility reveals other determining factors, linked to the situations of the men who left Venice because they had been banished, because they hoped to prosper from their knowhow outside La Serenissima, or because the Altare community thrived on the migrations of its workforce. Aside from a few court workshops where princes and their ambassadors sought to recruit this highly skilled workforce, it was far more common for artisans or project sponsors to approach public authorities, appealing to their sense of prestige. The following are two examples of many. In 1572, when Joseph Centurini of Genoa sought to obtain authorization to settle in Liège, he argued that the city’s ‘ornament’ was at stake.42 In 1623, when the Venetian Antonio Miotti wanted to settle in Brussels, which had no workshops at the time, he drew the attention of authorities to the absence of glassworks in the capital city and emphasized the competition for prestige taking place throughout Western Europe: Archives de l’Etat de Liège, Conseil privé, 1572.

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The supplicant wishes to inform us that it is indeed necessary for our city of Brussels to be equipped and decorated by this art and science, and that it must also be equally well provided as the other royal cities of the world, if the likes of such as the city of Venice which maintains four furnaces for its own service, the city of Rome two, and Florence one to serve the court and the people, as similarly in Naples, Milan, Verona, Paris, and London in England, so that all the desirous and eager Kings and princes may have this science in their kingdoms, then it would seem to the supplicant that there is all the more reason that the court and city of Brussels, where our very dear and beloved aunt, Madame Isabel Clara Eugenia resides, should likewise be endowed.43

Here it is clearly the glass entrepreneur who is giving the authorities a lesson in prestige. Though dialogue was nevertheless established with the authorities, it was because the artisans were seeking both authorization to settle in the chosen city and two possible types of privileges. The first most common type gave them exclusive rights to produce façon-de-Venise glass (and sometimes imitations with more commonplace glass) within a given radius, for a specific period of time, often accompanied by exclusive rights to sell these products.44 The second type of privileges were the ones requested in France by the Altare artisans; their distinctive feature lay in the fact that they were personal privileges that exempted glassmakers, who were deemed nobles, from paying taxes. Unlike exclusive privileges, these privileges guaranteed their holders considerable lifetime tax advantages and a de facto social status they did not enjoy in Italy.45 In any event, it was the artisans who approached the authorities and not the authorities who attracted glassmakers with privileges. This may seem a subtle difference, but it is nevertheless important, because it shows that glassmaking craftsmen were indeed economic actors in the fullest sense of the term, and they viewed privileges as indispensable instruments for the success of their businesses. How Glassmaking was Received in Cities Did cities welcome the new industry? As a matter of fact, this was by no means always the case. Various arguments were often combined to justify the Jean Houdoy, Verres à la façon de Venise. La fabrication flamande d’après des documents inédits (Paris, 1873), 54–5 (7/1/1623). A similar argument was used in Piedmont by the Venetian Gasparo Brunoro in 1633, see: Archivio di Stato di Torino (ASTo), materie economiche, IV, Vetri, mazzi d’addizione, 13, 20/9/1633. Brunoro worked first with Miotti in Namur; see Maitte, Les chemins, p. 107. 44 On the seniority of these privileges, see: Mazzaoui, ‘Artisan Migration’, 530 and the following. 45 Maitte, Les chemins, chapter 6. 43

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intervention of local authorities and their refusal to accept the new activity. The well-known episode of Mâcon is emblematic:46 in 1583, the city councillors refused a proposal, made no doubt by an Altare glassmaker, to develop the industry. The authorities were concerned about a possible increase in the price of wood, harmful fumes leaking from furnaces that were suspected of spreading the plague and the reaction of the locals to presence of the foreigners. The same arguments were put forth in Chalon-sur-Saône in 1584.47 Even if such statements were partly rhetorical, it is clear that glassmakers often had to engage in tense negotiations with the political authorities. The wood supply issue appears to have been widely evoked from the sixteenth century onwards as a crucial factor in potential disputes between these ‘luxury’ industries and the ‘vital’ needs of urban populations.48 Thus, the geographical spread of glassmaking installations was also the result of a great deal of prospecting and negotiating, which no doubt ended more often in failure than in success. Sovereigns Against Cities? To facilitate the success of their projects and the acceptance of their requests for privileges, migrant glassmakers showed an early preference for petitioning sovereign powers rather than city authorities, sometimes with the clear intention of circumventing the latter. Before settling in French cities, Altare artisans requested the recording of the privileges granted by the king to gentlemen glassmakers; urban authorities were therefore forced to give them tax exemptions. If we are to believe the craftsmen’s repeated registrations, it would seem that the authorities did not do so willingly. The example of Jacopo Saroldi is telling. Along with other Altare glassmakers, he settled in Nevers after plying his trade in Lyon. In both cities, the number of registrations of privileges testifies to the potential precariousness of their situation and to the difficulty of establishing a dialogue with the urban authorities. Thus, although the document was confirmed when King Henry III travelled through Lyon in 1574, Jacopo Saroldi had the original reconfirmed in the same city in 1582.49 Then he had it recorded in 1591 at the bailiwick of Saint Pierre le Moustiers, which had jurisdiction over the city of Nevers. Giovanni Ferro, one of his associates, had already had the same document recorded by the municipal councillors in 1587,50 which did not keep him from repeating the process in 1594. Léonce Lex, ‘Projet d’établissement d’une fabrique de verre de Venise à Mâcon en 1583’, Annales de l’Académie de Mâcon, 3e série, t. V (1900): pp. 250–54. 47 Louis Armand-Calliat, ‘Une verrerie de Venise fondée au XVIe siècle à Châlons’, Annales de Bourgogne, XV (1943): pp. 127–35. 48 The same occurred in Nantes and Turin. 49 Archives Communales de Nevers, BB 20, fo. 319–24. 50 Archives Départementales de Loire Atlantique, B. 65, fo. 297. 46

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Although Nevers became a ‘French Murano’, as it were, run by Altare artisans, the city authorities nevertheless appear to have constantly resisted the glassmakers’ initiatives, even when documents seem to suggest otherwise. Thus, after the death of the last descendent of Jacopo Saroldi in 1645, it was neither the duchess nor the city that called upon Giovanni Castellano and Bernardo Perroto to prevent the decline of its glassworks. Instead, the two glassmakers themselves set up a partnership in Altare in 1646 and petitioned the sovereign in Mantua to facilitate their acceptance by the Nevers city council and ensure they were granted exemptions from taxes on living expenses, and that they were to be dispensed from housing soldiers and from paying local fees. Does this indicate a relative loss of autonomy by city authorities in favour of the power of the French king? The phenomenon was not limited to France; throughout Europe, glassmakers systematically addressed their requests to sovereign authorities. In Turin, for example, starting in the late sixteenth century, the dukes granted settlement rights in proximity to the city, which the urban authorities continually rejected in vain in the name of the public good and the preservation of forest resources.51 In Antwerp, the glassmakers turned to the central authority and Charles V granted the first privilege in 1549.52 It was again the archdukes who granted concessions in the early seventeenth century, which the city authorities ratified only after a considerable delay.53 Glassmakers also took advantage of political rivalries between states to consolidate their position and obtain the best possible terms. From the outset, the competition between the provinces under Spanish control and the new United Provinces took an economic turn, and the crystalline glassworks played their part. In 1598, the holder of the Antwerp privilege asked for ‘the same exemption and franchise to be able to keep the glassworks in the country’. Indeed, the petition asserted, workers were leaving ‘because they can obtain many more franchises and immunities than they have in Antwerp’.54 Information circulated quickly in migratory networks, those of men and of their industries; the announcement of more favourable working conditions elsewhere precipitated a swift change of location. The competition between rival states and the perpetual blackmail by the entrepreneurs, who remained attached to a place only so long as they benefited from it, helped to balance the advantages received in the various territories. Indeed, the archduke’s privy ASTo, materie economiche, M. 12 Archives du Royaume, Registre 643, fol. 177v de la chambre des comptes and 20789, published by Alexandre Pinchart, ‘Les fabriques de verre de Venise d’Anvers et de Bruxelles aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles’, Bulletin des Commissions royales d’Art et d’Archéologie, 21 (1882): p. 372. 53 Henri Schuermans, ‘Verres “façon de Venise” fabriqués aux Pays-Bas’, Bulletin des Commissions royales d’Art et d’Archéologie, L. 3, 23 (1884): pp. 41–2. 54 Ibid., pp. 38–9 and 40–41. 51 52

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council immediately gave a favourable reply to the request of the entrepreneur in Antwerp, to the great displeasure of the city authorities, which took their time before abiding by the orders.55 While the relative weakness of the privy council kept requests going back and forth repeatedly, the direct intervention of the archdukes seems to have settled the issue and guaranteed excellent privileges to Antwerp’s entrepreneurs. Thus, the Italian glassmakers succeeded in settling in the cities, sometimes to the great displeasure of their political authorities. However, were these craftsmen instrumental in circulating and spreading glassmaking techniques? The Spread of Innovations? Privileges and Apprenticeship Because privileges were publicly bestowed, one might assume that the techniques would also become public. A closer look at old privilege documents reveals that they were often very evasive, quite imprecise and that the technical procedures were seldom mentioned, let alone specified.56 The problem therefore lay mainly with apprenticeships. The idea gradually took root that the holder of a privilege should not only ensure sufficient production to avoid any imports from abroad, but also ‘naturalize’ the glassmaker’s knowledge so that it would take root in the country, even if he himself were no longer present. This requirement appeared virtually everywhere in the eighteenth century. But when did it originate? As early as the sixteenth century, quite a large number of privileges granted by Venice stipulated that the titleholder would teach his art to others. Similarly, in Lucca, those who obtained a privilege were required to teach the new technique to the local workforce.57 By contrast, the privileges conferred upon glassmakers outside Italy make only very oblique reference to such an obligation. In 1572, when Gérard de Groesbeeck conceded his privilege to Joseph Centurini, he expressed the hope that ‘through it, several of our poor subjects will be able to earn a living’: it was an industry that offered a livelihood, which implies that it provided the requisite training. Who, then, worked in the Antwerp or Liège glassworks? No state or municipal inspection seems to have been conducted Schuermans, ‘Verres’, pp. 41–2. See for example: Marcus Popplow, ‘Hydraulic Engines in Renaissance Privileges for Inventions and Theatres of Machines’, in Alessandra Fiocca, Daniela Lamberini and Cesare Maffioli, eds, Arte e Scienza delle Acque nel Rinascimento (Venice, 2003), pp. 73–84. 57 Roberto Berveglieri, Inventori stranieri a Venezia (1474–1788). Importazione di tecnologia e circolazione di tecnici artigiani inventori. Repertorio (Venezia, 1995), p. 170 and note 9, p. 59. However, the obligation must be applied, and this means control procedures; see Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents’, p. 67. 55 56

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on this matter. Apart from very general declarations, passing techniques on to local workers does not appear to have been a sufficiently serious concern to warrant introducing effective inspection procedures. The remark also holds true for Piedmont until the eighteenth century and for Tuscany, where none of the privileges on record mention the problem. In France, on the other hand, the issue took on such political importance that it generated considerable tension between the Italian entrepreneurs and Henri IV’s council.58 After granting often exclusive manufacturing privileges to a certain number of foreign workers from many countries, in 1603 the King’s Council required that at least half of their apprentices be French, thereby forcing them to pass on their know-how. Should the craftsmen refuse, their privileges would be revoked. This decision was taken at a time when economic ‘nationalism’ was gaining ground.59 The ‘Consultative commission on the general trade situation and the establishment of manufactures in the country’, established in Paris in 1601, was directed to summon the foreign master craftsmen and inform them of the king’s will. The Italian glassmakers exercising their trade in Paris were summoned like the others, but they were the only ones who refused to apply the measure, in the name of the prohibition they had received from the Duke of Mantua.60 No doubt they were alluding to the statutes of the Altare guild, which prohibited working with anyone who was not a guild member and failed to comply with its rules. As was stated earlier, these statutes did indeed allow foreigners to be welcomed in Altare. The guild was open at the local level, welcoming foreigners; but abroad, it was a closed group, because the goal was to ensure Altare craftsmen remained indispensable, so as to preserve a monopoly on their techniques, a valuable card to play when bidding for higher wages or to ensure enviable situations for glasswork owners. In the face of the obstinate refusal of the Altare glassmakers, the king’s council decided to give their preference to a French competitor, Jean Marechal, who was awarded a privilege in 1606 and who settled in the same district as the Altare artisans, but whose production remains largely unknown. Though the Italians were no longer able to operate in the Paris market, they were still solidly present in the provinces, where royal decisions on French apprentices were rarely, though still occasionally, applied.61 As always, the repeated royal measures clearly indicate both the stakes involved and the fact that Nicolas Albot, ‘Verreries et verriers italiens dans les Ardennes’, Revue Historique Ardennaise, 13 (1906): p. 217. 59 Henry Heller, Anti-Italianism in Sixteenth-Century France (London and Toronto, 2003). 60 Aimé Champollion Figeac, Documents historiques inédits tirés des collections manuscrites de la Bibliothèque Royale et des archives ou des bibliothèques des départements (Paris, 1848), t. IV, p. 195. 61 As well as in 1619, 1629, and 1734; see Maitte, Les chemins, chapter 6. 58

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their decisions were not enforced. Keeping control over technical prerogatives and trade secrets presupposed teams made up entirely of Italians, which Altare was quite capable of providing. Did the Venetians adopt the same attitude? The Republic and the guild always presented protecting the Arte’s ‘secrets’ as essential. However, did the immigrant Venetian glassmakers follow these injunctions? This has been assumed more than actually proven. When we look at a certain number of cases, their attitude seems in fact to have been more ambivalent than that of their Altare counterparts. Various examples clearly suggest that some of these artisans taught their trade secrets in exchange for privileges, which was the requirement Venice imposed on foreigners when it granted them exclusive privileges.62 Of course, a handful of cases do not prove a general attitude. They do, however, invite us to examine in greater detail the issue of circulation and technical transfers. Circulation and Technical Innovations Did the determination to keep innovations ‘secret’ actually prevent the transfer of techniques? Italian teams working abroad were very close-knit, which was undoubtedly a factor in maintaining their technological pre-eminence. Yet innovations continued to move in both directions; the Venetian émigrés in Flanders brought home the use of potassic plants,63 just as the Altare artisans came back with Lorraine glassmakers to make sheet glass, which was then produced in the region and exported as far as Sicily. Furthermore, it is possible that the ‘Italians’ were less unanimously committed to keeping manufacturing secrets than they asserted. In any case, their mobility in Northern Europe stimulated encounters, research and new innovations. Karel Hettes has illustrated how much the famous Bohemian crystal owes to competition from Italian glassmakers.64 The careful Venetian-style preparation of soda gave Bohemian glassmakers the idea of doing the same thing with the wood ash they customarily employed to remove impurities from the surface of glass under preparation and of introducing a whitening agent (manganese oxide), used in Bohemia as early as 1570. Thus, by the end of the sixteenth century, numerous accounts testify to the rapid improvement in the quality of Bohemian Domenico Barovier, Majorque, 1605; Gaspare Brunoro, Turin, 1633; Turin, 1723, Obizzo and Giordano; see: Maitte, Les chemins, chapter 6. 63 Paolo Zecchin, ‘Vetrai muranesi in Fiandra e Inghilterra nel cinquecento’, Rivista della stazione sperimentale del vetro, 36 (May–June 2006): pp. 33–4; testimony of Giovanni Mazariol, 1572, notes 21 and 39. 64 Karen Hettes, ‘Venetian Trends in Bohemian Glassmaking’, The Journal of Glass Studies, 5/39–53 (1963): pp. 39–53; see also Arnošt Klima, ‘Glassmaking Industry and Trade in Bohemia in the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries’, The Journal of European Economic History, 13/3 (1984): pp. 499–520. 62

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glass. At the same time, Hettes notes the importance of Venetian influence on stylistic changes in Bohemian production, which was to become one of Venice’s main competitors at the end of the seventeenth century. A similar phenomenon was observed in England, where the development of flint glass, which is still shrouded in mystery,65 seems to have been linked to a desire to defeat Venetian competition and to have resulted from the knowledge transmitted by certain migrant glassmakers. Indeed, one of the key glassmakers working for Ravenscroft, the entrepreneur who claimed the patent for leadglass in 1674, was a certain Sir Da Costa from Altare. After working in Nevers, the French centre for Altare craftsmen, Da Costa arrived in Holland, where he set up a small glassworks in Nijmegen, on the banks of the Rhine. He worked with Jean Guillaume Renier and another Altare glassmaker, Giovanni Odacio Formica, who no doubt had been working in Liège. This glassworks mainly produced imitation gemstones, whose composition had long included lead. The innovation therefore consisted in introducing lead into the composition of blown glass to obtain a mixture that was both stable and malleable, a process that was apparently still nascent in 1674. The hypothesis that this ‘invention’ took place beforehand and outside England could be corroborated by the fact that Renier, one of Da Costa’s associates in Nijmegen, produced glass using lead in Sweden in 1675, and in the same year Formica obtained a privilege to make similar glass in Ireland. One might well conclude that these three associates discovered the new type of composition together, which they later sought to develop, each in a different country. Yet, to call this a ‘discovery’ is perhaps an exaggeration: in a treatise on the art of blown glass printed in Florence in 1612, Antonio Neri gave a short explanation on how to use glass with lead to produce blown objects. On the other hand, certain components that were required for the stability of this type of glass (particularly nitrate) seem to have been commonly employed in England during the first half of the seventeenth century.66 Incidentally, another Italian glassmaker, this time from Venice, requested an authorization from Maastricht in 1686 to produce glass using a new process, but the same process was employed by Ravenscroft in London in 1674. While, as Cesare Moretti correctly asserts, there is still a great deal we do not know about the origins of English flint glass, the technical contribution of the Italians to the development of the new composition seems undeniable. Christine MacLeod, ‘Accident or Design? George Ravenscroft’s Patent and the Invention of Lead-Crystal Glass’, Technology and Culture, 28 (1987): pp. 776–803; Cesare Moretti, ‘La realizzazione del cristallo al piombo in Inghilterra. Analisi critica della ricetta attribuita a George Ravenscroft e aspetti ancora oscuri nel processo di sviluppo del vetro flint’, Rivista della Stazione Sperimentale del Vetro, 1 (2004): pp. 19–27. 66 Moretti, ‘La realizzazione’. 65

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Conclusion By focusing on the innovations and mobility of glassmakers, this chapter has clearly shown that in Venice and Altare, where glassmaking activities were under guild supervision, innovations were at once numerous, well received and inseparable from the multiple processes of circulation – among branches, guild members and regions with different technical traditions. It is of course to be taken into account that the case studies examined here were part of a luxury segment and that within glass production there were also other segments which were mostly produced outside cities and in regions that were rich in woodland. But even in the urban context of luxury production there was little concern about regulating technical processes within the guilds, where the length of apprenticeships long remained an internal matter, and where variations in this practice probably had more to do with local labour market regulations than with the technical qualifications of the workforce. At the same time, the study of how façon-de-Venise production expanded in Europe yields some surprising discoveries. First, in terms of the expected link between glassmaker mobility and the policies of the authorities, whether urban or sovereign: in this case, the mobility of glassmakers seems to have been relatively, if not totally, independent of urban policies, with which glassmakers sometimes entered into conflict. Second, in the connections between mobility and technical transfers: inasmuch as mobile glassmakers maintained ties with their guilds at home and worked in close-knit teams made up entirely of Italians, protecting trade ‘secrets’ long remained essential. Transfers of techniques were by no means automatic, and the authorities often appear to have settled for the installation of glassworks without necessarily being concerned with the appropriation of techniques by their subjects. For a long time, the privileges requested and obtained by glassmakers did not carry any obligation to teach their art. Even when they did (as in early seventeenth-century France), no legal procedure succeeded in overcoming the glassmakers’ opposition to communicating their know-how outside their ranks. Instead of direct transfers and the pure and simple ‘naturalization’ of technical processes, we observe the ongoing circulation of technical experimentation and innovation embedded in a European network of artisans who settled in cities across the Continent, more or less as they pleased.

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Chapter 3

Craft Guild Legislation and Woollen Production: the Florentine Arte della Lana in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Francesco Ammannati

The Late Medieval textile industry, notably that in Italy, has often been considered incapable of adapting to market changes and lacking in innovation. Indeed, the wool-making process did not experience any substantial revolution until at least the eighteenth century: the technology used by the Pratese workshop of Francesco Datini to make woollen broadcloths at the end of the fourteenth century was basically the same as that adopted for weaving, two centuries later, by the Florentine rascie.1 The classic historiographical account used to blame the strict rules implemented by the guilds; naturally conservative, they blocked the activities of their members and made their products uncompetitive.2 The debate on the role played by craft guilds within medieval and modern economies and societies is far from settled, however, and in recent years, many voices have called for a ‘rehabilitation’ of the guild as an institution. The struggle against old prejudices and ideological and theoretical approaches, sometimes poorly connected to the study of specific cases, has been conducted on multiple fronts, each emphasizing particular aspects of the matter. More attention is now paid to the patchwork of conflicting interests that the corporate system would have 1 Extensive discussions on the production processes of the Florentine and Pratese wool workshops can be found in Alfred Doren, Studien Aus Der Florentiner Wirtschaftsgeschichte. 1. Die Florentiner Wollentuchindustrie Vom 14. Bis Zum 16 Jahrhundert (Stuttgart, 1901); and, more recently, in Federigo Melis, Aspetti della vita economica medievale. Studi nell’Archivio Datini di Prato (Siena, 1962); Francesco Ammannati, ‘Francesco di Marco Datini’s Wool Workshops’, in Giampiero Nigro, ed., Francesco di Marco Datini. The Man the Merchant (Florence, 2010), pp. 489–514. 2 The literature on the influence, mostly negative, exercised by craft guilds on the progress of the manufacturing process and economic growth is very broad; for the Italian case, read the classic work of Carlo M. Cipolla, ‘Il declino economico dell’Italia’, in Carlo M. Cipolla, ed., Storia dell’economia italiana. Saggi di storia economica, Volume 1: Secoli Settimodiciassettesimo (Turin, 1959), vol. 1, pp. 606–23.

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been able to temper and manage. Studies now underline the need to overcome the all-embracing concept of a ‘guild’ tout court, by investigating the differences between the various manufacturing sectors and focusing on specificities. After all, studying a single form of industrial organization can lead to overly specific findings. One of the paths generally followed has been to link the typical institutional tasks of the craft guilds, framed in a European perspective, to their economic effects on the societies of the ancien régime, in an attempt, essentially, to identify the real socio-economic functions of the guilds (which may have been explicitly perceived by contemporaries). The most common answers focus on the guilds’ macro-functions. That is to say, guilds allowed for a reduction in transaction costs: they created the conditions for the transmission of knowledge to subsequent generations; contributed to the coordination of complex forms of production; and reduced information asymmetries – an inevitable feature of the pre-industrial market – between producers and consumers. A typical example of this last point is quality control of the output produced by the members of the craft guild; far from hindering the activities of the sector, this would have contributed to the commercial affirmation of the products, which were somehow ‘guaranteed’ by the corporation.3 Another feature of the guild system has been identified as better allocation of labour, especially skilled labour, through apprenticeship, for example.4 Some authors, trying to counter one of the fiercest criticisms of the guilds, have identified the Arti as privileged vehicles for the dissemination of new technologies.5 Among the scholars particularly interested in this topic, see: Bo Gustafsson, ‘The Rise and Economic Behaviour of Medieval Craft Guilds’, in Bo Gustafsson, ed., Power and Economic Institutions. Reinterpretations in Economic History (Aldershot, 1991), pp. 69–106; Ulrich Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds and Proto-industrialization in Europe, 16th to 18th Centuries’, in Clara E. Núñez, ed., Guilds, Economy and Society. Proceedings of the 12th International Economic History Congress, Session B1. Madrid, August 1988 (Seville, 1998), pp. 11–23; Gary Richardson, ‘Guilds, Laws, and Markets for Manufactured Merchandise in Late-medieval England’, Explorations in Economic History, 41 (2004): pp. 1–25; Gary Richardson, ‘Brand Names Before the Industrial Revolution’, NBER Working Paper series, n. 13930 (Cambridge, 2008). 4 Here, too, the bibliography is extensive. Besides the collections cited above, see Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, The Journal of Economic History, 58 (1998): pp. 684–713; Bert De Munck, Steven Kaplan and Hugo Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor: Historical Perspectives on Apprenticeship (New York, 2007); Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp Guilds from the 15th Century to the End of the Ancien Régime (Turnhout, 2007). For Italy, a useful read is offered by the essays on apprenticeship contained in Roberto Greci, Corporazioni e mondo del lavoro nell’Italia padana medievale (Bologna, 1988), pp. 157–223 and pp. 225–44. 5 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Property Rights to Technical Knowledge in Premodern Europe’, The American Economic Review, 94 (2004): pp. 382–7; Epstein, ‘Transferring Technical Knowledge’; Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, ‘Introduction’, in Stephan R. Epstein 3

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Over the years, these studies have allowed for a broadening of the scale of the corporate phenomenon, by challenging many old theoretical models and testing established theories on the basis of case studies and more stringent research. The debate is still open, and some regard these reversals with suspicion.6 What is certain, however, is that these new perspectives provide a stimulus for further research: before reaching a general synthesis, studies should be undertaken on specific situations, to provide material for comparative assessments.7 In this context, the case of the Florentine Arte della lana is particularly interesting and significant in two respects: • The fundamental importance of woollen textile production, in addition to silk production, from the fifteenth century.8 Wool manufacturing formed the industrial basis of the city, involved a large part of the population and represented the primary channel of wealth redistribution. The industry’s decay and the downsizing of the whole production system from the early seventeenth century had disastrous consequences for the urban economy, although these have not yet been analysed in depth. • The role played by the Università dell’Arte della lana in this decline is ambiguous. On one side, the craft guilds are chiefly blamed, while others argue that the Florentine Arte did everything in its power to bring a halt to an unavoidable process that involved the entire Tuscan industrial sector.9 and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (New York, 2008), pp. 1–24, at pp. 17–24; Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Between Mercantilism and Market: Privileges for Invention in Early Modern Europe’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 2 (2006): pp. 319–38. 6 One of the major sceptical voices in this regard is that of Ogilvie: Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘“Whatever Is, Is Right”? Economic Institutions in Pre-industrial Europe’, The Economic History Review, 60 (2007): pp. 649–84; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Consumption, Social Capital, and the “Industrious Revolution” in Early Modern Germany’, The Journal of Economic History, 70 (2010): pp. 287–325. Particularly instructive and stimulating is her debate with Epstein. See Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds in the Pre-modern Economy: A Discussion’, The Economic History Review, 61 (2008): pp. 155–74 and Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Rehabilitating the Guilds: a Reply’, The Economic History Review, 61 (2008); pp. 175–82. 7 Luca Mocarelli, ‘Guilds Reappraised: Italy in the Early Modern Period’, International Review of Social History, 53 (2008): pp. 159–78, at p. 177. 8 Here, the considerations of Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Subcontracting in Guildbased Export Trades, Thirteenth-Eighteenth Centuries’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, pp. 81–113, at pp. 95–6, and Paolo Malanima, ‘La formazione di una regione economica: la Toscana nei Secoli XIII–XV’, Società e Storia, 20 (1983): pp. 229–69, at p. 242, can be applied. 9 Cipolla, ‘Declino economico’, Malanima, La decadenza di un’economia cittadina: L’industria di Firenze nei secoli XVI–XVIII (Bologna, 1982); Francesco Ammannati, ‘Note sulla decadenza dell’Arte della Lana a Firenze nel Cinquecento’, in Franco Amatori and

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The truth probably lies in between the two. In fact, certain measures taken by the guild were the result, at best, of a short-sighted view of the sector’s problems, when not directly influenced by the specific concerns of the most important members of the guild. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that in the Grand Ducal era, the economic policy of the Florentine State was decided centrally. The Arte was therefore only a branch of the ducal administration,10 hierarchically subordinated to public power; by this time, the guild had long lost its rights to self-government and autonomy, a process that had already started at the beginning of the fifteenth century.11 In the case of Florence in particular, the relationship between the central government and the craft guilds is a key aspect to take into account when evaluating the activities of these institutions.12 Across Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, it is possible to identify a general increase in the subjection of the guilds’ statutes to the emerging power of the absolutist State.13 Florence offers further evidence in this regard. In the words of one historian, a specialist in the political history of the Medici State in the Early Modern Age, ‘the Medici Principate was an absolutism with such a concentration of power in the person of the Prince Andrea Colli, eds, Imprenditorialità e Sviluppo Economico. Il Caso Italiano (secc. XIII–XX) – Società Italiana Degli Storici Economici Università Bocconi, 14–15 Novembre 2008 (Milan, 2009), pp. 236–55. 10 Danilo Marrara, Studi giuridici sulla Toscana medicea. Contributo alla storia degli stati assoluti in Italia (Milan, 1965), p. 52, does not agree in full with this vision. 11 Antonio Anzillotti, La costituzione interna dello Stato fiorentino sotto il Duca Cosimo I de’ Medici (Florence, 1910); Doren, Le Arti; Sergio Di Noto, Gli Ordinamenti del Granducato di Toscana in un testo settecentesco di Luigi Viviani (Milan, 1984); Franco Franceschi, ‘Intervento del potere centrale e ruolo delle Arti nel governo dell’economia fiorentina del Trecento e del pimo Quattrocento. Linee gnerali’, Archivio Storico Italiano, 558, CLI (1993): pp. 863–909; Franco Franceschi, ‘Istituzioni e attività economica a Firenze: considerazioni sul governo del settore industriale (1350–1450)’, in Claudio Lamioni, ed., Istituzioni e Società in Toscana nell’Età Moderna. Atti delle giornate di studio dedicate a Giuseppe Pansini, Firenze 4–5 Dicembre 1992 (2 vols, Rome, 1994), vol. 1, pp. 77–117. 12 Prak considers it impossible to refrain from studying ‘the way in which they were embedded in the institutional framework of local government’: Maarten Prak, ‘Corporate Politics in the Low Countries: Guilds as Institutions, 14th to 18th Centuries’, in Maarten Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries. Work, Power and Representation (Aldershot, 2006), pp. 74–105. See also Lis and Soly, ‘Subcontracting’, p. 97, about the various organizational forms that a corporate-based textile manufacture could adopt according to the ‘local balance of power’. 13 Ulrich Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds, the Theory of the Firm’, pp. 25–51. Note in particular his views on the relationship between corporate structure and political representation at pp. 32–4.

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that the famous “l’état c’est moi” pales in comparison’.14 In this situation, the Prince controlled not only the political and administrative life of the Grand Duchy, but also its economy and culture. For this reason, a study of the ‘economic policy’ of the Florentine woollen craft guild is necessarily intertwined with general reflection on the measures taken at the highest levels of the State. Before analysing how the rights of the Arte della lana found specific application in the various statutory rules and in public deliberations, we should briefly describe the situation of the Florentine wool industry in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. • Juridical structure of the guild. The Florentine Arte della lana was a socalled ‘umbrella guild’. Under its jurisdiction fell the many crafts and activities that could be linked to wool production. It was very different from the associations of workers performing the same jobs (weavers, dyers) that were more typical of Northern Europe, for example.15 The Arte was not even identical to the neringen, guild-like organizations created by the governments of several Dutch cities. In fact, if the latter formed part of the municipal government, the former maintained, at least formally, the structural characteristics of a craft guild, such as membership requirements. As early as the fourteenth century, the Arte had ceased to be an egalitarian association of masters and had become a hierarchical configuration organized into separate levels. At the top were the artifices pleno iure, the master wool-makers, who, in the most important workshops, were associated with merchant-entrepreneurs, the financiers of partnerships. Both groups enjoyed full rights of representation in the governing bodies of the Arte, even if the latter were not involved in the direct management of the firms. At a lower level, which guaranteed fewer rights within the guild, there were the masters of the professions ‘aggregated’ to the principal dyers, tenterers, fullers and so on. The third level included all the employees of the masters of the first two levels (woolbeaters, combers, carders, and so forth, generally known as lavoranti), as well as the home-workers who had been excluded from the second level (spinners, weavers) and the personnel who delivered and picked up the Giorgio Spini, ‘Appunti per una storia delle classi subalterne nel Principato mediceo del Cinquecento’, in Pietro Nenni, Omaggio a Nenni (Rome, 1973), pp. 23–59, at p. 25. 15 Bert De Munck, Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, ‘The Establishment and Distribution of Craft Guilds in the Low Countries, 1000–1800’, in Prak et al, eds, Craft Guilds, pp. 32–73 and Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds, the Theory of the Firm’, p. 33. Rudolf Dekker, ‘Labor Conflicts and Working Class Culture in Early Modern Holland’, International Review of Social History, 35 (1990): pp. 377–420, at pp. 383–4. 14

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yarn from the spinners (named lanini or stamaioli, depending on the type of yarn managed). This great mass of workers did not enjoy any corporative rights and came under the full authority of the Arte.16 • Organization of production. The long production process was divided into several phases. From the fifteenth century, these were carried out by people whose relations with the workshop were based on the nonexclusivity of work, paid by the piece and often performed at the worker’s own home. In the sixteenth century, a common practice developed whereby the unskilled workers operating at the wool workshop (the aforementioned lavoranti, mainly involved in the early stages of processing) were organized into teams assigned to a fattore (factor, labour master), who dealt directly with the wool-maker for the management of their remuneration. Activities requiring significant infrastructure or substantial investment (dyeing, fulling, tentering) were carried out by specialized firms or managed directly by the guild.17 • Type of production. By the first half of the fifteenth century the Arte was differentiating between two types of manufacture. High-quality cloth was woven by the workshops in the area of the city called San Martino, which had a monopoly on the use of English wool, the best and richest raw material. The remaining workshops, generically identified as Garbo, produced lower-quality cloth using Italian and Spanish wool. The latter, in particular, had great success in Levantine markets. In the cities of the Florentine Dominio,18 luxury production was not allowed and, at least in theory, the use of imported raw materials was banned.19 16 Doren, Le Arti, pp. 190–206; Charles De La Roncière, ‘La condition des salariés à Florence au XIVe Siècle’, in Il Tumulto dei ciompi. Un momento di storia fiorentina ed europea (Florence, 1981), pp. 13–40, at pp. 14–16; Franco Franceschi, Oltre il Tumulto. Lavoratori fiorentini dell’Arte della Lana fra Tre e Quattrocento (Florence, 1993), pp. 83–5. 17 Doren, Studien Aus Der Florentiner Wirtschaftsgeschichte; Melis, Aspetti; Patrick Chorley, ‘Rascie and the Florentine Cloth Industry During the Sixteenth Century’, The Journal of European Economic History, 32 (2003), pp. 487–526; Richard A. Goldthwaite, ‘The Florentine Wool Industry in the Late Sixteenth Century: A Case Study’, The Journal of European Economic History, 32 (2003), pp. 527–54; Francesco Ammannati, ‘L’Arte della Lana a Firenze nel Cinquecento: crisi del settore e risposte degli operatori’, Storia Economica, 11 (2008), pp. 5–39. 18 ‘Dominio’ refers to the ‘Contado’, namely the lands acquired during the first phase of the medieval expansion of the city of Florence, and the ‘Distretto’, made up of cities – and their suburbs – which had enjoyed autonomy in the communal era and were later integrated into the capital. See: Anzillotti, Costituzione, p. 54. 19 I will not mention here the extensive literature on Florentine woollen production between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries. For the topics discussed here, see: Hidetoshi Hoshino, L’Arte della Lana in Firenze nel Basso Medioevo. Il commercio della lana e il mercato dei panni fiorentini nei Secoli XIII–XV (Florence, 1980); Franceschi, Oltre il Tumulto; Bruno Dini,

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This attempt to identify a set of rules as the economic policy of the guild, which was now an organ of central government, must in any case be read using the critical approach of one accustomed to using sources of a legislative nature. Moreover, in the Early Modern Age, a plurality of normative sources regulated the exercise of the craft: guilds’ statutes, decrees, civic regulations and so forth.20 Thus, sole reliance on corporative law is likely to give a distorted view of the city’s textile manufacturing.21 Put simply, a rule, prohibition or obligation could be imposed – and often repeatedly imposed over time – precisely because it was not accepted by the community. In this sense, the norm might be the very opposite of reality. Likewise, attempts to connect a ‘regulatory regime’ to actual daily practice have been strongly criticized and questioned.22 Such legislation must be interpreted in the light of the power and interests of those who actually controlled the Arte (in an economic sense, merchant capital, and in a political sense, the town’s oligarchy revolving around the Medici court). For this reason, perhaps, much of the research on guilds, just like the present study, is the result of the intersection of different kinds of sources, from the legislative to the judicial, not to mention the account books of individual workshops. Keeping these caveats in mind, we will now analyse in detail how the Arte tried to achieve its goals. Control and Protection of Urban Manufacturing The Relations between Florence and the Dominio One of the main concerns of the guild’s consuls was the creation and maintenance of the privileges granted to the Florentine wool-makers in respect of the ‘L’economia Fiorentina dal 1450 al 1530’, in Bruno Dini, ed., Saggi su una economia-mondo: Firenze e l’Italia fra Mediterraneo ed Europa. Secc. 13–16 (Pisa, 1995), pp. 187–214. 20 Elisabetta Merlo, ‘Idoneità e identità di mestiere: analisi e confronto di alcune esemplificazioni (Milano XVII–XVIII Secolo)’, in Marco Meriggi and Alessandro Pastore, eds, Le regole dei mestieri e delle professioni (Milan, 2000), pp. 105–19, at p. 106. 21 As Swanson warned: ‘guild regulations give a distorted view of urban industry’. Heather Swanson, ‘The Illusion of Economic Structure: Craft Guilds in Late Medieval English Towns’, Past and Present, 121 (1988): pp. 29–48, at p. 39. Degrassi also reached the same conclusions; see Donata Degrassi, L’economia artigiana nell’Italia medievale (Rome, 1996), p. 187. On the updating and revising of the guilds’ statutes, see Paola Lanaro, ‘Gli statuti delle Arti in Età moderna tra norma e pratiche. Primi appunti dal caso veneto’, in Alberto Guenzi, Paola Massa and Angelo Moioli, eds, Corporazioni e gruppi professionali nell’Italia moderna (Milan, 1999), pp. 327–44, at p. 332. 22 James R. Farr, ‘On the Shop Floor: Guilds, Artisans, and the European Market Economy, 1350–1750’, Journal of Early Modern History, 1 (1997): pp. 24–54.

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workshops operating inside the Dominio and belonging to local craft guilds, whose relationships with the dominante (the capital city) were regulated.23 The situation was becoming increasingly serious, as the territory under the jurisdiction of the Commune, and later of the Grand Duchy, was expanding, and the textile tradition in those places had long been established. The Arte was dealing with this issue as early as the second half of the fourteenth century, by modulating the severity of the repression in accordance with the economic and market conditions.24 In the sixteenth century, central legislation tried to control every aspect of the wool production of the Florentine State.25 In the course of the century, many measures were taken to ensure the Florentine wool-makers’ monopoly over luxury production and to exclude the cloth woven in rural areas from the urban market. In 1491 it had been stated that within six miles of Florence, no shopkeeper could sell cloth, whole or cut, made in the Florentine Dominio, with the exception of some very poor quality cloth valued at less than 15 soldi per braccio.26 This figure was increased to 35 soldi in 1532 and to 40 soldi in 1534,27 a sign that the quality of the cloth made in the countryside was gradually increasing. Particularly worrying was the practice of those rural wool-makers who brought their cloth to be finished in the city’s workshops; especially for dyeing, but also often for carding and final shearing. Our sources state that ‘many people bought them, leaving unsold the Florentine cloth’.28 It was not easy to prevent this practice, because while customs officials were able to block products from the countryside, a black market flourished in the villages and areas around the city walls. The problem was still being strongly felt in 1604, and although the Arte noted that the production of cloth in the Dominio had increased,29 the rules and prohibitions of the past 70 years were reiterated, along with the revocation of every grace or exemption that had been granted in the meantime. During Special treatment, perhaps due to the strong textile tradition of the city, was given to the Arte della lana of Prato, see: Alessandra Contini and Francesco Martelli, ‘L’Arte dei Lanaioli nello stato regionale toscano (secoli XVII–XVIII)’, in Meriggi and Pastore, Le regole dei mestieri e delle professioni, pp. 176–224, at pp. 181–5. See also Anzillotti, Costituzione, p. 62. 24 Franceschi, ‘Istituzioni e attività economica a Firenze’. 25 It is interesting to note that elsewhere, such as in England, but also in other parts of Europe, national regulations were unusual; see Ian Anders Gadd and Patrick Wallis, ‘Reaching Beyond the City Wall: London Guilds and National Regulation, 1500–1700’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, pp. 288–315, and still, in this regard, Anzillotti, Costituzione, p. 63. 26 Archivo di Stato di Firenze (ASF), Arte della lana, 13, fol. 207r. 27 ASF, Pratica segreta, 16, fol. 516r. 28 Ibid. 29 ASF, Pratica segreta, 16, fol. 517r. 23

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the seventeenth century, the situation worsened: in a time of deep crisis, the Florentine wool-makers were resigned to the loss of the international market. They were also well aware that the only available outlet for their products was the domestic market, where they faced competition from cloth from Northern Europe. Constrained by this limited horizon, the Arte maintained good oldfashioned protectionist regulations, even blaming the wool-makers of the Dominio for the decay of the sector.30 On the other side of the coin there was the protection of Florentine luxury production: the provision that had prohibited the rural manufacturing of woaddyed wool since 1510.31 The ongoing disputes with the guilds of the Dominio must be seen in this light. In the Ducal era, from 1533 onwards, the Arte was forced to fight against rural wool-makers labelling their cloth with ‘the mark of the sheep, the inscription of GARBO, ORO, CROWN and other public signs which today and for a long time the Florentine Arte della lana has been using’.32 Essentially, these were counterfeit products. Strong measures were taken and firmly reiterated throughout the sixteenth century; a good example is that of Arezzo, which was similar to those of many other centres with strong textile traditions.33 While permitting the use of fine wools, such as English wool (probably already in limited supply, given the general crisis in imports of this kind of raw material), specific criteria were established so that cloth from Arezzo could be distinguished from that of Florence. This included, for example, specific procedures for preparing the selvedge, the application of seals, ‘that is marks with one face carved with San Donato, patron of the city, and on the other with a + surrounded by any letter the woolmakers would like, but not the word “Florence”’. Rather, ‘there should be written in clear and large letters: “Arezzo”’.34 Some scholars have interpreted the strongly and stubbornly ‘urban’ nature of Florentine wool production as the main cause of the Tuscan decline from the Modern Era onwards, because it did not allow the involvement of the Dominio in a broader and more interconnected market.35 A process already in motion Francesco Martelli, La comunità di Pontassieve e i suoi lanaioli. Aspetti di vita economica dal XVI al XVIII Secolo (Florence, 1983), pp. 89–95. 31 ASF, Arte della Lana, 16, fol. 153r. 32 ASF, Arte della Lana, 15, fol. 30r. 33 Such as Siena, Anghiari, Sansepolcro, Cortona, Castiglion Fiorentino, Monte San Savino, Castrocaro, Empoli, Pontassieve, Prato, Pistoia and so on. Spini, ‘Appunti’, p. 45. 34 On the practical effectiveness of these measures see Doren, Le Arti, vol. 2, p. 164. As he rightly observed, especially in the international but also the local market, it was easier to counterfeit marks than cloths. 35 See Spini, ‘Appunti’, pp. 32, 45 and 55; David Herlihy, ‘Le relazioni economiche di Firenze con le città soggette nel Secolo XV’, in Egemonia fiorentina ed autonomie locali nella Toscana Nord-occidentale del primo Rinascimento: vita, arte, cultura. Atti del VII Congresso Internazionale (Pistoia, 1978), pp. 79–109, at pp. 80 and 99. 30

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since at least the fifteenth century, in the Grand Ducal period, this culminated in the creation of the Medici State, firmly based in Florence.36 Perhaps one key to understanding the Tuscan crisis in the Early Modern period is to undertake a detailed analysis of precisely this aspect. Malanima, for example, stated that especially in the case of wool manufacturing, the industry began to decline rapidly because of the inability of the inhabitants of rural areas to match farming to a substantial ‘industrial’ activity; seen from a proto-industrial perspective, they were involved in a labour-intensive sharecropping organization and were unable to develop rural manufacturing.37 Epstein recently rejected this argument. While he considered the question of the link between Florence and its Dominio to be crucial, he proposed a reversal of the causal relationship: the urban guild was so powerful that it forced the rural economy into labourintensive organization. The harmonization of urban and rural manufacturing was in fact made impossible by the Arte’s (or better, the Grand Duke’s) desire to rule by means of centralized control.38 It can be easily conjectured that the interests of cities and rural areas were commonly opposed: theoretically, the aim of an urban guild was to eliminate potential competition from the countryside, where wages were lower.39 But, as Epstein suggests, would it have been possible to integrate the Dominio into a more efficient economic area without more centralization? After all, the processes of proto-industrialization not only involved urban workers; ultimately, they also depended on the capital of the city’s merchant-entrepreneurs, who could reorganize the production process to adapt the added value of a phase of the wool cycle to the adequate cost of labour; for example, by relegating combing or carding to outside the city walls and keeping the finishing activities inside.40 In Tuscany, this process did not extend to the entire territory of the State, but remained confined to the immediate hinterland. Further analysis should be undertaken to broaden our understanding of this important juncture for the fate of the Tuscan economy. 36 On the process of economic integration in Tuscany, see: Malanima, ‘La formazione di una regione economica’, pp. 265–9; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Town and Country: Economy and Institutions in Late Medieval Italy’, The Economic History Review, 46 (1993): pp. 453–77, at p. 467. 37 Malanima, La decadenza, pp. 101 and following. 38 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘L’economia italiana nel quadro europeo’, in Richard A. Goldthwaite, Reinhold C. Mueller and Franco Franceschi, eds, Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, Volume IV: Commercio e cultura mercantile (Costabissara, 2007), pp. 4–47, at pp. 37–43, on the negative impact on the transfer of technology and skilled work. 39 De Munck, Lourens and Lucassen, ‘The Establishment’, p. 47; Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds, the Theory of the Firm’, p. 27. 40 Epstein and Prak, ‘Introduction’.

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Recruitment of Skilled Labour In the pre-industrial age, the main, if not the only, way of transferring skills and technology was the physical movement of the keepers of such knowledge. Knowledge had to be transferred ‘in the flesh’, so craft guilds were often highly protective of their own corpus of knowledge by prohibiting their members from working outside the city walls. From the end of the fourteenth century, as the Datini correspondence informs us, the Arte had forbidden its members from practising outside of Florence.41 Under the Duchy in 1532, these laws were confirmed ‘under fines and revocation of the membership’.42 In 1622, the guild’s Provveditore informed the Duke that the norm ‘had always been highly regarded in ancient as in modern times’, citing some exemplary cases in the previous century of offenders being sentenced to the gallows and their property being confiscated.43 By contrast, in times of positive economic trends and increasing production, the Florentine guild attempted to attract skilled labourers (especially weavers) to the city. This was typically done by offering affordable housing: in 1524, the guild asked a group of eight wool-makers to buy 16 houses and 32 looms and give them to any weavers who would come and work in Florence (or who would return after having been away for more than three months – a kind of ‘reverse brain-drain’?).44 In 1560, during a period of strong growth (‘every day new weavers are coming to town from different places and they cannot find free houses’), the consuls ordered that prostitutes be evicted from buildings in Via Chiara, Via Romita and dell’Ariento, near the Church of the Madonna dei Tedeschi, in order to make room for incoming workers.45 Protectionist Policies A common protectionist tool was the prohibition, or the strong restriction, of the import of foreign cloth for domestic consumption in the State and in the city of Florence. This measure was also taken as a form of reprisal against the economic policies of competing cities and states (‘many have banned Florentine cloth in their countries, but in our city, the Contado and Distretto are filled with Ammannati, ‘Francesco di Marco Datini’s Wool Workshops’, p. 497. ASF, Miscellanea medicea, 27/III, fol. 1106r. 43 Lorenzo Barducci was sentenced to the gallows and had his property confiscated in 1571 because he went to Viterbo to make woollen cloth. Michele Contri was found guilty after he went to Villa Basilica, in the State of Lucca. Piero Pratesi of Dicomano and Giorgio Martini da Colognole were condemned in 1613, as the former went to Brescia and the latter to Milan. 44 ASF, Arte della Lana, 62, fol. 143r. 45 ASF, Arte della Lana, 16, fol. 382v. 41 42

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foreign cloth’).46 The interventions were numerous and often contradictory, having to balance the interests of the wool-makers with changes in fashion and demand for foreign cloth from the city market, which was influenced by the fact that it was cheaper than local products. Other interests to be handled with care were those of cities such as Pisa and, later, Livorno, which acted as re-exportation ports: these places soon enjoyed special benefits or privileges.47 Moreover, certain types of cloth were an essential component of a trade mechanism that, if altered, could have negative repercussions for the wool industry. For example, banning the entry of the Levantine ciambellotti would have risked trade with Spanish merchants, primary suppliers of merino wool, which was essential for Florentine manufacturing.48 Prohibitions, then, could be modulated over the years, depending on the circumstances: it is suffice to mention the case of the famous saie anescotte (from Hondschoote of Flanders), submitted during the sixteenth century, an absolute import ban that was repeated for years and then loosened and completely removed to the detriment of other types of cloth, which at that time posed an even stronger threat to local production.49 In fact, besides the ‘injury to the Florentine cloth’, the interest was often of a purely fiscal nature: the fear that smuggling would have an adverse effect on customs revenues. A typical result of the laws that restricted or banned the importation of certain types of cloth was the duty of the Florentine wool-makers to provide onsite production of similar products, destined for the domestic market. In other words, the import bans were more harmful when they were aimed at protecting local products from fake foreign cloth. Among the many ‘combed warp/carded weft’ woollen cloths that the woolmakers were enjoined to produce from the first quarter of fourteenth century onwards – saie, perpignani and, above all, accordellati50 – in the second half of the sixteenth century, the story of the rascie (a textile originating from the area of Raska, in Slavonia) marked a decisive step in the industry’s development. While it banned imports of foreign rascie in 1488, the guild enacted a law forcing the wool-makers to weave a certain amount of the same cloth in the following weeks; the obligation was then reiterated after a few months.51 Florentine wool-makers became familiar with these new textiles and managed to improve the level of quality over the years. As a result, the rascie would characterize luxury woollen production in the following century. The practice of copying foreign textiles, whether to improve the overall quality of the urban industry or simply for protectionist purposes, was an old tradition ASF, Arte della Lana, 15, fol. 4v. ASF Arte della Lana, 15, fol. 72r. Anzillotti, 60 and 182. 48 ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fol. 298r. 49 ASF, Arte della lana, 16, fol. 312. ASF, Carte Strozziane, II series, 85, fol. 194r. 50 Hoshino, L’Arte della Lana, p. 125 and p. 133. 51 ASF, Arte della lana, 15, fol. 4r. 46 47

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in Florentine wool manufacturing and probably the very basis of its success.52 Despite the rhetoric of national pride that extolled the excellence of ancient Florentine cloth, in a period of crisis such as the end of the sixteenth century, the habit of copying foreign products was embraced again with new vigour. For the sake of brevity, I will only mention the cases of the ‘rascie as they are woven in the Marches’, whose production was permitted in 1576 as the Grand Duke was ‘wishing to expand the exercise of wool production’,53 and of the imitations, essentially close copies, of the Venetian cloth made for the Levantine market, which was virtually closed to Florence at that time. These copies, for which it was decided, exceptionally, to abandon the famous Florentine dyeing process in favour of the Venetian one, had to possess all the features of the original ‘to gain success in those places’.54 In the first years of the seventeenth century the guild noticed that a series of Florentine wool manufacturers had started to produce a range of cloth for local consumption, useful for avoiding the purchase of foreign goods.55 This practice, the result of an intense struggle between old and new textile manufacturing centres in Italy and Europe, ended up being turned against the Florentine producers: in the mid-sixteenth century, when the rascie of the Tuscan town began to enjoy tremendous success in the markets of Antwerp and Lyons, the foreign producers repaid Florence in the same currency – imitation. ‘Florentine-like’ rascie began to be produced in Spain and sold in Italy and elsewhere through the intermediation of Genoese merchants.56 The guild’s governors had good reason to complain: ‘rascie and broadcloths are falling much in number as they are produced elsewhere. And Florence, who taught everyone, pays the consequences’.57 Control over the Factors of Production The guild established these measures to protect its members against ‘monopolies’, unjustified price increases and shortages of raw materials or labour. Provisioning of Raw Materials One of the earliest concerns of the guild was the management of a regular supply, at the lowest possible prices, of the raw materials necessary for high-level Chorley, ‘Rascie and the Florentine Cloth Industry’, pp. 487–526; Hoshino, L’Arte della Lana, pp. 138–45. 53 ASF, Arte della Lana, 63, fol. 109r. 54 ASF, Arte della Lana, 63, fol. 111v. 55 ASF, Carte strozziane, II series, 85, fol. 194r. 56 Ammannati, ‘L’Arte della Lana a Firenze’, p. 37. 57 ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fol. 626r. 52

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production.58 Regarding the basic product, the wool, if in the distant past the Florentine commercial network had guaranteed the city a de facto monopoly over the finest material (English wool), in the fifteenth century international competition and the protectionist measures of exporting countries had often complicated the regular flow of raw material. In this respect, the measures taken by the guild were directed at gradually loosening the limitations on the use of lesser quality wools, which had previously been banned or relegated to lowerend production, while never forgetting to maintain the reputation of Florentine cloth. In the meantime, the artisans were continuously trying to counter the rising price of wool by mixing in different sorts of raw material, in spite of the guild’s legislation aimed at maintaining a high standard. The Arte took stronger action regarding the off-market management of two essential substances: woad (for which a special warehouse had been established in the fourteenth century) and alum (with the direct management of several mines).59 During the sixteenth century, however, the guild had to temper its desire to manage these materials centrally against the commercial needs of the Florentine merchants, who saw a source of profit in the trade in woad and alum. Under pressure from the merchants, the ban on sales of these goods inside and outside the Dominio was often subject to exceptions and revisions. Other basic utilities, such as combs for processing the warp thread, were removed, at least provisionally, from the free market: in 1532, Matteo Taxi, a comb-maker (pettinagnolo), concluded an agreement with the Provveditori of the guild with the purpose of providing combs for three years at a set price, for a guaranteed commission.60 Direct Management of Processing Stages The Arte was equally determined to manage independently some stages of the production process, to ‘benefit and give utility’ to the industry. This occurred in all processes that required a fixed infrastructure – fulling mills and dyeing or tentering workshops, for example – or considerable cash investments in raw materials.61 The strategy adopted varied according to the circumstances: at the end of the sixteenth century, the Arte owned and maintained two fulling mills (Girone and Remole), while the Rovezzano mill was rented from the Badia Fiorentina friars. The management of the three was entrusted to private

Degrassi, L’economia artigiana, p. 19. Franceschi, ‘Istituzioni e attività economica a Firenze’, p. 90. 60 ASF, Arte della Lana, 62, fol. 165v. 61 Doren, Le Arti, vol. 1, p. 406. 58 59

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companies. The same happened with the four tentering mills owned by the guild (degli Agnoli, della Piazza d’Arno, dell’Uccello and della Pergola).62 Labour The most important productive input of pre-industrial manufacturing was labour. In this field, the policy of the guild was subject to many demographic, economic and political constraints, as well as the power relationships between the various actors involved in wool manufacturing. The Florentine guild, at least until the sixteenth century, did not seem to place much emphasis on setting the level of wages or piecework rates.63 It is a well-known fact that for various reasons, labour relationships based on a daily or monthly wage were a residual category of the complex world of work of that time.64 Piecework was the most common form of payment and the remuneration of workers often involved complex formulas (cash advances, balance on completion of the job and so forth), regulated by the guild only for certain types of workers. The guild only granted its protection to skilled workers, who were able to maintain the value of their real wages thanks to many provisions – like those on the weavers’ behalf. In the early seventeenth century, the Grand Duke confirmed some old weavers’ privileges and spinners’ benefits, but he rejected many wool-beaters’ requests. In spite of their recurrent claims (‘they asked for similar measures many, many times’), they were told ‘to change their job if they did not like it’.65 For these categories, as it is clear from one memorandum of the guild’s Riformatori to the Grand Duke of 1597, ‘a law in this respect has never been enforced, neither in ancient nor modern times […] and woolmakers have paid more or less’,66 depending on the circumstances and without giving any protection to the unskilled labour. As regards the guild’s meddling in the relationships between the various components of the world of urban textile manufacturing – both among those performing the same activities and between the different groups of workers – the coherence of its action was strongly influenced by the needs and prerogatives 62 ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fols 41r-v. See Simona Lamioni, ed., Gualchiere. L’Arte della Lana a Firenze (Florence, 2001). 63 Doren, Le Arti, vol. 1, pp. 106–7. 64 Bruno Dini, ‘I lavoratori dell’Arte della Lana a Firenze nel XIV e XV Secolo’, in Artigiani e salariati: il mondo del lavoro nell’Italia dei secoli 12–15 – Atti del decimo Convegno Internazionale del Centro italiano di Studi di Storia e d’Arte di Pistoia (Pistoia, 9–13 Ottobre 1981) (Pistoia, 1984), pp. 27–67. 65 Francesco Ammannati, ‘“Se non piace loro l’Arte, mutinla in una altra”. I “lavoranti” dell’Arte Della Lana Fiorentina Tra XIV e XVI Secolo’, Annali di Storia di Firenze, 7 (2012): pp. 5–33. 66 ASF, Arte della lana, 398, fols 633r–v.

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of its leadership. These, in turn, could be met only within the limits of the Ducal economic policy. According to a typical path followed by several Italian and European regions,67 the relationship between the economic forces within the corporation leaned clearly and decisively towards merchant capital, which controlled the sector firmly. In doing so, it also used the form of limited partnerships (accomandita) that had been introduced in the second half of the fifteenth century, but fully developed in the sixteenth century.68 Since the fifteenth century the Arte had loosened the rules that punished any form of association among workers.69 Subsequently, in the sixteenth century, ‘companies of weavers’, ‘dyers’ and ‘wool-beaters’ were tolerated. The nature of these confraternities was mainly devotional and charitable: unlike in previous centuries, the power system that was firmly in the hands of the patrician oligarchy did not see any potential danger in these associations, by then emptied of any political prerogative or class antagonism.70 Their statutes were submitted to the Grand Duke, who ensured that they were consistent with the orders of

There is an extensive literature on the role of merchant capital and the influence that manufacturing based on the putting-out system and export-oriented production had on corporate relationships. In particular, Doren, Le Arti, vol. 1, p. 118; Franco Franceschi, ‘Criminalità e mondo del lavoro: il Tribunale dell’Arte della Lana a Firenze nei secoli XVI e XV’, Ricerche Storiche, 18 (1988): pp. 551–90, at p. 553; Degrassi, p. 29; Giorgio Borelli, ‘Per una lettura del rapporto tra città, mestieri produttivi e corporazioni nell’Italia Moderna’, in Massa and Moioli, Corporazioni e gruppi professionali nell’Italia Moderna, pp. 31–43, at pp. 35 and 38; De Munck, Technologies of Learning, p. 18; Hugo Soly, ‘The Political Economy of European Craft Guilds: Power Relations and Economic Strategies of Merchants and Master Artisans in the Medieval and Early Modern Textile Industries’, International Review of Social History, 53 (2008): pp. 45–71, at pp. 47–9; Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Different Paths of Development. Capitalism in the Northern and Southern Netherland During the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period’, Review, 20 (1997): pp. 211–42, at pp. 228–32; Lis and Soly, ‘Subcontracting’, pp. 82–113, at pp. 95–100; Mocarelli, ‘Guilds Reappraised’, p. 172. For the Low Countries, see, in particular: Prak, ‘Corporate Politics in the Low Countries’, pp. 110, 121 and 130. 68 For further details on the ‘accomandita’, see: Maurice Carmona, ‘Aspects du capitalisme toscan aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles’, Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, 11 (1964) : pp. 81–108 and Dini, ‘L’economia Fiorentina’. 69 Niccolò Rodolico, La democrazia fiorentina nel suo tramonto (1378–1382) (Bologna and Rome, 1970), pp. 114 ff.; Franceschi, ‘Criminalità e mondo del lavoro’. 70 At present, there has been no general study on the Florentine confraternities in the Modern Age; some partial results have emerged so far, which show some interesting elements related to the survival of these brotherhoods up to the eighteenth century. See Contini and Martelli, ‘L’Arte dei Lanaioli’, pp. 196–8, especially n. 49–50. 67

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the guild71 and did not wish to create an independent corporation.72 The Italian landscape in the Modern Age, however, seems to have been characterized by the fragmentation of large guilds into a variety of minor Arti, whose statutes demonstrate a particular interest in ‘controlling and disciplining’ their subjects rather than in guaranteeing the quality of the products.73 To avoid ‘monopolies’ that were to the detriment of wool-makers, the Arte did not allow certain kinds of associations.74 For example, in 1597 it banned any partnerships among middlemen, for they could affect the market price of cloth.75 At times, however, the guild supported wool-makers’ needs even against seemingly legitimate claims. For instance, some shearers complained because of a true ‘cartel’ that had been set up by a quarter of their colleagues.76 The Conservatori of the guild questioned 14 ‘expert woolmakers’, including seven ex-Conservatori, and decided that it was ‘useful that everyone chose his favourite shearer’. Clearly, therefore, what are often considered attempts to foster competition among guild members must always be read in the light of the interests that they would have preserved. A final clue to the intervention of the guild in the management of labour is the matter of apprenticeship. Regarded by ‘rehabilitating’ theories as one of the few ways to overcome the imperfections of the skilled labour force and to

‘They have no authority to make statutes and their association should not affect the legislation of the Arte’ (1601). ASF, Arte della lana, 11, fol. 58v. 72 For example, in 1576, while approving the statutes of the ‘company of cloth weavers’, the Grand Duke removed the part that obliged all the masters to join the association. See: ASF, Arte della lana, 63, fol. 109r. 73 Lanaro, ‘Gli statuti’, p. 334; Giuseppe De Luca, ‘Mercanti imprenditori, élite artigiane e organizzazioni produttive: la definizione del sistema corporativo milanese (1568–1627)’, in Massa and Moioli, Corporazioni e Gruppi Professionali nell’Italia Moderna, pp. 79–116, at pp. 79–80; Mocarelli, ‘Guilds Reappraised’, pp. 165–9. 74 When considering the concept of ‘monopoly’, a particularly slippery term, if not totally misunderstood when applied to the reality of the pre-industrial craft guilds, it is useful to keep in mind the reflections of Richardson: Richardson, ‘A Tale of Two Theories’, and Richardson, ‘Guilds, Laws, and Markets’. 75 ‘They want to lay siege to the whole Arte and compromise it […] as they can decide the price of the wool and the cloths […]; on the contrary, if there is competition, both the Arte and the wool-sellers are found better’. ASF, Arte della lana, 11, fol. 53r. Given the fears of rising prices and costs caused by all the intermediaries between suppliers and buyers, the role played by middlemen was particularly delicate (Degrassi, L’economia, p. 19). The Arte had carefully managed their actions since the early years of its founding. See Doren, Le Arti, vol. 1, pp. 149–52. 76 They demanded that ‘all the shearers be allowed to work, not only a quarter of them’, ASF, Pratica segreta, 15, fol. 510r. 71

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stimulate the transference of knowledge,77 apprenticeship seems to have been quite different in Florence. First, a master was relatively free to hire, by a simple employment contract, any apprentice or giovane he needed.78 In most cases a traditional apprenticeship contract was not drawn up: even if the person to be employed was a teenager or a young man, the agreements simply regulated the wage and the work to be done, and did not disclose any aspiration for a professional career.79 As has been noted in relation to Antwerp, the question that arises is whether the training served to achieve a precise social status, or rather to gain an adequate level of technical expertise. In this case, was a formal professional path needed?80 Moreover, the Florentine case seems to confirm the hypothesis that considers apprenticeship not as a means of transferring knowledge, but as a form of management of the labour market.81 The fact that no test or examination was required to practise a craft was a characteristic of the Arte della lana (as well as of other major guilds in Florence) that dated back at least three centuries: to become a member of the guild only a registration fee was needed, a small amount that could not be considered an insurmountable barrier to entry. Exemptions, total or partial, were also frequent: for example, masters’ sons and other relatives did not have to pay.82 There is a clear discrepancy between the attempt to maintain a high level of production and the lack of control when enrolling new members. We should recall, however, Studies on this particular aspect of corporate life in Italy and Europe have flourished in recent years. See: Gervase Rosser, ‘Crafts, Guilds and the Negotiation of Work in the Medieval Town’, Past and Present, 154 (1997): pp. 3–31; Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds’; Epstein, ‘Labour Mobility’; Karel Davids, ‘Apprenticeship and Guild Control in the Netherlands, c. 1450–1800’, in De Munck, Kaplan and Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor, pp. 65–84; De Munck, Technologies of Learning. For Italy, see, in particular: Greci, Corporazioni, pp. 157–223 and pp. 225–44, Franceschi, Oltre il Tumulto, Degrassi, L’economia, pp. 48–57; Andrea Caracausi, Dentro la bottega. Culture del lavoro in una città d’Età Moderna (Venice, 2008). 78 Richard A. Goldthwaite, ‘La cultura economica dell’artigiano’, in La grande storia dell’artigianato. Arti fiorentine, Volume 1: Il Medioevo (Florence, 1998), pp. 57–75, at p. 69. 79 On this topic, see the remarks of Doren, Le Arti, vol. 1, p. 205; Greci, Corporazioni, p. 197 and pp. 210–11; Rosser, ‘Crafts’, p. 17; Andrea Caracausi, ‘I giusti salari nelle manifatture della lana di Padova e Firenze (secc. XVI–XVII)’, Quaderni Storici, 135 (2010): pp. 857–84, at pp. 867–8. 80 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 12–13. 81 Bert De Munck, ‘Skills, Trust, and Changing Consumer Preferences: The Decline of Antwerp’s Craft Guilds from the Perspective of the Product Market, c. 1500–c. 1800’, International Review of Social History, 53 (2008): pp. 197–233, at p. 213. 82 Doren, Le Arti, vol. 1, p. 128. For the years around 1587–88 the guild’s estimates record an inflow from entrance fees of less than 1 per cent of total revenue. Even considering the period of crisis, this seems a surprisingly low value; ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fols 24r–44r. 77

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that the Arte’s control involved all aspects of production, as well as the sale of woollen cloth: even the merchant-entrepreneurs who invested in manufacturing were obliged to enrol, although they would never have been directly involved in the production process. As regards the earlier years of the Arti, when their role in the governance of Florence was prominent, Alfred Doren has advanced the theory that easy entry by outsiders was desired and favoured for political reasons.83 The impression that we get is that ex post controls were adequate to ensure the quality of the Florentine product. The absence of a mandatory test for anyone to be entitled to exercise a profession is evidenced by a statement by the weavers dated 29 April 1588: for ‘the love of their good woolmakers’, they denounced a series of bad practices carried out by many giovani who ‘start working with one master and after half the time they want to be journeymen [lavoranti] and soon they marry and become masters’.84 The link between marriage and mastery was clarified by the situation of many ‘shoemakers, servants, wool beaters or second-hand dealers who marry a weaver and become masters’. The weavers, of course, were defending their rights by blaming these men for not being able to weave; ‘neither they nor their wives, barely knowing […] how to use the shuttle’. They demanded that the training time in the master’s workshop be respected and that if a young worker wished to shorten it, he be inspected by a special group of masters.85 Quality Control of Raw Materials, Production Processes and Finished Products Quality control was traditionally a field in which the medieval and modern corporations, often in total independence from the central power, expressed themselves with greater force and depth of detail.86 It is impossible to enumerate the mass of provisions which insisted on the preservation of the ‘reputation’ of Doren, Le Arti, vol. 1, pp. 138–41. Discussion on the link between guild membership and a member’s marriage to a woman enrolled in the corporation or the widow of a master can be found in Degrassi, L’economia, pp. 46–7; Swanson, ‘Illusion’, p. 45. 85 ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fol. 310r. Even in later periods, wool-makers continued to complain about the excessive ease of access to the guild and of the presence of people lacking in ‘honour or sufficient capital’ and technical expertise. See for the eighteenth century, Contini and Martelli, ‘L’Arte dei Lanaioli’, pp. 196 and 216. 86 Degrassi and Richardson emphasize how the quality guaranteed by the city’s reputation was particularly important in the case of export sales: the product itself, characteristic of a specific area, was a ‘trademark’ ensuring the quality; Degrassi, L’economia, p. 790; Richardson, ‘Brand Names’. 83 84

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Florentine cloth, which represented the prestige and the honour of the entire community. Raw Materials As we have already seen, beginning in the first half of the fifteenth century, the Arte formalized a system of product differentiation by entrusting the exclusive use of English wool (at that time the most precious raw material destined for luxury production) to certain workshops located in the San Martino convento. Other workshops, generically named di Garbo, were allowed to use Italian (matricina, from the Abruzzo region) and Spanish (merino) wools. This decision was aimed at safeguarding the high quality of the cloth to be sold abroad. The same strict rules regulated the quality of the dyeing substances and the tools to be used.87 During the sixteenth century, certain rigidities had to be set aside because the circumstances had changed: the drastic decrease in the number of San Martino workshops and the gradual improvement of the Garbo cloth led to a reduced difference in quality compared with the top English wool (rare and expensive), while the Spanish merino increased in quality, but unfortunately also in price. As production costs were rising, the wool-makers attempted, as we have seen, to cut their expenses as much as possible, even allowing some deterioration in quality by mixing in different wools or using less expensive dyeing substances. In this climate, we can well understand the Florentine Customs Consul’s proposal to the Grand Duke Cosimo I in 1573 to permit the use of wool for domestic production, due to its quality (‘nowadays it has improved in quality’), when more expensive Spanish wool was mostly being diverted to Venice (‘a good part went to Venice [and] its price is much increased’).88 The guild watched carefully and tried to put a stop to the most dangerous practices adopted by the wool firms, including tightening up the provisions and increasing the controls undertaken by their magistrates. A whole army of Veditori (created in 152489 to oversee the weaving activity), ‘weighers’ and ‘measurers’ checked that the finished products were of a satisfactory quality throughout the wool processing chain, even inspecting workplaces and using a number of seals, labels and marks, which had to be stuck on the cloth at the end of the production cycle to ensure its authenticity and quality. It is likely that the complexity of the requests made them virtually unattainable. The guild executives themselves were aware that excessive control would ultimately harm more than help (‘another difficulty would arise’, ‘unnecessary effort and difficulty without any benefit’), and they defended the methods of inspection that had been used until then Doren, Le Arti, vol. 2, pp. 93 and 119. ASF, Pratica segreta, 9, 76. 89 ASF, Arte della Lana, 62, fol. 143r. 87 88

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(‘all the laws are strictly observed’), stating explicitly that the Arte would not ‘suddenly submit the artisans to many new practices so as not to dismay them’. This ongoing debate among ‘severe’ and ‘lax’ attitudes dragged on until the end of the century. There were those who demanded the central power to aggravate, if not the controls, then the penalties for the offenders: they stated that ‘too much indulgence would ruin the Arte and the only way to keep it strong should be to abide by the rules’.90 Of course, the voice was always that of the wool-makers who had few doubts about whom to blame: ‘if the lavoranti do not find someone who, using bold force, makes them afraid, this Arte will surely become a forest or a meeting place for thieves or a sad bunch of swindlers’.91 The Arte della Lana and Technological Innovation Certainly, it seems difficult to maintain at least one of the classic charges levelled against the guilds: their unwillingness to innovate and their fierce resistance to any product or process improvement.92 We have seen how, from the fifteenth century, the Arte tried to preserve luxury production through strong product differentiation, while at the same time it opened up to ‘second-rate’ production, regulated and guaranteed by corporate control. These latter wool-makers (‘lesser’ only in theory, as the cloth they produced soon became the leading Florentine export item) were free to experiment and were directly involved in the manufacture of fake foreign cloth, and they enjoyed customs facilities and specific subsidies.93 This intuition proved to be a winning formula, and the artisans smartly used their concessions to ensure that in the sixteenth century their Garbo cloth was much coveted beyond the Alps and in Spain. It is clear that when the situation required it, the artisans did not scruple to copy successful foreign products, even though they also altered them in line with Florentine sensitivities and tried to protect the quality of such a long and venerable industrial tradition. Already in 1577 a ‘reasonable amount’ of fake Venetian cloth was being produced.94 ASF, Arte della Lana, 11, fol. 65r. The claims continued until the early eighteenth century, see: Contini and Martelli, ‘L’Arte dei Lanaioli’, p. 198. 91 ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fol. 502r. 92 This interpretation, now obsolete, still found supporters; see: Alfred Kieser, ‘Organizational, Institutional and Societal Evolution: Medieval Craft Guilds and the Genesis of Formal Organizations’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 34 (1989): pp. 540–64, at pp. 553–4. 93 ASF, Arte della Lana, 13, fol. 212v. 94 ASF, Arte della Lana, 63, fol. 111v. 90

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It has been suggested that at least until the industrial age, product innovation took precedence over process innovation, regardless of the presence of a guildbased system or of control over the economy exercised by groups of craftsmen or merchant capital. In the Southern Low Countries, however, we can identify craftsmen playing a more prominent role in product differentiation.95 Even in Florence, where merchant capital prevailed, the need ‘to start making some new cloths’ was strongly felt and largely pursued.96 Virtually every successful product woven and traded during the sixteenth century was the result of a reworking of old, often foreign, textiles into new cloths. As regards the attempts to introduce different production processes, the sources do not reveal any hostile behaviour on the part of the guild towards the new idea that not undermining the city’s reputation could be ‘useful to the universal cause’. Several authors go further and underline the significance of the guilds in this direction, as they promoted technical improvements and the maintenance of quality standards, consolidating the progress of individual ‘inventors’; their action could be clearly seen in the training of more specialized and technically differentiated workers, as well as in the increasingly complex structure of the guilds, which consequently split into different branches, or separate Arti.97 Others, more cautiously, admit the possibility that the guilds played an active role, while not jumping to conclusions concerning the preindustrial period as a whole.98 Corporations could serve as the institutional context in which artisans found protection and recognition for their own inventions.99 This does not necessarily mean that corporate organization was necessary to promote technological innovation:100 whereas the only way for the transfer of technological expertise to take place was essentially the mobility of skilled workers,101 the Arte could have eased the development of innovations by allowing the circulation of skilled labour (inbound, of course). A way of securing, but also spreading, technological innovation was the granting of patents, privileges or at least some kind of benefit by the central Lis and Soly, ‘Subcontracting’, p. 110. ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, 626r. 97 Degrassi, L’economia, p. 77. 98 Hilario C. Alonso, ‘Guilds, technical progress and economic development in preindustrial Spain’, in Paola Massa and Angelo Moioli, eds, Dalla corporazione al mutuo soccorso: organizzazione e tutela del lavoro tra 16 e 20 Secolo (Milan, 2004), pp. 309–27, at p. 323. 99 Belfanti, ‘Between Mercantilism and Market’, p. 320. 100 Karel Davids, ‘Guilds, Guildsmen and Technological Innovation in Early Modern Europe: The Case of the Dutch Republic’, Working Paper on Economy & Society in the Low Countries Before 1850, n. 2003–2, p. 2 ff. 101 Epstein, ‘Transferring Technical Knowledge’. 95 96

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power.102 The Florentine textile guilds seem to been sympathetic to this practice from the fifteenth century.103 Between the first half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries, the dukes granted about 200 industrial privileges, most of which covered the textile sector.104 The lively curiosity about the successful cloth made by foreign competitors105 was even satisfied by true industrial espionage. In the first years of the sixteenth century, inventors came to Florence ‘bringing new serges and sayettes and other similar cloths from many cities and countries’,106 while in 1567 the master Benedetto Perugino, ‘weaver of serges’, claimed that he ‘spent all of his youth in Flanders and placed himself in great danger in order to learn how to weave serges and to come back home and devote himself to that work’.107 There are, moreover, many examples of patents and privileges granted to inventors who experimented with new tools or new processes to apply to manufacturing (their supplications to the Grand Duke were often ‘sponsored’ by the same wool-makers who benefited from the efficiency of the new technique).108 When granting a patent, the government turned to the guild for technical advice and to gauge its ‘mood’ in respect to the invention: the privilege was often denied if the innovation was likely to undermine the quality of Florentine production. The inventors who received a patent usually obtained exemptions Pamela Long, ‘Invention, Secrecy, and Theft: Meaning and Context in the Study of Late Medieval Technical Transmission’, History and Technology, 16 (2000): pp. 223–41, at p. 229. 103 Doren, Le Arti, vol. 2, pp. 90–91, lists some cases of ‘protection’ created by the statutes of the woollen and silk guilds in 1475 and 1461. 104 A quick overview of some innovation is given by Malanima, La decadenza, pp. 148–52, and Luca Molà, ‘Artigiani e brevetti nella Firenze del Cinquecento’, in Franco Franceschi and Gloria Fossi, eds, La grande storia dell’artigianato. Arti fiorentine, Volume 3: Il Cinquecento (Florence, 1998), pp. 57–79. A useful list of privileges can also be found in Daniela Lamberini, ‘“A Beneficio dell’universale”. Ingegneria idraulica e privilegi di macchine alla corte dei Medici’, in Alessandra Fiocca, Daniela Lamberini and Cesare Maffioli, eds, Arte e scienza delle acque nel rinascimento (Venice, 2003), pp. 47–71, at pp. 60–69. 105 Guido Guerzoni, ‘Novità, innovazione e imitazione: i sintomi della modernità’, in Philippe Braunstein and Luca Molà, eds, Il Rinascimento Italiano e l’Europa, Volume III: Produzione e Tecniche (Costabissara, 2007), pp. 59–87. 106 ASF, Carte strozziane, II series, 85, fol. 194r. 107 ASF, Arte della Lana, 372, n. 156. 108 See: ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fol. 132r for the design of a new press for cloth, and fol. 586r for the re-introduction in the town of the art of iron teasel-making. See also: Luca Molà, ‘Il mercato delle innovazioni nell’Italia del Rinascimento’, in Mathieu Arnoux and Pierre Monnet, eds, Le technicien dans la cité en Europe Occidentale, 1250–1650 (Rome, 2004), pp. 215–51; Luca Molà, ‘Stato e impresa: privilegi per l’introduzione di nuove arti e brevetti’, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, Volume III, pp. 533–72; Luca Molà, ‘Il mercante innovatore’, in Il Rinascimento italiano e l’Europa, Volume IV, pp. 623–53. 102

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or other tax benefits, as well as the exclusive use or sale to third parties of their invention. There were some cases of strange and unlikely innovations, but the techniques introduced were very often useful and could be directly employed in the workshops.109 The practice of granting privileges encouraged the mobility of industrial knowledge (the innovators mostly came from outside Florence) and allowed the flow of capital into new initiatives that could hardly have been funded privately.110 The dukes themselves had always been supporters – perhaps more out of intellectual curiosity than awareness of the industry’s improvement – of innovation, as is often stated in the documentation: ‘Grand Duke Cosimo, Grand Duke Francesco and our master the Grand Duke [Ferdinando] never refused to search all foreign countries for new inventions for the good of their subjects and they had incredible expenses and granted generous benefits to preserve them’.111 Some Final Remarks The research studies carried out during the last 20 years have nearly rewritten most of the negative theories regarding the craft guilds. However, there is a strong need for case studies to help trace the limits of the new ‘rehabilitating’ visions, so as to avoid the opposite excess. This brief review of the economic policy of the Florentine Arte della lana brings us closer to this objective, although such an analysis still calls for the study of many other sources of a judicial and commercial nature, in order to develop a clearer understanding of the regulatory measures taken by the guild. By now, some elements seem evident: we find no trace of the stubborn opposition to innovation reported by the classic studies. Indeed, one can observe a certain commitment to loosening the stricter rules when the market conditions required. Furthermore, the tendency to cut the costs of production where possible seems equally strong, with both the corporate management of some activities and the regulation of wage levels. This study is the first attempt to systematize the economic policies carried out by the Florentine Arte della lana between the end of the fifteenth and the first decades of the seventeenth centuries. However, it is essential to note that in the sixteenth century, the actions of the guild were totally subordinated to the economic policy of the central power: the guild’s margins for movement were increasingly narrow and subject to the approval of the duke. This process, which had already existed during the Republican era, was consolidated under the Molà, ‘Artigiani e brevetti’. Malanima, La decadenza, p. 152. 111 ASF, Arte della Lana, 398, fol. 568r. 109

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Grand Duchy with the centralization of powers in the hands of the prince and the bureaucracy that revolved around his court. More than the rules adopted by the Arti or the statutory precepts, we need to analyse the laws produced by the councils supporting the prince. In particular, the so-called Pratica Segreta ensured the uniformity of the legislation of all the guilds acting in the Dominio through continuous consultations with the officers of the Florentine Arti. Further research on the Tuscan economy should take this issue into account. We have already seen that the downward spiral of the Florentine economy in the seventeenth century may have been a consequence of the problematic relationship between the capital city and its Dominio: systematic research is thus required to clarify how this affected the connections between the central corporation and the local craft guilds. The studies that have dealt with these issues, however, have shown quite clearly that from the seventeenth century onwards, the cities of the Dominio, especially the nearby town of Prato, were more capable of innovating their production systems with reforms aiming to reduce costs and produce cloth in response to shifts in demand and fashion.112 Instead, the Florentine guild found itself in a profound and irreversible crisis: the problems mentioned several times above came to full maturity. In many instances the governors of the Arte asked the Grand Duke for help, but in these claims ‘it can be breathed the suffocating air of a belated system of protections; [the guild] was only able to look back to the past, […] complaining against a fate of marginalization’. Once all attempts at production reconversion ceased, even in the eighteenth century, prohibitions on the entry of foreign cloths were being issued.113 Another aspect to consider in detail is change in the patterns of merchant capital investment throughout the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. To be sure, the ‘failure of the bourgeoisie’ and the ‘refuge in the land’ of the powerful Florentine trading families risk being oversimplified explanations. Nevertheless, the withdrawal of this capital from commercial or manufacturing activities combined with the absence of a strong independent artisanal base constituted an objective draining of the possible expansion of the wool industry.114 Contini and Martelli, ‘L’Arte dei Lanaioli’, pp. 180–84. Contini and Martelli, ‘L’Arte dei Lanaioli’, pp. 191–8. Only with the laws of 1738, which eliminated any limitation on the qualitative production of the Dominio, and especially with the abolition of the Florentine guilds in 1770, did the economic policy of the Grand Duchy begin to consider the advantages of a regionalization of textile production. 114 See the interesting comments in Lis and Soly, ‘Subcontracting’, pp. 108–12. Alternative channels of reinvestment have been traced to other branches of the textile industry, above all silk. See: Jordan Goodman, ‘Financing Pre-Modern European Industry: An Example from Florence, 1580–1660’, The Journal of European Economic History, 10 (1981): pp. 415–35; Malanima, La decadenza. 112

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Chapter 4

New Products and Technological Innovation in the Silk Industry of Vicenza in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Edoardo Demo

Over the last three decades, historians of Veneto have largely focused on the history of trade and manufacturing on the Venetian mainland in the Early Modern age. Several monographs and articles have been published in the last few years that develop our understanding of the economic history of Venice and its hinterland. Moreover, these new and original studies have opened up for discussion historiographical positions and interpretations that used to be considered indisputable. For many years, scholars had focused their attention mainly on the Dominante (Venice), which was considered the holder of both commercial and industrial primacy in the region.1 While the Venetian mainland was neglected and almost disregarded, recent studies have shown that during the Early Modern age these territories were some of the most densely populated and prosperous areas in Europe. Besides, the Terraferma (the wider mainland domains) was characterized by a high level of well-structured industrial activity. Recently, new research has improved our understanding of the development and unique nature of manufacturing on the Stato da terra. These studies are based on deep archival research, thanks to the use of collections stored by mainland city archives and libraries, such as notarial documents and judicial sources, which were for a long time unused by scholars. While some works focus on single areas or on specific business cases, others are more synthetic, overcoming the traditional division between the capital and the mainland and embracing the entire territory subjected to the Republic of Venice. Paola Lanaro, ‘At the Centre of the Old World. Reinterpreting Venetian Economic History’, in Paola Lanaro, ed., At the Centre of the Old World. Trade and Manufacturing in Venice and the Venetian Mainland, 1400–1800 (Toronto, 2006), pp. 19–69; Luciano Pezzolo, ‘The Venetian Economy’, in Eric R. Dursteler, ed., A Companion to Venetian History, 1400–1797 (Leiden and Boston, 2013), pp. 255–89; and Edoardo Demo, ‘Industry and Production in the Venetian Terraferma (15th–18th Centuries)’, in Dursteler, ed., A Companion, pp. 290–318. 1

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Many of these studies address the textile sector and, in particular, two branches of this sector: wool and silk production, which lay at the centre of the Venetian pre-industrial economy. Wool and silk manufacturing not only boosted international trade, thanks to the export of semi-finished material and cloth, but they also constituted a reserve of technical and entrepreneurial expertise which played a key role in the subsequent industrial development of the region. Beyond wool and silk, many researchers have investigated other outputs of secondary industries, such as hosiery and typography, building and tannery, the mineral industry, paper and glass manufacturing, saltpetre production and weaponry. These works point to the precocious level of manufacturing already present in the Venetian Terraferma in the fifteenth century. This vocation was particularly evident in the main urban centres (Bergamo, Brescia, Padua, Treviso, Verona and Vicenza), but also in many of the foothill and low-alpine zones between the regions around Bergamo and those of Feltre and Belluno. Rather than focusing their attention on the decline of Venice and its territory (as previous historiography used to), these studies have concentrated on the Venetian merchants’ and businessmen’s ability to react, often thanks to innovation, to the wider transformations and reorganizations of the European economy during the Early Modern age.2 An additional characteristic should be underlined. Institutions, such as guilds and urban authorities, played an important role in the economic development of the Veneto in the Early Modern period. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries these two elements, singularly or jointly, For the historiographical debate, see: Edoardo Demo and Francesco Vianello, ‘Manifatture e commerci nella Terraferma Veneta in Età Moderna’, Archivio Veneto, CXLII/1 (2011): pp. 27–50. A selection of works includes: Walter Panciera, L’arte matrice. I lanifici della Repubblica di Venezia nei secoli XVII e XVIII (Treviso, 1996); Luca Molà, The Silk Industry of Renaissance Venice (Baltimore and London, 2000); Luca Molà, Reinhold C. Mueller and Claudio Zanier, eds, La seta in Italia dal Medioevo al Seicento. Dal baco al drappo (Venice, 2000); Edoardo Demo, L’anima della città. L’industria tessile a Verona e Vicenza, 1400–1550 (Milan, 2001); Edoardo Demo, ‘Sete e mercanti vicentini alle fiere di Lione nel Cinquecento’, in Paola Lanaro, ed., La pratica dello scambio: sistemi di fiere, mercanti e città in Europa (1400–1700) (Venice, 2003); Andrea Caracausi, Nastri, nastrini, cordelle: l’industria serica nel Padovano, secc. XVII–XIX (Padua, 2004); Giovanni L. Fontana, ‘Industria e impresa nel Nord Est d’Italia’, in Antonio Di Vittorio, Carlos Barciela Lopez and Giovanni L. Fontana, eds, Storiografia d’industria e d’impresa in Italia e Spagna in età moderna e contemporanea (Padua, 2004), pp. 161–218; Francesco Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi. Manifatture e commerci nel Vicentino, 1570–1700 (Milan, 2004); Paola Lanaro, ed., At the Centre of the Old World: Trade and Manufacturing in Venice and the Venetian Mainland (1400–1800) (Toronto, 2006), in particular the chapters by Marco Belfanti, Edoardo Demo, Giovanni Favero, Paola Lanaro, Luca Mocarelli, Andrea Mozzato and Francesco Vianello; Andrea Caracausi, Dentro la bottega. Culture del lavoro in una città d’età moderna (Venice, 2008); Edoardo Demo, Mercanti di Terraferma. Uomini, merci e capitali nell’Europa del Cinquecento (Milan, 2012); Demo, ‘Industry and Production’, pp. 290–318. 2

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favoured the diffusion of new products and techniques, facilitated competition with foreign goods and supported the development of local manufacturing.3 This is especially true of the city of Vicenza, which was already an important mercantile centre in the fifteenth century. Although the city went through a difficult period of economic turbulence due to the League of Cambrai war (1509–17), after those uncertain years, Vicenza experienced a positive trend from the fourth decade of sixteenth century onwards, reaching the apogee of its wealth in the second half of the sixteenth century. This situation was largely due to the resilience – even if it was ever more difficult – of wool manufacturing and to the exceptional expansion of the silk industry within the city. This latter sector could produce several types of handiwork, of both high and low quality, which were sold all over Europe.4 The process of producing silk changed during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, insomuch as the product specialization and export markets changed several times during these years. This chapter will analyse the features and unique characteristics of the silk industry in Vicenza between the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries. I will show that the silk industry of Vicenza expanded outside the corporative system. Through remarkable flexibility, great adaptability in response to market demands and technological innovation, quality was regulated in order to meet the varying requirements of an increasing range of customers. By exporting not only raw and semi-finished materials, but also cloth to different parts of the Italian Peninsula and Europe (France, Flanders, England, Germany, Poland, and so forth), the silk industry of Vicenza was able to make inroads into international trade and to revitalize it. The Spread of Mulberry Cultivation, the Organization of Production and Types of Products The introduction of mulberry cultivation in Vicenza and its territory seems to have been very early and rapid. Mulberry-growing was already widespread prior to the first half of the fifteenth century in the foothills area (Schio, Thiene, 3 Caracausi, Dentro la bottega; Paola Lanaro, ‘Gli Statuti delle Arti in età moderna tra norma e pratiche. Primi appunti dal caso veneto’, in Alberto Guenzi, Paola Massa and Angelo Moioli, eds, Corporazioni e gruppi professionali nell’Italia Moderna (Milan, 1999); Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge: Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age’, Technology and Culture, 45 (2004): pp. 569–89; Luca Mocarelli, ‘Guilds Reappraised: Italy in the Early Modern Period’, International Review of Social History, 53 (2008): pp. 159–78; Valeria Chilese, I mestieri e la città. Le corporazioni veronesi tra XV e XVIII secolo (Milan, 2012). 4 Demo, L’anima della città; Edoardo Demo, ‘Le manifatture tra medioevo ed età moderna’, in Giovanni L. Fontana, ed., L’industria vicentina dal Medioevo a oggi (Padua, 2004), pp. 21–126.

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Marano, Malo, Valdagno and Arzignano) and in the area near Vicenza. All the while, deeds concerning the different stages of production or the establishment of companies in arte sete were listed in notarial documents. Some of these companies owned a large amount of capital used for implements, sometimes more than 3,000 ducats. In addition, in the 1480s mulberry cultivation and silkworm cocoon breeding were considered the main activity of the Vicentines and the ‘treasure of the community’. Clear evidence of the high productive level reached by the Vicentine sericulture in the period between 1480 and 1500 is also to be found in some deeds for the sale of big batches of raw silk. One example is the contract drawn up in September 1492 between Gerolamo di Antonio from Arzignano and the partners Francesco Corona and Bartolomeo Bertoli from Lisiera. The contract concerned 420 pounds of silk (about 140 kg) with an estimated value of 650 ducats. Another case concerns the deed drawn up in September 1499 between Francesco Bruni from Vadagno and Paride di Zilio Canati from Malo, but living in Vicenza, who purchased more than 1,147 pounds of silk (more than 350 kg) in a single transaction.5 The sericulture in the territory of Vicenza grew even further during the first decades of the sixteenth century. Toward the middle of the century, the Vicentine territory could yield at least 100,000–120,000 pounds of raw reeled silk per year (about 35–40 tons). Vicenza became one of the most important silk producers of the Italian Peninsula at the time. Silk certainly became one of the main investments for the Vicentine ruling class, which introduced mulberry cultivation into their estates, both in the city and in the countryside, so that morari (mulberries) could be found everywhere.6 Besides the quantitative analysis, it is important to understand the typology of the raw silk that was marketed. Several materials can be obtained from the silkworm cocoon, normally called galete in Veneto. Depending on the level of processing, these materials may be defined with several distinct names: seta leale (or even reale or gioiante, the highest quality material); seta di doppi (or doppioni, the second-rate silk, originating from the union of two cocoons, normally because of their proximity, containing two chrysalises and two larval spoils); finally there was production and throwing waste, such as the spelaie, the strusi and the galete buse. From the end of the fifteenth century, the raw material produced in the Vicentine was defined as sottile and ‘good for fine works’, thus suitable to be spun in orsogli (a type of warp-thin, expensive yarn), used as warp during the production of textiles. The quality of Vicentine silk was the result of a careful reeling procedure, which allowed the manufacturers to obtain the 5 Molà, The Silk Industry, pp. 220–23; Demo, L’anima della città, pp. 47–52; Edoardo Demo, ‘Wool and Silk. The Textile Urban Industry of the Venetian Mainland (XV–XVII centuries)’, in Lanaro, ed., At the Centre, pp. 229–37. 6 Molà, The Silk Industry, pp. 220–23; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 53–64.

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maximum quantity of leale silk and to minimize the production of waste. In Vicenza there was also lower-quality production to produce the warp called pelo filado, and semi-finished products used for sewing, finishing touches, tapestries, trimmings and ribbons. Some areas of the province (such as Malo, a small town in the North of Vicenza) specialized in the manufacture of waste products, from which a semi-finished product named filesello was obtained, a material used with others fibres to produce low-cost textiles such as veils, headscarves and other clothing accessories normally used for the dowries of women of modest means.7 As far as the organization of work is concerned, like wool manufacturing, the silk industry was mainly based on the putting-out system. The merchantentrepreneur was responsible for supervising and controlling the distinct production stages, and for placing raw, semi-finished or finished materials in the different outlets. The silk production process may be divided into five fundamental phases: 1) collecting mulberry leaves and raising silkworms; 2) reeling; 3) spinning; 4) boiling and dyeing; and 5) warping and weaving. During the period analysed in this chapter, the first two stages took place mainly in the rural areas and largely involved the employment of women and children (there are numerous references in the area between Schio, Marano, Thiene and Malo); the other three stages were carried out almost exclusively in urban centres.8 Spinning and throwing were the most important and difficult phases of the whole silk production process, because of the danger that the thread would break while it was strained on the frame. This stage of the production was carried out by the Bolognese throwing mills, some of the most sophisticated and elaborate machinery in Europe at that time. There were both manually driven spinning machines and water-powered ones. Of the two, the hydraulic mill was the more valuable. Even though it could only work near a waterfall and was indivisible from the wheel or from the building in which it was located, the quality of the silk thrown in these mills was superior. Thanks to the regularity of waterpower, the yarn was more homogeneous. Moreover, the water silk mill was bigger (especially in height) and more powerful, so that a greater quantity of silk was worked than in the manually driven mills. The hydraulic mill was larger than the manually driven one thanks to the superimposition of several machines (called valichi) in order to better exploit the unique central motor force. Some of these structures could even exceed 13 metres in height, with 5–6 machines overlapping. Only a very specialized workforce could operate such sophisticated machinery. Spinners and throwers were among the most specialized labour force in the whole silk production process. They could be paid directly by the merchant-entrepreneur or be self-employed and work on commission for a 7 Molà, The Silk Industry, pp. 241–5; Demo, L’anima della città, pp. 210–12; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 99–101. 8 Demo, L’anima della città, pp. 117–33; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 73–104.

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merchant. They were normally assisted by a number of journeymen (lavoranti) and apprentices (apprendisti and garzoni), depending on the size of the mill.9 In Vicenza, spinning and throwing developed with the diffusion of mulberry trees and silkworm cocoon raising, and these activities boomed in the fifteenth and, especially, the sixteenth centuries. This is testified by many references to the establishment of venues for this production stage. In Vicenza, some silk mills were already active in 1418. Between the 1450s and 1470s there were at least eight mills, and their number increased during the following century. In the sixteenth century the importance of the city as a centre of semi-finished products grew to the point that, in 1596, the city had at least 100 silk mills. It is worth noting that from the second half of the fifteenth century, besides the manually driven machines, hydraulic mills were placed along the Bacchiglione and Retrone rivers. During the sixteenth century, the hydraulic mills out-competed the manual filatoio. Some of these were of conspicuous size and provided jobs to several workers.10 Very few manufactured goods were produced in Vicenza during the fifteenth century. According to current studies, some produced small clothing accessories, such as belts, bags, strap-irons, strings, ribbons and veils. Since the establishment of spinning throwing activity was so widespread, it can be argued that fifteenthcentury Vicenza was a production centre of semi-finished products. This is confirmed by some rare deeds drawn up between a merchant-entrepreneur and a spinner, which provide information about the production of semi-finished materials. There is even more documentation for the sixteenth century. During the 1530s and 1540s, the great expansion of production was most likely in medium-quality threads, used as weft for the weaving of velvet. They were exported to Central and Northern Italian outlets where cloth manufacturing was rather widespread (Ferrara, Firenze, Milan and, above all, Genoa). Later on, thanks to the special quality of Vicentine raw silk (particularly thin, sottile) and to the growing influence of European outlets (especially Lyons), the production of orsogli emerged. Nevertheless the production of a lower-quality material (spinning wastes), suitable for the stitching, did not develop.11 In the first half of the sixteenth century, following the strict prohibitions issued by the Venetian Republic to protect the capital’s silk manufacturing Carlo Poni, ‘The Circular Silk Mill. A Factory Before the Industrial Revolution in Early Modern Europe’, History of Technology, 21 (1999): pp. 65–85; Molà, ‘L’industria della seta in Italia nel Rinascimento’, pp. XVI–XLIX in Simone Rauch, ed., Le mariegole delle Arti dei tessitori di seta. I Veluderi (1347–1474) e i Samitari (1370–1475) (Venice, 2009), XXXI–XXXIV. 10 Molà, The Silk Industry, p. 237; Demo, L’anima della città, pp. 207–8; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 83–9. 11 Molà, The Silk Industry, pp. 241–5; Demo, L’anima della città, pp. 210–12; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 99–101. 9

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industry, silk weaving was very much reduced in Vicenza (as it was in all other mainland cities). Besides the production of small clothing accessories, such as handkerchiefs and veils, there is no evidence of cloth production except for that linked to smuggled woven materials, as is shown by the inscriptions of some textores draporum serici in the Vicentine estimos (real estate tax assessments) drawn up in the first half of the sixteenth century. In the 1530s and 1540s, even Vicentine merchants, like the Veronese ones, tried to dodge the prohibitions of the Venetian authorities and had their silk draperies (velluti, rasi and damaschini) woven in Mantua. Only from the second half of sixteenth century was the weaving of silk drapery officially permitted in Vicenza, after the Dominante allowed the production of black velvet in 1561. In the following years weaving became established, in particular between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century. It did not yet involve the production of velvets, but of ormesini (light and thin fabrics that were highly in demand in German markets), as is suggested by a document signed in 1575. Another telling case is that of the merchant and spinner Camillo Trani. In his workshop inventory, written in 1574, besides different quantities of raw silk, orsogli, weaves, stitching silk and fileselli, there are almost 82 pieces of ormesino (4,500 fathoms, a little less than 3,000 metres) estimated at about 910 ducats. When the merchant Gian Antonio Isabello died in December 1576, he had 248 pieces of ormesino (14,284 fathoms, more than 8,500 metres) stored in his warehouse in Anversa, ready to be sold.12 In the meantime, no evidence of velvet or other types of drape has come to light. An International Manufacturing Centre The main characteristic of the Vicentine silk industry between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was the production of raw silk and semi-finished materials, while the production of silk draperies only played a major role from the second half of the sixteenth century. It is quite evident that in this period, almost all the raw silk and thread produced in Vicenza was exported. In the late fifteenth century and in the first decades of the sixteenth, raw silks, orsogli, trame and sewing thread, the fileselli, as well as other manufactured goods from Vicenza, were produced for Italian outlets (above all Genoa, Milan, Bologna and Mantua, but also Florence, Lucca, Ferrara, Modena and Reggio Emilia). From the 1540s and throughout the second half of the sixteenth century – contemporary to the diffusion of mulberry cultivation in several areas of Northern Italy – the importance of Vicentine exports directed to those centres of the Peninsula producing silk draperies continued to decrease (without, however, disappearing 12 Molà, The Silk Industry, pp. 261–98; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 101–4; Demo, ‘Wool and Silk’, pp. 234–5.

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entirely). From then on, the Vicentine silk industry tried to meet the demand from transalpine markets, and the city experienced an intensification of commercial relations with the manufacturing cities of Central and Northern Europe, in France and Flanders, and later in England, Germany and the Netherlands. In the end, there were even Vicentine merchant-entrepreneurs in Poland. They showed great ability in managing various trade exchanges, thanks in part to the creation of sophisticated commercial networks.13 In the 1570s the Vicentine duty collector Marco Antonio Ferretto stated that most of the spun silk produced in Vicenza was sent to Germany, while the exported raw silk was directed to Lyons, Lombardy and Tuscany. Moreover, he added that Vicentine merchants took part in the fairs in Germany, Flanders, England and France, where they had their own fondaci. The strict connection between Vicentine merchants and North-European markets is confirmed by the Venetian Rettore (governor) Giacomo Bragadin, who declared that Vicentine silk ‘is usually exported as semi-finished products to Frankfurt, Antwerp, Köln and Lyons’ (‘per la maggior parte vengono mandate in orsogli alla fiera di Francfort, in Anversa, in Colonia et a Lione’).14 During the second half of the sixteenth century, the main selling markets for Vicentine silk matched the most important centres of international commerce of the time. Moreover, many of the mercantile families active in Vicenza15 had their own agents and correspondents in Lyons, Antwerp and Amsterdam; Bozen, Nuremberg, Augsburg and Frankfurt; Cologne, Leipzig and Strasbourg; and last but not least, Vienna, Prague and Cracow. From a geographical viewpoint, their activities were carried out on rather a large scale thanks to their knowledge of the main business tools of the age (double-entry bookkeeping for accounting; business correspondence to maintain relations with agents; bills of exchange for international payments; assurances on cargoes; current accounts to send money without moving cash and so forth). Among the traders who operated in the main European markets, there are several representatives of the Vicentine upper class: Aleardi, Arnaldi, Angaran, Barbaran, Bissari, Breganze, Caldogno, Capra, Chiericati, Cogollo, Franceschini, Godi, Loschi, Magrè, Muzan, Nievo, Pigafetta, Piovene, Porto, Ragona, Saraceni, Schio, Scroffa, Thiene, Trissino, Valmarana and Volpe are just some of the families that had mercantile interests, sometimes in connection with the heretical ideas that were spreading in the city at that time. Many of them did not operate directly, but used procurers and agents. Conversely, others directly Molà, The Silk Industry, pp. 241–6; Demo, ‘Sete e mercanti vicentini’, pp. 177–99; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 105–20. 14 Demo, ‘Sete e mercanti vicentini’, p. 179. 15 Agudi, Andriani, Arcioni, Bonanome, Canati, Curti, Dal Pozzo, Fattori, Gatti, Genovino, Isabello, Mazi, Pellizzari, Pelo, Pilati, Ravazzoli, Romiti, Rubini, Susan, Zorzi and so forth. 13

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managed one or more societies with productive, financial and commercial interests.16 A special feature of this industry was the massive involvement of the high nobility. In the 1580s, the Earl Vincenzo of Giampietro Scroffa, one of the most important Vicentine noble families, was the owner of a boat called Scroffa, which sailed between Venice, Cadiz and Lisbon.17 The case of Giacomo Magrè is noteworthy as well. The son of Stefano – who in the 1560s and 1570s invested a conspicuous amount of capital in the grain trade – Giacomo, who was described by sources as a nobleman trading several types of goods (‘un nobilhomo il quale trafficha et negocia in molte cose’), had mercantile interests in the silk trade in the markets of France, Flanders and Germany.18 In July 1593 the noblemen Sebastiano and Patrizio Aleardi joined their society to that of Andrea Muzio in order to trade silk cloth and other products on the Italian Peninsula and abroad (‘per negotiare in sede e doppi si grezi come lavorati et tinti et in ogn’altra sorte de mercantie si in questi paesi come in lochi alieni’). The company had a capital of 20,000 ducats (10,000 from Aleardi and the rest from Muzio), and had to last three years.19 In addition, in July 1573 the noblemen Marco Antonio and Baldassarre Cogollo joined a society with the Florentine Francesco Tassini, to operate with capital of 10,000 ducats (‘cum capitale de ducati diece millia’).20 The society had to last five years, producing raw and semi-finished silk to be sold in Germany, in particular at the Frankfurt fairs (‘nel far nella città di Vicenza sede, orsoi, ormesini, filleselli et altre simile merce secondo le occasione per venderle in Alemagna et particolarmente su le dua fiere de Franchoforth’). Twelve years later, a five-year society was funded by Vicenzo Cogollo – brother of Marco Antonio, as above – and the Grisons merchants from Piuro, Gian Battista and Carlo of Matteo Verteman, in order to trade silk cloth and other products on the Italian Peninsula, in Germany and abroad (‘per negociare in mercantie de seda et altre merci […] si in Italia come in Alemagna et altrove’) and, in particular, in Nuremberg, at the Frankfurt fairs and in Strasbourg (‘in Norimbergho, in le fiere de Francoforte et Argentina [Strasburgo]’). The society had a capital of 33,700 ducats.21 These are just a few examples among many others provided by the sources. The commercial interests of the Vicentine nobility are confirmed when we look at the documents regarding the failure of these societies. At the end of 1560s, the company of the merchant Antonio Pocobon and the noblemen Giulio Demo, ‘Sete e mercanti vicentini’, pp. 177–99; Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 188–204; Demo, ‘Wool and Silk’, pp. 119–22; Demo, Mercanti di Terraferma, pp. 43–78. 17 Demo, ‘Wool and Silk’, pp. 136–46. 18 Archivio di Stato di Vicenza (ASVi), Notarile, reg. 866, 7 July 1575. 19 ASVi, Notarile, reg. 932, 9 July 1593. 20 ASVi, Notarile, reg. 502, c. 72r, 1 July 1573. 21 ASVi, Notarile, reg. 8452, c. 151r, 11 March 1585. 16

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Capra and Gaspare Saraceno failed. Among the almost 100 creditors were many Vicentine noblemen, such as Bernardino and Claudio Muzan; Alvise, Benedetto, Bernardino and Giovanni Porto; Alessandro Nievo; Gerolamo Campiglia; Bartolomeo Valmarana; Giovanni Godi; Bartolomeo and Alessandro Barbaran; Alessandro Pigafetta; and Francesco Schio.22 In the spring of 1576, the society of the brothers Paolo and Bernardo of Marco Antonio Ravazzoli – who operated in Spain, Switzerland and France – went bankrupt and left a long list of creditors for the supply of silk products. Among them were the ‘magnifici domini et nobili de Vincentia’ Emilio Loschi, Lauro Thiene and Giacomo Magrè.23 Vicentine noblemen were also present in other failures, as those of Battista Mandello24 and Andrea Cantù,25 of the Florentine Giovanni Cini,26 and the society of CanatiBonanome, based in Lyons, which failed in the summer of 1552.27 Among the Vicenza noblemen involved in the international silk trade were several of Andrea Palladio’s most prestigious patrons. Thus those sometimes producing and, above all, selling Vicentine textiles all over Europe, included: Paolo Almerico (canon and the pope’s referendario, patron of the famous villa called ‘La Rotonda’); Losco Caldogno (commissioner of the eponymous Palladio’s villa); Girolamo of Nicolò Chiericati (commissioner of the palace that stands today in Piazza Matteotti) and his brother Giovanni (patron of the Villa Chiericati at Vancimuglio); the lawyer Giulio Capra; the knight Giuliano Piovene (with his brother Guido, patron of a Palladian palace that has now unfortunately been demolished). The latter, who invested a large amount of money in the silk and salt duty during the second half of the sixteenth century, was at the head of two trading companies with interests in France, Flanders and Germany (called ‘Giuliano Piovene e compagni’), producing textiles and soap in Piedmont. He operated as an insurer of boats in Venice and managed the mint of Mantua for the Gonzagas. There are then Bonifacio Poiana (commissioner of the villa in Poiana Maggiore); Iseppo of Gerolamo Porto (constructor of the Palladio’s palace on the street of the same name); Biagio Saraceno (Villa of Agugliaro, where letters have recently been discovered concerning the selling of raw and semi-finished silk in Lyons); and Marco Antonio Thiene (who built

ASVi, Magistrature Giudiziarie Civili Antiche, Banco del Sigillo, b. 74, 31 July 1570. Demo, ‘Sete e mercanti vicentini’, p. 191. 24 ASVi, Notarile, regg. 831 (19 March 1579), 7376 (12 February 1576) and e 8281 (18 June 1578). 25 ASVi, Notarile, reg. 633, 31 August 1557. 26 ASVi, Notarile, regg. 732 (24 April,1572), 741 (31 May and 25 August 1570; 19 April 1575) and 7021 (2 March 1560); ASVi, Magistrature Giudiziarie Civili Antiche, Banco del Sigillo, b. 71, 1 March 1569. 27 Demo, ‘Sete e mercanti vicentini’, pp. 190–91. 22

23

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the imposing Palazzo Thiene and the villa at Quinto Vicentino). This is only a partial list, which despite being incomplete is quite significant.28 The Affairs of the Vicenza Silk Craft Guild The broad spread of the silkworm cocoon, the possibility of having a large amount of high-quality local raw material, an efficient and flexible production system, the ability to produce a variety of high- and low-quality products for export, the employment of the main technological innovations of the time and an efficient way of placing the products on foreign markets are only some of the elements that explain why Vicentine silk production was so successful in the Early Modern age. Such success occurred in the absence of a dedicated guild.29 As mentioned above, ‘the silk merchants of Vicenza, unlike the large part of the artisans and merchants of the city, were not grouped in a guild and they did not have to apply or respect any rule for their work’.30 The city authorities tried to protect the interests of the silk industry against the initiatives of the Venetian silk guild and the duty collectors. The Vicenza producers of silk often came into conflict with the Venetian guild. Indeed, the capital’s silk traders tried to force the authorities to limit the silk activities in Vicenza, which were carried out without government authorization. Despite several attempts to restrict the production in the Terraferma city, the silk industry not only continued its activities, but it also did not feel the need to create a specific guild to protect the interests of local producers and traders. Besides, the merchants’ attempts to control craftsmen, normally a feature of craft guilds, would have been counterbalanced by the great mobility of the Vicentine workers, who were ready to move to where there were higher wages and more jobs. Moreover, the role of the governing class must not be underestimated. Many representatives of the nobility were involved in the production or commercialization of silk products at an international level. The presence of a guild would have limited their role, giving more visibility to merchants and craftsmen.31 The silk industry of Vicenza was organized into a guild quite late (in 1562), particularly because of pressure to do so from Venice. At a practical level, in any case, the craft guild never gained real significance. Even though documents show Edoardo Demo, ‘Le attività economiche dei committenti vicentini di Palladio. Nuove suggestioni sulla base dei recenti ritrovamenti archivistici’, in Palladio 1508–2008. Il simposio del Cinquecentenario (Venice, 2008), pp. 25–8. 29 See: Walter Panciera, ‘La formazione delle specializzazioni economiche territoriali nel Sei e Settecento’, in Giovanni L. Fontana, ed., L’industria vicentina dal Medioevo a oggi (Padua, 2004), pp. 289–90. 30 Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, p. 205. 31 Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 124–7; Panciera, ‘La formazione’, pp. 289–90. 28

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the approval of 37 chapters that regulated all the stages of production in detailed fashion, there is no evidence of any guild activity in the later archival sources. In the following centuries, nonetheless, the silk industry continued its activities with success. The constitution of the guild might be interpreted, then, as a mere obligation fulfilled in order to avoid problems with the Dominante and to satisfy its government. With the guild rule, the Vicentines were only performing a political duty toward the Venetian government, which the previous year had allowed the production of black velvets (previously reserved for the Dominante).32 Thus I agree with Walter Panciera in concluding that in fact, ‘weaving, spinning and throwing developed in Vicenza without guild ties’.33 Appendix Company contracts drawn up in Vicenza in order to act in the silk trade ‘in terre aliene’ (in foreign countries) during the second half of the sixteenth century Date

Associates

26 June 1555 5 July 1555

Pietro Mazi and Bernardino Agudi Nicolò Curti, Gian Pietro Farre and Cristoforo Schiffele from Augusta Pietro Mazi and Bernardino Agudi Marco Antonio Cogollo, Gerolamo Gasparini, Giorio from Pieve and Cristoforo Schiffele from Augusta Leonardo Agudi and Nicolò Curti Pietro Mazi and Bernardino Agudi Pietro Mazi and Bernardino Agudi Marco Antonio Cogollo and Giorio da Pieve Marco Antonio Cogollo, Nicolò and Battista Troili from Rovereto Pietro Mazi and Rocco Agudi Marco Antonio Cogollo, Antonio Susan and Bastiano Giorgi Eredi of Vincenzo Rubini and Gerolamo Beraldo

15 June 1556 6 December 1557 19 January 1558 5 July 1558 23 August 1558 6 June 1561 17 May 1565 1566 22 February 1569 16 May 1572

Capital Invested (ducats) 4,000 600

Contract Length 1 year 2 years

5,205 1,600

1 year 2 years

2,000 5,000 5,300 2,000

5 years 2 years 2 years 5 years

8,000

unknown

6,000 13,750

unknown 5 years

4,200

5 years

Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi, pp. 124–7. Panciera, ‘La formazione’, p. 290. See also Lanaro, ‘Gli Statuti delle Arti’, pp. 327–30.

32 33

New Products and Technological Innovation in the Silk Industry of Vicenza 5 July 1572

Baldassarre Cogollo and Francesco Tassini 1 July 1573 Marco Antonio and Baldassarre Cogollo, Francesco Tassini, Gian Pietro Ferrari, Bartolomeo Gatti, Tommaso Genoino and Alamanno Ghettin 27 July 1573 Heirs to Bernardino Agudi and Nicolò Agudi 27 July 1573 Heirs to Bernardino Agudi and Ludovico Stropeni 6 November 1573 Dionisio Agudi, Paolo Ravazzoli and Giulio Resta 1 December 1574 Mandricardo Resta from Milano and Orazio Agudi 1577 Pietro Mazi and Rocco Agudi 22 July 1578 Giacomo Magrè, Cristoforo Baratto, Andrea Moscatello and Giorgio Canetto 1 December 1578 Vincenzo Cogollo and Bernardino Verteman 1 December 1580 Nicolò Stampa, Onorio and Nicolò Curti 4 February 1584 Claudio Bissari-Dionisio and Gerolamo Smelcelati 11 March 1585 Vincenzo Cogollo, Gian Battista and Carlo Verteman, Tommaso Genoino and Francesco Cerato 23 October 1585 Agudenzio, Manzilio and Giovanni Agudi 16 December 1589 Nicolò Stampa-Nicolò and Onorio Curti 9 July 1593 Andrea Muzio-Sebastiano and Patrizio Aleardi

93

8,000

5 years

10,250

5 years

3,500

5 years

9,000

5 years

10,000

5 years

12,500

5 years

4,000 3,500

unknown 5 years

12,000

5 years

4,615

5 years

500

1 year

33,700

5 years

2,200

3 years

8,500

5 years

20,000

5 years

Sources: Demo, Mercanti di Terraferma, pp. 129–30 and ASVi, Notarile, regg. 502 (1 July 1573), 932 (9 July 1593) and 8452 (11 March 1585).

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Chapter 5

To Kill Two Birds with One Stone: Keeping Immigrants in by Granting Free Burghership in Early Modern Antwerp Jan De Meester

Until the Fall of Antwerp in 1585, when Spain regained control of the city, the economic preponderance of the Scheldt town had a crushing effect on the Dutch economy. Thanks to international trade, the textile industry (especially the cloth-shearing industry) and the export of luxury goods, Antwerp experienced a first phase of economic expansion between 1490 and 1520. During the second phase of growth, between 1535 and 1565, Antwerp evolved into a permanent international market and reached its economic apex. The city’s commercial and financial infrastructure adjusted itself to the constant presence of large groups of foreign merchants. Luxury industries such as the diamond and silk industries ‘discovered’ Antwerp as an ideal place for producing their goods, due to the fact that the city had become a crossroads for raw materials, skilled professionals and communication channels.1 Some figures demonstrate that in the sixteenth century Antwerp almost single-handedly carried the economy in the Netherlands. Tax assessments on the export of goods over land or by water in 1543–45 show that Antwerp paid 76 per cent of the total amount. When the Duke of Alva ordained the payment of a hundredth penny on real estate and 1 Herman van der Wee, The Growth of the Antwerp Market and the European Economy (Fourteenth–Sixteenth Century) (3 vols, The Hague, 1963); Anne Kint, The Community of Commerce: Social Relations in Sixteenth-century Antwerp (New York, 1996), pp. 47–109; Oscar Gelderblom, ‘The Decline of Fairs and Merchant Guilds in the Low Countries, 1250–1650’, Jaarboek voor Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis, 7 (2004): pp. 215–20; Wilfried Brulez, ‘Brugge en Antwerpen in de 15de en 16de eeuw: een tegenstelling?’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 83 (1970): pp. 15–37; Wilfried Brulez, ‘De Handel’, in Antwerpen in de XVIde eeuw (Antwerp, 1975), pp. 109–42; Jan A. Van Houtte, ‘Déclin et survivance d’Anvers (1550–1700)’, in Amintore Fanfani, Studi in Onore di Amintori Fanfani (6 vols, Milan, 1962), vol. 5, pp. 705–26; Bruno Blondé and Michael Limberger, ‘De gebroken welvaart’, in Raymond Van Uytven, ed., Geschiedenis van Brabant van het hertogdom tot heden (Leuven, 2004), pp. 307–11.

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merchandise in 1569, the Scheldt town paid four times as much as Brussels and almost five times as much as Bruges.2 The economic growth of Antwerp is analogous with the increase in the city’s population. During the sixteenth century, Antwerp experienced an enormous growth in its population. In 1480 Antwerp had 33,000 inhabitants, a number that increased to 55,000 in 1526 and 84,000 in 1542. The city reached its demographical peak together with its economic apex in 1568 with 105,000 inhabitants.3 Historic-demographical analyses, however, indicate that Early Modern cities struggled with abnormal rates of excess mortality. The so-called ‘urban graveyard’ or ‘urban deficit effect’ made natural demographic growth or even stagnation in a city impossible.4 Reconstructed birth and mortality rates in sixteenth-century Antwerp also show that natural population growth in Antwerp was impossible.5 Just as in other Early Modern cities, population growth in Antwerp was the result of massive migration movements.6 According to some historians of migration, immigrants made up half the population of fast-growing

2 Maurice A. Arnould, ‘L’impôt sur le capital en Belgique au XVIe siècle’, Le Hainaut Economique, 1 (1946): pp. 17–45. 3 Jan De Vries, European Urbanization 1500–1800 (London, 1984), p. 272; René Boumans, ‘L’évolution démographique d’Anvers (XVe–XVIIe siècle)’, Bulletin statistique, 36 (1948): pp. 1683–91; René Boumans and Jan Craeybeckx, ‘Het bevolkingscijfer van Antwerpen in het derde kwart der XVIe eeuw’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 60 (1974): pp. 394–405; Jan Van Roey, ‘De bevolking’, in Antwerpen in de XVIe eeuw (Antwerp, 1975): pp. 95–108. 4 Katherine A. Lynch, Individuals, Families, and Communities in Europe, 1200–1800. The Urban Foundations of Western Society (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 39–43; Peter Stabel, De kleine stad in Vlaanderen. Bevolkingsdynamiek en economische functies van de kleine en secundaire stedelijke centra in het Gentse kwartier (14de–16de eeuw) (Brussels, 1995), pp. 29–30. 5 Herman van der Wee and Jan Matterné, ‘De Antwerpse wereldmarkt tijdens de 16de en 17de eeuw’, in Jan Van der Stock, ed., Antwerpen verhaal van een metropool. 16de–17de eeuw (Antwerp, 1993), p. 20. For a debate on the urban graveyard effect, see: Ad Van Der Woude, ‘Population Developments in the Northern Netherlands (1500–1800) and the Validity of the “Urban Graveyard” Effect’, Annales de Démographie Historique (1982): pp. 55–75; Allan Sharlin, ‘Debate: Natural Decrease in Early Modern Cities’, Past and Present, 92/2 (1981): pp. 169–80; Albert Perrenoud, ‘Croissance ou déclin? Les mécanismes du non-renouvellement des populations urbaines’, Histoire, économie et société, 4 (1982): pp. 55–75; Chris Galley, ‘A Model of Early Modern Demography’, Economic History Review, 48 (1995): 448–69; De Vries, European Urbanization, pp. 179–98. 6 See for example Edward A. Wrigley, Population and History (New York and Toronto, 1969), p. 97; Robert Finlay, Population and Metropolis. The Demography of London, 1580– 1650 (Cambridge, 1981).

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Early Modern cities.7 For Antwerp, this even may be an underestimation. In any case, ‘guesstimates’ suggest that more than 2,000 immigrants arrived in the city each year between 1526 and 1542.8 The strong link between the economy and demography was a distinct characteristic of Early Modern cities. Economic changes resulted in demographical shifts, and migration movements played a crucial role in this process. A strong urban economy attracted many immigrants and discouraged potential emigrants from leaving a city. An economic downturn resulted in a surplus of emigrants and a shortage of immigrants.9 The basic assumption of this chapter is that although there were different reasons for moving to Antwerp during the sixteenth century, opportunities on the labour market were undoubtedly the main pull-factor.10 Next to being a centre of commerce and the transportation and distribution of goods, sixteenth-century Antwerp functioned as a major consumer service centre for a large geographic area and, more importantly, as an export-oriented industrial town. The city and its strong economy thus attracted merchants as well as skilled craftsmen and unskilled labourers. In this chapter we will mainly concentrate on craftsmen – skilled as well as unskilled – in order to find out more about the labour migration policy outlined by the Antwerp city authorities. During the sixteenth century economic life in Antwerp was mainly controlled by craft guilds. Industries – not only the important textile, luxury and art industries, but also the major part of the consumer service industry and the distribution and transportation of goods, as Antwerp was a big port of transit – were organized on a corporative level.11 It is impossible to find out 7 Leslie P. Moch, Moving Europeans: Migration in Western Europe since 1650 (Bloomington, 2003), pp. 40–44. 8 Kint, Community, pp. 34–6. 9 Clé Lesger, ‘Migratiestromen en economische ontwikkeling in vroegmoderne steden. Nieuwe burgers in Antwerpen en Amsterdam, 1541–1655’, Stadsgeschiedenis, 1 (2006): p. 97. 10 For a summary of traditional push-pull factors, see: Stabel, Kleine stad, pp. 28–9; Erika Kuijpers, Migrantenstad. Immigratie en sociale verhoudingen in 17de-eeuws Amsterdam (Hilversum, 2005), p. 21; Jan De Meester, ‘Arbeidsmigratie vanuit westelijk Noord-Brabant naar Antwerpen in de zestiende eeuw’, Jaarboek De Ghulden Roos, 68 (2009), p. 138. 11 See Floris Prims, Geschiedenis van Antwerpen (Antwerp, 1938–46), vols 16–22; Alfons K.L. Thijs, Van ‘werkwinkel’ tot ‘fabriek’. De textielnijverheid te Antwerpen (einde 15de- begin 19de eeuw) (Brussels, 1987); Gustaaf Asaert, ‘From Wharf to Commercial Metropolis. Until 1585’, in Fernand Suykens, and Gustaaf Asaert, eds, Antwerp. A Port for all Seasons (Antwerp, 1986); Hugo Soly and Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘Nijverheid in de Zuidelijke Nederlanden’, Algemene Geschiedenis der Nederlanden (Haarlem-Bussum, 1979), vol. 6, pp. 27–57. For a survey of the evolution of the corporate system in early modern cities in the Netherlands, see: Bert De Munck, Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, ‘The Establishment and Distribution of Craft Guilds in the Low Countries, 1000–1800’, in Maarten Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries: Work, Power and Representation (Aldershot, 2006), pp. 32–73.

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how many people, whether they were masters, journeymen or apprentices, were active within the corporative system in sixteenth-century Antwerp. We would not go as far as Rafaël Lauwaert, who asserts that almost the entire Antwerp labour population was active one way or another within the guild system.12 The estimations made by Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen about the labour market in Amsterdam at the end of the seventeenth century are nevertheless clear. The Dutch historians claim that between 20 and 25 per cent of men employed in Amsterdam were active as master artisans. In addition to this, 50 to 60 per cent of the male labour force was active as journeymen or apprentices. This means that only a minority of the professionally active male population in Amsterdam was not active within the guild system at the end of the seventeenth century.13 By the end of the sixteenth century, most important industries or sectors in Antwerp were part of the corporate system. The cloth-shearing industry, the gold and silver industry, the diamond industry, the silk industry, the construction industry and the production of different forms of art gave Antwerp its dominant role in the rest of Europe and were responsible for the wealth of the city. But in order to keep these industries going and in order to compete with other cities where similar industries were thriving, highly skilled artisans were always welcomed. Furthermore, if the abovementioned industries were to be able to stand out against competitors in other cities, it would be necessary to attract people from outside the city who could bring in technological knowledge and new skills. Technological innovation has always depended on the movement of people.14 Most of the time, this was not a big problem for Antwerp. Its economic aura extended across Western Europe and labour immigrants seem to have found their way to the metropolis fairly easily. In recent decades, research has recognized the role played by travelling journeymen in the advance of technology. It has been argued that journeymen’s travels in the framework of the corporate system – whether or not this was part of the so-called Wanderzwang or Wanderpflicht – made a significant contribution to technological progress, because they provided a regular means of transferring advanced knowledge and skills from one city or

Rafaël Lauwaert, ‘Ambachten en nieuwe nijverheden’, in Antwerpen in de XVIde eeuw (Antwerp, 1975), p. 148. 13 Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, ‘Ambachtsgilden binnen een handelskapitalistische stad: aanzetten voor een analyse van Amsterdam rond 1700’, NEHA-Jaarboek, 61 (1998): p. 145. 14 Karel Davids, ‘Guilds, Guildsmen and Technological Innovation in Early Modern Europe: The Case of the Dutch Republic’, www.lowcountries.nl/papers/2003–2_davids/ pdf; Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp guilds from the 15th century to the end of the ancient regime (Turnhout, 2007), pp. 169–77. 12

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region to another.15 In more recent studies, some historians have questioned the importance of journeymen’s migration for the transfer of technology,16 while yet others suggest that even apprentices, who might have had some training in their places of origin, might have made a contribution regarding technological innovation.17 Still, one can imagine that the craft guilds and city authorities were eager to attract technological knowledge and highly skilled artisans to the Antwerp industries. According to Karel Davids, however, guilds in the Early Modern Netherlands did not promote the transfer of technology through the movement of people, although they did not obstruct it either. The policy drawn up by governments in the Northern Netherlands, both regional and national, was designed primarily to prevent artisans from leaving the cities for other European countries, not for attracting skilled artisans.18 This may be true, but some historians have pointed out that the Antwerp city administration did outline some kind of migration policy in order to attract skilled artisans who could ameliorate the position of important Antwerp industries. Different kinds of policies or strategies could be outlined. Skilled artisans could be attracted by subsidies for housing, equipment and economic infrastructure.19 A famous example is that of the serge weavers of Hondschoote. On 31 July 1582, soldiers of the Duke of Anjou sacked Hondschoote, reducing the town to ashes. Many inhabitants of the town fled north, and a group of serge weavers asked the See for instance Wilfried Reininghaus, ‘Die Migration der Handwerkgesellen in der Zeit der Entstehung ihrer Gilden (14./15. Jahrhundert)’, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozialund Wirtschaftgeschichte, 68 (1981): pp. 1–21; Wilfried Reininghaus, ‘Wanderungen von Handwerkern zwischen Hohem Mittelalter und Insudtrialisierung. Ein Versuch zur Analyse der Einflußfaktoren’, in Gerhard Jaritz and Albert Müller, eds, Migration in der Feudalgesellschaft (Frankfurt, 1988), pp. 179–237; Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, Arbeitswanderung und berufliche Spezialisierung: die Lippischen Ziegle im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Osnabrück, 1999); Reinhold Reith, Arbeidsmigration und Technologietransfer in der Habsburgmonarchie in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts. Die Gesellenwanderung aus der Sicht der Kommerzienkonzesse’, Blätter für Technikgeschichte, 56 (1994): pp. 9–33. 16 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft guilds, Apprenticeship and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, The Journal of Economic History, 58 (1998): pp. 684–713; Rainer S. Elkar, ‘Lernen durch Wandern? Einige kritische Bemerkungen zum Thema “Wissentransfer durch Migration”, in Knut Schulz, ed., Handwerk in Europa. Vom Spätmittelalter bis zur Frühen Neuzeit (Munich, 1999), pp. 213–32. 17 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 169–77. 18 Karel Davids, ‘Openness or Secrecy? Industrial Espionage in the Dutch Republic’, The Journal of European Economic History, 24 (1995): pp. 333–48. 19 Marc Boone and Peter Stabel, ‘New Burghers in the Late Medieval Towns of Flanders and Brabant: Conditions of Entry, Rules and Reality’, in Rainer C. Schwinges, ed., Neubürger im späten Mittelalter. Migration und Austausch in der Städtelandschaft des alten Reiches (1250–1550) (Berlin, 2002), p. 321. 15

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Antwerp authorities for permission to bring their famous industry to the city.20 The first 24 serge weavers who arrived received free housing and were allowed to enter a guild without becoming a burgher.21 Another example is that of the tapestry weavers. In 1554, a new hall, the so-called Tappisseriepand, was opened by the Antwerp authorities. Weavers and merchants could meet and conduct business in the hall, and many tapestry weavers from famous tapestry centres in the Southern Netherlands, such as Oudenaarde or Brussels, were attracted to Antwerp in this way.22 Another way to attract much-needed skilled artisans was to establish a new craft guild, as was the case for the silk ribbon workers in 156623 and the diamond cutters in 1582.24 Many immigrant silk ribbon workers and diamond cutters became burghers of Antwerp. Although many of them had already been living and working in Antwerp for some time, a large number of them came to the city shortly after the establishing of the new craft guilds. A further way to attract highly skilled artisans was to temporarily neutralize a craft guild, as was the case with the masons’ guild. On 24 February 1548, the central government, upon the advice of the city magistrate, suspended all craft guild regulations of the masons’ guild in order to attract skilled (and unskilled) masons, as many of them were needed to build large public works.25 Lastly, the establishment of poor boxes or armenbussen for master artisans, or poor relief in general, might have been a strategy to attract foreign artisan masters.26 Historical migration studies often suggest that granting free burghership was a common means to attract highly skilled artisans. Immigrants who brought Stadsarchief Antwerpen (SAA), Pk 661, fol. 20. SAA, GA 4055, no foliation. See also: Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘Hondschootse Saaiwevers te Antwerpen’, Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis, 54 (1971): pp. 225–39. 22 Thijs, Werkwinkel, pp. 115–22; Martine Vanwelden, Productie van wandtapijten in de regio Oudenaarde. Een symbiose tussen stad en platteland (15de tot 17de eeuw) (Leuven, 2006). 23 SAA, Pk 664, fols 294–5 and SAA, GA 4001, fols 186v–188. 24 SAA, GA 4002, fols 202v–209v; Dora Schlugleit, De geschiedenis van het Antwerpse diamantslijpersambacht, 1582–1797 (Antwerp, 1935). 25 Jan De Meester, ‘The Admittance of Immigrant-Masons on the Sixteenth Century Antwerp Labour Market’, in Bert De Munck and Anne Winter, eds, Gated communities? Regulating Migration in Early Modern Cities (Aldershot, 2012), pp. 25–43; Jean Lameere and Henri Simont, Recueils des ordonnances de Pays-Bas (Brussels, 1910), série 2, vol. V, pp. 508–9. 26 See Bert De Munck, ‘Fiscalizing Solidarity (from below). Poor Relief in Antwerp Guilds: Between Community Building and Public Services’, in Manon van der Heijden and Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, eds, Serving the Urban Community. The Rise of Public Facilities in the Low Countries (Amsterdam, 2009), pp. 168–93; Heidi Deneweth, Migration Policies, Social Policies and Labour Market Regulation. The case of the Textile Industries in sixteenth-Century Bruges (paper presented at the Eight European Social Science History Conference, Ghent, 13–16 April 2010), pp. 1–23. 20 21

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technological innovation and who breathed new life into old industries were often exempt from the citizenship charge. In this way, the city authorities would create an easy and cheap opportunity for skilled artisans to come to Antwerp and join the guild system.27 After all, burghership was compulsory for master artisans in Antwerp28 (although sources sometimes suggest otherwise). According to these historians, burghership would have been a vehicle to attract the much-needed skilled artisans who could deliver the technology and skills to consolidate or even strengthen the most important Antwerp industries. To put it rather bluntly, we do not agree with this hypothesis. In this short, empirically oriented chapter we want to answer a number of straightforward questions. By analysing the Antwerp burgherbooks, we want to find out who – that is, which kinds of labour immigrants – was granted burghership. By using the burgher books as a source, we also want to find out whether the granting of free burghership was economically determined. Lastly, by combining the burgherbooks with other sources, such as apprentices’ matriculation lists, aldermen’s rolls, notary acts, lists of workshops and so forth, we want to find out whether the skilled artisans who were attracted to Antwerp by the granting of burghership were really as skilled and successful as they are believed to have been in historiographical works. In other words, is it possible that migration historians could have been deceived by burgher books concerning the inscription of skilled artisans? If so, this would imply that the burgher books are not a very suitable source for measuring technological innovation in craft guilds and, by extension, in an urban economy. Our hypothesis is that the granting of free burghership was merely a means used by the city authorities to ‘repopulate’ craft guilds that had lost their splendour. We believe there were particular reasons for granting burghership; in our opinion, the city authorities’ intention was: 1) to build up a kind of labour reserve; 2) to repopulate the craft guilds that were abandoned or were in danger of decline; and 3) to keep the city’s global economy moving. In this short Boone and Stabel, ‘New Burghers’, pp. 320–21; Marc Boone, ‘“Cette frivole, dampnable et desraisonnable bourgeoisie”: de vele gezichten van het laatmiddeleeuwse burgerbegrip in de Zuidelijke Nederlanden’, in Joost Kloek and Karin Tilmans, eds, Burger. Een geschiedenis van het begrip ‘burger’ in de Nederlanden van de Middeleeuwen tot de 21ste eeuw (Amsterdam, 2002), p. 50; Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘Minderheden te Antwerpen (16de/20ste eeuw)’, in Hugo Soly and Alfons K.L. Thijs, eds, Minderheden in Westeuropese Steden: (16de– 20ste Eeuw) (Brussels and Rome, 1995), pp. 17–20; Thijs, Werkwinkel, pp. 118–19 and 324; Francine De Nave, ‘De oudste Antwerpse lijsten van nieuwe poorters (28 januari 1390–28 december 1414)’, Handelingen van de Koninklijke Commissie voor Geschiedenis, CXXXIX (1973): p. 80; Gustaaf Asaert, 1585. De Val van Antwerpen en de uittocht van Vlamingen en Brabanders (Tielt, 2004). 28 Frans Blockmans, ‘Het vroegste officiële ambachtswezen in Antwerpen’, Bijdragen voor de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, 8 (1953), p. 192. 27

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chapter, we by no means intend to get to the bottom of the mystery that Early Modern burghership continues to be. That remains a challenge for the future. We therefore do not intend to approach the concept as an economic vehicle for a city,29 or as a cornerstone of civil society.30 Nor is it our intention to find out why immigrants in the course of the Early Modern period lost interest in obtaining citizenship in the Southern Netherlands.31 Granting Burghership: Dreaming of Faded Glory? According to the so-called decree on burghership of 1463 and the Antwerp costuimen that were written down during the sixteenth century, there were four different ways of acquiring Antwerp burghership: by birth, by marriage (only for women), by purchase or by gift.32 Granting burghership was a privilege of the city magistrate or of the city’s administrators. In fact, the Antwerp burgher law was very clear on this. Granting burghership for free was only allowed as a special favour in recognition of services rendered to the city. In theory, members of the magistrate or other administrators could only grant one burghership each year, and only to a servant who had served him and the city in an outstanding way and who lived with the city administrator who had granted the citizenship. But this is only the theory, of course; in practice, the city authorities seem to have cared little for this rule. If we are to believe the sixteenth-century burgherbooks (1533–1600), 2,620 out of a total of 15,735 new burghers had rendered ‘special services’ to the city administrators. In other words, between 1533 and 1600, almost 17 per cent of all new burghers in Antwerp were granted free citizenship. It is obvious that not every one of these 2,620 new burghers had been the obedient servants of city administrators. When looking at the professional activities of our target group, we see that just 43 of them called themselves See Jan L. Van Zanden and Maarten Prak, ‘Towards an Economic Interpretation of Citizenship. The Dutch Republic between Medieval Communes and Modern Nation States’, European Review of Economic History, 10 (2006): pp. 111–45. 30 See: Anne Kint, ‘Becoming Civic Community: Citizenship in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp’, in Marc Boone and Maarten Prak, eds, Individual, Corporate and Judicial Status in European Cities (Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period) (Leuven and Apeldoorn, 1996), pp. 157–69. 31 See: Maarten F. Van Dijck, ‘Towards an Economic Interpretation of Justice? Conflict Settlement, Social Control and Civil Society in Urban Brabant and Mechelen during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period’, in Van der Heijden and Van Nederveen Meerkerk, Serving, pp. 62–88. 32 SAA, Pk. 1540, see: Guillaume De Longé, Coutumes du Pays et Duché de Brabant. Quartier d’Anvers (Brussels, 1870–74), vol. 1, pp. 91–375 and 428–705; vol. 2, pp. 1–597; vol. 3, pp. 1–603 and vol. 4, pp. 1–849. 29

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servants. With a little goodwill we could perhaps consider the 344 tailors who belong to our target group the personal tailors of well-off administrators, but even then, the number of new burghers who just operated within the corporative system was very large: 75 per cent of all burghers who became citizens by gift practised professions that were within the guild system. It is not even clear whether the remaining 25 per cent were members of guilds or not, because many inscriptions do not mention any profession at all, and some professions are not sufficiently specified to tell us whether they were part of the corporate system. What is clear, in any case, is that the city authorities seem to have cared little about the decrees concerning the granting of burghership only to servants.

Figure 5.1

Antwerp burgherships, 1533–1600

Source: SAA, Vierschaar, 142–53.

Let us now take a look at some figures concerning the granting of free burgherships in the sixteenth century. Figure 5.1 shows that the absolute number of granted burgherships more or less increased very steadily throughout the sixteenth century. The pattern of purchased burgherships followed the pattern of the total of new burgherships. The year 1585 seems to have been a turning point. After the Fall of Antwerp, more granted burgherships than purchased burgherships were noted in the inscription lists. Before 1585 the yearly average of granted burgherships was 26.6; after 1585 this increased to 52.6. The reasonably steady development of the line which shows the granted burgherships in Figure 5.1 suggests that the granting of burgherships was by no means used by the city government in order to attract highly skilled artisans to stimulate new or fastgrowing industries. If this had been the case, the absolute number would have curved much more steeply. Let us prove our point by looking at some important Antwerp industries. In Figure 5.2 we have reproduced the number of inscriptions of new burghers who claimed to be active as silk weavers, passement makers (silk ribbon worker) or diamond cutters, three occupations for which Antwerp was renowned in the

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sixteenth century. During the second half of the sixteenth century the Antwerp magistrate successfully upgraded the silk-processing industry and the diamondcutting industry. At the beginning of the 1580s, measures were taken to make it easier for immigrants to enter the silk weavers’ craft guild.33 This resulted in a sharp rise in inscriptions of new burghers who claimed to be active as silk weavers. The same result was achieved for the passement workers. In 1556 the city authorities founded an independent craft guild for silk ribbon workers,34 which also resulted in the influx of many immigrant passement makers who bought burghership during the 1560s. The diamond cutters were at last granted an independent Nation in 1582,35 again resulting in a strong increase in immigrant burghers working in the diamond industry. It is remarkable, however, that almost no immigrant silk weavers, passement workers or diamond cutters who became burghers in the respective periods became burghers by gift. This shows that people in these professional groups were only granted citizenship in very small numbers, and this well before or well after the city authorities took explicit action to stimulate these three industries.

Figure 5.2

New burghers in Antwerp industries, 1533–1600

Source: SAA, Vierschaar, 142–53.

When analysing the burgher books, it becomes clear that the number of granted burgherships rose very steadily towards the end of the sixteenth century, partly because, proportionally, many immigrant cloth-shearers were granted free burghership. After 1565 their number gradually increased. It is noteworthy, SAA, GA 4524, fols 5v–8. SAA, Pk 664, fols 294–5 and SAA, GA 4001, fols 186v–188. 35 See Schlugleit, Diamantslijpersambacht, 1582–1797. 33 34

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however, that in that same year (1565) the English merchants, who prior to this year had been the biggest employers in the Antwerp cloth-shearing business, decided for political reasons to take their raw cloth elsewhere to be sheared. Many Antwerp-based cloth-shearers followed the English cloth to German cities such as Hamburg, Cologne or Wesel, which gradually took over the cloth-shearing business.36 It seems that at this point, we have to agree with Marc Boone and Peter Stabel, who believe that free burghership was sometimes used to breathe new life into fading industries.37 ‘Thou art the Chosen Ones’ Now that we know there were no dramatic fluctuations in the number of free burgherships in Antwerp during the sixteenth century, that in absolute numbers there was a slight rise towards the end of the century and that after 1585 more burgherships were granted than purchased, it is time to take a closer look at the professional groups that were chosen by the city authorities to become Antwerp burghers for free. In three steps, we will take a closer look at which kinds of professionals were chosen; most of them were probably master artisans, because they appear in the burgher books. In the first step, we categorize all of the professions (more than 800 in total) of new burghers into five broad

Figure 5.3

Professional categories of new burghers, 1533–1600

Source: SAA, Vierschaar, 142–53. 36 Jan De Meester, ‘Hulp vanuit onverwachte hoek: de inschrijvingslijsten van de Antwerpse droogscheerders-leerlingen als genealogische bron’, Vlaamse Stam, 44/3 (2008): pp. 6–7; Thijs, Werkwinkel, pp. 623 and 668–70. 37 Boone and Stabel, ‘New Burghers’, p. 321.

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groups, namely: 1) the industrial group, which contains all professionals who performed industrial activities in a broad sense, such as textile workers, building labourers, metal workers and so forth; 2) the consumer service group (retail, clothing, catering and so forth); 3) distribution and transport of goods (shipping, transport over land and so-called ‘dockworkers’); 4) trade; and 5) a miscellaneous group (soldiers, servants, doctors, teachers, lawyers and so forth). In Figure 5.3 we show the subdivision of the total number of new Antwerp burghers and the new granted burgherships next to each other. It is notable that most new burghers of Antwerp out of the above-mentioned total number of 15,735 performed industrial activities or worked in consumer service businesses. The same holds for the new burghers who were granted free burghership, although in relative terms, slightly more burghers who had been granted free burghership worked in the last category. Relatively fewer merchants and people who were active in trade or in the distribution or transport sector were granted burghership compared to the totality of new burgherships. The fact that only a small number of bargees were granted citizenship partially explains the low score of the distribution and transport sector. The ‘miscellaneous’ category performed well. More than 16 per cent of the granted burghers can be classified in this category, compared to 8 per cent in the totality of new burgherships. The many new burghers in this group whose professions remain unknown (71 per cent), simply because no profession is mentioned in the inscription lists, are responsible for this high score. Of course these figures do not tell us much about the technological skills or the degree of schooling of the new burghers, but they might give us a premonition about the fact that many unskilled or poorly skilled labourers or artisans were attracted to Antwerp. Maybe another way of classifying the professional structure of the new burghers would give us more information. It is for that reason that we classified all professions in the burgher books into 16 smaller or more highly specified professional groups, as can be seen in Figure 5.4. It is immediately clear that most immigrants who became Antwerp burghers by gift worked in the trade and transport business, in the clothing industry or in the textile industry (leaving the category ‘other’ aside, for the moment, which to a large extent corresponds to the formerly used ‘miscellaneous’ category). The high score of the trade and transport sector is due to the fact that retailers and caterers are also subdivided into this group. The construction industry, the processing of food and the processing of wood and metal also perform relatively well. As can be seen in Figure 5.5, it is striking that 25 per cent of all new burghers in Antwerp who were active in the clothing industry were granted burghership. This percentage is even higher when we look at the teachers (or ‘schoolmasters’) and the jurists and lawyers. Twenty-eight per cent of all teachers or persons with a juridical profession who obtained Antwerp citizenship in the period between

Figure 5.4

Absolute numbers of professions of granted burghers, 1533–1600

Source: SAA, Vierschaar, 142–53.

Figure 5.5

Share of granted burgherships in total number of burgherships

Source: SAA, Vierschaar, 142–53.

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1533 and 1600 acquired this burghership by gift. Even more remarkable is that 35 per cent of the new burghers whose occupation was not mentioned in the inscription lists did not have to pay for their citizenship. This classification into 16 different professional groups again tells us a little more about the skills of the people who acquired their citizenship for free. But if we want to prove our point that granting burghership was not a means of attracting highly skilled professionals to Antwerp, we unfortunately have to perform the difficult task of classifying all professions into categories that make a distinction between the level of schooling that was needed to exercise or perform the respective profession. I say unfortunately, because in some cases this is mere guesswork. We tried to subdivide the levels of schooling into four different categories or classes, namely: 1) highly skilled, 2) moderately skilled, 3) poorly skilled and 4) unskilled. In doing so, we have more or less tried to follow the example of Erica Kuijpers, who has studied migration movements into seventeenth-century Amsterdam and who has constructed a similar classification in order to study the Amsterdam labour market.38 As mentioned above, this exercise sometimes came down to guesswork; or, to put it more positively, we sometimes had to follow our intuition, making use of our knowledge of the corporate system in Antwerp. But even then, it is difficult to put a label on some occupations. It is fairly simple to call goldsmiths or jurists highly skilled and to define peat carriers or diggers as unskilled; but what to do, for example, with the cloth-shearers? Kuijpers classifies them as poorly skilled artisans, whereas we tend to label them moderately skilled. Another example is that of the tailors, who Kuijpers classifies as moderately skilled, whereas we tend to call them poorly skilled, although some of them will have been moderately or even highly skilled. And what to do with the merchants, who mostly call themselves merchants tout court, without any specification? Are they highly skilled or just moderately skilled? And is a poultry merchant more or less skilled than a merchant who deals in paintings or a silk merchant, to name just a few? So it is clear that our classification is far from sacred and that the boundaries between the levels of skill can and will be fluid. The percentages in Figures 5.6 and 5.7 may thus vary slightly regarding the reality of the levels of training, but we believe that the categories we designed are more or less in the right proportion. Figure 5.6 shows us that a mere 6.5 per cent of all burghers who were granted free burghership were, as we interpret it, highly skilled artisans or professionals. This is a small number compared to the other groups. The moderately skilled and the poorly skilled artisans and labourers are by far the largest group of new Antwerp burghers in the sixteenth century who obtained burghership for free. Nearly 21 per cent of the ‘free’ burghers had no degree of learning and thus Kuijpers, Migrantenstad, tables 6–3, pp. 409–11.

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performed unskilled labour. So it is clear that the notion that governments granted burgherships to highly skilled artisans in order to attract technological innovation should be adjusted, at least for sixteenth-century Antwerp.

Figure 5.6

Level of training of granted burghers

Source: SAA, Vierschaar, 142–53.

Figure 5.7 furthermore seems to show that the granting of burghership between the different levels of training followed the same curve throughout the sixteenth century, with the exception of the poorly skilled. The curves roughly follow the economic situation of Antwerp during its Golden Age. If it was the intention of the Antwerp government to divide the granted burgherships relatively equally between the different levels of skill, then it did a very nice job indeed.

Figure 5.7

Level of training of granted burghers, 1533–1600

Source: SAA, Vierschaar, 142–53.

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Nothing is What it Seems to Be Let us assume, then, that the Antwerp authorities did not attract highly skilled or moderately skilled immigrant artisans deliberately, but that they instead just rewarded the ‘best’ among them with free burghership. It is a fact that most immigrants stayed a while in a city before they obtained burghership.39 Perhaps the city authorities observed the immigrants for a while and then decided, when the newcomers applied for burghership, to grant free citizenship to the best of the highly or moderately skilled workers. If this had been the case – which it was not, of course – the authorities got their assessment of most of their commercial capacities fairly wrong. When analysing the burgher books, we put a label on some professions. We labelled the goldsmiths and silversmiths as being highly trained or highly skilled, and the cloth-shearers as being moderately skilled. In this way, of course, we put every gold- or silversmith and every cloth-shearer in one box and implicitly acknowledged that, because they were highly or moderately trained, these immigrant-burghers were bound to be successful in their new habitat. When we look in more detail into the lives and careers of some of these workers, as far as the sources allow, of course, we notice a striking contrast between the artisans who bought burghership and those who were granted burghership for free. In the following, we will briefly show what we mean. We combined the burgher books, the matriculation list of apprentice goldand silversmiths in the period between March 1564 and October 1592,40 and the invaluable work that has been done by Godelieve van Hemeldonck to retrace every gold- and silversmith who has been mentioned in the Antwerp sources between the thirteenth and nineteenth centuries.41 Van Hemeldonck has unravelled aldermen’s rolls, notary acts, indentures, trials, museum collections, private collections, literature and so forth in order to find out practically everything that is known about the Antwerp gold- and silversmiths. We, for our part, selected all gold- and silversmiths in the burgher books and divided them between those who had purchased burghership (107) and those who were granted it for free (10). When we compare the names of the ‘free’ burghers with the names that appear in the matriculation lists of the apprentices, bearing in mind the period covered by the lists, of course, we notice that every ‘free’ burgher who became a gold- or silversmith appears in these lists, whereas only a fraction of the purchased burghers appear in the matriculation lists of For a critical look at the Antwerp burgherbooks, Jan De Meester, ‘De gebruiks- en meerwaarde van poortersboeken voor historici. Casus: Antwerpen in de zestiende eeuw. (vervolg)’, Vlaamse Stam, 43 (2007): pp. 322–6. 40 SAA, 4487 fols 2–266. 41 Godelieve Van Hemeldonck, Het Grootwerk. Goudsmeden, zilversmeden en juweliers vermeld te Antwerpen, 13de-19de eeuw (Antwerp, 2005) (Unpublished). 39

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apprentices. This means that almost every gold- and silversmith who purchased their burghership learned their trade somewhere else and that the ‘free’ goldand silversmiths learned their trade in Antwerp. Browsing through the findings of Van Hemeldonck, we notice that only one of the ‘free’ burghers could be called ‘successful’, namely Jacques Domis. He owned different houses in and outside Antwerp and became dean of the craft guild in 1594–95. Maybe this is not surprising. He was a member of a famous generation of goldsmiths that made its fortune in Bergen op Zoom. Many members of the family settled in Antwerp and became goldsmiths from generation to generation. The nine other ‘free’ burghers are hardly mentioned again in the Antwerp archives. Some of them were only known by their name and were never mentioned after their inscription as master artisan. When we take a look at the 107 goldsmiths and silversmiths who bought burghership, we notice that most of them were what Van Hemeldonck calls ‘successful’. They owned houses, made important works, became members of the board of the guild, became aldermen in Antwerp and so forth. Many of the immigrants who purchased burghership were the founding fathers of famous generations of gold- or silversmiths. We can thus conclude that the gold- and silversmiths who bought their burghership were much more successful than their colleagues who were granted burghership for free. We tried to do the same exercise regarding the cloth-shearers’ craft guild. In order to do so, we compared the burgherbooks with the matriculation lists of apprentices and lists of workshops. In the sixteenth century, 597 cloth-shearers bought their burghership and 106 shearers were granted burghership. During the period between 1532 and 1565, the matriculation lists of the apprentices mention no fewer than 2,193 apprentices.42 The places of origin are also mentioned for the immigrant apprentices, which makes a comparison with the burgher books fairly easy. Next to the matriculation lists of the apprentices, we can also use a list describing the workshops of cloth-shearers in Antwerp in 1540–41, a list which mentions 1,200 masters and journeymen.43 The overlapping periods of the three lists made it possible to draw some conclusions. No less than 60 per cent of the cloth-shearers who were granted burghership and who appeared in the list of apprentices were actually registered as apprentices, in contrast to only 10 per cent of their colleagues who purchased their burghership. During the period between 1532 and 1565, only 20 per cent of the ‘free’ cloth-shearers managed to train any apprentices themselves. Compared to the ‘purchased’ cloth-shearers, this is a rather bad result. No less than 60 per cent of the ‘purchased’ cloth-shearers trained one or more apprentices (up to nine). During the period between 1540 and 1541, 36 ‘purchased’ shearers were masters Staatsarchief Antwerpen (StAA), Fonds Antwerpen, 39, no foliation. SAA, GA 4888, fols 1–27.

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of a workshop with several journeymen (up to 17) working for them. None of the ‘free’ shearers managed to run a workshop of their own. They all worked in a workshop of a ‘purchased’ shearer. None of the ‘free’ shearers ever reached the board of the guild, whereas eight ‘purchased’ shearers became dean once or several times, and many became members of the board of this important craft guild. Finally, none of the ‘free’ cloth-shearers are mentioned by Alfons Thijs as being cloth merchants, whereas many ‘purchased’ shearers became famous and wealthy merchants.44 To make a long story short, it seems that the granting of free burghership was not a ticket to success. The gold- or silversmiths and the cloth-shearers who were granted burghership can hardly be called successful from a modern point of view, and when compared to their colleagues who purchased their citizenship. It is important to recall that in both craft guilds, most of the apprentices who accomplished their training were later granted burghership. In the case of the cloth-shearers this happened a couple of years after they had completed their apprenticeship and probably after they had worked as journeymen in the city. It seems that by granting burghership, the city authorities tried to keep the skills the apprentices had learned in Antwerp within the Scheldt town. Taking the city authorities as an initiator, we thus draw the same conclusion as Stephan Epstein and Bert De Munck, who claimed that the craft guilds themselves – in collaboration with the authorities – tried to outline the same policy by means of apprenticeship fees. Conclusion The conclusion of this short and empirically oriented chapter is inevitably noncommittal. It is very difficult (or even impossible) to make a statement that is built on a concept whose meaning or significance remains unclear to historians. Nevertheless, we have used the concept of free burghership in order to make our point. In this paper we have tried to show that the Antwerp cities authorities did not use the granting of free burghership to attract highly skilled artisans or technological knowledge to the city or the labour market. On the contrary, the average ‘free’ burgher was moderately or poorly skilled, and one-fifth of the ‘free’ burghers were not skilled at all. And maybe this is the most important conclusion of this paper: instead of attracting technological knowledge to the city by granting free burghership – there were more efficient ways to do so – the city authorities may have had another reason for granting free burghership. Perhaps they just wanted to keep the professionals who were responsible for the little things in life in the city. After all, a city with a big population has to eat and Thijs, Werkwinkel.

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drink and people have to be clothed. Goods have to be transported and houses have to be built. Highly skilled artisans from outside who bring in technical knowledge will find their way to a town in any case, if the town thrives. They will buy burghership anyway in order to be allowed in the corporate system. I believe that the Antwerp government granted burghership to the many moderately and poorly skilled craftsmen in order to build up some kind of surplus labour, a surplus that was skilled enough to step in when needed. The fact that large numbers of burgherships were granted to trained ex-apprentices may point in this direction. But again, it is difficult to give a firm answer without a thorough investigation into the meaning of the concept of burghership.

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Chapter 6

The Secret Perfume: Technology and the Organization of Soap Production in Northern Italy between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Centuries Alberto Grandi

The use of soap has been recorded since antiquity; in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, numerous testimonies confirm the use of detergents obtained by the alkaline hydrolysis processing of animal fats. It was only through the Arabian expansion that these detergents started to become more widespread and were used more extensively for cleansing the body, and above all in certain production cycles within the fabric industry. More precisely, soap production developed in the areas affected by Arabian dominance, starting in the tenth century. In Italy, this activity was not only diffused in Sicily and the southern regions, but also in the North. It was particularly present in Venice, where soap was imported, thanks to the development of trade and political links with the East. Subsequently, so were its production techniques, which were disseminated in Central and Northern Italy.1 In this chapter, the path taken by artisans from different urban centres between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries will be discussed, along with the mastering of the Venetian production techniques in other North-Central Italian cities and the resistance that very often slowed down the diffusion of the product or provoked the introduction of particular techniques, which were for the most part different from the original model. In fact, the soap industry was linked to many other artisan industries and had evident points of contact with prominent weaving activities, which were additionally connected to the meat and animal skin economies around the city. The analysis will be conducted by studying various settings (Rome, Bologna, Mantua and so forth), demonstrating that the diffusion of production techniques was legitimately and proportionally 1 Angelo Bassani, ‘Il controllo di qualità del sapone nella Repubblica di Venezia’, in Franco Calascibetta and Eugenio Torracca, eds, Atti del II convegno di storia e fondamenti della chimica (Rome, 1988), p. 80.

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based on institutional and economic structures. The urban circumstances surrounding this business were of substantial importance and directly related to the development process. For this reason, the cities chosen for comparison in this study have different economic and institutional characteristics as well as different sizes. In the Late Middle Ages, Milan was already an important manufacturing and commercial centre in the metal and textile sectors, with more than 100,000 residents. After becoming politically established with the Visconti and the Sforza families, Milan became one of the most powerful cities in Italy. This importance even remained evident during the period of Spanish domination, which started in the first half of the sixteenth century. The structure and organization of the guilds within the city was similar to those of other important manufacturing cities in North-Central Italy, with obvious prevalence given to textile industries and a strong tendency to create an individual guild for every single manufacturing phase within specialized fields.2 Bologna was also an eminent manufacturing centre from the beginning of the thirteenth century, even if it was much smaller than Milan. The population of the Emilian city never reached more than 50–60,000. In all probability, the fact that it was never completely independent from Papal political rule limited the city’s demographic and territorial development. However, the efficient infrastructure, complete with strong canal routes, put Bologna in direct contact with Venice and supplied the city’s industries with hydraulic energy. This infrastructure allowed for extraordinary development in the textile industry, specifically the silk industry, which was a prime European product until the eighteenth century.3 As will be discussed, the fact that the silk industry was the most important trade in Bologna had an significant impact on soap production within the city, as the production of silk required the use of a particular soap. Bologna was similar to Milan in that there were checks on every single manufacturing phase for these consequential trades. However, this also caused industrial discord, as the industries were inundated with time-consuming checks and balances.4 Even though Mantua was the capital of a small sovereign state, it remained small, with approximately 30,000 citizens between the Late Middle Ages and the beginning of the seventeenth century.5 From an economic point of view, Mantua (like many other Northern Italian cities) had a solid craft industry Luca Mocarelli, ‘Guilds Reappraised: Italy in the Early Modern Period’, in Jan Lucassen, Tine De Moor and Jan L. van Zanden, eds, The Return of the Guilds (Cambridge, 2008), pp. 162–6. 3 Carlo Poni, ‘Per la storia del distretto industriale serico di Bologna (secoli XVI– XIX)’, Quaderni Storici, n.s., 73 (1990): pp. 99–100. 4 Alberto Grandi, La pelle contesa (Torino, 2000), pp. 171–2. 5 Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Una città e la carestia: Mantova 1590–92’, Annali della fondazione L. Einaudi, 16 (1982): pp. 113–14. 2

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based mostly on the wool market. The connection to Venice by the Mincio and Po rivers favoured trade development. In addition, the strategic geographic position of Mantua, in the centre of the Pianura Padana and halfway between Milan and Venice, was a crucial point in the delicate political and diplomatic balance in Medieval and Renaissance Italy. With regard to the structure of guilds within the city, Mantua was not as complex as other cities, such as Milan, Venice or Bologna.6 The central focus was the wool guild, while other trades and professions were less central and less structured. As we will see, this situation did not necessarily create conditions that were more favourable to the start-up of a new trade. The circumstances of the soap industry and its diffusion in North-Central Italy allow us to take the circulation of technical and scientific knowledge into account in the pre-industrial age, as well as the institutional roles associated with it. There was a close correlation between work organization, rules, commercial structure and production techniques. The diverse aspects conditioned each other and the introduction of new production or manufacturing techniques always imposed some organizational modifications. From this point of view, the artisans themselves, the people that went to work in their workshops, probably played a decisive role. The image of integrity that they offered of themselves and of their work demonstrates the need for effective guild regulations, which on the one hand guaranteed the handover of the technical and practical knowledge necessary for the continuation of the business, and on the other hand banned inefficient or defective techniques. However, the events that will be described in the following pages demonstrate how these structured guild regulations only appeared to be rigid on the surface, whereas in reality, the circulation of ideas and the transformation of production techniques (even radical ones) were vital elements in the context as a whole. It is for this reason that conservation and innovation coexisted without clashing. The guild archives are full of proposals for new methods and experiments, and also of applications of techniques that were already present in other sectors. The artisans’ individual efforts to experiment, which were not often successful, were frequently in response to crisis situations within the economy or were attempts to imitate imported products that were present and successful on the local market.7 The case of Venetian soaps and their diffusion in North-Central Italy clearly demonstrates this. The technical evolution cannot be seen as a continuous line, but as one of many organizational and institutional factors that need to be considered – without forgetting the imitations and fraudulent 6 Attilio Portioli, Le corporazioni artiere e l’archivio della Camera di Commercio di Mantova (Mantua, 1884). 7 Richard T. Rapp, Industria e decadenza economica a Venezia nel XVII secolo (Roma, 1986), pp. 53–65.

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activities that took place. From this point of view, soap production and its diffusion in North-Central Italy take on an exemplary value. In other words, the core of this discussion is as follows: in a given city or place, it is clear that the institutional context shaped this process, but it is also clear that the infrastructure and the geographical position of every individual city influenced its individual innovative processes. In this regard, our focus will be almost exclusively on the role of guilds, statutes and the regulations made by city authorities. However, the multitude of social-economic factors determined and conditioned how the innovation process worked in every individual urban context. It is important to consider the role of the guilds, which were seen as bearers of common interests, but also as institutional elements for the regulation of the economy. In this context, it is obvious that the introduction of new products and new manufacturing techniques was forced and subjected to new regulations. At the same time, these regulations provided artisans and traders with a defined reference point. Without this guild structure, which gave each individual artisan security, the introduction of new trades would have automatically been rejected from the urban economic system. This was not only the case for bigger cities such as Venice, Milan and Bologna, but also for smaller and less economically developed cities, such as Mantua. The Venetian Primacy Up until the brink of the Industrial Revolution, soap production was largely based on trial and error and was predicated on the availability of specific raw materials. Soda and potassium were obtained from certain plants; fat was taken from vegetable sources (olive oil) in the Mediterranean, while in Northern Italy and the rest of Continental Europe it often had animal origins.8 Although it would be incorrect to assert that the technique did not evolve between the medieval and modern ages, it is undoubtedly true that traditional elements, and in some cases also ritual ones, were predominant for a long period of time. As is the case with other transformation processes, such as hide tanning, inherited aspects of the production process tended to ‘crystallize’ techniques and work times.9 The Venetians were long recognized as having primacy in the soap production process and their products prevailed over other soaps in Northern Italy. Francis W. Gibbs, ‘The history of the manufacturing of soap’, Annals of Science, 4:2 (1939–40): pp. 169–90, 172–3. 9 Elisabetta Merlo, ‘Le tecniche conciarie: due esempi di innovazione senza sviluppo’, in Innovazione e sviluppo: tecnologia ed organizzazione fra teoria economica e ricerca storica (XVI–XIX sec.) (Bologna, 1996), p. 4. 8

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As noted above, soap was largely used for degreasing threads, in particular wool and silk. Its use for personal hygiene was very limited until the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was therefore quite logical for soap production to be traditionally concentrated in cities where textile factories were particularly developed. The principal centres of this industry were not only characterized by the presence of significant textile businesses, however, but they were also the biggest commercial maritime centres, such as Alicante, Marseille, Naples, Genoa and Venice, as well as other smaller centres such as Gaeta, Gallipoli and Savona. During the Early Modern period, other port cities in England and in Holland were added to this list.10 The fact that this business was concentrated in nautical areas and notable ports should not be underestimated, even after taking into consideration the following discussion. The production of soap was in fact an activity where the process transformed and inched forward with time. Its development certainly depended on internal aspects of the field, but it also depended on port traffic routes and the availability of raw materials that came from all over the Mediterranean. Nor was this sufficient to create the conditions for the consistent development of this industry. Fiscal tax breaks also, for instance, played a significant role. In Venice, all of these conditions were present starting from the second half of the thirteenth century, including the large availability of raw materials. In fact, glass painting already called for large quantities of soda, in addition to the heavy traffic of olive oil that was exported to Northern Italy and Germany, which was largely used for food consumption and lighting. It was therefore necessary to add the growing need for soap as woollen mills and silk factories created consistent demand for the product.11 This last aspect created strong ties between soap production and the textile industry, and was probably the decisive element. As mentioned above, it is important to recall that only a minimum of soap products were used for personal hygiene, with the largest portion being used to degrease wool and silk. Such operations could not be carried out using substances with strong alkaline reactions, such as limewater or lye, as they damaged the textile fibres. For wool, clay was usually used, but the diffusion of soap made the degreasing process more effective. The superiority of soap is evidenced by many corporate statutes that called for the use of savon negro.12 If the skeins and the fabrics were to be dyed, the use of high-quality soap became essential for homogenous colouring and resistance.13 Gibbs, ‘History’, pp. 178–80. Bassani, ‘Il controllo’, pp. 80–81. 12 Maria Borgherini, ‘L’arte della lana in Padova durante il governo della Repubblica di Venezia’, Deputazione di storia Patria per le Venezie, Vol. X (1964): p. 147. 13 Bassani, ‘Il controllo’, p. 81. 10 11

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Two types of soap existed: white and black. The first was more refined and destined for more delicate jobs, in particular the degreasing of silk. For this product, Venetian primacy seems to have been well established. Yet again, the availability of the best raw materials for the lowest prices guaranteed the Venetian producers a competitive advantage that was difficult to challenge, at least until the fifteenth century. Technical competition, commercial knowledge, the importance of the internal market and the abundance of raw materials had favoured the consolidation of Venetian primacy since the beginning of the fourteenth century. The economic importance of this business was such that the Venetian authority began to regulate the production of soap, starting from the middle of the century. On the one hand, there was the need to regulate the trade in olive oil, and on the other hand, the need to regulate against possible fraud or the use of raw materials that were not up to par, and this required continued surveillance. With an eye to control mechanisms and the collection of taxes, it was necessary to concentrate soap production on the islands of the Rialto and of San Marco.14 Soap guild leaders carried out their checks on the quality of soap by periodically testing finished products, while duty tax authorities handled the checks on raw materials. This process was structured so that the entire production cycle was subject to continual quality assurance inspections. Along with the political dominance of Venice, these quality control measures, as well as favourable economic conditions, enabled Venetian soap to maintain an undisputed qualitative supremacy in Italy and in a large part of Central Europe from the fourteenth through to the seventeenth centuries. However, from the beginning of the fifteenth century, virtually all textile centres on the Peninsula were producing soap locally and started to put Venetian primacy at risk. Ironically, Venetian primacy also functioned as a sort of organizational model for other Italian manufacturing centres. In fact, soap production in the Venetian Lagoon was limited to members of the Arte dei Saponari as early as the beginning of the fourteenth century.15 This guild had the trade monopoly on vegetable and animal fats. Even if the larger portion of fats were used for other professional purposes – from candle production to leather finishing and various food uses – the soap workers controlled the market due to this monopoly. This demonstrates the extent to which the production of soap was considered strategic in the Venetian manufacturing system, and how this caused its close ties with the silk and wool industries.

14 Bassani, ‘Il controllo’, p. 81; Giovanni Damiani, La sagra degli antichi saponi (Pescara, 2010), p. 47. 15 Franco Brunello, Arti e mestieri a Venezia nel Medioevo e nel Rinascimento (Vicenza, 1980), pp. 113–15.

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Over the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, other professions became organized in independent guilds: candle-making, leather tanning, lard and oil guilds and so forth.16 In addition, we should not forget the important role played by glassworking factories. These shared the use of sodium carbonate as an important raw material with the soap-makers, and, as a result, increased the demand for and therefore the supply of sodium carbonate. In fact, the contemporary presence of the glass industry and relevant soap production can be distinguished not only in Venice, but also in important cities like Marseille and Naples, all the way to other, lesser ports such as Savona and Gaeta.17 It is not easy to quantify the production of Venetian soap in the stretch of time that we are considering. It is certain that the highest levels were reached towards the end of the fifteenth century, when Venetian soap-makers practically supplied the entire region of Northern Italy, with the exception of Liguria, which could already count on production from Savona and nearby Marseille.18 Just like in other (limited) areas on the Peninsula, the places cited above created small local markets: this was the case with Gallipoli in Puglia and Gaeta in the region between Naples and Rome. Still, many elements suggest that the demand for soap saw a true European boom in the second half of the fifteenth century. Venetian producers took advantage of this growth – at least initially. Subsequently, as we will see in the following, other manufacturing centres progressively supplied themselves with local soap and continuously improved their imitation of the products from the Venetian Lagoon.19 Diffusion, Fraud and Regulations in Other Cities The high demand for soap, in combination with the high costs that derived from the Venetian monopoly, drove a production process that was diffused throughout the principal Italian manufacturing centres that were already in existence in the fifteenth century. After all, from a technological point of view, soap production was relatively simple – just as it was quite simple to introduce fraudulent methods that were able to sensibly reduce production costs. The problem of fraud was also well known to the Venetian business, where the guilds were obviously responsible for checking and punishing the people who broke the rules. Outside of the Venetian Republic, however, the producers of soap (who were often from the Veneto themselves) could enjoy greater freedom and could Brunello, Arti e mestieri, pp. 119–20. Ettore Marazza, L’industria saponiera (Milan, 1896), pp. 80–81. 18 Damiani, La sagra degli antichi saponi, p. 48. 19 Angelo De Santis, ‘Una fabbrica di sapone a Sperlonga nel secolo XV’, Chimica, 6 (1951): pp. 8–9. 16 17

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take advantage of the technical incompetence of public officials responsible for making the checks. The diffusion of this business in North-Central Italy outside of the Repubblica Serenissima was subject to rules derived from the difficulty of procuring olive oil or other raw materials used in Venice, as well as from the fact that it was an original product considered by everyone as a model to strive for, even if that model presented frequent defects and imperfections. What usually happened in most places was that the quality checks on soap products were assigned to the guilds associated with wool workers, silk weavers, dyers and so forth, which obviously knew how to distinguish between good soap and bad based on the effectiveness of the degreasing process.20 The fact that these checks were carried out by other guilds seems to have almost instantly generated conflicts between soap producers and textile guilds. In Bologna, for example, the silk weavers’ accusations that the salaroli21 used fraudulent soap production methods were practically the order of the day.22 In a certain sense, these conflicts were structural in nature. Often the soaps that were produced outside of the Venetian Republic were not made using olive oil, but other base fats, such as linseed oil, grape seed oil and, above all, animal fats. This element alone made the ‘Venetian’ soaps very different from the soaps that were truly produced in Venice.23 The processing of fats was also considered an unhealthy job and was therefore moved to the outskirts of cities and towns when possible; places that were economically and officially defined so as to impose a new monopoly. This happened, for example, in Bologna in the first half of the fifteenth century.24 In practice, Bologna textile producers paid only a slightly lower price for soap that was different from Venetian soap, even if its quality was not necessarily inferior. As mentioned above, fraudulent methods were also used in Venice. Since the soap was sold by weight, a widespread form of fraud was to include dirt or some other substance so as to increase the weight of the final product. The Venetian authorities were naturally worried about the loss of prestige that might occur due to the underhand behaviour of some producers and how this loss of prestige might affect the reputation of all Venetian soaps: 20 Ovidio Montalbani, L’Honore de i collegi delle Arti della città di Bologna (Bologna, 1670), pp. 72–3. 21 Workers who worked with pork meat and fat and also produced soap. 22 Alberto Grandi, ‘Corporazioni e servizi alle attività produttive. La lavorazione del grasso e delle pelli a Bologna in età moderna’, in Iginia Lopane and Ezio Ritrovato, eds, Tra vecchi e nuovi equilibri. Domanda e offerta di servizi in Italia in età moderna e contemporanea (Bari, 2007), pp. 508–9. 23 Montalbani, L’Honore dei collegi, pp. 75–6. 24 Grandi, ‘Corporazioni’, pp. 508–10. In reference to this, see: Carlo M. Cipolla, Miasmi e umori (Bologna, 2004).

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In addition, there are some fraudulent soaps that have also recently been made during the soap production process in this city and as a result, other materials have been introduced to increase the weight. These counterfeit soaps were then exported to Germany, Lombardia and other places where the reputation of Venetian soaps was then recognized as being unjust and fraudulent.25

Another system used in order to increase the weight of soap was to increase the amount of water. According to regulations, cooked soap contained about onethird of its weight in water, and the evaporation loss was approximately 3–4 per cent, even quite a time after the cooking process was complete. However, if water was added at the end of the cooking process, specifically during the cooling process, the mass thickened in exactly the same way and was not very different from the consistency of regular soap. The fraud could only be detected after some time (8–10 days), due to the soap’s physical aspect as well as the decrease in weight: When the Maker wants to create additional profits in his Factory […] he creates a product with an abundance of sweet water, or even light water called ‘driane’ by the makers, which is incorporated with the soap, thus giving it a heavier weight than it should have, harming consumers and creating profits for sellers.26

This testimony demonstrates how, at one time, the methods for increasing the weight of soap were noted and practised in Venice and elsewhere, as well as the many checks and balances in place to expose these fraudulent practices. Speaking about the art of soap-makers, the well-informed Tommaso Garzoni in his noted Piazza Universale describes the most common fraudulent methods and simple ways to unveil them. Even Garzoni is of the opinion that the most practised trick used by soap producers is to add dirt and clay to the mixture during the cooking process: In the same way, there are also a lot of tricks and fraud in this art, counterfeiting white and black soaps in many ways: with clay, clay artwork from Vicenza, alum, starch and other clever ingredients, which were easily discovered when the soap ‘Appresso si gravamo ancora che alcune falsità che si fano in questa Città in fabricar ditti savoni et sono introdote da poco tempo in qua cioè con meterli terra dentro et altre cose che pesano la qual falsità è causa che portati in Alemagna e Lombardia et altri lochi perde la reputazione delli savoni fatti in questa Città con modi ingiusti e inconvenienti’, Archivio di Stato di Venezia (ASV), Senato Terra, f. 29 giugno 1569. 26 ‘Quando il Fabricatore voglia cercar maggior profitto nella sua Fabrica […] lo lascia più abbondante di aque dolci nel fine, o pure d’aque leggere chiamate dà fabbricatori driane, le quali restano incorporate col sapone, e gli dà peso più del dovere, con danno de compratori, ed utile proprio’. ASV, Consoli dei mercanti, b. 60, 23 marzo 1746. 25

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was put into water but did not resist like the original, in fact it entirely came apart, even though it degreased and cleaned like the other soap.27

Garzoni’s last phrase, however, tells us that the addition of inactive materials did not decrease the quality of soap and that it could maintain its properties; the situation was one of commercial fraud, not reduced quality. As for the rest, it is useful to recall that before the circulation of soap, the degreasing of wool was done with clay, which is still used today in certain soaps for its degreasing properties. Even the use of fats other than olive oil did not automatically reduce the quality of the soap: a soap made from animal fats did not necessarily have lesser cleansing capabilities. The frequent arguments between ‘salaroli’ and textile artisans in Bologna could have therefore been part of a practice like that within the guild system, where conflict was often part of the negotiation system in order to have more flexibility within the trade.28 This not particularly favourable context and the importance of soap for the clothing industry ultimately slowed down the diffusion of the industry. In Milan, for example, the public authorities searched for ways to hold back the beginnings of a local soap industry due to fears that this could in some way lower the quality of clothing from Milan.29 However, even in Milan around the middle of the fifteenth century, local manufacturing groups started to ask the government for authorizations and patent rights to produce soap alla veneziana. These first artisans were often Venetians themselves, who had left the Laguna to set up new businesses in textile centres that might be more receptive.30 In fact, more or less during the same period in Bologna, soap production started with the use of animal fats.31 In a smaller textile centre such Mantua, two soap-makers from Vicenza submitted a patent request in 1502.32 The same thing happened in 1490 in Sperlonga, beginning with some artisans from the Veneto.33 Initiatives such as those in Mantua and Sperlonga may have had an extemporaneous character, but they were regarded with a mixture of suspicion ‘Nondimeno anche in quest’arte si fa di grandi inganni et frodi, falsificando i saponi bianchi et neri in più maniere, con terra da boccali, con quella Vicentina da maioliche, con allume catino, con farina d’amito, et con altre furberie, le quali si scoprono agevolmente, quando il sapone si mette in acqua, imperocché non resiste come il primo, anzi si disfa tutto, benché faccia l’effetto di purgare et mundare, come fa ancora l’altro’. Tommaso Garzoni, La piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondo (Venice, 1595), p. 356. 28 Elisabetta Merlo, ‘La lavorazione delle pelli a Milano tra sei e settecento. Conflitti, strategie e dinamiche’, Quaderni storici, 80 (1992): pp. 369–70. 29 Marazza, L’industria saponiera, p. 108. 30 Bassani, ‘Il controllo’, p. 79. 31 Montalbani, L’Honore dei collegi, p. 86. 32 Archivio di Stato di Mantova (ASMn), Camera di commercio, b. 12, f. 55. 33 De Santis, ‘Una fabbrica di sapone’, pp. 3–4. 27

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and hope both by the public authorities and by the textile guilds that would have used soap from local producers. The fear was obviously that these soaps would not guarantee the same cleansing effectiveness as those from Venice, while the hope was that this new business would make the local textile products more competitive. It was this revenue that the public hoped to obtain from the patent rights. In Bologna, where the silk industry was by far the most important in the city, the debate between local soap supporters and supporters of superior Venetian soap dragged on interminably: a curious debate that was at root between politics and chemistry. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the Arte dei Tintori requested an intervention on behalf of the city government, so as to remove the ‘unjust and baneful ban on white Venetian soap’.34 As stated, the request only pertained to the ban on white soaps, the ones destined for the most delicate jobs. The black soap was used for ‘the vilest and crudest cleaning’;35 evidently, the ban did not create problems for dyers and textile workers. The confrontation between soap producers from Bologna and the textile guilds was not only based on technical characteristics; it is important to state that there was a presumption that the quality of the white soap from Bologna was lower than that from Venice. However, the parties to the debate, which included professional figures, also had other motives: ‘Soap production in the “Casella” or in private businesses made not only “Salaroli” and “Lardaroli” earn more, but also made butchers earn more as well, which without the sale of these fats, would have had an economic loss’.36 The local production of soap therefore allowed for the absorption of fat production from Bologna butchers. The sale of fat was undoubtedly far from being an irrelevant revenue for Bologna butchers; it represented about 9–10 per cent of overall profits and was therefore practical in a market that not only sold meat, but also skin, insides, bones and horns.37 Local soap production was also stimulated by supporting other productive weaving factories and creating bigger price negotiation margins for meat and skins, products that were essential within the city economy. The city authorities were therefore interested in supporting the production of local soap, personally vouching for the quality of the product. The local government was well aware of the importance of the silk industry to the Bologna economy and there was a need to avoid the use of inadequate soap, which would Archivio di Stato di Bologna (ASBO), Assunteria d’arti, Miscellanea, vol. VIII, fasc.

34

67.

Montalbani, L’Honore dei collegi, p. 73. ‘il cuocer saponi alla Casella o dai particolari procura guadagno non solo a Salaroli et lardaroli, ma etiam a beccari li quali tutti se restar invenduto avessero il loro sego ne ricaverebbero gran danno’. ASBO, Assunteria d’Arti, Vol. VIII, fasc. 75. 37 Grandi, ‘Corporazioni’, p. 505. 35 36

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subsequently lower the quality of Bologna silks. For these reasons and in response to complaints from silk weavers and dyers, public institutions responded readily and increased the inspections of local soaps.38 The system entrusted to the guilds for these inspections created the conditions for excessive pressure on soap prices. As stated before, when the price of Bologna soap was too low, this also created problems for the meat and skin markets. The Bologna soap price had to be slightly lower than the Venetian price, but not so low as to make its production unprofitable. Therefore, over the course of the seventeenth century, the soap checks and controls (including imported soaps) were completed according to fiscal and public health rules. Local soap quality was also an industrial and political problem in Milan, but only during the eighteenth century. In Milan, like in Bologna, the processing of local fats was workable within a larger weaving factory production system. In other words, it was necessary for soap workers to know how to make soap in order to guarantee minimum quality standards. In Milan, this know-how seemed to be less evident than in Bologna; we cannot exclude the possibility that the organization of fat-processing (in Bologna it was centralized in one place and under the control of one individual guild) was an important element in determining the precocious rise of soap factories in the middle of the Emilia area. However, Milan was on par with Bologna and was also a first-rate clothing centre. As a consequence, the demand for soap justified entrepreneurial investment and was induced with citizens’ authority to bring forward strong incentives and control over the production of soap. Rather, in Milan, the force of the clothing guilds was enough to push local judges into discouraging the local production of soap and to discount the relative commercial deficit, simply in order to have a trustworthy product. In the second half of the seventeenth century, a prohibition on the production of soap caused an uprising: It was understood that the biggest damage was caused by these soap producers that take good soap from Venice or from Genua and break it apart or melt it to then add other bad ingredients, in particular one called ‘Giarra’, which costs very little.39

In view of the situation, it is not rash to suppose that these procedures were quite common and not an occasional occurrence, and might have been tied to the greediness of a single producer or to the inefficiency of checks and balances. Montalbani, L’Honore dei collegi, 74. ‘Il maggior male s’è riconosciuto procedere da questi tali fabbricatori, o compositori di Sapone pigliano del Sapone buono venuto da Venetia, o da Genova, e lo spezzano e lo squagliano mettendolo nelle caldare poi aggiongendovi delli altri ingredienti cattivi, in particolare robba chiamata Giarra, la quale costa poco …’ Grida sulla fabbricazione del sapone 13 Dicembre 1678; in Marazza, L’industria saponiera, p. 108. 38 39

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The uprising, in fact, resulted in the prohibition of working with raw materials from Venice, because the soap-makers imported soap and then added fraudulent material: Since the soap that is made in this way is less efficient and where one hundred pounds of good soap is needed, one hundred thirty-three or thirty-four pounds – possibly more – is needed, judges have prohibited anyone from breaking apart and re-working foreign soaps with the penalty of confiscation and destruction.40

The prohibition only pertained to soap produced in Milan, taken and forced from Venetian soap. In theory, it was still possible to produce soap in Milan, starting from raw materials and respecting precise quality standards that were, by definition, based on Venetian soap. However, as mentioned above, the provision of raw materials was precisely one of the competitive elements of Venetian production. Therefore, it cannot be excluded that one of the diffusion methods in the soap industry (outside of the Venetian Lagoon) was initially the transformation and manipulation of Venetian soaps. This was a practice that was anything but infrequent.41 In Milan, unlike what was happening in Bologna, the production of soap seems not to have overcome this empirical phase from a technical point of view, even if Milanese soap production was important in regard to quantity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.42 However, the Salsamentari Milan guild, which corresponded to the Bologna Salaroli one, never had a monopoly over the manufacturing of fats. The Oliari and the Postari da Grasso, namely the lard and pork fat dealers,43 were always separated from this art form and had market prices that were difficult to determine. On the other hand, the soap business was an activity that was always checked and controlled by the Salsamentari.44 The fragmentation of the raw material market was probably a major weakness for the producers of Milanese soap. In Mantua, where internal demand never justified great investment, local soap production was always sporadic and largely started up by entrepreneurs, who gave the impression of not being true experts in the sector, almost improvisers, and more interested in the possible incentives and fiscal exemptions. However, it was actually this situation in Mantua that made it different from the other ‘Resta il sapone inefficace, et dove bastano cento libre di sapone buono, ve ne vogliono cento trenta tre, e trentaquattro, e forse più di quello così composto, proibiscono detti Signori, a chi si voglia, il spezzare, o squarciare il prodotto estero sotto pena di confisca e distruzione’. Marazza, L’industria saponiera, p. 108. 41 Joel Mokyr, La leva della ricchezza (Bologna, 1995), pp. 20–23. 42 Bassani, ‘Il controllo’, p. 85. 43 Lavinia Parziale, Nutrire la città (Milano, 2009), pp. 52–4. 44 Parziale, Nutrire la città, p. 54. 40

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production techniques. Here, the force of the clothing guilds (which were not irrelevant, especially in the wool sector) was not sufficient to condition the choices of other weaving factories. This was also the case with the number of artisans that worked with fats to produce candles or the ones putting the finishing touches to leather (corami). As this was an extremely limited part of the sector, the availability of raw materials was not sufficient to justify the presence of important rules. In this context, the public policy was simply to stimulate new business, even for trivial fiscal aims. The first relevant news of soap production in Mantua came in 1502, relatively late compared to Bologna, Milan and other smaller cities.45 We cannot exclude the possibility that a few attempts were made to introduce this business within the Gonzaga territory, the Ducato dei Gonzaga, but the fact that we encounter no references to it indicates its scant relevance. In all likelihood, the proximity to Venice and the easy access to water made the procurement of soap directly from the Venetian Lagoon more convenient than in other places, making it inconvenient to start this industry in Mantua. The two Vicenza artisans who asked for soap production patent rights in 1502 in Mantua were ensured the ability to supply the city with a product identical to the Venetian one, but requested a ban on ‘all the soap from Venice and all the other parties that customary sell in Mantua’ (‘tutti li savoni di Venetia e delle altre parti che si è soliti smerciare in Mantova’).46 The Magistrato Camerale granted the patent rights to the two artisans and ordered the ban on the importation of soap in June 1502.47 There was no opposition from the clothing guilds, even if there was a concrete risk of price increases due to the monopoly, as well as the possibility that the quality of the soap produced in Mantua would inferior to that produced in Venice. However, the primary guild in the city, the Università dei Mercanti, sent a memorandum to the Magistrato Camerale in the following year, asking that the ban on Venetian soaps be removed: ‘Black and white soaps that are produced in Mantua are too sweet and are inefficient; they have too much clay, do not degrease and come apart in very little time’.48 Probably, as we have already seen in Milan, soap producers in Mantua purchased the product in Venice and then added clay and other ingredients at a lower cost, so as to increase the weight and therefore the profits, taking advantage of the existing monopoly. As already stated, the initiative of these soap-makers seemed to have been of a sporadic nature. The sources do not tell us what happened to the Università De Santis, ‘Una fabbrica di sapone’, p. 4. ASMn, Camera di commercio, b. 12, f. 55. 47 ASMn, Gidario Bastia, b. 17, f. 98, Bando sopra li saponi. 48 ‘li savoni tanto negri che bianchi, che si fabbricano in Mantova son troppo dolci e risultano inefficaci, con troppa terra, non spurgano e si sfanno in acqua dopo poco’. ASMn, Camera di commercio, b. 3, f. 67. 45 46

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dei Mercanti petition, and there was never a request to build an independent guild. It was only more than a century later, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, that soap workers returned to Mantua. They were, however, unified with perfume and aroma artisans and were part of men’s clothing guilds, and therefore more a professional group of dealers than producers.49 The eighteenth century toponymy indicates a Via Sapone near one of the city’s ports of entry, which supports the idea that this business was present, but it is impossible to know more about the entity and any connections it might have had with the first initiative of 1502. Conclusion The diffusion of soap production outside the Venetian Republic depended on many factors, with those closely relating to technical knowledge not being the most important. Local demand, tied above all to the development of the textile sector, and the overall institutional structure without a doubt played more important roles. As mentioned in the introduction, the guilds played an instrumental role in economic regulation. In the case of the soap industry in modern times and in different urban settings, the city itself presented a socialeconomic environment that created favourable (or unfavourable) conditions for innovation. It also is possible to affirm that the significant regulatory structure supplied by guilds was a factor that favoured innovation, whereas the absence of structure and regulation favoured fraud. The compatibility of this industry with the guild and craftsmanship context is also an element that needs to be kept in mind. In Bologna, the processing of fat was entirely concentrated in one place and subject to inspections from one individual guild. Without a doubt, this favoured the establishment of the best production techniques, which was also tied to tighter reciprocal checks and balances. From Bologna to Milan, but also in every other North-Central Italian city of a certain size, the rapid way in which this business assumed economic importance made it almost immediately subject to close attention from the public authorities, as was the case during the thirteenth century in Venice. Looking closely, this attention did not decrease (and if so, only slightly). In fact, the public or fabric guild inspections had the aim of comparing local soaps with Venetian soap, and it was therefore completely logical that all soaps produced in Italy tended to be similar to each other, excluding those produced in cities that

49 Alberto Grandi, ‘Un’arte all’interno di un’altra. Cappellai e merciai a Mantova tra cinquecento e seicento’, in Studi storici L. Simeoni, 49 (1999): p. 58.

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had an established soap reputation and steady traditions, such as Naples, Genoa, Savona and so forth. When the scarcity of internal demand or the difficulty of procuring raw materials made the diffusion of internal production very difficult and inconvenient, the preferred option was to resort to importing soaps from Venice. The attempts to introduce this business, as seen in the case of Mantua, were short-lived and ultimately limited the manipulation of Venetian products. However, it was actually this limited supply of production techniques that subsequently allowed for a solid internal production market.

Chapter 7

Textiles Manufacturing, Product Innovations and Transfers of Technology in Padua and Venice between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Centuries Andrea Caracausi

In recent decades, research has analysed in depth the ways in which technological innovations were created, transferred and disseminated in medieval and Early Modern Europe. Given the absence of a modern schooling system as well as the narrow diffusion of technical books and encyclopaedias, apprenticeships, artisanal migrations and product dissemination played a major role.1 With regard to innovations, social and economic historians have normally investigated three different aspects: namely, the role of institutions and institutional levels, power relationships and product types. Institutions, and especially craft guilds, have largely dominated the historical debate, in the form of two opposite perspectives. Some years ago, Stephan R. Epstein argued that craft guilds ensured the positive transmission of innovation, especially by creating high-skilled labour markets. According to Epstein, guilds provided both teachers and pupils with adequate incentives to train, because they enforced contractual norms that reduced opportunism between masters and apprentices.2 Furthermore, they ensured Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Property Rights to Technical Knowledge in Premodern Europe, 1300–1800’, American Economic Review, 94/2 (2004); Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Transferring Technical Knowledge and Innovating in Europe’, Working Paper on the Nature of Evidence: How Well Do ‘Facts’ Travel?, 1 (2005); Bert De Munck, Steven L. Kaplan and Hugo Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor: Historical Perspective on Apprenticeship (New York and Oxford, 2007); Patrick Wallis, ‘Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England’, Journal of Economic History, 68 (2008); Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, ‘Introduction: Guilds, Innovation, and the European Economy, 1400–1800’, in Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008), pp. 7–11. 2 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft, Guilds, Apprenticeship and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, Journal of Economic History, 58 (1998); Epstein and Prak, ‘Introduction’, pp. 7–11; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds in the Premodern Economy: A Comment’, Economic History Review, 61 (2008), pp. 155–74. 1

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the recognition of highly skilled workers across geographical areas thanks to apprenticeship certificates and formal associations for labour migration.3 However, Epstein and other scholars tended to focus on one single activity (for instance, the formation of labour, or technological transfers) and considered guilds to be ‘institutions’ which mainly affected the efficiency (or the ‘social equity’) of the economic system.4 By contrast, in several books and articles, Sheilagh Ogilvie vigorously contested the guilds’ ‘rehabilitation’ by advancing new perspectives on the study of institutions from a historical perspective. For Ogilvie, institutions existed in order to distribute resources: the conflicts which arose among groups and individuals when distributing resources can better explain both why these institutions existed and their resultant effects on the economic and social system. In this vein, historical research needs to address three aspects: the multiplicity of the institutions’ activities; the exclusion of people from economic activities and their segregation within the informal sector; and, finally, the wider institutional framework in which one single institution operated.5 The focus on institutional levels and distributive conflicts invites us to consider in depth the power relationships both inside and outside institutions. Indeed, guilds were not ‘monolithic’ entities, but differed in their form and composition. On the one hand, guilds composed only of small masters and working in niche markets had very different purposes from those guilds composed of merchant-manufacturers, which produced goods for foreign markets. On the other hand, when small-, medium- and large-scale producers coexisted in the same guild, market forces could cause conflicts over resources and could thereby influence the guild’s economic policy. Furthermore, guilds did not operate in isolation, but were embedded in a wider institutional framework that included brotherhoods, urban authorities, state magistracies and so forth. For instance, Epstein, ‘Craft’; Epstein and Prak, ‘Introduction’, pp. 7–11; Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds’; Josef Ehmer, ‘Worlds of mobility: migration patterns of Viennese artisans in the eighteenth century’, in Geoffrey Crossick, ed., The Artisan and the European Town, 1500–1900 (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 172–99; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Labour Mobility, Journeyman Organizations and Markets in Skilled Labour in Europe, 14th–18th centuries’, in Matthieu Arnoux and Pierre Monnet, eds, Le technicien dans la cité en Europe occidentale 1250–1650 (Rome, 2004), pp. 251–69; Reinhold Reith, ‘Circulation of Skilled Labour in Late Medieval and Early Modern Central Europe’, in Stephan R., Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation, pp. 114–42. 4 Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds’, pp. 155–6. 5 Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Guilds, efficiency, and social capital: evidence from German proto-industry’, Economic History Review, 57 (2004): pp. 286–333.; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Rehabilitating the Guilds: a Reply’, Economic History Review, 61/1 (2008): pp. 175–82; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘“Whatever Is, Is Right”? Economic Institutions in Pre-industrial Europe’, The Economic History Review, 60 (2007): pp. 649–84. 3

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during the fifteenth and the seventeenth centuries, guilds and states tended to cooperate in order to facilitate the diffusion of new products and techniques; in substituting foreign imports; and supporting local manufactures.6 Patents and privileges were useful tools for attracting skilled workers and creating a market for invention, whilst during the eighteenth century they started to be used in a more mercantilist way.7 In a recent essay on Europe’s adoption of engine looms for manufacturing silk ribbon, Ulrich Pfister argued that the internal guild stratification and the territorial context of policy formation influenced the introduction of innovation.8 Whenever craft guilds represented the interests of small independent producers, labour-saving and capital-intensive innovations were blocked. By contrast, largescale producers in big manufacturing centres were often interested in increasing profitability and hence supported the introduction of new machines which did not threaten their positions. Moreover, in guilds that included both small-scale masters and large manufacturers, the introduction of such innovations caused friction amongst members, provoking some of them to reject some innovations.9 Considering the power relationships outside guilds, Pfister argued that the guilds’ significance in political decision-making, at a territorial level, influenced the success or failure of the opposition to innovation. In independent citystates, where guilds occupied an important segment of urban power, they were more able to block innovations and to ban new machines or products. In larger territorial states, by contrast, they were less able to influence market structures and to limit the adoption of innovations. 6 Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge: Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age’, Technology and Culture, 45 (2004): pp. 569–89. 7 Christine MacLeod, Inventing the Industrial Revolution: The English Patent System, 1660–1800 (Cambridge, 1988); Liliane Hilaire-Pérez, L’invention technique au siècle des Lumières (Paris, 2000); Luisa Dolza and Liliane Hilaire-Perez, ‘Inventions and Privileges in the Eighteenth Century: Norms and Practices. A Comparison between France and Piedmont’, History of Technology, 24 (2002): pp. 21–44.; Epstein, ‘Property Rights’, pp. 383–4; Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Between Mercantilism and Market: Privileges for Invention in Early Modern Europe’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 2 (2006): pp. 319–38; Luca Molà, ‘Il mercato delle innovazioni nell’Italia del Rinascimento’, in Matthieu Arnoux and Pierre Monnet, eds, Le technicien dans la cité en Europe occidentale 1250–1650 (Rome, 2004): pp. 215–50. On Venice see: Giulio Mandich, ‘Le privative industriali veneziane (1450– 1550)’, Rivista di diritto commerciale, 1 (1936): pp. 511–47; Roberto Berveglieri and Carlo Poni, ‘Three Centuries of Venetian Patents 1474–1796’, Acta historiae rerum naturalium nec non technicarum, 17 (1982): pp. 381–93. 8 Ulrich Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds and Technological Change: The Engine Loom in the European Silk Ribbon Industry in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation, pp. 172–98, at p. 179. 9 Ibid., p. 196.

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In Pfister’s analysis, product types also influenced the adoption of new techniques and the manufacturers’ strategies. While technological innovations were typically rejected for the production of high-quality items, they were widespread in the manufacturing of low-quality product goods. In order to protect their positions, manufacturers applied a strategy of product differentiation through introducing new and fashionable items. Normally, this strategy stimulated separation within guilds and the emergence of new ones. On the other hand, in the low-quality segment of production, innovations were largely accepted. For instance, the silk ribbon engine loom was used mainly in order to produce low-quality ‘fleurets’ (made by yarn spun of waste silk), while until the early nineteenth century, high-quality fashioned ribbons had to be woven using a single loom. Finally, craft producers could push towards a more general reconfiguration of the labour market by reducing the employment of high-skilled journeymen and using cheaper apprentices and family members.10 This chapter aims to understand the role of cities in applying technological innovations by focusing on the role of institutions and institutional levels, power relationships and product types. Which institutions favoured the adoption and implementation of technological innovations? How did power relationships enhance or hamper technological change? How did market conditions and product types affect the introduction of new machines or fabrics? In order to answer these questions, I analysed a specific case study: the textile manufactures of Early Modern Padua, taking into account the relationship with nearby Venice, the State’s capital city.11 During the Early Modern period, the city of Padua and its countryside specialized in manufacturing high-quality and export-orientated textiles. However, with few exceptions, there was an absence of ‘pure’ craft guilds (that is, guilds composed only of artisans) and formal, guild-based apprenticeships. Many craftsmen (weavers, dyers and so forth) were not obliged to spend a fixed period of time with a master in order to learn the job. As we will see, the apprenticeship was established only for the merchant-manufacturers and at a certain point in time. Moreover, craft guilds emerged only later and in some particular crafts, such as establishing apprenticeship’s terms. With respect to Epstein’s theory, it would be interesting to see whether guilds appeared in order to ensure the transmission of knowledge. With an eye to Ogilvie’s arguments, we Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds’, p. 196. I analysed the transfer of technologies and machines regarding innovation processes in the cases of woollen knitting and the silk ribbon loom. Another interesting case was the privilege granted to Francesco dall’Arme, a merchant entrepreneur from Modena, for ‘soap’ and ‘ogliazzi’ recycled by the Padua’s purgo (the building for washing and scouring cloth). See Maria Borgherini, L’Arte della Lana in Padova durante il governo della Repubblica di Venezia, 1405–1797 (Venice, 1964); Molà, ‘Il mercante’, pp. 640–41; Andrea Caracausi, Dentro la bottega. Culture del lavoro in una città d’età moderna (Venice, 2008), pp. 201–2. 10 11

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discuss whether or not other institutions were able to transmit knowledge and whether guilds emerged in order to redistribute resources, defend prerogatives and create a monopoly in the labour market. Padua is also an interesting case study for understanding the role of power relationships in stimulating the diffusion of innovations, as argued by Pfister. This medium-sized city was not only part of a large territorial State, but also very close to the capital city, whose politics were normally devoted to defending the rights and privileges of its own guilds and craftsmen. During the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, the Venetian noblemen and merchants penetrated into Padua’s countryside (a sort of ‘Venetian’ hinterland), which became the dominant supplier of raw materials and food for the capital city.12 As a result, we would expect the power of local guilds and institutions (merchant guilds, local communities) to adopt a technological policy to have diminished, since they were more dependent on the central authority limiting the introduction of new crafts or sustaining the diffusion of others. Furthermore, this case study is also interesting for understanding the adoption of innovation with reference to product types and market differentiations. As the next section shows, in Padua’s textile manufacturing, several production innovations were introduced in wool, silk and linen production. Because the three sectors were generally governed by powerful merchants, we would expect them to have been able to change their productive structure, eventually shifting economic factors towards the use of cheaper and low-skilled labour, as in the case of lower quality products. On the other hand, we would expect them to have been more open as regards the introduction of labour-saving and capital-intensive innovation, as in the case of knitting frames and the mechanical ribbon loom. In the first section, I analyse demand and product changes, the evolution of consumption patterns and the creation of ‘ready-made’ fashions. In the second section, I present the organization of production and the labour composition, while the third section discusses craft mobility and the formation of labour. In the fourth and fifth sections, I analyse attitudes toward technological changes with regard to new machines and product types. Finally, I compare my results with the existing research, focusing on the interplay between different urban Daniele Beltrami, La penetrazione economica dei veneziani in Terraferma. Forze di lavoro e proprietà fondiaria nelle campagne venete dei secoli XVII e XVIII (Venice, 1961); Giuseppe Gullino, ‘Quando il mercante costruì la villa: le proprietà dei Veneziani nella Terraferma’, in Gaetano Cozzi and Paolo Prodi, eds, Storia di Venezia. Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, VI, Dal Rinascimento al Barocco (Rome, 1994): pp. 875–924; Paola Lanaro, ‘Il contesto economico e territoriale’, in Guido Beltramini and Howard Burns, Andrea Palladio e la villa veneta da Petrarca a Carlo Scarpa (Venice, 2005): pp. 148–53. On the Venetian merchants in Venice, see: Archivio di Stato di Padova (ASP), Università dell’arte della lana, bb. 7–8, 296–304. 12

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(and State) institutions in the introduction of new technologies. To that end, I take into account the relationships between city and countryside and the often positive role of some small cities in disseminating new products and techniques. Fashions and Innovations: Between Global and Local Markets During the Early Modern period, in most sectors and even when new production processes were involved, innovation was conceived mainly as product innovation. If not, the central role of demand implied a strict connection between technological changes and changes in fashion; the former only being noticed so far as it affected the latter. Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, Padua’s textile manufacturers were affected by several changes in consumption and fashion. In woollen manufacturing, these included the introduction of hosiery in the mid-sixteenth century and of ‘new’ high-quality (panni alti) and mixed types of cloth (drogetti and folladini) in the second half of the seventeenth century; in silk manufacturing, the rise of trimming and ribbon production at the end of the sixteenth century, the specialization in ‘plain silk ribbons’ (cordelle alla piana) and ribbons ‘following the Lyon fashion’ (ad uso di Lione) in the eighteenth century; and in linen manufacturing, the production of cloth ‘following the foreign vogue’ (ad uso estero) during the second half of the eighteenth century. During the sixteenth century, the introduction of hosiery manufacturing formed part of a broader trend in which new clothes were offered at lower prices. In particular, socks and knitwear transformed the clothing markets, creating a European-wide fashion system.13 Padua’s manufacturers were quick to grasp the trend. From the 1540s, there was growth in the production of knitwear, Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Le calze a maglia: moda e innovazione alle origini dell’industria della maglieria (secoli XVI–XVII)’, Società e storia, 69 (1995): pp. 590–91; Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘The Civilization of Fashion: At the Origins of a Western Social Institution’, Journal of Social History, 43 (2009): pp. 261–83; Herman van der Wee, ‘The Western European Woollen Industries, 1500–1750’, in David Jenkins, ed., The Cambridge History of Western Textile (Cambridge, 2003): vol. II, pp. 397–472, at pp. 435–6 and 455; Joan Thirsk, ‘Knitting and Knitwear, c. 1500–1780’, in David Jenkins, ed., The Cambridge History of Western Textile, vol. II (Cambridge, 2003): pp. 562–84, at p. 566; Frederick A. Wells, The British Hosiery and Knitwear Industry. Its History and Organization (Newton Abbot, 1972), pp. 15–16; Irena Turnau, ‘The Diffusion of Knitting in Medieval Europe’, in Negley B. Harte, Kenneth G. Pointing, eds, Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe: Essay in Memory of Professor E.M. Carus Wilson (London, 1983): 368–89, at pp. 386–73; Luca Molà, The Silk Industry of Renaissance Venice (Baltimore and London, 2000), pp. 177–85; Jane Rapley, ‘Handframe Knitting: The Development of Patterning and Shaping’, Textile History, 6 (1974): pp. 18–51, at p. 18. 13

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including socks, sleeves, shirts (camice) and jackets (camisiole), gloves and skirts (gonnelle), pants (bragoni or braghesse) and knitted shoes (scalfarotti). Products were of both high and low quality, depending on the type of wool and thread, which could be of ‘stamen’ (high) or ‘wool’ (low). A large variety of designs were also manufactured, with several colours and three ‘ready to use’ sizes: for men, women and children (up to 15 years). The evolution of patterns of consumption, particularly in domestic markets, stimulated the introduction of hosiery and lighter and mixed types of cloth (sarze, rasce, saggie, saggiette, mezzelane and barracani).14 On the other hand, unlike the general European trend, the connections with the Eastern Mediterranean trade and the availability of finest local wool explained the continuity of high-quality cloth manufacturing. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Rettore of Padua stated that few high-quality cloths (panni alti) were being exported to the ‘Levant’, whilst the consumption of knitwear was diminishing the availability of wool for lowquality cloth (panni bassi).15 During the mid-seventeenth century, the ‘revival’ of high-quality cloth (panni alti) partially reconfigured the European markets.16 Thanks to the city’s long tradition, Padua’s woollen merchants gained new markets, such as those in Lombardy, Southern Italy and Central-Eastern Europe. These ‘new’ high quality cloths were lighter than those of the sixteenth century.17 Their success stimulated attempts at imitation, for example in Southern Italy and Venetian Lombardy. The ‘Marcoantonio Bonduri’ from Gandino, near Bergamo, introduced his collections under the brand ‘fine Padua’s clothes’ (panni padovani fini) or ‘made in Padua’ (della fattura di Padova), provoking a serious reaction from the city’s woollen guild.18 By contrast, at the end of the seventeenth century there was growth in the use of mixed (wool and linen) cloth. In order to limit imports, thanks to lighter, and cheaper cloths, named droghetti, which were used mainly Belfanti, ‘Le calze a maglia’, pp. 590–591; Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Hosiery Manufacturing in the Venetian Republic (16th–18th Centuries)’, in Paola Lanaro, ed., At the Centre of the Old World: Trade and Manufacturing in Venice and the Venetian Mainland, 1400–1800 (Toronto, 2006), pp. 245–70, at p. 248; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 29–30; Molà, Silk Industry, pp. 177–85. 15 ASP, Università dell’arte della lana, b. 399, cc. 18r–v; Belfanti, ‘The Hosiery Manufacturing’, pp. 248; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, p. 28. 16 Patrick Chorley, ‘The Evolution of the Woollen, 1300–1700’, in Negley B. Harte, ed., The New Draperies in the Low Countries and England, 1300–1800 (New York, 1997), pp. 7–34; Van der Wee, ‘Western European Woollen Industries’, pp. 420–52. 17 ASP, Università della lana, b. 282, c. 322r, 10 giugno 1691. 18 Geoffrey Pizzorni, La «Marcantonio Bonduri» di Gandino. Un’impresa laniera in controtendenza tra Sei e Settecento (Milan, 2005), pp. 116–7; Giuseppe Cirillo, La trama sottile. Protoindustrie e baronaggi del Mezzogiorno d’Italia (secoli XVI–XIX) (Pratola Serra, 2002), pp. 13 and 43–4. 14

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during the summer, some merchants tried to imitate the German sarzettoni and the mezzelane from Cremona. These fabrics entered a segment of the market, light drapery, which was very open to foreign competition. Some years later, the introduction of the larger and more refined folladini compensated for the decline of high-quality cloth production during the eighteenth century.19 Changes in consumption also affected silk manufacturing. During the sixteenth century, the range of products increased, including lighter and mixed cloths. However, Venetian mercantilism blocked attempts to introduce silk weaving in Padua. More success befell trimming and ribbon manufacturing, which included an extraordinary variety of patterns and products, reflecting the high level of market segmentation. More expensive trimmings, named guarnizioni or galloni, were applied to high quality cloths, interior designs and coaches. In contrast, plain ribbons (cordelle) included both high-quality (poste, postazze, postoni, ‘ormesinade’) and low-quality (napolitane, mezzanelle, ordinarie and coralline) products, with very high price differentiations of up to 80 per cent.20 Beyond the domestic market (and, in most cases, the Venetian one), Padua’s silk ribbons were sold in Central-Eastern Europe, Southern Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean. However, during the mid-seventeenth century, the geography of European trimming manufacturing changed dramatically with the increase in specialized centres, often sustained by mercantilist policies. In addition, thanks to the use of the mechanical loom, trimming manufacturing arose in Northern Italy (Vigevano and Turin), Austria, Switzerland (Basel), Germany (Krefeld), England (Coventry and Canterbury – Spitalfields). And as was the case with the finest woollen cloth, Padua’s trimmings were imitated frequently. In 1712 in Geneva, a French merchant obtained the privilege of using the mechanical loom (gran métier) to weave ribbons including the ‘trimmings of Padua’ (galon de Padue).21 Padua’s merchant-manufacturers responded to the growing competition in the European markets by focusing on a niche product. They specialized in manufacturing plain but high-quality silk ribbons (cordelle alla piana), which were sold mainly in the domestic market and at fairs in Central and Southern Italy. The ribbons gained their own reputation with the special brand ‘Padua’s Walter Panciera, L’Arte matrice. I lanifici della Repubblica di Venezia nei secoli XVII e XVIII (Treviso, 1996), p. 120. 20 Andrea Caracausi, Nastri, nastrini, cordelle. L’industria serica nel Padovano, secc. XVII–XIX (Padova, 2004), pp. 40–52. On prices, see: ASP, Archivi Privati Famiglie, Manzoni, b. 176, bilanci di compagnia ‘Eredi Giupponi & Co’., anni 1666–76; Notarile, b. 1011, notaio Gaspare Maggion, 14 marzo 1614. 21 Liliane Mottu-Weber, ‘Les activités manufacturières’, in Anne-Marie Piuz and Liliane Mottu-Weber, eds, L’economie genevoise de la Réforme à la fin de l’Ancien Régime (Geneva, 1990): pp. 423–99 and 448; Caracausi, Nastri, p. 70. 19

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ribbons’ (cordelle padovane) or ‘made in Padua’ (della fattura di Padova). Finally, in the middle of the eighteenth century, the manufacturers also tried to cope with foreign competition in the domestic market by introducing designed trimming ‘following the Lyon fashion’ (all’uso di Lione).22 Nor did cotton and linen manufacturing fail to undergo interesting product innovations. In Padua’s territory, this industry was generally limited to the rural area and, until the late eighteenth century, focused on linen and mixed (linen-cotton or wool and cotton) fabrics. This cloth was normally sold on the domestic market, but it suffered in the face of the competition from products from Germany and Switzerland, and also from England and the Netherlands in the case of cotonine or indiane. Attempts to introduce foreign fashions (products all’uso estero) came primarily from Venice. In cotton manufacturing, profiting from the lack of Venetian guilds, the merchants Lischiuta, Mora and Beggio introduced ‘Indian’ cloths (indiane) in the northern part of Padua’s countryside and exported them mainly to Levantine markets.23 More success was achieved by linen manufacturing in the southern part of the countryside, around the small town of Piove di Sacco (almost 4,000 inhabitants). Some local merchants tried to imitate the foreign fabrics which were consumed in domestic markets, such as the rensetti ‘in the German fashion’ (all’uso di Germania); the naisoter ‘in the Silesia fashion’ (all’uso di Slesia); the ‘fine clothes from Sangallo’ (tele fine all’uso di Sangallo); and, finally, the mixed cotton and linen clothes ‘in the fashion of Ratisbone’ (bombasine mischie all’uso di Ratisbona). In an attempt to move beyond imitation to invention, local merchants eventually also produced their own ‘finest cloth’ (rensetti sopraffini), which were sold in local and foreign markets.24 During the Early Modern period, Padua’s textile manufacturing thus experienced several product innovations. In this respect, we need to underline two points. First, until the mid-seventeenth century, Padua’s manufacturers

Caracausi, Nastri, pp. 79–87. On the silk industry of Lyons, see: Carlo Poni, ‘Fashion as Flexible Production: The Strategies of Lyons Silk Merchants in the Eighteenth Century’, in Charles F. Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin, eds, World of Possibilities: Flexibility and Mass Production in Western Industrialization (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 37–74. 23 Salvatore Ciriacono, ‘Protoindustria, lavoro a domicilio e sviluppo economico nelle campagne venete’., Quaderni Storici, n.s., 52 (1983): pp. 57–80; Walter Panciera, L’economia: imprenditoria, corporazioni, lavoro, in Paolo Preto and Piero del Negro, Storia di Venezia dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, VIII, L’ultima fase della Serenissima (Rome, 1998), pp. 479–553. 24 Andrea Caracausi, ‘Mercanti e tele di lino nella Repubblica Veneta: il caso padovano’, Aa.Vv., in Saccisica. Studi e ricerche (Padova, 2008), pp. 145–68. On these processes, see: Maxine Berg, ‘From Imitation to Invention: Creating Commodities in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Economic History Review, 55 (2002): pp. 1–30. 22

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maintained their leading position in several European fashions.25 The ‘panni alti alla padovana’, the ‘cordelle della fattura di Padova’, and the ‘galloni di Padova’ were imitated frequently by other Italian and European textile centres. Secondly, however, from the end of the seventeenth century, domestic and foreign markets depended mainly on fashions created abroad: England and the Netherlands for woollen cloth; France for silk manufacturing; and Switzerland and Germany for linen and cotton.26 The changed position with regard to European fashion reflected a changed attitude toward markets. Until the mid-seventeenth century, the main goal had been to introduce new products, which primarily had an impact on long-distance trade. High-quality woollen cloths, bonnets and hosieries, silk trimmings and ribbons were sent mainly to the Eastern Mediterranean and to Atlantic markets, where they were exchanged for spices or Brazilian sugar.27 From the mid-seventeenth century onwards, local traders were primarily concerned with import-substitution, since they only tried to enlarge their exports to longdistance trade in the second instance.28 Despite this change, a combined interest in global and local markets remained the main philosophy of Padua’s merchantmanufacturers.29 Sometimes, the introduction of product innovations required organizational changes. As a consequence, it is necessary to analyse trade organization and labour composition to understand how product innovations were transmitted and disseminated. For other Italian cities, see: Salvatore Ciriacono, ‘Silk Manufacturing in France and Italy in the 17th century: Two Models Compared’, The Journal of European Economic History, 10 (1981): pp. 167–200; Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Guilds’, p. 587. 26 Belfanti, ‘Guilds’, p. 587; William H. Sewell, ‘The Empire of Fashion and the Rise of Capitalism in Eighteenth Century France’, Past & Present, 206 (2010): pp. 81–120; Beverly Lemire, Dress, Culture and Commerce: The English Clothing Trade before the Factory, 1660– 1800 (Besingstoke, 1997). On Venice, see: Marcello Della Valentina, ‘The Silk Industry in Venice: Guilds and Labour Relations in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in Lanaro, ed., At the Centre of the Old World, pp. 109–42. 27 Ugo Tucci, ‘Mercanti veneziani in India alla fine del XVI secolo’, Studi in onore di Armando Sapori, II (Milan, 1957): pp. 1091–111; Innocenzo Cervelli, ‘Intorno alla decadenza di Venezia: un episodio di storia economica, ovvero un affare mancato’, Nuova Rivista Storica, 50 (1966): pp. 596–642, at p. 596. 28 Caracausi, Nastri; Giovanni Favero, ‘Old and New Ceramics: Manufacturers, Products, and Markets in the Venetian Republic in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in Lanaro, ed., At the Centre of the Old World, pp. 271–315; Walter Panciera, ‘The Industries of Venice in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in Lanaro, ed., At the Centre of the Old World, pp. 185–216; Della Valentina, ‘Silk Industry’, pp. 109–42. 29 For a comparison with Venice, see: Francesca Trivellato, ‘Guilds, Technology, and Economic Change in Early Modern Venice’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation, pp. 199–231, at p. 210. 25

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Trade Organizations: Beyond Craft Guilds As in other parts of Europe, Padua’s textile manufacturing was based on the wellknown urban and rural putting-out system. In this section, in order to define the structures in which product innovations were introduced, I focus on workforce composition and the institutional (guild or non-guild-based) framework. In the woollen sector, cloth merchants (mercanti di panni) and knitwear merchants (mercanti di gucchiadi) coordinated production, from purchasing raw materials to selling finished products. Operations could be carried out in the merchant’s ‘central shop’ (wool preparation, revision and finishing), in independent workshops or domestic units by artisans or home-workers (spinning, weaving, dyeing, napping-raising), and in large buildings owned or under the control of the woollen guild (the Università dell’arte della lana: washing-scouring, fulling and tentering). Although no reliable estimates are available, across the centuries, approximately 10,000 people were employed, with a peak of 15,000 workers between the end of the seventeenth and the first decades of the eighteenth century. The holders of the external workshops (weaving, dyeing, napping-raising) were generally, but not exclusively, called ‘masters’, and they were assisted by young boys, sometimes called apprentices (garzoni), and workers (lavoranti, similar to European journeymen). The labour market was segmented, mainly according to the distinction between ‘resident’ or ‘permanent’ (especially the holders of external workshops or domestic units) and ‘moving’, not necessarily foreign, people. Gender segmentation was present as well: women were normally employed in spinning and knitting, where they supervised as ‘masters’ the jobs performed by children and young boys.30 Generally, craft guilds were under the control of the merchant-manufacturers who coordinated the whole production process. The other groups (corpi) of artisans (beaters, spinners, weavers, dyers, shearers) were subject to the great Università dell’arte della lana (‘University of woollen art’). Only the merchants had access to the guild council and thus had a say in the rules and normal practices relating to trade and manufacturing. In 1674, a dyers’ guild was founded, but both its size (no more than 10 wool dyers) and, especially, the competition of Venetian dyers attested to its weakness. Some groups tried to reinforce their rights through the foundation of spiritual or lay brotherhoods, as in the case of the weavers (Università dei tessitori, founded in the fifteenth century) and On labour market segmentation, see: Elwood M. Beck, Patrick Horan and Charles M. Tolbert II, ‘Stratification in a Dual Economy: a Sectoral Model of Earnings Determination’, American Sociological Review, 43 (1978): pp. 704–20; for pre-modern manufacturing, see: Luca Mocarelli, ‘Wages and the Labour Market in the Building Trade in 18th Century Milan’, Jahrbuch für Wirtschafts Geschichte, 2 (2004): pp. 61–81; Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, ‘Segmentation in the Pre-Industrial Labour Market: Women’s Work in the Dutch Textile Industry, 1581–1810’, International Review of Social History, 51 (2006): pp. 189–216. 30

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beaters (Unione dei Laneri, at the beginning of the eighteenth century). All workers, despite their exclusion from the guild council, could use and benefit from the guild court. However, this was presided over by a doctor of law and two merchants who enjoyed great autonomy and based their judgments on ordinary and summary justice.31 In the mid-sixteenth century, two main changes appeared in the organization of production: namely, the shift of spinning and weaving from urban to rural areas and the simultaneous development of urban knitting workshops. The introduction of a product innovation – knitwear – thus replaced the weaving of low-quality cloth (panni bassi) and stimulated an organizational change. The weaving of high-quality cloth (panni alti) was delocalized gradually towards small villages (Torre, Mortise, Arcella) along the routes between Padua and Venice. This also furthered integration between the two cities’ manufactures: the merchant-manufacturers of Venice delocalized more stages of production (mainly spinning and weaving) to the Mainland and the merchantmanufacturers of Padua increased their operations in the capital city (especially dyeing). Instead, in the city, the knitting workshops replaced the independent weaving workshops and retail sales of cloth (botteghe di drappieri). It was not surprising that the fees and fines imposed on cloth and knitting merchants were exactly the same (£25), whilst those for bonnet-makers were lower (£10). Of course, knitting workshops were an offspring of the previous bonnet workshops. They were small and medium independent units, managed by male or female masters who, during knitting, had the task of teaching, controlling and ‘inciting’ – sometimes with supervisors (sovrastanti) – children and boys. From the beginning of the seventeenth century, the number of female masters and supervisors increased up to the point that, one century later, production was managed entirely by women. Next to that, from the middle of the sixteenth century, knitting was also performed by children in hospitals and orphanages that were directed by the same woollen (and silk) merchants. The introduction of hosiery manufacturing caused conflicts within the woollen guild. In general, the woollen merchants tried to compel the hosiery merchants to pay public duties for the purchasing of wool, forbidding the use of the ‘finest’ wool for the production of bonnets and socks. After several trials, cloth and knitting merchants (mercanti da panni e gucchiadi) were recognized as separate bodies (‘brothers’, fratelli) within the Università dell’arte della lana.32 Merchants also managed trimming manufacturing, although some independent Andrea Caracausi, ‘Procedure di giustizia in età moderna: i tribunali corporativi’ Studi storici, 49 (2008): pp. 323–60; Simona Cerutti, Giustizia sommaria. Pratiche e ideali di giustizia in una società di Ancien Régime, Torino XVIII secolo (Torino, 2003); Charles Gross, ‘The Court of Piepowder’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 20 (1906): pp. 231–49. 32 Belfanti, ‘Hosiery Manufacturing’, p. 248; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 179–89; Panciera, L’arte matrice, p. 17. 31

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artisans brought raw materials and sold finished products in the local market. In this branch, the labour market included mainly spinners and throwers (torcitori), dyers and trimming weavers (passamaneri). As in the woollen industry, there was a dichotomy in the rules for ‘permanent’ workers (patrons of silk-mills, masters weavers and dyers) and the ‘moving’ workforce (domestic spinners, weaving workers and assistants). Again, weaving was segmented hugely by gender. Whilst designed trimmings (passamani in opera) were woven by male artisans, ‘plain’ ribbons were made by female masters and young (female) assistants. Notwithstanding the expansion of weaving activities in rural areas during the second half of the seventeenth century, weaving continued to be dependent on urban merchants. Moreover, as in the case of hosiery manufacturing, plain ribbon weaving was also done by young girls in orphanages and hospitals.33 All these changes in production induced conflicts and attempts to influence regulations and control the levers concerned, but the manufacturing masters never succeeded in gaining the upper hand. While a trimming craft guild was founded in 1673, Venetian ribbon makers immediately asked for the confirmation of previous prohibitions relating to gold-silver weaving and the free entry of Padua’s ribbons into the capital city. The artisans were few (42) and their numbers fell during the following decades. Nor did the dyers’ guild, which as we have seen was founded in 1674, have any lasting success. Even silk merchants, being members of the greater and ‘multiform’ haberdashers, did not have their own guild until the end of the eighteenth century. Because of their small number, they were not able to discuss and decide on ‘the urgent matters of their work’. In 1765, they asked to have their own guild, but only obtained an agreement to be considered ‘brothers’ (fratelli) of the haberdashers. As such, they could manage their own finances and specify that apprentices should spend five years with a merchant before being able to undertake their own activity. Fifteen years later, in 1780, taking advantage of the conflict with the Jewish merchants, Christian merchants founded an independent ribbon-makers guild (the Unione dei fabbricatori di cordelle) as a juridical organization that had the main task of mediating with the Venetian authorities and controlling the domestic rural workforce.34 Finally, linen manufacturing was managed completely by the rural merchants of Piove di Sacco, a small town in Padua’s countryside. Whilst spinning and weaving were done in rural villages, craftsmen performed the shearing, napping-raising and Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 38–9. For the work in orphanages and hospitals, see: Nicholas Terpstra, ‘Making a Living, Making a Live. Work in the Orphanages of Florence and Bologna’, Sixteenth Century Journal, 31/4 (2000): pp. 1063–79; Nicholas Terpstra, Abandoned Children of the Italian Renaissance. Orphan Care in Florence and Bologna (Baltimore and London, 2005); Anne McCants, Civic Charity in a Golden Age: Orphan Care in Early Modern Amsterdam (Urbana, 1997); Andrea Caracausi, ‘Beaten Children and Women’s Work in Early Modern Italy’ (forthcoming). 34 Caracausi, Nastri, pp. 126–8. 33

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dyeing in small workshops or inside the merchants’ houses. With the exception of spinning, all operations were done by men. Craft and merchant guilds were absent. In the 1740s, Padua’s linen merchants founded their own guild (Unione dei linaroli) in order to limit competition from rural merchants, but this did not prevent rural activities from expanding during the following decades. With a few exceptions, then, the organization of Padua’s textile manufacturing excluded ‘pure’ craft guilds consisting of artisans. This was also typical of other urban textile manufacturing centres in Italy, especially in small-medium cities where the production rested upon ‘sector guilds’ governed by merchant-manufacturers.35 Normally, Padua’s guilds were managed by merchant-manufacturers, both in woollen and, later, in silk manufacturing.36 Consequently, manufacturing structures were flexible and, thanks to adaptations or organizational changes, enabled the introduction of product innovations. Still, given the relative absence of craft guilds, it is interesting to understand the tools and methods used to guarantee technological transfers, the formation of human capital and the application of new products. Technological Transfers and Labour Formation During the Early Modern period, apprenticeship and migration played major roles in transmitting technical knowledge. However, due to the relative absence of regulation, it is rather difficult to identify the mechanisms of diffusion and adoption of new technologies. With the exception of a number of conspicuous cases of minorities and inventors, novelties and innovations moved from one region to another through more silent ‘radiations’ of products, and ordinary craftsmen or merchants.37 In particular, the latter ones were not easy to evaluate. However, on the one hand, it was possible to appreciate the flow and presence of foreign craftsmen in Early Modern Padua and, on the other, the process of forming a workforce. As we have seen above, while craft migration was an important element in Padua’s labour market, there was a clear distinction between ‘moving’ and ‘resident’ artisans. Moreover, as for other Italian cities, migrant flows were interregional and regional.38 Whilst bonnet-makers and knitters came in Luca Mocarelli, ‘Guilds Reappraised: Italy in the Early Modern Period’, International Review of Social History, 53 (2008): pp. 159–78. 36 These were ‘sector’ guilds in Pfister’s typology of guilds. Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds’, pp. 287–9. 37 On ‘radiation’, see: Reith, ‘Circulation’, p. 132. 38 Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘“È venuto per esercitare il suo mestiere …”. Immigrati e mestieri a Mantova e nel suo territorio tra Sei e Settecento’, in Simona Cavaciocchi, ed., Le migrazioni in Europa (Florence, 1994), pp. 683–90; Carlo M. Belfanti, Mestieri e forestieri. Immigrazione 35

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particular from Verona and Mantua, beaters and combers arrived from Bergamo and Vicenza and woollen and silk weavers and dyers came from Venice, Vicenza and Bassano.39 Some indicators allow us to better appreciate the role of these migrations in introducing and disseminating product innovations. In the hosiery industry during the 1540s, the first knitter masters (agucchitores camisiollarum) were mainly from Verona and, in second instance, from Mantua. These were the two leading cities in the manufacturing of hosiery. During the 1570s, the first ribbon merchant-manufacturers were from Vicenza and Venice, whilst at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the only three trimming makers were from France. Finally, at the end of the eighteenth century, linen manufacturers experimented with new fashions thanks to weavers from Friuli, a region in the north-eastern part of the Venetian Mainland. Venice, as well, played an important role. Originating in the capital city, Paolo Belfante was the first merchant to introduce the weaving of saglie in Padua. Venetian merchants also delocalized the production of ‘new’ panni alti, refining and dyeing them in Venice. Because of similarities in dyeing, several of Padua’s dyers came from Venice. Finally, in the middle of the eighteenth century, besides a female weaver from Vicenza,40 two artisans from Venice were the only weavers of ribbons all’uso di Lione. Merchants mostly seem to have been the first to introduce and disseminate these new products. They appear to have attracted craftsmen and stimulated migrations. Moreover, the ensuing geographical mobility allowed the diffusion of craft knowledge throughout the regions, thereby avoiding a bottleneck due to the insufficiency of local transmission.41 For instance, some garzatori worked

ed economia urbana a Mantova fra Sei e Settecento (Milan, 1994); Paola Lanaro, ‘Economia cittadina, flussi migratori e spazio urbano in Terraferma veneta tra basso Medioevo ed età moderna’, in Donatella Calabi and Paola Lanaro, eds, La città italiana e i luoghi degli stranieri XIV–XVIII (Bari, 1999), pp. 63–81, at pp. 69–71; Giacomo Casarino, ‘Mondo del lavoro e immigrazione a Genova tra XV e XVI secolo’, in Rinaldo Comba, Gabriella Piccinni and Giuliano Pinto, eds, Strutture familiari, epidemie, migrazioni nell’Italia medievale (Naples, 1984), pp. 451–72, at pp. 458–68; Francesca Trivellato, Fondamenta dei vetrai. Lavoro, tecnologia e mercato a Venezia fra Sei e Settecento (Rome, 2000), pp. 155–69. 39 A small town in the northern part of the Venetian Mainland specialized in the production of low-quality clothes, see: Francesco Vianello, Seta fine e panni grossi. Manifatture e commerci nel Vicentino, 1570–1700 (Milan, 2004). 40 Caracausi, Nastri, pp. 83–4; Caracausi, ‘Mercanti’, p. 163; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 55–8; Walter Panciera, ‘Profilo dei salariati padovani all’inizio del Settecento’, SinTesi, 2 (1999): pp. 97–132, at p. 103. 41 Epstein, ‘Transferring’, pp. 32–3; Salvatore Ciriacono, ‘Migration, Minorities, and Technology Transfer in Early Modern Europe’, The Journal of European Economic History, 34 (2005): pp. 47–50.

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and experimented in Venice, Bologna, Ferrara and Mantua, and eventually transferred the acquired knowledge to Padua.42 Several factors stimulated craft mobility from one city to another. First, there was the opportunity to gain more money. On 4 March 1552, Gaspare Segato said to the judges that his son Giovanni went to Venice because he was unable to live with the poor wages that he earned from the bonnet master Francesco.43 Second, the journey represented an essential element in Early Modern culture. The judges of the woollen guild court asked the weaver, Antonio Samitaro, why he had left Venice, where he would have earned more. Antonio said that ‘I departed from Venice and then I walked as young boys do’.44 While these movements were necessary for gaining knowledge, personal networks were fundamental to finding jobs in the cities of arrival. Before coming to Padua from Venice, the textile weaver Alvise first passed through Verona, where his brother lived, and then Trento. On the other hand, Antonio, from Verona, went from Verona to Venice and, finally, to Padua, following Lodovico Bianchesino, who promised to procure him a job with a Paduan merchant, Simone dall’Argua. Across and inside the workshops, groups of workers (in particular beaters, knitters and weavers, some of whom were seasonal workers) came from the same cities or small towns and thus maintained strong ties.45 Still, there were no institutional structures such as the tramping system to sustain these movements.46 Rather, merchants and urban institutions gave ad hoc incentives to artisans and workers by guaranteeing assistance or accommodation, especially after demographic shocks (such as plagues) or in periods of economic hardship.47 Through private contracts, merchants attracted combers, weavers and dyers from other parts of the Venetian Mainland (for example, Venice, Vicenza and Verona), providing them with work, food and lodging.48 After the plague of 1576, the merchant Paolo Bevilacqua signed an agreement with the Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, p. 60. Ibid., p. 56. 44 Ibid. (‘me partii da Venezia come fan li giovani e andai a spasso’). 45 Panciera, ‘Profilo’, pp. 112–18; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 54–7. On journeys as cultural components of the culture of labour in the Early Modern period, please also see James S. Amelang, The Flight of Icarus. Artisan Autobiography in Early Modern Europe (Stanford, 1998); Epstein, ‘Labour mobility’. 46 Epstein, ‘Labour mobility’; Ehmer, ‘Worlds of mobility’, p. 174; Reith, ‘Circulation’, pp. 117–27. 47 For the case of Venice, see: Paola Lanaro, ‘Corporations et confréries: les étrangers et le marché du travail à Venise (XVe–XVIIIe siècles)’, Histoire urbaine, 21 (2008): pp. 31–48. 48 In general, agreements on accommodation related only to artisans and not the whole family. If other family members arrived, they needed to find other lodgings. For example, Franco Franceschi, ‘Oltre il Tumulto’. I lavoranti fiorentini dell’Arte della Lana fra Tre e Quattrocento (Florence, 1993), pp. 130–31. 42 43

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weavers Nicola and Marco Antonio Baroncello, which read: ‘to lead them in Padua with the obligation to give them to make cloths […] and once he finished his [cloths] to find other [cloths] so they had to work every year’.49 The city provided rents ‘per room’ (a camera) and hostels where the newcomers could find their first lodgings. Moreover, urban and guild authorities provided contract-enforcing mechanisms in order to increase trust between merchants-masters and foreign artisans. In the case of damages or the premature termination of local employees’ contracts, employers could collect payments to local workers and their families ‘easily’ by means of foreclosing tools to them or to other employers. Foreign workers, however, were more difficult to control. In order to regulate the mobility of the workers and protect their property rights, employers required special guarantees and asked foreign workers to deliver deposits to the local Camera dei pegni (Chamber of pledges). The merchant Andrea Sanudo gave 19 lire in advance to the shearer Giovanni Caldiero. However, as he understood from other people that Giovanni was thinking of leaving the city, he asked Giovanni to give him a guarantee by leaving some goods at the Chamber of pledges. The idea was to limit departures by foreigners, who normally received wages in advance for their work. At the same time, guilds or merchants tried to limit the departure of artisans and the circulation of technical knowledge, especially when new competitors tried to imitate Padua’s manufactures.50 A second dimension of human capital formation and the development of technical knowledge is the transmission of technical knowledge across generations. For Epstein, craft guilds stimulated masters because they ensured that masters were compensated for the cost of apprenticeship and possible breach of contract on the part of the apprentices. However, in the case of Padua’s manufacturers, there were no formal apprenticeship systems and master tests (with a few exceptions). In woollen manufacturing, cloth merchants and knitting masters needed only to be registered on the guild list (matricola), pay registration fees and pledge to observe the guild statutes. The opening of workshops depended largely on an individual’s financial assets, including access to the credit market and the acquisition of working instruments. Only during the 1620s were restrictions introduced regarding the number of years a Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, p. 57 (‘di condurli a Padova con l’obbligo di dargli da fare dei panni in ragione de lire 6 per panno de braccia numero 60 da un anno all’altro e finito che aveva i suoi di trovargliene sì che abbiano da lavorare da un anno all’altro’). 50 Walter Panciera, ‘Padova, 1704: “l’Antica Unione de’ Poveri Laneri”contro “la ricca Università dell’Arte della Lana”’, Quaderni Storici, 29 (1994): pp. 629–53; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 87–98; Caracausi, ‘Mercanti’, pp. 167–69. On the control of labour, see also Giovanni Favero, ‘Privilegi d’industria e diritti di proprietà nelle manifatture di ceramica della Repubblica di Venezia (XVII–XVIII secolo)’, Quaderni Storici, 47 (2011): pp. 185–220, at pp. 201–3 and 207–11. 49

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merchant’s apprentice (garzone) had to serve. However, with this measure, the woollen merchants were aiming not to guarantee technical skills, but to limit the competition faced by knitwear merchants by limiting the number of knitwear merchants in the guild council.51 It is therefore difficult to claim that guilds ensured human capital formation and the transmission of knowledge. Up to the second half of the seventeenth century and in the absence of guild apprenticeship, silk and woollen manufacturing produced high-quality ribbons and woollen cloth. When dyeing and trimming guilds appeared in 1673 and 1674, they answered other needs. During the 1660s, the Venetian Republic reformed the duty system and introduced a new duty for the production of ribbons. From 1640 onwards, the sector had expanded in real terms but the revenues for the State had decreased. The new system introduced new fiscal contributions per item produced and required stricter regulation of the ribbons that the merchants sub-contracted to trimming and dyers masters. In this context, the masters who wove high-quality, refined ribbons decided to open a new guild, and the dyers did the same during the latter period. The guilds were therefore founded to answer the need for stricter control over production and in order to distribute the necessary duties amongst masters for paying the State. In short, conflicts over taxation and distributional effects – as claimed by Ogilvie – can better explain the foundation of these two guilds. Nor can the foundation of the silk ribbon guilds in the late eighteenth century be explained using Epstein’s theory. While high-quality ribbons were again produced in the absence of any formal rules related to apprenticeship, the guilds were founded in the context of distributional conflicts. To be precise, the established merchant-manufacturers of ribbons asked for and obtained the exclusion of Jewish merchants from the trade. However, they were obliged to produce the same quantity of ribbons in order to avoid unemployment amongst the workers. They therefore formally created a guild, allegedly in order to ‘improve the organization of the production’ and ‘preserve the quality of the product’. However, in reality, the motive was to control the production process more tightly and to maintain their monopoly. Therefore, new guilds were founded in response to conflicts over fiscal duties (in the case of the trimming masters and dyers) or conflicts related to market segmentation and the merchant-entrepreneurs’ labour market monopsony (as in the case of the ribbon-makers). Something similar applies to the foundation of spiritual or lay brotherhoods, as in the case of the textile woollen weavers (Università dei tessitori) in the fifteenth century and the woollen beaters (Unione dei Laneri) at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In both cases, the institution was a response to rising conflicts between employers (merchants) and employers or subcontractors (weavers and beaters). The two brotherhoods (in Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 182–9.

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woollen manufacturing, autonomous guilds were officially forbidden) became tools that were used in judiciary and extra-judiciary conflicts over wages, the timing of payments and the free circulation of labour, and without any regard to apprenticeships and training.52 Nor does evidence from guild trials support the idea that formal apprenticeship requirements served to reduce opportunism between masters and apprenticeship and enforce contracts. Indeed, private agreements were renegotiated constantly by the counterparts, who mutually decided on the length and the scope of teaching. The guild was asked to judge on contract enforcement or renegotiation ex post, serving as a third party in cases of breach of contract between master and apprentice.53 Masters were more interested in defending their rights in respect of money paid in advance to workers, and in limiting competition between employers over the labour force. However, the guilds did not establish the timing and object of apprenticeship a priori, so the time required to learn a particular craft was very flexible. It could take from one to five years to learn arts such as weaving, napping-raising and dyeing.54 In any case, other institutions were more important in the transmission and dissemination of knowledge. First of all there were written or oral contracts, drawn up by a notary or privately, which, when signed, determined the timing and scope of teaching between masters and apprentices. Other institutions include charitable institutions such as orphanages and hospitals and informal ‘schools’ of knitting and weaving. Moreover, other instruments ensured the certification of technical skills. First, in the absence of masters’ tests, workers (apprentices or journeymen) individually asked masters to certify for their competences. On 21 February 1550, the master shearer, Vincenzo from Padua, swore that he had taught Bartolomeo Constantino from Cadore, a valley near Belluno, the art of shearing cloth of Padua, and two other masters swore that they had seen him shear ‘here in Padua’. In addition, the guild did play a specific role on that account. When entering the guild council, woollen merchants were required to have worked within the city during the previous year and they had to bring a local craftsman as their guarantor. Furthermore, when merchants had to accept and enrol new masters, especially in the case of bonnet- and hosierymakers, they investigated their knowledge of the local manufacturing process. ‘Technical’ questions on quality, technology and the organization of labour Silvana Collodo, ‘Signore e mercanti. Storia di un’alleanza a Padova nel Trecento’, Nuova rivista storica, 71 (1987): pp. 489–530; Panciera, ‘Padova, 1704’, pp. 629–53; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 147–204. 53 Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 87–91. On the early interruption and renegotiation of apprenticeship contracts, see: David Nicholas, ‘Child and Adolescent Labor in the Late Medieval City: A Flemish Model in Regional Perspective’, English Historical Review, 110 (1995): pp. 1103–31; Wallis, ‘Apprenticeship’, pp. 834–43. 54 Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, p. 197; Ogilvie, ‘Guilds’, pp. 302–7. 52

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depended on the urban environment and how the cloth was made ‘following the fashion of Padua’ (all’uso di Padova). Why did these institutions – such as certification and guarantors – appear? One might assume that they ensured the guilds’ product quality control. However, the case of the admission of the hosiery-maker, Pasquale Righi, raises some doubts in this respect. Righi was unable to answer several fundamental technical questions concerning the quality of the wool used in high-quality socks. However, he was admitted because other masters and people certified that they had known him from an early age and that he had worked mainly as an apprentice (garzone) to his uncle and near other masters. Beyond quality control, it was apparently necessary to certify his ‘familiarity’ with the work and participation in urban life. These elements provided entrance to the labour market and they were more important than technical skills.55 In the end, for the preservation of product quality, proof that one had worked or learned at all appears to have been more important than apprenticeship and certification. The best guarantees were not apprenticeship contracts, final proofs or certifications, but the fact that people had worked – and worked well – with other masters or merchants. Giovanni Giacomo Mussatto, a weaver from Mortise, would not return the money that he had received from the father of Sebastiano Betton for teaching his son, because ‘he taught Sebastiano well […] because when Sebastiano left him, he had woven good cloth for other merchants, and in particular to ser Gerolamo del Bello and domino Bernardino dal Legname’. In other words, the market and practice established the level of skills. Good workers were recognized mostly through word of mouth and other informal means used by merchants and masters.56 Of course, urban institutions, such as notaries and guild and civic courts, could be helpful in protecting property rights, certifying knowledge and skills and standardizing product quality. Notaries were helpful, for instance, in securing property rights and decreasing uncertainty (including in the case of apprenticeship contracts). Guilds, moreover, could act as a third party in cases of breach of contract (for example, when apprentices absconded). However, these institutions did not prescribe and enforce formal apprenticeship systems or masters tests. Both learning and the certification of learning were based mainly on private contracts and informal ad hoc mechanisms. Moreover, when guild or guild-based regulations came about, this was mainly due to distributional conflicts. As in other parts of Early Modern

55 Andrea Caracausi, ‘A chi appartiene il lavoro? Riflessioni per la storia del lavoro in età moderna’, in Paola Lanaro, ed., Microstoria. A venticinque anni da L’eredità immateriale (Milano, 2011), pp. 153–67 and see also Ogilvie, ‘Guilds’, pp. 308 and 310. 56 Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 85–6 and 199.

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Europe, the acquisition of technical knowledge and skills was based mainly on private contracts and other institutions such as orphanages and hospitals.57 Rejecting Technological Innovation: Knitting Frames and the Ribbon Engine Loom Even if on the whole Padua’s manufacturers maintained a favourable attitude toward product innovation during the Early Modern period, new technologies were sometimes hampered. Two exemplary cases are those of mechanical wool knitting and silk ribbon frames. How did these rejections come about, and why? In 1667 the Dutch merchant, Luca Van Ufflen, was granted permission by the Venetian State to introduce the woollen knitting frame, which had been patented by Richard Lee at the end of the previous century. This labour-saving and capital-intensive invention would increase labour productivity. However, Padua’s woollen merchants strongly opposed its diffusion by stressing the need to safeguard both the high quality of products and employment levels. The local community also supported the merchants by underlining the importance of guaranteeing the jobs and incomes of lower-class people. The protestations of priests, aldermen and members of the civic council were well founded. The knitting workshops played an important role within the local community; they allowed families to gain more income, they kept their children busy and, finally, they gave them a form of education. The threat of losing this social and economic structure was even greater during the 1670s, when there was a crisis in ribbon manufacturing, another activity that played a similar role in employing children. Rising unemployment could cause local protests, as had happened in the 1660s. On the other hand, the merchants would not renounce such a disciplinable workforce, which was the main characteristic required for knitting. It was difficult to explain the hostility to the knitting frame because of its technological aspects (and in fact, the merchants did not refer to it). More probably, the lack of a mass market discouraged the organizational change.58 Similar events occurred in relation to ribbon manufacturing. During the 1660s, despite the opposition of several craft guilds, the silk ribbon frame Ogilvie, ‘Guilds’, p. 314; Claire H. Crowston, ‘L’apprentissage hors des corporations. Les formation professionnelle alternatives à Paris sous l’Ancien Régime’, Annales H.S.S., 60 (2005): pp. 409–42; Nicholas, ‘Child’; Steven L. Kaplan, ‘L’apprentissage à Paris au XVIIIe siècle’, Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, 40 (1993): pp. 436–79; and on the ‘marginal role’ of these alternatives, see : Epstein and Prak, ‘Introduction’, p. 10. 58 Belfanti, ‘Hosiery Manufacturing’, p. 251; Panciera, L’arte matrice, p. 118; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 202–3. For a comparison with England, see: Stanley D. Chapman, ‘The Genesis of the British Hosiery Industry, 1600–1750’, Textile History, 3 (1971): pp. 7–50, at p. 10. 57

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(‘metiér a la barre’) spread across Europe, particularly in Switzerland (Basel) and in Germany (Krefeld).59 In Padua in 1782, Antonio Zigno, governor of the silk duty, made a rather late attempt to introduce the ribbon-frame. As in the case of the knitting-frame, ribbon merchants opposed this innovation, stressing that it would lead to growing unemployment and lower the quality of the products. One year later, the silk ribbon loom was banned.60 In rejecting technological innovations, merchants and urban authorities stressed two points: safeguarding product quality and the level of employment. However, it seems reasonable to assume that this process innovation was not needed because of the small size of the market and the abundant and cheap labour supply. At first sight, this is in line with the arguments advanced by Pfister for the other European cities that avoided the introduction of the ribbon engine loom. However, in Padua, the internal guild structure was quite different. Indeed, Pfister argued that in more stratified guilds, the introduction of these machines reduced craftsmen’s income and caused friction between masters and merchants, whilst those guilds that had been established by large-scale merchantmanufacturers were able to absorb such machines. In the case of Padua, beyond the internal stratification of guilds (both Padua’s guilds were constituted by merchants), it was the distribution of market share among producers that pushed the guilds and urban authorities to ask the State authorities to ban the machines (in line with Ogilvie’s arguments on distributional conflicts). If the ribbon engine loom had been introduced, the merchants alleged, ‘only two merchants will be needed to satisfy the demand’. In this sense, the need to redistribute income amongst the existing producers motivated the refusal of the innovation.61 Conflicts over Product Types: High-quality Ribbons and Linen Cloth As I have shown above, between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, Padua’s textile manufacturers modified their product range by including low-, 59 Paul Fink, Geschichte der Basler Bandindustrie 1550–1800 (Basel, 1983); Nicklaus Röthlin, ‘Le commerce de Bâle et l’evolution des relations commerciales en Europe (du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle)’, in Paul Bairoch and Anne-Marie Piuz, eds, Les passages des économies traditionnelles européennes aux sociétés industrielle (Geneva, 1985), pp. 119–44, at pp. 134–5; Peter Kriedte, ‘Proto-Industrialisierung und grosses Kapital. Das Seidengewerbe in Krefeld und seinem Umland bis zum Ende des Anciem Régime’, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, XXIII (1983): pp. 219–66; Walter Endrei, ‘La productivité e la technique dans l’industrie textile du XIIIe au XVIIe siècle’, in Sara Mariotti, ed., Produttività e tecnologie nei secoli XII–XVII (Florence, 1981): pp. 253–62, at p. 257; Mottu-Weber, ‘Production’, p. 146; Mottu-Weber, ‘Les activités manufacturières’, p. 448 ; Pfister, ‘Craft Guilds’, pp. 172–98. 60 Caracausi, Nastri, pp. 85 and 127. 61 Ogilvie, ‘“Whatever is, is right”?’.

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medium- and high-quality cloth and ribbons, and they combined market trends with the local supply of raw materials (in other words, they responded to market trends according to the quality and quantity of the raw materials that were locally produced). Local institutions tended not to be unfavourable to product innovation, although sometimes other institutions, mainly Venetian guilds, limited the introduction of new products in the city. As the capital city of the Regional State, Venice and its State magistracies tried to preserve high-quality manufacturing for its guilds and artisans by applying strong protectionist measures, especially against nearby cities (Padua and Treviso).62 In the case of silk manufacturing, the government granted privileges to Venetian guilds, denied the importation and transit of goods made outside the city and forbade the weaving of high-luxury cloth in gold and silver on the Mainland. In 1537, the emigration of silk weavers from Venice was forbidden. During the first decades of the sixteenth century, the production of light silk cloths (canevazze, ormesini and rasetti) increased in Padua. However, in 1540, the Venetian authorities closed some throwing mills and, three decades later, on 14 September 1570, the Provveditore alla seta (magistracy on the silk industry) destroyed existing silk looms, again prohibiting weaving activities. In addition, there were restrictions relating to trimming and ribbon manufacturing. Founded in the late sixteenth century, the Venetian trimming guild obtained a ban on the import, export and consumption of non-Venetian trimmings and all silk and gold manufactured products.63 Despite this strong protectionism, Padua’s merchants tried to find alternative ways to bypass the Venetian guilds’ resistance, including by entering into direct dialogue with the State. From the late fifteenth century onwards, the granting of manufacturing privileges was exemplary. I analyse two specific eighteenthcentury cases. The first concerned the production of ribbons ‘following the Lyon fashion’ (ad uso di Lione). In 1740, the Venetian Senate allowed the French ribbon-maker, Filiberto Monblanc, to introduce the weaving of this type of ribbon. Some years later, Padua’s merchants also started to produce these ribbons, employing Venetian craftsmen. However, the Venetian trimming guild again obtained a ban in the capital city on the free circulation of ‘foreign’ ribbons ad uso di Lione.64 Salvatore Ciriacono, ‘Venise et ses villes. Structuration e destructuration d’un marché régional (XVI–XVIII siècle)’, Revue Historique, 56 (1986): pp. 287–308; Paola Lanaro, ‘At the Centre of the Old World. Reinterpreting Venetian Economic History’, in Lanaro, At the Centre of the Old World, pp. 21–35. On the weakness of Venetian protectionism, and especially for textile manufacturers, see the case of Verona and Vicenza: Demo, L’anima della citta; Vianello, Seta fine. 63 Molà, Silk Industry, pp. 280–81 and 294–8; Caracausi, Nastri, p. 40. 64 Caracausi, Nastri, pp. 84–5. 62

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In 1774, Francesco Finocchi, one of Padua’s most important merchants, asked for his ribbons to be distributed freely in Venice. The existing prohibitions were limiting his sales, especially in foreign markets. The Cinque savi alla mercanzia (the Venetian magistracy on trade) refused on the grounds that the privilege would have damaged the Venetian guild. In 1781, the merchant sought permission to have eight looms in Venice, next to the free distribution of his ribbons made in Padua and fiscal exemptions from the Mainland’s custom duties. The Venetian trimming guild presented strong opposition, stressing the lower cost of labour in Padua and asking for higher duties for foreign ribbons. However, the Inquisitorato alle arti (Venetian magistracy on guilds) allowed the merchant to have eight looms, both in Venice and in Padua, on the condition that they worked under the direction and assistance of Venetian craftsmen. Also, while he could refine in Padua the ribbons woven in Venice, only those products could return to the capital city. Finally, the merchant could introduce his own brand (‘Francesco Finocchi’), without which the ribbons would be considered illegal. Three years later, the Venetian trimming guild inspected Finocchi’s workshop and found ribbons made outside Venice. Consequently, recognizing the complicity of his Venetian craftsman, Giovanni Rossi, they fined the merchant. In January 1784, Finocchi closed his workshop in Venice because of ‘changes of fashion’.65 The unsuccessful introduction in Padua of new, high-quality and fashionable ribbons was due to the internal structure of the capital city’s guilds. As poor and small-scale producers, the Venetian ribbon-makers used their prerogatives (that is, the guild inspections) to maintain their monopoly over production, not to ensure the quality of the products. Again, the redistribution of resources had more impact. The Venetian guild protested that they would be unable to pay their taxes to the authorities, would be forced to close their workshops and so forth. In the Venetian context, Finocchi and the other merchants from the Mainland66 lacked strong ties within the local community. By contrast, the linen merchants from Padua’s countryside had more success, becoming ‘privileged’ manufacturers. They were able to exploit both their role within the local community and the absence of strong Venetian guild institutions in this sector. Domenico Carrari was the first of Padua’s linen merchants to be approved by the State. Starting with the imitation of foreign products, mainly from Switzerland, Germany and Flanders, he also introduced new types of cloth, Caracausi, Nastri, pp. 84–5. See, for instance, the story of the silk merchant Guadagni: Marcello Della Valentina, ‘Manifattura serica, evasione fiscale e contrabbando a Venezia nel Settecento’, Annali dell’Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento, XXIV (1998): pp. 79–82. On the other hand, from Venice to Padua (and vice versa), see: Aldo Stella, ‘Un lanificio veneto dall’artigianato all’industria nella seconda meta del Settecento’, Studi in onore di Amintore Fanfani (Milan, 1962): pp. 672–701. 65 66

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named rensetti sopraffini (finest). He realized this thanks to several ‘industrious experiments’, long journeys, learning, importing technologies and new products (especially raw materials), attracting foreign weavers and, finally, building factories and mills. His economic strategy was twofold. On the one hand, he exploited the weakness of the Venetian linen guilds, establishing a direct line with the State magistracies. On the other, he was strongly embedded in the local community. After obtaining fiscal exemptions to import high-quality foreign flax from Dutch and Russian markets, he introduced the cultivation of flax in the countryside and achieved higher-quality linen cloths. A few years later, in 1760, Carrari sought other privileges, such as fiscal exemptions for his products and workers. Granting these, the Venetian Senate recognized his role in the local community, which was testified by praise from priests, aldermen and other civil officers. Although their praise was exaggerated, their statements reflected the role of the social and human capital that the merchant was able to mobilize.67 Other merchants from Piove di Sacco asked for privileges. After imitating foreign products from Germany and Silesia, on 17 September 1761, the merchants Bernardo and Gioacomo Bocchini obtained fiscal exemptions in importing foreign flax and exporting their bombasine, reduced duties for the introduction of their rensetti in Venice and no tax increase for their workers. However, they were not allowed to produce other cloths (intime da penna, fustagni, rigadini bianchi) that were controlled by the Venetian guilds. Finally, the merchants had to introduce their own brand in order to have their products recognized by the fiscal authorities. In the following years, the Venetian Senate granted another three manufacturers the advantage of fiscal exemptions and State aid until the fall of the Republic. Their success depended mainly on two points. The first was the lack of Venetian guilds: by granting them privileges, the State was not damaging the existing equilibrium between the various corps within the State. Second, in order to receive exemptions and fiscal aid, the merchants were able to differentiate clearly between their products. Cities and Innovations in the Local Context During the Early Modern period, Padua’s textile manufactures introduced several product innovations that often also led to a reorganization of production. However, existing institutions hampered the introduction of some new machines and even new products. The ways by which these innovations were (or were not) applied, transferred and disseminated over time and space allow us to reflect

Caracausi, ‘Mercanti’, pp. 167–8.

67

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on the existing literature and to advance some general considerations on the relationship between cities and technological change. In recent decades, the role of guilds as institutions that transmitted skills, ensured the migration of artisans and sustained the introduction of technological innovation has been heavily disputed. While the dominant trend is to ‘rehabilitate’ the economic role of the guilds, the evidence from Padua’s textile manufacturers undermines this in more than one respect. First, it is difficult to assume – following Esptein’s view – that guilds existed in order to sustain and ensure the formation of skills through the apprenticeship system. From the fourteenth century, the more ancient guilds (the woollen guild consisting only of merchants) did not impose any fixed terms for apprenticeships. In Padua, this did not prevent merchants and masters from producing the finest highquality woollen cloths, which were often imitated abroad. Furthermore, from the sixteenth century, the silk merchants were also able to produce high-quality ribbons without guild apprenticeships. Other urban and private institutions, such as private contracts, family training, schools and orphanages, were sufficient for the dissemination and transmission of skills. In particular, private contracts were renegotiated continually before the civil and guild courts in order to guarantee the masters’ and pupils’ property rights – again, without enforcing a specific period of apprenticeship training. Certificates and, eventually, master tests were often needed, but they certified the ‘familiarity’ of the worker with the urban context rather than his real skills. Know-how was essentially ‘local’ and strongly embedded within the urban community.68 Finally, the market, more than guilds, ensured the training of the workforce and the recognition of good workers. Why, then, did guilds exist, and why did they emerge? The evidence from Padua suggests that guilds arose in particular for three reasons, supporting the ‘conflict view’ argued by Ogilvie. Guilds were erected as a consequence of conflicts, in order to ensure the redistribution of resources within a closed group, and to defend the guild’s rights against other groups.69 In the 1670s, the dyers and trimming weavers founded their guilds when reforms to the duty system introduced tighter control over production, and there was a need to improve the redistribution of duties amongst the masters. In the late eighteenth century, the silk ribbon merchant-manufacturers founded a guild after obtaining the exclusion of Jewish merchants from the trade and being obliged to produce a minimum quantity of ribbons in order to avoid unemployment amongst workers. Even spiritual or lay brotherhoods (as in the case of the textile woollen 68 Simona Cerutti, ‘Travail, mobilité et légitimité. Suppliques au roi dans une société d’Ancien Régime (Turin, XVIIIe siècle)’, Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 65 (2010): pp. 571–611; Caracausi, ‘A chi appartiene’, pp. 162–3; Trivellato, Fondamenta, pp. 85–109. 69 Ogilvie, ‘“Whatever is, is right”?’.

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weavers and beaters) were founded in order to defend workers’ rights against labour exploitation by merchants.70 In the context of recent debates, the increasing number of guilds was linked to the economic development of Italy and the Netherlands during the late sixteenth century and the seventeenth century, that is, to a period of economic prosperity. However, by closely analysing guild regulations on apprenticeship, De Munck has shown that, as a consequence of his economic growth, guilds introduced apprenticeships mainly in order to defend labour market monopsony.71 Padua’s case seems to be similar to that of Antwerp: new guilds, such as the dyers or trimming guilds, arose in the wake of economic growth, rising competition in the labour market or the State’s increasing income demands. The ‘defence’ of product quality hid the need on the part of masters, or even merchants, to protect labour monopsony. As we have seen above, the woollen cloth merchants raised the time of an apprenticeship from five to ten years in order to limit the power of cloth and knitting merchants within the council. In Early Modern cities, the merchants sustained the acquisition of new technologies by introducing novelties and attracting foreign artisans. Craftsmen were ‘useful’ not only after demographical crises such as plagues, but also when it was necessary to gain new markets or to limit foreign competition. In this context, it is important to recall that mobility was always a fundamental element in Early Modern society. In order to attract foreign skilled (and unskilled) workers, merchants and urban institutions acted jointly, using different tools. On the one hand, merchants stimulated movement through private contracts, providing accommodation, food and work and acting as brokers for other employers. On the other hand, urban institutions welcomed foreigners. In particular, they provided mechanisms to regulate the presence of foreigners, such as asking for deposits and credit to limit extreme mobility. In the case of woollen manufacturing, the guild also played an important role in offering a suitable place for resolving conflicts, signing contracts and certifying property rights. However, when such services were absent, civil courts and other institutions offered suitable alternatives. Still, the attitude of cities toward product or process innovations was not always straightforward. How cities responded to innovations depended mainly on the distributional effects and power relationships within the urban context. In the case of labour-saving and capital-intensive innovations such as the knitting frame and the ribbon engine loom, merchants opposed their introduction in Collodo, ‘Signore’, pp. 489–530; Panciera, ‘Padova, 1704’, pp. 629–53; Caracausi, Dentro la bottega, pp. 147–204. 71 Bert De Munck, ‘Gilding Golden Ages: Perspectives from Early Modern Antwerp on the Guild Debate, c. 1450–c. 1650’, European Review of Economic History, 15 (2011): pp. 221–53. 70

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order to protect not only their income, but also to avoid disrupting the balance in the distribution of resources. With the introduction of the hosiery frame, their ability to earn a living with labour would have been reduced. With the introduction of the ribbon engine loom, revenues would have been distributed over a limited number of merchants. In this case, Pfister’s argument regarding the role played by a limited market size is combined with Ogilvie’s argument on the distributional effects of institutions. The small markets for Padua’s ribbons and hosiery pushed merchants to avoid organizational change in order to maintain both their monopoly and the existing balance in the distribution of resources. Moreover, they were able to exploit a wide range of institutions (guilds, parishes and the civic council) in order to reach this goal. In defending their revenues, merchants referred to the need to protect ‘quality control’ and to avoid ‘unemployment’ amongst the poorest. But the defence of quality control was unclear: if the ribbons were of poor quality, nobody would have produced them. Moreover, it is difficult to link the rejection to the types of product: process innovations were hampered in cases of both low- and highquality products. Cloth merchants limited the production of high-quality socks (calze pannade) by cloth and knitting merchants in order to punish their rivals and make more profits on the wool market.72 Also, with regard to the desire to protect the poor, it is unclear whether the introduction of these machines could have created other work for their employees. The introduction of technological innovations also depended on the power relationships within the larger State. Pfister argued that subjected cities within a large territorial State were less able to influence policies on the introduction of new products and processes. Padua was a subjected city that was extremely close to the capital city. However, in the second part of the seventeenth century, Padua was able to limit the introduction of the knitting frame, even in Venice, and consequently influenced Venetian policy. Moreover, at the end of the eighteenth century, Padua was able to block the diffusion of the ribbon engine loom. By contrast, Venice restricted the introduction of silk weaving in the city and the introduction of Padua’s trimmings in Venice, thus limiting the growth of manufacturing in the subject city. Which factors determined ‘political influence’? In short, it was determined both by existing equilibria and power relations. With respect to existing equilibria, in line with many ‘corporate’ or ‘jurisdictional’ states, the Venetian government was careful to protect its bodies and avoid any unilateral, mercantilist policy in order to safeguard its own urban (that is, Venetian) guilds. Thanks to its medieval origins, even after the Venetian conquest, Padua’s woollen guild 72 Caracausi, Dentro la bottega. This illegal racket was very similar to the Bolognese case of leather production. See: Carlo Poni, ‘Local Market Rules and Practice. Three Guilds in the Same Line of Production in Early Modern Bologna’, in Stuart Woolf, ed., Domestic Strategies: Work and Family in France and Italy 1600–1800 (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 69–101.

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maintained a wide degree of autonomy. Moreover, from the point of view of power relations, the merchants and noblemen from Venice enrolled in the local guild of Padua in order to take advantage of fiscal and jurisdictional privileges. Of course, Padua’s merchants favoured their enrolment, because this would give them greater leverage when requesting privileges from the central authority. On the other hand, new guilds (trimming, dyers and silk ribbon merchants) had less influence on State policy, despite their economic relevance. When the introduction of new items and machines hampered existing sectors and affected the existing equilibrium between the two cities, the Venetian Senate avoided their introduction. For instance, this occurred in the cases of the knitting-frame and the ribbons ad uso di Lione. However, because of the weakness of the Venetian linen guilds, the linen merchants of Piove di Sacco exploited their role within the local context, obtaining privileges and fiscal exemptions as incentives for import substitution. The Republic took care to preserve the existing equilibrium between the State’s corps and jurisdiction. Last but not least, it is important to remember the relationship between the rural and urban environments. Rural production and rural proto-industry in particular have often been seen as the consumers of technological innovations developed by cities. However, town and country were more complementary than antagonistic with respect to both organization and technology. In woollen manufacturing, rural weaving and other operations (such as shearing and napping-raising) did not exclude high-quality products. As the example of linen manufacturing showed, rural merchants were able not only to imitate foreign products, but also to introduce new types of cloth and thus to generate product innovations themselves.73 In Padua’s textile manufacturing, then, the introduction, adoption and implementation of product innovations were more the result of a specific, complex system of regulations, institutions and market forces than deliberate economic policies. In particular, the State was always respectful of several bodies (guilds, merchants and other urban institutions) within the Republic, in order to avoid (or attempt to avoid) conflicts between different social groups whilst evaluating specific economic interests. In this sense, when cities and their components evaluated the use of new technologies, they took into account the level of competitive advantage and the opportunity costs.74 At the same time, however, innovations also depended on power relationships in and around guilds, and social structures (family and non-family institutions) in and between cities. Considering the route of technological innovations in urban contexts, the 73 On the idea of rural technological dependence, see: Epstein and Prak, ‘Introduction’, pp. 20–21. In this sense, it is necessary to underline the complementary and non-oppositional relationship between urban guilds and rural proto-industry. 74 Trivellato, ‘Guilds’, p. 200.

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reciprocal interplay between economic and social actors, and between local and State institutions, has to be taken into consideration.

Chapter 8

The Spatial Side of Innovation: the Local Organization of Cultural Production in the Dutch Republic, 1580–1800* Claartje Rasterhoff

One of the most salient features of innovative activity is its propensity to cluster spatially.1 Hollywood and Silicon Valley are among the best-known contemporary examples of such geographic concentrations. In the Early Modern period, the situation was no different. Some places were more conducive to economic and cultural inventions than others, and regional cultural specialization was visible across Europe, as the Italian philosopher Giovanni Botero observed at the end of the sixteenth century: … there is also an excellence in skill, which either for the quality of the water, or for the subtlety of the inhabitants, or for the hidden knowledge of the same, or for other similar reason succeeds better in one place than another, as with weapons in Damascus and in Schiraz, as with tapestries in Arras, woollen cloth in Florence, velvet in Genoa, brocade in Milan and scarlet cloth in Venice.2

Nowadays, explanations for the resilience of specializations and relatively high local levels of innovation are not so much sought in the ‘quality of the water’, but in two other, related processes. First, firms located in geographic proximity to * Earlier versions of this chapter were presented at the 10th International Conference on Urban History in 2009 in Ghent and the workshop on ‘Cities as centres of technological innovation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe’ in Rome in 2011. Many thanks to the organizers and participants of the two meetings. The Ecartico project (http://burckhardt. ic.uva.nl/ecartico), Harm Nijboer in particular, and Marieke van Delft of the Dutch Royal Library kindly shared datasets. Some of the arguments made in this chapter can be found in: Claartje Rasterhoff, ‘The fabric of creativity in the Dutch Republic. Painting and publishing as cultural industries, 1580–1800’ (PhD Dissertation, Utrecht University, 2012). 1 Cf. Paul Krugman, Geography and Trade (Cambridge, 1991), p. 55. 2 Quoted from Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents and the Circulation of Knowledge: Northern Italy during the Early Modern age’, Technology and Culture, 45/3 (2004): pp. 569–89, at p. 573.

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each other and to consumers, suppliers and specialized institutions can benefit from economies of agglomeration. This kind of spatial clustering may lower the cost of production or distribution and intensify local firms’ innovative capacities by allowing them to tap more easily into local knowledge and skill pools. On top of this, such patterns of industrial concentration evolve over time in a pathdependent dynamic. Due to the effects of increasing returns, once established trajectories of industrial development can become self-reinforcing, further strengthening the concentration of innovative activity.3 In this chapter, the aim is to find out whether and how industrial organization shaped patterns of innovation in cultural production in the Dutch Republic between 1580 and 1800. By selecting painting and publishing, two related but different cultural sectors, with comparable but not identical growth patterns, we hope to distinguish between industry-specific and structural conditions. Specific attention will be paid to the role of guilds in determining Early Modern industrial growth and innovation. For three key reasons, Early Modern Dutch painting and publishing are particularly suitable case studies for investigating the role of industrial organization in the generation of innovative activity. First, although urban spatial concentrations can be observed industry-wide, they are known to be particularly strong in commercial activities involving cultural products.4 Because these sectors often draw on features like creativity and novelty, and because they are particularly sensitive to spatial concentration in urban settings, they can be used as a magnifying glass for studying the role of local industrial organization in innovation processes.5 Second, the polycentric urban structure of the Dutch Republic, a structure that could also be found in the Southern Netherlands and Italy, is reflected in the geography of cultural production. In many other countries, most notably England and France, cultural achievements were mostly clustered in capital cities.6 Early Modern Dutch cultural production was to a large extent characterized by local specializations. The idea that geography of production is not only an outcome, but also a driver, of innovative activity and economic growth stems back to the early twentieth century, and has become increasingly popular in recent decades, cf. Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (London, 1891), vol. 7. 4 Cf. Maryann P. Feldman, Geography of Innovation (Boston, 1994). 5 Cf. Mark Lorenzen and Lars Frederiksen, ‘Why Do Cultural Industries Cluster? Localization, Urbanization, Products and Projects’, in Philip Cooke and Luciana Lazaretti, eds, Creative Cities, Cultural Clusters, and Local Economic Development (Cheltenham, 2008), pp. 155–79. 6 On England and France: English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC), accessible at www. estc.bl.uk; James Raven, The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade, 1450– 1850 (New Haven, 2007), p. 149; Jean-Dominique Mellot and Anne Boyer, ‘The French Printing and Publishing Network through the Corpus of the Répertoire d’imprimeurs/ libraires of the Bibliothèque National de France (16th–18th century)’ (Paper presented at 3

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Finally, there is a large body of Dutch art-historical and book-historical literature on the seventeenth century. This makes it possible to draw on studies that looked at these individual sectors at a micro- or macro-level in order to apply a comparative perspective at the meso-level. Early Modern Dutch Painting and Publishing

Figure 8.1

Number of publishers and painters in the Dutch Republic per year, semi-log scale, 1580–1800

Source: Painting: Ecartico, RKD;7 Publishing: Thesaurus.8

the CERL seminar ‘Urban networks and the printing trade in early modern Europe (15th– 18th century)’, Brussels, 6 November 2009). 7 http://burckhardt.ic.uva.nl/ecartico/. The database, which is not yet publicly available, is based on a variety of sources and literature, for a large part from Pieter Groenendijk, Beknopt biografisch lexicon van Zuid- en Noord-Nederlandse schilders, graveurs, glasschilders, tapijtwevers et cetera van ca. 1350 tot ca. 1720 (Utrecht, 2008). Unfortunately this database does not cover the eighteenth century. We have used the RKDartists database (www.rkd.nl) to arrive at estimates for the eighteenth century. The Ecartico data have been extrapolated on the basis of growth rates per quarter century, derived from the RKD database. 8 www.kb.nl. The STCN is the Dutch retrospective bibliography for the period 1540– 1800. We estimate the size of the publishing industry using a by-product of the STCN: the Thesaurus 1473–1800. See: Marieke van Delft, ‘Kwantitatief onderzoek op basis van de STCN: mogelijkheden en aandachtspunten’, Jaarboek voor Nederlandse boekgeschiedenis, 16 (2009): pp. 63–80.

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Although much has been written about the economic and cultural achievements of the cities in Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, and the general chronology is well known, it is worthwhile visualizing these achievements in quantitative terms. The general development of the two sectors is estimated by counting the number of producers active in each year. The trends in Figure 8.1 clearly mirror the general economic development of the Dutch Republic: substantial expansion between c. 1580 and 1650, followed by stagnation or decline, depending on the sector.9 The Dutch Republic’s sudden emergence as an important cultural centre after 1580 has been attributed to a combination of cultural, social and economic circumstances. Even though the general conditions for cultural production were favourable well before the Golden Age, the northern provinces of the Low Countries were only minor players in cultural production. During most of the sixteenth century, the town of Antwerp in the south was the unrivalled commercial and cultural hub of Northwestern Europe. It would take an exogenous shock, in the form of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish, to really set off quantitative and qualitative growth in the cultural sectors. Both the demand for and the supply of cultural production in the Republic received a boost from the deterioration of Antwerp’s commercial power and the massive immigration of Southern Netherlandish craftsmen and merchants. During the last decades of the sixteenth century, population size and aggregate wealth in the northern provinces increased, whilst producers and consumers from the Southern Netherlands introduced new fashions and practices. In other words, at a time when demand for luxury goods increased, immigrant producers were ideally placed to provide these goods in great number and variety.10 In hindsight, these events marked the beginning of a period in which Dutch cultural production reached unprecedented levels in terms of scale, scope and quality. During the first half of the seventeenth century, economic prosperity, population growth, secularization of demand, relative freedom of the press and thought, high levels of literacy and a developed trade network were among the many factors that interlocked and helped cause the surge in artistic production and consumption.11 The fact that conditions were not as promising in other 9 Cf. Jan De Vries and Ad van der Woude, The First Modern Economy: Success, Failure, and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy, 1500–1815 (Cambridge, 1997). 10 Marten Jan Bok, ‘The Rise of Amsterdam as a Cultural Centre: the Market for Paintings, 1580–1680’, in Patrick O’ Brien, Marjolein ‘t Hart and Herman Van Der Wee, eds, Urban Achievement in Early Modern Europe: Golden Ages in Antwerp, Amsterdam and London (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 186–209, at p. 187. 11 Ibid.; Jan De Vries, ‘Art history’, in David Freedberg and Jan De Vries, eds, Art in History/ History in Art: Studies in Seventeenth-century Dutch Culture (Santa Monica, 1991), pp. 249–82; Paul Hoftijzer, ‘Metropolis of Print: the Amsterdam Book Trade in the Seventeenth Century’, in ‘O Brien, ‘t Hart and Van der Wee, eds, Urban Achievement,

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countries reinforced the cultural position of the Dutch Republic, at least until the last quarter of the seventeenth century. Hereafter the Dutch economy lost much of its momentum, and the cultural sectors formed no exception. Stagnation, saturation of domestic demand, structural overproduction, the absence of technological innovations and the rise of foreign competitors curbed growth rates. In the case of painting, the increasing popularity of other forms of wall decoration even made for a dramatic decline in demand for these formerly tremendously popular cultural objects, which is reflected in the slump in the number of artists visible in Figure 8.1. The obvious parallels between general economic trends and developments in the two cultural markets have become the focus of so-called ‘art and market’ studies.12 The general premise in these studies is that artistic goods are commodities. The economist John Michael Montias sparked off this research area in the early 1980s, by employing economic theory to analyse the size and composition of Dutch local art markets.13 His work resulted in the widely held pp. 249–36; Berry Dongelmans, ed., ‘Kopij en druk revisited: een eigentijds overzicht van de Nederlandse boekgeschiedenis vanaf de 14e eeuw’, Jaarboek voor Nederlandse boekgeschiedenis, vol. 17 (Nijmegen, 2010). For international estimates see: Eltjo Buringh and Jan L. van Zanden, ‘Charting the “Rise of the West”: Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe: A Long-Term Perspective from the Sixth Through Eighteenth Centuries’, Journal of Economic History, 69/2 (2009): pp. 409–45. On exports, consider, for example, the contributions in: Christiane Berckvens-Stevelinck et al., eds, Le Magasin de l’Univers: The Dutch Republic as the centre of the European booktrade (Papers presented at the International Colloqium, held at Wassenaar 5–7 July 1990) (Leiden, 1992). 12 Neil De Marchi and Hans J. Van Miegroet, Mapping Markets for Paintings in Europe 1450–1750 (Turnhout, 2006). 13 There are too many studies to mention them all here. A selection of John M. Montias’ work includes: John M. Montias, Artists and Artisans in Delft: A Socio-economic Study of the Seventeenth Century (Princeton, 1982); John M. Montias, ‘Cost and Value in Seventeenth-Century Art’, Art History, 10/4 (1987): pp. 455–66; John M. Montias, ‘The Influence of Economic Factors on Style’, De Zeventiende Eeuw, 6 (1990): pp. 49–57 and John M. Montias, ‘Estimates of the Number of Master-Painters, their Earning and their Output in 1650’, Leidschrift, 6 (1990): pp. 59–74. Consider for example also: Marten Jan Bok, ‘Vraag en aanbod op de Nederlandse kunstmarkt, 1580–1700’ (PhD Dissertation, Utrecht University, 1994); De Vries, ‘Art History’; Ad van der Woude, ‘The Volume and Value of Paintings in Holland at the Time of the Dutch Republic’, in David Freedberg and Jan De Vries, eds, Art in History, pp. 285–329; De Marchi and Van Miegroet, Mapping Markets; Michael North and David Ormrod, eds, Art Markets in Europe, 1400–1800 (Aldershot, 1998); Reindert Falkenburg, ed., Kunst voor de markt/ Art for the Market, 1500–1700, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, Vol. 50 (Zwolle, 1999); Michael North, Art and Commerce in the Dutch Golden Age (Newhaven, 1997). On England: Thomas Bayer and John Page, The Development of the Art Market in England. Money as Muse, 1730–1900 (London, 2011). On the Southern Netherlands: Filip Vermeylen, Painting for the Market:

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belief that market forces did much to shape Early Modern Dutch art production. Increasingly, economists have turned their attention to taste, quality and novelty, and art historians have become more concerned with broader issues of social context and market and business organization. Viewing cultural products as commodities has greatly improved our understanding of the dynamics of historical art markets. Between the favourable general conditions, the Dutch Revolt, the presence of a potentially large and diverse market and a range of product and process innovations ensuing from competitive pressure that turned this market into real demand, we seem to find a satisfactory explanation for the rapid growth and high production figures in Figure 8.1. The extraordinary commercial and artistic achievements in Dutch cultural production, however, cannot be wholly explained by such an extraordinary match of supply and demand. Paintings and books are more than commodities; they are produced in what are now commonly referred to as cultural industries, defined as those sectors of the economy that design, produce and distribute products that appeal more to aesthetic or expressive tastes than to utilitarian aspects of customers’ needs.14 They comprise a wide range of cultural activities, sharing several common characteristics, such as relatively high demand and quality uncertainty.15 Theoretical and empirical research on present-day cultural industries has shown that the above-mentioned features have consequences for the organizational structure of cultural production, such as the labour market, institutional support and relationships with consumers.16 More specifically, firms in cultural industries tend to be small- or medium-sized, develop strong institutional ties and cluster spatially. These distinct patterns of organization in contemporary cultural industries point to the importance of local sources of innovation and growth. This means that the rise, fall or resilience of innovative cultural production should not only be attributed to the exogenous factors Commercialization of Art in Antwerp’s Golden Age (Turnhout, 2003). On Italy: Frederic Etro and Laura Pagani, ‘The Market for Paintings in Italy during the Seventeenth Century’, The Journal of Economic History, 72/2 (2012): pp. 414–39; Richard Spear and Philip Sohm, eds, Painting for Profit. The Economic Lives of Seventeenth-century Italian Painters (New Haven, 2010); Jonathan K. Nelson and Richard J. Zeckhauser, eds, The Patron’s Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art (Princeton, 2008). 14 For a discussion of definitions, see: David Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries (London, 2007); Dominic Power and Allen J. Scott, eds, Cultural Industries and the Production of Culture (London, 2004). 15 Not all cultural industries display each characteristic to the same extent and many of the features can also be found in other economic activities. Richard E. Caves, Creative Industries. Contracts between Art and Commerce (Cambridge, 2000). 16 Ibid.; Allen J. Scott, The Cultural Economy of Cities. Essays on the Geography of Imageproducing Industries (London, 2000); Power and Scott, eds, Cultural Industries.

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outlined above, but also to an endogenous dynamic that functions at the local level. Consequently, within the economic framework now popular in studies on Golden Age cultural production, we should also take into account the local organization of the sectors in order to explain patterns of growth and innovation.17 Institutions and Innovation The variable of local industrial organization can be extrapolated to a more general discussion of the importance of institutions in explaining economic outcomes.18 This debate is lively and, where it concerns the pre-industrial era, largely being fought out over guilds.19 In Early Modern Europe, the most common institutional form of organization in urban industries was the local craft guild. For a long time, echoing late eighteenth-century sentiments, Early Modern guilds were viewed as rent-seeking, inflexible monopolists that obstructed processes of innovation and growth.20 However, since the 1980s, the economic role of Early Modern guilds has been reassessed, resulting in a historiography that is now often referred to as revisionist.21 At first, reservations about the effectiveness of guild regulations initially demoted guilds as by and large insignificant in shaping patterns of economic growth. More recently, a framework has been drawn up in which Early Modern guilds could have had a positive impact on economic growth. Following the work of Stephan Epstein and building on new institutional economics, historians have highlighted the 17 This argument follows Maarten Prak, ‘Guilds and the Development of the Art Market during the Dutch Golden Age’, Simiolus, 30/3–4 (2003): pp. 236–51, at p. 150. 18 Institutions can be understood as rules and norms governing economic transactions. See: Douglass C. North, ‘Institutions’, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5/1 (1991): pp. 97–112. 19 For the discussion between Stephan R. Epstein and Sheilagh Ogilvie, see: Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, The Journal of Economic History, 58/3 (1998): pp. 684–713; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds in the Pre-Modern Economy: A Discussion’, Economic History Review, 61/1 (2008): pp. 155–74 and Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Rehabilitating the Guilds: A Reply’, Economic History Review, 61/1 (2008): pp. 175–82. 20 For example: Joel Mokyr, The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy (Princeton, 2002), p. 31. 21 Consider for example Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation, and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008); Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds’; James R. Farr, ‘On the Shop Floor: Guilds, Artisans, and the European Market Economy, 1350– 1750’, Journal of Early Modern History, 1/1 (1997): pp. 24–54; Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship’.

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role of guild organization in reducing transaction costs at several stages of the industrial process: training, the coordination of complex production processes and the creation of markets.22 All these elements favour industrial growth and innovation. In response to these more positive interpretations of guilds, a rival framework on the economic effects of guild organization developed, with Sheilagh Ogilvie as its main advocate.23 This view contends that guilds negatively affected the development of product quality, skills and innovation, because they were prone to rent-seeking behaviour, representing the interests of the most powerful groups in the industry and trade. The late-eighteenth-century view resonates in this interpretation: distributional conflicts and inertia, rather than efficiency, explain the persistence of institutions such as guilds. The wide range of empirical studies summoned to support the one view or the other paint such a heterogeneous and fragmented picture that it seems almost impossible to reconcile them in a single framework. Where does Early Modern Dutch cultural production fit in? Several historians have pointed to the specific organization of artistic production in the Dutch Republic as an explanatory factor in the remarkable flowering of Dutch Golden Age painting. Jan De Vries and Marten Jan Bok both suggest that organizational changes in the Dutch art market, most notably the establishment of individual painters’ guilds, accelerated the scale and scope of Dutch art production, but neither has expanded much on this.24 Others have worked this hypothetical claim into a more systematic argument. Maarten Prak has presented the guild-based structure as a key factor in the success of the Dutch painting sector, and he employs this case study to illustrate how craft guilds could have played important economic roles.25 The corporate structure of the Dutch painting sector contributed to the development and maintenance of local specializations through the provision of an administrative framework for training, stimuli for demand and tools for control of local markets. Guilds were not the sole cause of growth and innovation, but they offered an organizational frame that allowed local painters to reap advantages of scale. The argument is persuasive, but it also raises several questions. How can we explain that not all towns with a substantial number of painters organized in guilds developed successful specializations? If the role of guilds was reinforcing, Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds’, p. 155. Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Rehabilitating the Guilds: A Reply’, pp. 175–82; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Guilds, Efficiency, and Social Capital: Evidence from German Proto-Industry’, Economic History Review, 57/2 (2004): pp. 286–333. 24 De Vries, ‘Art History’; Bok, ‘Rise of Amsterdam’, p. 201. 25 Maarten Prak, ‘Painters, Guilds, and the Art Market During the Dutch Golden Age’, in Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation, pp. 143–71. On the role of local organization in Leiden’s book production and trade: Laura Cruz, The Paradox of Prosperity: the Leiden Booksellers’ Guild and the Distribution of Books in Early Modern Europe (New Castle, 2008). 22 23

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rather than initiating, why did these bursts of creativity emerge in a certain location in the first place? And if guilds contributed to the rise of these industries, what about their role in the stagnation or decline, depending on the sector, which set in around 1660? We can address these questions by viewing Dutch craft guilds in cultural sectors in the more comprehensive analytical framework of spatial clustering. Evolutionary Cluster Theory Prak has observed that the industrial organization of Early Modern Dutch painting resembles that of a modern industrial cluster.26 In economic theory, clusters are defined as geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries and associated institutions in particular fields that compete but also cooperate.27 Within this cluster, localization economies can enhance the performance of both incumbents and entrants through the pooling of resources and labour, and easy access to knowledge and information. The interrelations that develop over time between these four elements can result in local specializations, quality improvements, accelerated growth and innovative activity. This phenomenon has a distinct historical dimension, which relies on the frameworks of endogenous growth and path dependency. The self-reinforcing mechanism of cluster externalities makes for new business establishments and growth, generating further externalities, creating further growth and so forth. This dynamic is known as one of positive feedback loops or increasing returns. The flipside is that increasing local embeddedness and institutional thickness can also increase the risk of clusters and local industries becoming ‘locked’ in established routines. Ultimately, this can lead to the downfall of the cluster, because producers lack the flexibility that is necessary for successful adaptation to changing circumstances.28 The framework of spatial clustering not only explains why producers cluster, but it also helps to account for spatial and chronological patterns of growth and innovation. Even though institutions such as guilds feature prominently, they do not form the exclusive focus. Rather, it acknowledges the complexity of historically built relations within a geographic entity – such as a city – between producers of comparable goods or services, customers, related and supplying Prak, ‘Painters’, pp. 169–71. Michael E. Porter, On Competition (Boston, 1998), pp. 197–8. 28 Cf. Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift, ‘Globalisation, “Institutional Thickness” and the Local Economy’, in Patsy Healey, Stuart Cameron and Simin Davoudi, eds, Managing Cities. The New Urban Context (Chicester, 1995), pp. 91–109. 26 27

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industries and the industrial competitive environment.29 The core feature is the evolving relationship between these different elements. Though it is an attractive concept, not only for policymakers but also for historians, its limits also need to be mentioned. First, the literature is not clear on definitions. For instance, a question that comes up repeatedly is whether there are limits to the geographic scope of a cluster.30 Second, there is the problem of measurement. For instance, it is not very satisfactory that the existence of cluster dynamics is proved by the existence of spatial concentrations. Knowledge spillovers, a key component in the analytical framework, are notoriously hard to measure. And how do we know whether any innovation or growth effects are really caused by clustering? For the Early Modern period, it would be near impossible to compare the input and output of clustered painters and publishers to that of non-clustered firms. Finally, although it is generally accepted that clusters, like products and industries, go through stages of start-up, growth and decline, there are few studies of the different factors shaping the various stages.31 As a result of these three issues, the vast literature on clusters comprises either very casespecific accounts or abstract theoretical discussions. Nonetheless, cluster theory allows us to redirect the debate on local industrial organization from the guild to a broader interpretation and to add a distinct evolutionary perspective to the role of industrial organization. The potential impact of clustering is known to differ per type of economic activity, ranging from particularly strong in sectors in which tacit knowledge and face-to-face contacts are particularly important, to weak in sectors in which knowledge is standardized and codified.32 Cultural production is a prime 29 This interplay is visualized in Michael Porter’s diamond model. Porter, On Competition. 30 Ron A. Boschma and Robert C. Kloosterman, Learning from Clusters: a Critical Assessment from an Economic-Geographical Perspective (Berlin, 2005); Anders Malmberg and Peter Maskell, ‘The Elusive Concept of Localization Economies: Towards a KnowledgeBased Theory of Spatial Clustering’, Environment and Planning, 34/3 (2002): pp. 429–49. 31 Historical studies include: Amy Glasmeier, Manufacturing Time: Global Competition in the Watch Industry, 1795–2000 (New York, 2000); Michaël Deinema, ‘The Culture Business Caught in Place. Spatial Trajectories of Dutch Cultural Industries, 1899–2005’ (PhD Dissertation, University of Amsterdam, 2012); Robert Kloosterman and Eva Stegmeijer, ‘Delirious Rotterdam? Path-creation and the Emergence of a Cluster of Architectural Firms in Rotterdam’, in Boschma and Kloosterman, eds, Learning from Clusters, pp. 203–24; Rik Wenting, ‘The Evolution of a Creative Industry. The Industrial Dynamics and Spatial Evolution of the Global Fashion Design Industry’ (PhD Dissertation, Utrecht University, 2008); Barbara Heebels and Ron Boschma, ‘Performing in Dutch Book Publishing 1880–2008. The Importance of Entrepreneurial Experience and the Amsterdam Cluster’, Journal of Economic Geography, 11 (2011): pp. 1007–29. 32 Cf. Feldman, Geography of Innovation.

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example of the former. The degree and the role of clustering thus differs per type of competitive source, be it product innovation, distribution or marketing. This means that the relative importance of clustering can also vary according to different stages in industrial development. Approaching the Early Modern guild from a clustering perspective will demonstrate that guild behaviour or impact should not be viewed as independent of other strategies in the industries of painting and publishing. The Geography of Painting and Publishing The core element of spatial clustering is the co-location of producers. This prompts the question of how spatially concentrated Dutch painting and publishing were and whether or not we encounter differences in spatial organization over time and between sectors. Even though Early Modern painting and publishing were both cultural industries, they also exhibit significant differences, for instance in terms of artistic content and production methods. Table 8.1 presents the spatial distribution of painters and publishers and population in the 10 most significant cultural centres in the Dutch Republic. Dutch cultural production was concentrated in the area that is nowadays known as the Randstad, a polycentric urban region consisting of towns such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden and Utrecht. Given the fact that the Randstad was the economic powerhouse of the Dutch Republic, this spatial structure is not very surprising. However, there are some differences between the two sectors. Painting was more concentrated in the larger towns than publishing, where a quarter of the producers worked in smaller localities. Moreover, not all towns that housed a large number of painters also featured as publishing centres, nor did all towns that could, in theory, offer comparable demand conditions and urban amenities, flourish as cultural centres. Leiden, for instance, the secondlargest town in the country after Amsterdam, did better in publishing than in painting. Haarlem, on the other hand, shows a concentration in painting, but not in publishing. In the case of painting, Amsterdam’s share matches its share in the country’s urban population, and Haarlem, Delft and The Hague stand out. Nonetheless, as is evident in Figures 8.2 and 8.3, some spatial restructuring did take place over the course of the period between 1580 and 1800. The sample years reflect the different stages in the market for art and books.

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Table 8.1

Geographic distribution of publishers and painters according to main work location, 1570–1800, and population of the Dutch Republic in 1675

Amsterdam Leiden Rotterdam The Hague Utrecht Haarlem Dordrecht Leeuwarden Delft Middelburg Rest N

Publishers

Painters

% 33.4 9.4 6.7 8.3 5.8 2.8 2.9 1.5 2.0 3.0 24.2 –**

% 26.1 5.7 6.6 13.8 6.4 12.1 3.6 2.8 8.4 2.9 11.6 –**

Urban population34 1675 % 25.8 8.2 4.9 2.5 3.7 4.7 2.5 2.0 3.1 3.3 39.5 815,000

Source: Thesaurus; STCN; Ecartico. ** Averages over people active per town in the period 1580–1800; for painters, 1580–1700.

The initial patterns of concentration are not difficult to explain. First of all, painters and publishers favoured large towns. Local market size, as indicated by population size, determined which towns would be worthwhile business locations. But even if Dutch painters and publishers generally preferred larger towns to smaller ones, size does not go all the way in explaining their geographic distribution. In general, larger towns housed more producers, but this only determines the selection of towns that house more than a few producers, not the ranking within the top 10 towns. Delft, for example, housed more painters than larger towns such as Leiden and Rotterdam. We can explain the spatial variance using a two-tier dynamic. First of all, already in 1580, certain towns offered unique conditions for both Dutch and immigrant painters and publishers. In the case of publishing, locally specific urban amenities, such as the presence of related and supporting industries, made several towns particularly attractive for aspiring entrepreneurs: commerce in Amsterdam, academic life in Leiden and 33 De Vries and van der Woude, The First Modern Economy, Table 3.9 on urbanization figures. See: Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, Inwonersaantallen van Nederlandse steden, ca. 1300–1800 (Amsterdam, 1997), for population figures for individual towns.

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1580

1610

1650

1710

1740

1780

Figure 8.2

173

Spatial distribution of publishers, per sample year (1580, 1610, 1650, 1710, 1740 and 1780)

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1580

1610

1650

1680

Figure 8.3

Spatial distribution of painters, per sample year (1580, 1610, 1650 and 1680)

Source: Ecartico.

politics in The Hague. The port town of Rotterdam only became significant when the export of books became more important, after 1660.34 In the case of painting, two other factors were of determining influence: a local tradition in painting and the presence of top-level artists, such as Cornelis Cornelisz and Hendrick Goltzius in Haarlem, and Abraham Bloemaert in Utrecht. These painters attracted many pupils.35 The geographic divergence that took place during the phase of emergence determined the artistic opportunities in later stages. After the 1610s, a series of artistic product and process innovations – such as the use of a less elaborate underground, ‘washed’ colour tones and sketchy brush strokes – lowered

Rasterhoff, ‘Fabric of creativity’, pp. 166–7. Ibid., p. 215.

34 35

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production costs and unlocked new segments of demand.36 At the same time, growth became more concentrated in specific localities. We can identify two groups of towns in 1610: towns with one to five painters and towns with more than 10 painters.37 The gap between the different categories became more pronounced from 1620 onwards. Only the second group of towns would become known as significant locations in artistic terms during the Golden Age. Michael Montias was therefore correct to highlight ‘critical mass’, which we should define here as the minimum number of practitioners required for developing and sustaining a proper local market.38 In other words, after 1610 it was hard to make a silk purse out of what had been a sow’s ear during the phase of emergence. In publishing, growth was sustained in Leiden and Amsterdam, and no major restructuring took place. After the middle of the century, things changed. We observe that in painting, Haarlem and Utrecht lost importance and were replaced by Leiden and The Hague. The artistic centres in which growth had started relatively early were the first to come up, but also the first to come down. When growth rates in the other local markets also diminished, painters flocked to the larger towns of The Hague, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. In the new market situation, medium-sized towns could no longer hope to play a significant role. Though not visualized in the figure above, this was only strengthened in the eighteenth century.39 In publishing, we find a more resilient pattern. Throughout the period Amsterdam and Leiden accommodated c. 50 per cent of all publishers, but their relative importance changed as Amsterdam’s share increased at the expense of Leiden’s. In the remaining 50 per cent, a handful of towns continued to hold modest shares, although The Hague and Rotterdam became somewhat more prominent. Of course, a distinction should be made between the size of a local industry and its innovative capacity. In theory, all titles and all paintings contain elements of uniqueness and creativity, except for carbon copies. But the fact is that not all painters were as innovative as Esaias van de Velde, Jan van Goyen or Gerrit Dou, and not all publishers could match the competitive power or cultural impact of the likes of Blaeu or Elzevier. Although we cannot measure the performance of clustered firms versus non-clustered equivalents in any meaningful way, we can at least guess at the artistic success of towns, starting with the phenomenon of ‘local schools’. Eric Jan Sluijter, ‘On Brabant Rubbish, Economic Competition, Artistic Rivalry, and the Growth of the Market for Paintings in the First Decades of the Seventeenth Century’, Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art, 1/2 (2009), pp. 112–43. 37 Amsterdam, Delft, Haarlem, The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leiden, Leeuwarden and Dordrecht. 38 Montias, Artists and Artisans, p. 329. 39 Data from RKDartists. 36

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We may reasonably assume that a more or less complete range of paintings, in terms of price and genre, could be purchased in most towns in Holland, but several localities did develop specializations.40 These were not necessarily unique or related to the character of the town itself, but in certain towns specific types of paintings were produced in such quantities and quality that they became closely associated with the locality. Haarlem acquired a reputation for landscape painters, Utrecht for Italianate works and Mannerist history painters, Rotterdam for farm interiors and, around the middle of the seventeenth century, Delft for urban interior and exterior perspectives, while Leiden became known for the style of fijnschilders.41 When we compare the occupational location of Dutch painters documented in museums and art history handbooks, the same towns stand out.42 In publishing, there were three obvious local specialties: Amsterdam in cartography and Dutch language and literature, Leiden in academic publications and The Hague in political ordinances.43 These remained the same over time and there was hardly any geographic restructuring after the growth phase. This is significant, because it suggests strong local reproduction mechanisms. Leiden had significant urban amenities to offer to publishers at the end of the sixteenth century, but things were very different 150 years later. The Leiden economy was in crisis and other towns, Groningen and later Utrecht, had also become university towns. Nonetheless, Leiden booksellers continued to hold a strong position in the Dutch and international book trade.44 In the case of The Hague, the special privileges of booksellers at the court made it an attractive location for public book sales, even later in the Early Modern period.45 Not coincidentally, the three towns in which production had first developed on a large scale – Leiden, Amsterdam and The Hague – also led the way in the second-hand

Cf. the seminal work on Dutch seventeenth-century painting: Bob Haak, The Golden Age: Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century (London, 1984). 41 Some art historians have argued against a classification of towns. Early on, for example, Wilhelm Martin acknowledged that certain towns developed into artistic centres, but he also argued that there were no local ‘schools’ in the Dutch Republic in terms of genre or style. Wilhelm Martin, De Hollandsche schilderkunst in de zeventiende eeuw (Amsterdam, 1935–36), vol. 1, p. 64. 42 Rasterhoff, ‘Fabric of creativity’ discusses this in more depth on the basis of historiometric analysis. 43 Ibid., pp. 134–8. 44 On Leiden see: Laura Cruz, ‘The Secrets of Success: Microinventions and Bookselling in Seventeenth-Century Netherlands’, Book History, 10 (2007): pp. 1–28 and Cruz, Paradox of Prosperity. 45 On The Hague see: Marika Keblusek, Boeken in de hofstad: Haagse boekcultuur in de Gouden Eeuw (Haarlem, 1997). 40

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market that would become so important for the Dutch book trade during the period of industrial stagnation after 1660. In these patterns of local specializations, diverging rates of growth and innovation and spatial resilience, we can see indications of clusters and of early competitive advantages being reproduced and even reinforced over time, especially in the case of publishing. Yet we do not know whether routines were really reproduced over time, or rather re-established time and again due to particular local advantages. In other words, on the basis of these maps alone, we cannot be certain about the causal mechanisms. A more qualitative discussion on the changes in painters’ and publishers’ business strategies can shed light on how the relationships between different actors in the clusters – firms, consumers, firms in related and supporting industries and institutions – evolved and how this may have influenced the reproduction of local sources of innovation and growth. The Lifecycle of Dutch Painting and Publishing The evolutionary perspective enables us to refrain from viewing innovation as a homogeneous or static concept. The character and thereby also the determinants of innovation may differ per type of economic activity and period in the industrial lifecycle. This means that the role of clustering may also vary accordingly and by implication, the same goes for the role of institutions such as guilds. On closer inspection, the timeline of innovation suggests a relationship between periods of heightened innovative activity, changing guild concerns and shifts in market conditions. The growing interest in luxury goods, such as books and paintings, combined with the influx of migrant craftsmen, formed the first stage in innovative activity. The contribution of new trends in demand and supply did not so much lie in dramatic innovations, as in the introduction of new genres and painting techniques. Genres such as landscape, still life and figure painting, for instance, hardly established in the Republic, were introduced by Southern Netherlandish immigrants. Even if they primarily introduced Flemish traditions, they were instrumental in adapting these styles and genres to the predilections of the northern market. David Vinckboons’ Flemish-style outdoor merry companies, for instance, show adaptations to northern fashions.46 Meanwhile, native Dutch painters made advancements in history painting, developing a style that came to be known as Dutch mannerism. In contrast to the realist styles that were developing at the time, painters such as Hendrick Goltzius, Cornelis Cornelisz 46 Cf. Elmer Kolfin, The Young Gentry at Play: Northern Netherlandish Scenes of Merry Companies 1610–1645 (Leiden, 2005).

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van Haarlem, Karel van Mander and Abraham Bloemaert favoured monumental dramatic compositions, often unnatural or unrealistic.47 In publishing, immigrant entrepreneurs were also pivotal to the introduction of new genres. The best example is the publisher and bookseller Cornelis Claesz, who set up shop in Amsterdam in 1578 and transformed the book market. He introduced and popularized new genres, developed ties with international networks and presented new business models. Claesz was particularly instrumental in laying the foundations for the rise of Amsterdam as a centre of cartography, a genre that he launched and monopolized in the North. By using certain type fonts, increasing the number of illustrations and varying the format of the books, Claesz managed to tap into emerging market segments. In other genres, such as that of songbooks, comparable improvements were made.48 By the end of the 1610s, more ground-breaking changes in subject matter and style took place in both sectors. In painting, a new generation, personified by innovators such as Esaias van de Velde and Willem Buytewech transformed the fields of landscape and figure painting. The genre of landscape, the most popular and renowned, can serve as an example. In the 1610s, Amsterdam and Haarlem print designers and artists were moving away from the mannerist tradition of fantastical views and extreme stylization, but only with regard to prints and drawings. Esaias van de Velde was the first to translate these novelties into paintings after 1614.49 Moving away from Flemish print designs and paintings, he started to depict views of familiar landscapes near Dutch towns, applied a simpler palette, lowered the horizon, reduced the number of figures, and used a composition in which all elements are linked together by way of oblique lines. All these interventions created a sense of space that allowed the viewer of the painting to become increasingly involved.50 In hindsight, these painters set the stylistic direction and conventions of what would become known as Dutch landscape painting. The genre was then further Josua Bruyn, ‘A Turning-Point in the History of Dutch Art’, in Ger Luijten et al., eds, Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580–1620 (Amsterdam and Zwolle, 1993), pp. 112–21. 48 Cf. Natascha Veldhorst, Zingend door het leven. Het liedboek in de Gouden Eeuw (Amsterdam, 2009); Natascha Veldhorst, ‘Pharmacy for the Body and Soul: Dutch Songbooks in the Seventeenth Century’, Early Music History, 27/2 (2008): pp. 217–85. 49 Melanie E. Gifford, ‘Esaias van de Velde’s Technical Innovations: Translating a Graphic Tradition into Paint’, in Ashok Rhoy, Perry Smith and David Bomford, eds, Painting Techniques: History, Materials, and Studio Practice (London, 1998), pp. 145–9; and George S. Keyes, Esaias van de Velde 1587–1630 (Doornspijk, 1984). 50 For a clear discussion of these innovations see Eric Jan Sluijter, ‘Jan van Goyen als marktleider, virtuoos en vernieuwer’, in Christiaan Vogelaar, ed., Jan van Goyen (Leiden and Zwolle, 1996), pp. 38–59, at pp. 51–2. 47

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developed by specialists such as Jan van Goyen, Salomon van Ruysdael and Pieter de Molyn. Under their guidance, the so-called tonal period gained momentum through the 1620s. Also known as the monochrome phase, this approach was characterized by the use of a more limited palette, simpler motifs, the blurring of lines and more attention to sky and water. The genres, styles and techniques for which Dutch Golden Age painting is famous, such as painterly techniques, monochrome colouring, simple compositions and highly specialized subjects, were more than artistic achievements. They were also product and process innovations, lowering production costs and creating new demand.51 Moreover, Neil De Marchi and Hans Van Miegroet have underscored the role of art dealers in connecting supply and demand in different local art markets, arguing that this allowed for the rise of specialization in local markets that would have otherwise been too small to sustain this.52 A similar argument can be made for publishing. Technological developments in printing were not the main drivers of competitiveness between publishers. Innovations in related and supporting industries, such as the production of copy and of type, engraving and papermaking, were of more importance to the development of the book trade, as they offered means to differentiate products by quality, novelty or uniqueness.53 Here, too, the 1610s were a turning point. By reducing the cost price of books and increasing the variety of styles and genres, the market for these products was both broadened and deepened. Spinning a potentially large domestic market into actual consumption propelled cultural production in the Republic into a growth phase. New product variants were developed in rapid succession. Because they existed side by side, rather than replacing one another, the number of producers and the variety of product types expanded considerably. In painting, another phase of significant stylistic changes can be discerned from the 1650s onwards, as the painterly manner fell out of fashion. Now the keywords were luxury and refinement, in terms of subject matter, the size of the paintings and painstaking painting techniques, most notably the fijnschilder method, developed primarily in Leiden by Gerrit Dou.54 The luxury interiors, 51 Montias’s interpretation of artistic novelties as product and process innovations was groundbreaking. Montias, ‘The influence of economic factors’; Montias, ‘Cost and value’; Sluijter, ‘On Brabant rubbish’; Jonathan I. Israel, ‘Adjusting to Hard Times: Dutch Art During its Period of Crisis and Restructuring (c. 1621–c. 1645)’, Art History, 20 (1997): pp. 449–76. 52 Neil De Marchi and Hans J. Van Miegroet, ‘The History of Art Markets’, in Victor Ginsburgh and David Throsby, eds, The Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture (Amsterdam; 2006), pp. 69–122, at p. 95. 53 Rasterhoff, ‘Fabric of creativity’. 54 This fine painting manner can be described as a smooth technique of meticulous handling of oil paint that makes the individual strokes nearly impossible to distinguish, and

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townscapes and landscapes executed in this meticulous and highly polished method represent the pinnacle of Dutch Golden Age painting. After the 1680s, Dutch painters became followers of the subjects, styles and techniques developed during the previous phase. As a result, eighteenth-century painting is hardly considered to have been innovative, even if the artistic accomplishments of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are gradually becoming more highly esteemed in the art-historical literature.55 From an economic perspective, however, rational business strategies emerged. Despite the misfortunes in the primary market, a lively second-hand trade developed, also for export, and a shift towards decorative painting can be discerned. The number of auctions held in the Dutch Republic, Amsterdam in particular, and the numbers of paintings by Dutch masters in foreign collections and in French auctions indicate that a successful export market for Dutch paintings had developed.56 In fact, the Dutch government had to do very little to make this happen. The stylistic changes of the 1640s and 1650s, the fijnschilderstijl and the popularity of Italianate landscapes held much more foreign appeal than the Dutch figure paintings and monochrome landscapes of the growth phase. In the wake of failing demand for newly produced art works, Dutch artists and dealers transformed the art market from a primary to a secondary market, placing themselves at the centre of an integrated European art trade.57 The modernization of the auction system stimulated this. emphasizes the reflections of surface textures under various illuminations; it created the widely known ‘photographic’ quality of many Dutch paintings. Mariët Westermann, The Art of the Dutch Republic 1585–1718 (London, 1996), pp. 77–9. 55 Cf. Ekkehard Mai et al., eds, De kroon op het werk: Hollandse schilderkunst 1670– 1750 [exh. cat.] (Keulen, 2006); Wiepke Loos et al., The Age of Elegance: Paintings from the Rijksmuseum, 1700–1800 (Amsterdam and Zwolle, 1995). 56 On the international art trade see: Everhard Korthals Altes, ‘De verovering van de internationale kunstmarkt door de zeventiende-eeuwse schilderkunst: enkele studies over de verspreiding van Hollandse schilderijen in de eerste helft van de achttiende eeuw’ (PhD Dissertation, Utrecht University, 2003); Koenraad Jonckheere, The Auction of King William’s Paintings (1713): Elite International Art Trade at the End of the Dutch Golden Age (Amsterdam, 2008). On Dutch auctions of paintings in the eighteenth century, see also: Dries Lyna, Filip Vermeylen and Hans Vlieghe, eds, Art Auctions and Dealers. The Dissemination of Netherlandish Art during the Ancien Régime (Turnhout, 2009); Neil De Marchi and Hans J. Van Miegroet, ‘The Rise of the Dealer-Auctioneer in Paris: Information and Transparency in a Market for Netherlandish Paintings’, in Anna Tummers and Koenraad Jonckheere, eds, Art Market and Connoisseurship. A Closer Look at Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and their Contemporaries (Amsterdam, 2008), pp. 149–75; and Clara Bille, De tempel der kunst of het kabinet van de heer Braamcamp (Amsterdam, 1961), vol. 2, pp. 156–9. 57 Jonckheere, The Auction of King William’s Paintings, pp. 58–9; and Koenraad Jonckheere and Filip Vermeylen, ‘A World of Deception and Deceit? Jacob Campo Weyerman and the Eighteenth-Century Art Market’, Simiolus, 32/1–2 (2011): pp. 100–114, at p. 101.

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The early advantage certainly paid off: the Dutch Republic became the centre of international art auctions, until Paris and later London took over in the latter part of the eighteenth century. As trust and transparency were crucial to the success of art markets, both primary and secondary, this development should not be underestimated.58 By extending our understanding of the art market to include decorative painting, its image becomes much more dynamic. The art market as a commercial sector also included kladschilders, who decorated furniture, carriages and the interiors and exteriors of buildings, including walls, panelling and mantelpieces.59 Whilst painters were shifting their focus from easel paintings to mural paintings at the upper level of the market, a new market for decorative painting developed that offered ample opportunities for their counterparts in lower market segments. In the case of publishing, the number of producers remained relatively stable during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Demand was less volatile and unpredictable than in the art market, because books, more than paintings, were objects of utility, their functions not easily replaced by other products.60 Real decline was averted thanks to a stable domestic demand side, the seizing of opportunities in foreign markets and the development of a lively secondhand trade. However, the stable quantitative trends conceal the fact that there were significant alterations in the composition of the sector, more specifically vertical disintegration.61 From the 1660s onwards, collaboration became more prominent in the Dutch book trade, both as a business and as a financial strategy. Both merchants and publishers faced increasing difficulties in financing book production, forcing them to look for ways to reduce risk.62 An alternative to such adversity was to form partnerships, or so-called compagnies. These were not new, but the scale and character of the joint ventures differed from previous periods, when more informal associations had prevailed. This period is also characterized by modernization of distribution and marketing methods: commission trade came to replace the change system, booksellers’ advertisements became a more important marketing instrument and a group of wholesalers emerged.63 The absence of a quantitative downturn Also stressed in Jonckheere, The Auction of King William’s Paintings, p. 108. On the skills and activities of kladschilders: Piet Bakker, ‘Crisis? Welke crisis? Kanttekeningen bij het economisch verval van de schilderkunst in Leiden na 1660’, De Zeventiende Eeuw, 27/2 (2012): pp. 232–69. 60 Rasterhoff, ‘Fabric of creativity’. 61 Claartje Rasterhoff, ‘Carrière en concurrentie in een culturele sector: de Amsterdamse boekhandel, 1580–1800’, De Zeventiende Eeuw, 27/2 (2012): pp. 162–79. 62 Isabella van Eeghen, De Amsterdamse boekhandel 1680–1725 (Amsterdam, 1960– 78), vol. IV, pp. 306–7. 63 Hannie van Goinga, Alom te bekomen. Veranderingen in de boekdistributie in de Republiek 1720–1800 (Amsterdam, 1999), p. 61. 58 59

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after the loss of export markets, just before the middle of the eighteenth century, has been ascribed to increasing diversification and distributional improvements following changes in reading practices. However, no empirical evidence supports a so-called ‘reading revolution’. Alternative explanations have interpreted the trends in title production and innovations in distribution as economically rational responses to a saturated domestic market, an issue that became more pressing in the face of waning dominance on international markets.64 This brief discussion of some of the most important innovations and shifts in business strategies in Dutch painting and publishing shows a clear correlation with changing market conditions, patterns in spatial distribution and, as will be demonstrated in the following, also with institutional developments. Dutch Craft Guilds: Facilitating and Rent-seeking In most Early Modern Dutch towns, painters and publishers were required to join guilds that comprised a whole range of crafts concerned with some form of artistic production. As the scale of painting and printing activities in the Dutch Republic increased at the end of the sixteenth century, however, independent painters’ and booksellers’ guilds were established. When analysing the contents of guild statutes, there can be no doubt that if painters’ and booksellers’ guilds contributed to, or obstructed, processes of innovation, they did so indirectly. Take, for instance, the transfer of knowledge, skills and routine training, a relatively direct way through which guild regulations could influence the building blocks of innovation.65 As in most Early Modern crafts, training was organized through apprenticeships. In the Republic, these apprenticeships were generally administered within the framework of the local guild, although it should be noted that not all crafts were organized in guilds and not all guilds had regulations on apprenticeships.66 In general, Dutch guild regulations concerning the subject of apprenticeship focused on four subjects: registration, fees, duration and the number of apprentices.67 The content of the training was hardly ever defined and in that respect, painters’ and publishers’ guilds were no exception. In some Early Modern crafts and industries, the title of master could only be attained after a period of training, after which peers formally judged the qualities of the José de Kruif, Liefhebbers en gewoontelezers: leescultuur in Den Haag in de achttiende eeuw (Zutphen, 1999), pp. 125–44 and Rasterhoff, ‘Carrière en concurrentie’. 65 Cf. Karel Davids, ‘Apprenticeship and Guild Control in the Netherlands, 1450– 1800’, in Bert De Munck, Steven L. Kaplan and Hugo Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor. Historical Perspectives on Apprenticeship (New York, 2007), pp. 66–84. 66 Ibid., pp. 69–70. 67 Ibid., p. 65; Isabella van Eeghen, De gilden: theorie en praktijk (Bussum, 1965), p. 24. 64

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apprentice by means of a ‘masterpiece’. While no masterpieces were required in the case of Dutch painting, in the case of Dutch book production, they were requested from printers in a handful of towns.68 In the two major publishing centres of Leiden and Amsterdam, no such assessment was required. Guild involvement presents a mixed picture. Painters’ and publishers’ guilds did not formally ‘subsidise investments in research and design’ by any means. They were not directly involved in determining the look and feel of the product: there were no rules on aesthetics to which producers had to adhere. But, as emphasized by Prak, guilds did offer a framework through which training was organized. Any potential role of Dutch guilds in shaping patterns of growth and innovation in cultural industries should be sought in more indirect contributions. When the timing and character of guild activity is analysed more in depth, the temporal correlation between changes in market conditions and changes in guild activity is striking. Comparing the timing of guild establishments and the content of their statutes is instructive, as the timeline reveals three phases, or rounds, of change.69 That guild activity intensified during the Golden Age need not surprise us. After all, the size of local industries of painting and publishing developed from very modest to significant, and this would certainly have prompted competition as well as attempts at coordination and control. The first round of guild establishments in the late sixteenth century was part of a general reform and revival of corporate structures in the Dutch Republic. In the case of Amsterdam, a new guild for the visual arts was established in 1579, and Middelburg’s Guild of St Luke received new statutes in 1585. Independent booksellers’ guilds were set up in Middelburg (1590) and Utrecht (1599). Around the time of the Twelve Years’ Truce that took effect in 1609, a second round took place. New painters’ guilds or guild-like structures were established in Gouda and Rotterdam (1609) and in Delft and Utrecht (1611). The statutes of the newly found painters’ guilds emphasized the monopoly of local producers.70 Printers and publishers also tried to tighten their grip on local markets around this time. This is particularly evident in a request made in 1616 by Amsterdam’s printers. Until then, printers had operated outside the corporate structure; they were neither restricted nor protected. Presumably inspired by the establishment of a booksellers’ and printers’ guild in Haarlem earlier that year, Amsterdam’s printers, together with the binders and booksellers, also requested guild status, emphasizing the need for regulation in the trade. A draft regulation of 10 articles, addressed to the Amsterdam magistrate, provides some insight into the motives Rasterhoff, ‘Fabric of creativity’, pp. 117–18; Kuniko Forrer, ‘Drie ordonnanties van het Utrechtse boekdrukkers- en boekverkopersgilde: een bijdrage tot de geschiedenis van de Utrechtse boekhandel in de zeventiende eeuw’, Jaarboek Oud Utrecht (2006): pp. 84–120; Prak, ‘Painters’. 69 Prak, ‘Painters’, p. 241. He identifies two rounds of guild establishments. 70 Ibid.; Sluijter, ‘On Brabant Rubbish’. 68

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behind the request and common practices in the Amsterdam book trade.71 The printers seem to have been most concerned with strengthening their position vis-à-vis booksellers, outsiders and non-printers, and the draft reflects two ways of protecting printers’ interests: keeping competitors out and sharpening the divisions between occupations within the trade. To these two rounds we can add a third: guilds of St Luke were established in Alkmaar (1631), Dordrecht (1642), Leiden (1648), Hoorn (1651) and Zwolle (1652). Booksellers obtained independent corporate status in Leiden (1651), Amsterdam (1661) and later still in Rotterdam (1699) and The Hague (1702). In Leiden, the art market was not formally organized until 1648, when a guild-like institution was founded. In the case of painters, guilds were concerned with controlling trade and attempting to make the market more transparent for customers, potential and existing.72 During this phase, painters’ guilds in Haarlem, Utrecht, Amsterdam and The Hague established showrooms, although painters do not appear to have been very keen on supplying paintings to these venues.73 A famous lecture on the art of painting, held in Leiden by the master painter Philips Angel in 1641, also seems to have been geared towards educating the consumer, rather than aspiring apprentices or peers.74 Around the same time, attempts to differentiate between art and crafts, or the so-called ‘emancipation’ of the painters, can be observed. Painters’ societies were established to enhance the reputation of artists and improve relationships with consumers, as art collectors and art lovers were more than welcome to join.75 Examples include the Dordrecht brotherhood in 1642, the Utrecht Schilders Collegie in 1644, the Hoorn brotherhood of St Luke in 1651 and Zwolle’s society in 1652. In Amsterdam a large dinner was organized for poets and painters in 1653, and in 1654, a brotherhood of the art of painting was established. In The Hague, the famous Pictura brotherhood was founded in 1656. It is important to note that these societies did not necessarily develop in opposition to guilds, as the two institutions served different purposes.76 71 Bibliotheek van de Koninklijke Vereniging ter Bevordering van de Belangen des Boekhandels (BKVB), Archief van het Amsterdams Boekverkopersgilde, inv. 56, in the front of the book. 72 Cf. Prak, ‘Painters’. 73 Ibid., p. 248. 74 Hessel Miedema and Michael Hoyle, ‘Philip Angel, Praise of painting’, Simiolus, 24 (1996): pp. 227–58; Eric Jan Sluijter, De Lof der Schilderkunst. Over schilderijen van Gerrit Dou (1613–1675) en een traktaat van Philips Angel uit 1642 (Hilversum, 1993). 75 Hessel Miedema, ‘Kunstschilders, gilde en academie. Over het probleem van de emancipatie van de kunstschilders in de Noordelijke Nederlanden van de 16de en 17de eeuw’, Oud Holland, 101 (1987): pp. 1–30. 76 Ibid.

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Although the chronology of the third round in the publishing sector is somewhat more drawn-out than in painting, it is striking that no independent guilds were established during the period between 1620 and 1650. Guild activity intensified slightly later than in the case of painting. This is particularly clear from the guild establishments in the most important publishing towns. Publishing had gone relatively unregulated during the growth phase, but this changed around the middle of the seventeenth century. One of the main reasons for the Amsterdam booksellers to request separation from the Guild of St Luke at the end of the growth phase was the frustration felt by large publishers over the illegal auctions held by smaller booksellers.77 In Leiden, the need for regulation of auctions was an even clearer driving force behind requests for guild regulation.78 The claim that public sales were ruining local markets prompted publishers in Amsterdam and Leiden to establish independent guilds, and existing booksellers’ guilds in other towns to strengthen their regulations.79 That booksellers’ guilds gained in importance can also be seen in the example of privileges, a form of copyright for publishers avant la lettre, given out by the provincial states and the States General. These privileges became standardized and the influence of local guilds was formalized in official recommendations and rights to view privileges made by publishers from other towns.80 In the process, the focus on guild ordinances shifted from production to trade. In theory, this analysis of guild activity in the Dutch painting and publishing industries could be employed to support both the rehabilitation and social conflict theories. In the view of the former, the actions of the guilds could have had positive effects on patterns of growth and innovation. The timeline shows that if there were problems in the market for paintings or books, producers sought means to overcome them – and one of these was taking collective action. Which institution better equipped to formalize this than the guild? Guilds were relatively open regarding the production side, but they became increasingly concerned with regulating marketing and distribution. Whether or not the regulations mainly reflected the concerns of the most powerful firms, moving away from production and toward distribution, is in fact a rational industrial strategy in periods of market stagnation or decline. At the same time, we also find support for social conflict/rent-seeking perspectives. The balance of power within painters’ and booksellers’ guilds shifted in favour of large and important firms, whilst guild regulation became increasingly geared toward trade, rather than production. Within the painting sector, an increasing differentiation within Van Eeghen, Amsterdamse boekhandel, vol. IV, pp. 276–7; Van Eeghen, Amsterdamse boekhandel, vol. V-1, pp. 237–74. 78 Cruz, ‘Secrets of Success’; Cruz, Paradox of Prosperity, pp. 25–58 and 103–44. 79 Forrer, ‘Drie ordonnanties’. 80 Paul Hoftijzer, ‘Nederlandse boekverkopersprivileges in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw’, Jaarboek van het Nederlands Genootschap van Bibliofielen, 1 (1993): pp. 49–62. 77

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the occupational group took place through the separation of painters from other craftsmen, whilst the most important publishers tried to increase control over the guild regulations. This means that the timing of changes in guild activity can also be used to demonstrate that as soon as guilds became more inclusive and prone to rent-seeking, the painting and publishing industries took a turn for the worst. The fact that both sides of the guild debate can find support in the story of Dutch painting and publishing may seem paradoxical, but this is not necessarily the case. As has been pointed out in other studies, guilds did not always behave consistently or uniformly. In fact, there were permanent tensions between collective and individual interests, as well as considerable discrepancies between rules and behaviour.81 By employing the framework of spatial clustering, these incongruities in Early Modern guild involvement appear less random. Conclusion At the start of this chapter, two notable features of innovative activity in industrial development were highlighted: its tendency to cluster spatially and the resilience of such concentrations over time. We can also identify such patterns in cultural production in the Dutch Republic, although the degree and tenacity differed per sector. Painters and publishers concentrated in certain localities and specializations and innovations developed in many of these. In addition to the role of market conditions, the most systematic explanation for this phenomenon in the Early Modern period is that of the institutional school. More specifically, the contribution of the local guilds has been raised as a potential explanatory variable. However, empirical support for the role of guilds in industrial innovation and growth is ambiguous, and this also came up in the case studies selected for this study. The dichotomy in the guild debate is a consequence of two features: the absence of clear historical sensitivity and the focus on guilds as the sole form of local industrial organization. While it has produced valuable insights, the emphasis on guilds as drivers or inhibitors of innovations fails to capture fully the endogenous mechanisms that help explain the rise, resilience and fall of innovative activity in these cultural economic sectors during the Early Modern period. We proposed to view the debate on the economic impact of guilds in the broader interpretation of local organization of production. To this end, evolutionary cluster theory was introduced. According to this theory, guilds are merely one of many actors, but, more importantly, their development cannot be viewed independently from that of other important actors: consumers, related Prak, ‘Painters’, pp. 169–71.

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and supporting industries and the firms’ strategies. Moreover, the development of clusters or industries is viewed as a lifecycle, and, as a result, a more dynamic approach to the role of industrial organization in patterns of innovation in Dutch cultural production can take shape. The chronology of market conditions, business strategies, innovative activity and guilds shows remarkable similarities. It is worthwhile returning to the specific features of cultural industries, such as demand uncertainty and infinite variety, to understand the specific forms and strategies that were selected and experimented with.82 Characteristics such as demand uncertainty, infinite variety and durability may well result in oversupply, reluctance to invest in novelties, quality uncertainty and information asymmetries. It has been argued that these properties have implications for the way cultural industries in general are organized. Because cultural markets are relatively vulnerable, the relative power of intermediaries is considerable. Arguably, these issues became increasingly pressing in periods of market stagnation or decline. Strategies to prevent or confront these problems can include a form of central coordination, possibly but not necessarily in a corporate structure. In the case of Early Modern Dutch painting and publishing, such problems indeed arose, and painters and publishers actively tried to deal with them, not least through guild regulation.

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Chapter 9

Beyond Exclusivism: Entrance Fees for Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries, c. 1450–1800* Bert De Munck and Karel Davids with the collaboration of Ellen Burm

Social mobility in the Early Modern urban context is often thought to be related to the barriers to entry maintained by guilds, especially in the form of apprenticeship terms, requirements for masterpieces and entrance fees. But while guilds have long been seen as exclusive institutions that served to strictly guard access to the labour market and the masters’ labour market monopsony, a more nuanced view of the role of guilds has emerged in more recent research. It has become abundantly clear that there could be large gaps between rules and reality and that guild regulations often failed to attain their goals.1 Did guilds, then, regulate labour markets at all? At first sight, the current picture is one of sheer randomness. Research in France has shown that guild-based masters could be inclined to close ranks when incipient capitalist market forces tended to inflate master status (as was the case in eighteenth-century Nantes and Lyon). By contrast, a stable economic context (as in Dijon in the same period) could result in a relatively large degree of openness and relatively easy access for non-masters’ sons, one of the reasons being that masters’ sons enjoyed ample career prospects outside their fathers’ guilds.2 However, a stable economic situation could equally * We thank Ellen Burm for collecting part of the data for this article. 1 For the Low Countries, see for example: Jean-Pierre Sosson, ’Les métiers: norme et réalité. L’exemple des Anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux aux XIVe et XVe siècles’, in Jacqueline Hamesse and Colette Muraille-Samaran, eds, Le travail au Moyen Age. Une approche interdisciplinaire (Louvain-La-Neuve, 1990), pp. 339–48; Marc Boone, ‘Les métiers dans les villes flamandes au bas Moyen Age (XIVe–XVIe siècles): images normatives, réalités sociopolitiques et économiques’, in Pascale Lambrechts and Jean-Pierre Sosson, eds, Les métiers au Moyen Age. Aspects économiques et sociaux (Louvain-La-Neuve, 1994), pp. 1–22; Peter Stabel, ‘Guilds in the Late Medieval Low Countries: Myth and Reality of Guild Life in an Exportoriented Environment’, Journal of Medieval History, 30 (2004): pp. 187–212. 2 Edward J. Shephard, ‘Social and Geographic Mobility of the Eighteenth Century Guild Artisan: An Analysis of Guild Receptions in Dijon, 1700–1790’, in Steven L. Kaplan

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well result in a tendency to close ranks and to protect master status by making access more difficult through professional endogamy and marriage strategies. And a guild in decay sometimes maintained a policy of openness, because masters saw little advantage in having their sons follow in their footsteps.3 However, this does not mean that Early Modern guilds normally refrained from attempts to regulate labour markets. Rather, the apparent randomness of the picture in the present state of research should make us more attentive to the complex interplay between corporative structures and specific political and socio-economic variables. This is the topic we wish to address in this chapter. One of the ways in which political variables could affect entry to guilds was through requirements concerning citizen status as a precondition for mastership. Variations in the size of the fee to be paid to acquire citizen status – to be determined by the urban authorities – could make access to mastership more or less difficult. Within the Northern Netherlands, for example, striking variations in this respect existed between the Zunftlandschaft (‘guild landscape’) in Holland, Zeeland and the western part of Utrecht and the eastern region of the country. Cities in the western part of the Dutch Republic showed much lower barriers to the acquisition of citizen status by foreigners, Catholics and Jews than the towns in Gelderland or Overijssel.4 Moreover, power relations within specific economic sectors may have played a role as well. Making access to the labour market more or less easy through requirements concerning apprenticeship terms or masterpieces could depend on the power relations between the different groups of actors involved. For instance, if the balance of power between masters and merchant-entrepreneurs tilted towards the latter, access to mastership may have been made relatively easy. The larger the number of masters, the lower the wages or prices merchantentrepreneurs had to pay in order to acquire their products. Conversely, if the balance of power tilted towards the established masters, access to the status of master may have become more difficult, while access to the status of apprentice and journeyman could have been made easier. After all, established masters very likely had a preference for cheap labour and a flexible labour market, while they must have perceived growth in the number of new entrants to mastership as a threat to their own power.5 and Cynthia J. Koepp, eds, Work in France. Representations, Meaning, Organization, and Practice (Ithaca, 1986), pp. 97–131. 3 Maurice Garden, ‘The Urban Trades: Social Analysis and Representation’, in Kaplan and Koepp, eds, Work in France, pp. 287–97. 4 Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, ‘“Zunftlandschaften” in den Niederlanden und im benachbarten Deutschland’, in Wilfried Reininghaus, ed., Zunftlandschaften in Deutschland und den Niederlanden im Vergleich (Westfalen and Lippe, 2000), pp. 11–43. 5 Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp from the 15th Century to the End of the Ancien Régime (Turnhout, 2007), p. 269.

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Furthermore, differences between big and small masters may have been relevant, too. Small masters, for example, fearing concentration tendencies within their craft or trade, may have striven to make access for apprentices and journeymen progressively more difficult. To achieve this aim, they may have colluded with merchant-entrepreneurs, who may have wanted to prevent competition from big masters as well.6 Journeymen could also play a part. While journeymen often worked with masters in the absence of any formal requirements, well-organized groups of journeymen could succeed in acquiring a ‘right of preference’ based upon a distinction between ‘free’ and ‘unfree’ journeymen (free journeymen having finished an apprenticeship term and sometimes a masterpiece).7 Another variable in the equation was that of the policies of urban governments. Urban governments were not necessarily disposed to lend their weight exclusively to any of the various parties discussed so far; they could, in fact, conduct a kind of ‘mixed policy’, which took account of the interests of merchant-entrepreneurs and of those of independent masters, large or small.8 Considering this spectrum of variables, it is worthwhile to take a closer look at entry requirements by taking distinctions between various categories of craftsmen and socio-economic constellations into account. A comparison of different cities and regions within the Low Countries may be particularly revealing in this respect. After all, apart from a wide range of different socioeconomic realities, in the Low Countries there were huge differences in both the financial conditions of entry to the guilds and the political leeway of the groups of actors related to the guilds. As in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, power relations could be very diverse, although the same fields of tension often recur. Among other things, a certain degree of political rivalry between masters (small or large) and merchants (incorporated or not) appears to have been a regular Ibid. See also Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Export Industries, Craft Guilds and Capitalist Trajectories’, in Maarten Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries. Work, Power and Representation (Aldershot, 2006), pp. 107–32. 7 Bert De Munck, ‘One Counter and your own Account. Redefining Illicit Labour in Early Modern Antwerp’, Urban History, 37 (2010): pp. 26–44, esp. 29–32. 8 Karel Davids, ‘Neringen, hallen en gilden. Kapitalisten, kleine ondernemers en stedelijke overheid in de tijd van de Republiek’, in Karel Davids, Wantje Fritschy and Loes van der Valk, eds, Kapitaal, ondernemerschap en beleid. Studies over economie en politiek in Nederland, Europa en Azië van 1500 tot heden (Amsterdam, 1996), pp. 195–220; Karel Davids, ‘Deregulering in de stedelijke exportnijverheid in de vroegmoderne tijd. Beschouwingen over de Republiek in Europees perspectief ’, in Clé Lesger and Leo Noordegraaf, eds, Ondernemers en bestuurders. Economie en politiek in de Noordelijke Nederlanden in de late middeleeuwen en vroegmoderne tijd (Amsterdam, 1999), pp. 109–28. See also Bert De Munck and Anne Winter, eds, Gated Communities? Regulating Migration in Early Modern Cities (Aldershot, 2011). 6

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feature.9 One of the determining factors was doubtless the political weight either of these groups could gather – and here the guilds in the Northern and the Southern Netherlands differed significantly. With a few exceptions, guilds in the Northern Netherlands were rather ‘weak’ in a political sense, in contrast to the ‘strong’ guilds in the South. While guilds in large parts of the North had relatively little political weight and often were dominated by merchant-entrepreneurs or at least by mercantile interests, guilds in the South were mostly ruled by the masters themselves – who moreover had a relatively strong say in local politics.10 In addition, as elsewhere, there were substantial differences between cities and between sectors regarding the relative weight of merchant-entrepreneurs and large and small masters within the guilds themselves. In order to shed light on the consequences of these power relations for the guilds’ regulations relating to the entry of masters and journeymen, our chapter focuses on one key element of entry requirements, namely entrance fees. Entrance fees were paid in two stages: first, when someone was registered as a new apprentice (inschrijvingsgeld or leergeld), and second, when someone was admitted as a new master (intreegeld). Consequently, guild boards could make entrance easier or more difficult for either apprentices or masters. In theory, they could thus restrict or enlarge the pool of journeymen or masters. Hence, linking entrance fees to political, social and economic variables, we may be able to enhance our understanding of the background to these policies. More specifically, we will try to connect variations in registration fees for apprentices and admission fees for masters to different power relations between merchantsentrepreneurs and masters, and between different groups of masters. It can be assumed that these various groups had different interests. While merchantentrepreneurs (in the context of Kauf or Verlag systems) probably benefited from growth in the ‘pool’ of masters, big masters presumably favoured an increase in the ‘pool’ of apprentices and journeymen (and a restriction of the number of masters). Small masters, on their part, may have favoured restrictions on the numbers of apprentices and journeymen (trying to prevent concentration trends and increased competition), but they may under certain conditions also have sided with merchant-entrepreneurs (facilitating entry to mastership). 9 A recent state of the art on Italian guilds: Alberto Guenzi, Paola Massa and Fausto P. Caselli, eds, Guilds, Markets and Work Regulations in Italy, 16th–19th Centuries (Aldershot, 1998). 10 Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Different Paths of Development. Capitalism in the Northern and Southern Netherlands during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period’, Review, 20 (1997): pp. 211–42; Catherina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Die Zünfte in den Österreichischen Niederlanden’, in Hans-Gerhard Haupt, ed., Das Ende der Zünfte. Ein europäischer Vergleich (Göttingen, 2002), pp. 155–80; Catherina Lis and Hugo Soly, ‘Craft Guilds in Comparative Perspective: A Survey’, in Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds, pp. 1–31 and 10–17; Lis and Soly, ‘Export Industries’.

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The central question of our chapter is thus: what determined the entrance fees of guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries? Was it the relative power relations of particular groups attempting to protect their interests in the labour market, or were other factors at play? To analyse the similarities and differences in entrance policies, we will look at a variety of guilds in different economic sectors in cities in the Southern and Northern Netherlands between the Late Middle Ages and the Napoleonic Era. By examining long-term transformations in 1) the level of the entrance fees; 2) the difference between several types of apprentices and masters (immigrants, born citizens, masters’ sons); and 3) the ratio of registration fees to admission fees in these various guilds and cities, we aim to get more insight into the multifaceted character of regulating entrance to Early Modern cities and local labour markets. To that purpose, we have collected a mass of data on registration fees (in principle to be paid by new apprentices) and admission fees (to be paid by new masters) in a large number of guilds in some 16 cities in the Low Countries between c. 1500 and 1800. As these data are borrowed from normative sources such as ordinances and by-laws, we should stress from the outset that the fees listed do not always necessarily correspond to the fees that were paid in reality. Yet, as we are analysing guild policies rather than, say, social mobility, this is in our opinion not entirely unwarranted. Moreover, variations between statutory regulations and actual practice will be discussed in the last section of this chapter. Although the database is a work in progress, we have already started to compare our figures tentatively. First we have compared the financial entry requirements in absolute terms. As we will see below, the differences between the Northern and the Southern Netherlands, between cities and between guilds, were huge, although not necessarily related to a deliberate policy designed to regulate entrance to the guild or the labour market. More revealing, therefore, may be the second level of our analysis, in which we have compared ratios. We have done this from several points of view, including 1) the ratio of registration and admission fees for masters’ sons to registration and admission fees for nonmasters’ sons and outsiders, and 2) the ratio of registration fees to admission fees for masters’ sons, non-masters’ sons and outsiders. The cities included in our database were selected with an eye to optimal variety in terms of economic profile and political constellation. In the Southern Netherlands, the set comprises Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen. Antwerp and Ghent were among the largest cities in the Southern Netherlands. While Ghent was an important industrial centre throughout the Early Modern period, Antwerp turned into the most important commercial metropolis in Northwestern Europe in the sixteenth century. After the Dutch Revolt, and the Fall of Antwerp (1585) in particular, the centre of gravity in the Low Countries shifted to the regions in the North, most notably to Amsterdam, which took over

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the economic leadership from Antwerp. From a political perspective, Ghent, in the County of Flanders, was renowned for both its resistance to the centralizing policies of the Burgundian and Habsburg princes and its powerful guilds, who had seats secured for them in the urban magistracy. However, after a last military defeat in 1540, the guilds lost most of their power and privileges before finally being abolished in 1795. The other cities are situated in the Duchy of Brabant, where the guilds retained most of their power and privileges until the end of the ancien régime (a paradoxical effect of a somewhat less unruly policy toward the centralizing ambition of princes). A commercial metropolis with powerful guilds – which were represented in both the Broad Council and the Monday Council – Antwerp is an excellent case for studying the tension between masters (large and small), on the one hand, and, on the other, merchants or merchantentrepreneurs. These tensions were somewhat less apparent in Leuven, a provincial urban centre in the Duchy of Brabant. A small and stagnating city throughout the Early Modern period, Leuven’s guilds had an important say in local politics, as they were presented in the most important local assemblies. Mechelen was a special case. While it was a court city between 1480 and 1530 and it continued to accommodate an important central court until the end of the ancien régime, it was a politically independent region, notwithstanding its geographic location as an enclave within the Duchy of Brabant. Moreover, the guilds in Mechelen also had seats in the urban magistracy. In the Northern Netherlands, the selection includes Amsterdam, Haarlem, Alkmaar, Rotterdam, Arnhem and six towns in Zeeland; occasionally, we will also draw on material relating to other cities (Utrecht, Leeuwarden, The Hague or Schoonhoven). From the late sixteenth century, Amsterdam was by far the largest city in the Northern Netherlands. After going through a vigorous expansion between c. 1580 and 1650 (partly thanks to the influx of capital, entrepreneurs and skilled labour from Antwerp), which endowed the city with a highly varied economy dominated by merchant-entrepreneurs, Amsterdam settled down to a pattern of slower growth, alternating with brief crises, until the end of the eighteenth century. Haarlem and Alkmaar were middle-ranking cities in Holland. After a period of economic and demographic growth lasting into the third quarter of the seventeenth century, they entered into a long decline, which had assumed quite dramatic proportions by 1750. The economic structure of the two cities differed in an important respect, however. While Alkmaar was first and foremost a regional service centre with relatively small export industries (and a rather modest role played by merchant-entrepreneurs), Haarlem owed its prosperity to a much greater extent to its export industries (especially textiles and brewing), as a result of which the power of merchant-entrepreneurs loomed much larger than in Alkmaar. Rotterdam, situated in the southern part of Holland, experienced steady economic and demographic growth throughout most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, thanks to its thriving port and

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wide assortment of export industries. By 1750, it had risen to become the second largest city in the Dutch Republic. Like in Amsterdam, much of its export sector was dominated by merchant-entrepreneurs. All four cities described so far were located in the Zunftlandschaft in the western part of the Netherlands, where guilds (with the exception of Dordrecht) wielded no formal political power. By contrast, Arnhem, a small regional service centre on the river Rhine in Gelderland, is an example of a city in the eastern ‘guild landscape’, where guilds, as in Flanders and Brabant, did have some say in local politics. Guilds in Arnhem were represented in the urban council. In addition to evidence relating to cities in Holland and Gelderland, we also examined data on entrance fees in guilds in the leading towns of Zeeland. We looked at the six towns represented in the States of Zeeland: Zierikzee, Tholen, Goes, Veere, Vlissingen and Middelburg. Economically, these small- or medium-sized cities can be characterized as port cities and/or regional service centres, rather than as centres of export industries.11 The Zeeland towns form an interesting case from a comparative point of view, because they lie in a region that of old served as a passageway between Flanders and Holland and turned into a ‘frontier’ zone during the Eighty Years’ War. The economic sectors examined in these groups of cities were chosen in such a way as to represent optimal variety in terms of: 1) economic orientation: export industries (for example cloth-dressing, dyeing, brewing), local services (for example shoemaking, carpentry); 2) status of the products: luxuries (for example gold- and silversmiths) versus common consumer or capital goods (for example coopery); 3) number of guild members (large versus small guilds); and 4) political power (guilds with and guilds without seats in local political assemblies). Entrance Fees in Absolute Terms Let us now turn to an analysis of the data. Starting with a comparison of the requirements of registration (of apprentices) and admission (of masters) in absolute terms, summarized in Tables 9.1 and 9.2, we can observe some interesting differences between 1) the Northern and the Southern Netherlands as a whole, 2) between cities and 3) between guilds. Registration fees and admission fees in cities in the Northern Netherlands were consistently lower than in the Southern Netherlands. Compared to cities like Antwerp and Leuven, the gap appears to have grown even wider as 11 These data are borrowed from a recent study on guilds and urban governments in Zeeland, Lambertus H. Remmerswaal, Een duurzame alliantie. Gilden en regenten in Zeeland, 1600–1800 (Middelburg, 2009).

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time went on. While fees among, for instance, carpenters, coopers, gold- and silversmiths and shoemakers in Antwerp and Leuven increased dramatically in the eighteenth century, fees in Dutch cities generally lingered at a much lower level, or showed at best a modest increase. Only Amsterdam showed a slightly different pattern, with fees among coopers and tailors sharply rising in the first decades of the seventeenth century. To explain this difference, one might be tempted to conjecture that the ‘strong guilds’ in the South were simply more willing and able than the ‘weak’ ones in the North to adopt an exclusive policy. Recent research on Antwerp has revealed that such a conclusion would be premature, however. In Antwerp, the guild boards themselves tried to compensate for the soaring entrance fees by making the masterpiece cheaper and abolishing extra requirements such as meals and other treats, in order to prevent the fees from having too exclusivist an effect.12 What, then, was the guilds’ intention? For the time being, a lack of empirical research prevents us from making firm statements, but given the chronology of the increase in the South and the remarkable long-term stability of fees in the North, our attention naturally shifts to the period of the Dutch Revolt. Taking sixteenth-century inflation and monetary devaluation into account, it is evident that entrance fees in the South started rising in the first half of the seventeenth century – never to decline again before the end of the eighteenth century.13 Moreover, guild boards themselves, when petitioning for higher fees with the local authorities, consistently complained about their huge debts, arguing that they would not be able to pay the interests on these without raising the entrance fees.14 Were the guilds’ claims valid, and did they raise their fees out of sheer financial necessity? Previous research has demonstrated that guilds in the South were indeed constantly in desperate need of funds to pay their debts.15 The most relevant question is, thus, where these debts came from. Older studies have often emphasized the ingrained habit of guilds in the Southern Netherlands to start litigation concerning their privileges. Yet, another factor must have also played an important part, namely consumption needs. The consumption patterns of guilds in the Northern and Southern Netherlands fundamentally diverged after the Dutch Revolt. De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 101–3. An example for Ghent in: Johan Dambruyne, ‘De Gentse bouwvakambachten in sociaal-economisch perspectief (1540– 1795)’, in Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, eds, Werken volgens de regels. Ambachten in Brabant en Vlaanderen, 1500–1800 (Brussels, 1994), pp. 51–105, especially p. 74. 13 For Antwerp, see: De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 88–100. Ghent is a special case, see: Johan Dambruyne, Corporatieve middengroepen. Aspiraties, relaties en transformaties in de 16de-eeuwse Gentse ambachtswereld (Ghent, 2002), pp. 175–342. 14 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 97–101. 15 Ibid. 12

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Consumption expenditure by guilds in the Dutch Republic was relatively low. The first national survey on guilds in the Northern Netherlands conducted in 1798 reveals, for example, that at that time, less than 10 per cent of all guilds possessed their own ‘guild house’. Among the few cities where guild houses were not uncommon were Alkmaar, Haarlem and Amsterdam. It is not clear, however, when guilds had acquired their real estate and whether house-owning guilds actually used these premises for social activities or not.16 Examples of Dutch guilds commissioning new guild houses in the early seventeenth century are, in contrast with the South, few and far between. The principal cases that come to mind are the brokers, wine-merchants and corn-gaugers in Amsterdam and the carpenters in Hoorn. If a guild was looking for permanent accommodation, it was not unusual to buy an existing building, move into a former monastery or share the cost of premises with other guilds.17 Guilds in the Northern Netherlands generally restricted their expenditure on symbols of corporate identity such as festive meals or the commissioning of commemorative items like paintings and silver cups, spoons and shields. Tellingly, after the conquest of ‘s-Hertogenbosch by the Dutch army in 1629 and the subsequent establishment of the Reformed religion as the public church, all guilds were compelled to dismantle their altars and sell all associated objects. The proceedings of the sale were not used for new sorts of corporate display but invested in securities.18 The only case known so far where a guild used the need for money to build a new guild house as an argument to raise the admission fees for masters is a by-law of the coopers’ guild in Haarlem in 1693.19 In contrast with the Northern Netherlands, where the Reformed religion reigned supreme after 1580, guilds in the Catholic South in the early seventeenth century aspired (or were compelled) to restore and readorn the houses, chapels

Bibi Panhuysen, Maatwerk. Kleermakers, naaisters, oudkleerkopers en de gilden (1500–1800) (Amsterdam, 2000), pp. 44–6. 17 Panhuysen, Maatwerk, p. 45; Nico Slokker, Ruggengraat van de stad. De betekenis van gilden in Utrecht, 1528–1818 (Amsterdam, 2010), pp. 64–5; Wayne P. te Brake, Regents and Rebels. The Revolutionary World of an Eighteenth-Century Dutch City (Oxford, 1989), p. 17; Jean C. Streng, Vrijheid, gelijkheid, broederschap en gezelligheid. Het Zwolse SintNicolaasgilde onder het ancien régime (Hilversum, 2001), pp. 69–70. 18 Remmerswaal, Duurzame alliantie, pp. 145–50 and 178; Slokker, Ruggengraat, pp. 145–6; Aart Vos, Burgers, broeders en bazen. Het maatschappelijk middenveld van ’s-Hertogenbosch in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw (Hilversum, 2007), p. 172. 19 Noord-Hollands Archief Haarlem, Collectie van Stadspublicaties van het stadsbestuur van Haarlem, 1605–1813, inv.nr. 352Z, Ordonnantie op het toetreden tot het kuipersgilde en op de verkoop van hoepen, 1693. We thank Janneke Tump for drawing our attention to this case. 16

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and altars that had been destroyed or neglected during the Revolt.20 After that period the guilds continued to invest in cultural and symbolic capital – if only to repair their houses, chapels and altars if necessary. Consequently, after the Revolt, the need for funds differed drastically across the Northern and the Southern Netherlands. Moreover, as a consequence of the exodus of Protestants and the shift of economic gravity to the North from the 1580s onwards, the principal source of income for guilds in Southern cities – namely entrance fees – dramatically declined. The paradoxical result was that craft guilds in the Southern Netherlands tried to reconcile higher entrance fees (out of financial necessity) with an inclusive policy.21 An alternative solution to compensate for the loss of income during and after the Revolt dismally failed. When Antwerp’s guilds attempted to increase their income by taxing established members (yearly) instead of prospective members (by asking a one-time fee when entering), the masters showed themselves reluctant to pay. The solution was to increase the entrance fees for masters’ sons – which appear to have risen in relative terms more than the entrance fees for non-masters’ sons – so that in the end, established masters did help relieve the debt burden.22 The second interesting difference that emerges from the data is the one between cities, especially in the Southern Netherlands. In Ghent, entrance fees were relatively low, except among gold- and silversmiths. The low level of fees was due to the famous Carolinian Concession, with which Charles V curtailed the vast power of the Ghent craft guilds in 1540. One of the most important ingredients of this central legislation was a restriction on the entrance fees, which were reduced to about one tenth of their previous size, and which abolished the difference between masters’ sons and others. The effect of both measures is still visible in our data from the end of the eighteenth century. In Leuven, on the other hand, entrance fees seem to have been relatively high. Up to a point, this may have been due to the political power of the guilds in question. As we have already mentioned, guilds in Leuven had access to the most important political assemblies – including the positions of alderman and burgomaster. In the Northern Netherlands, by contrast, the variation between cities was generally much smaller. Even Arnhem, where guilds enjoyed more political weight than in cities in Holland, did not stand out for the high level of its Dambruyne, Corporatieve middengroepen, pp. 90–103; Johan Dambruyne, ‘Corporative capital and social representation in the Southern and Northern Netherlands, 1500–1800’, in Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds, pp. 194–223; Harald Deceulaer, Pluriforme patronen en een verschillende snit. Sociaal-economische, institutionele en culturele transformaties in de kledingsector in Antwerpen, Brussel en Gent, 1585–1800 (Amsterdam, 2001), pp. 362–3; Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘Religion and Social Structure; Religious Rituals in Pre-Industrial Trade Associations in the Low Countries’, in Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds, pp. 157–73 and 165. 21 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 121–3. 22 Ibid., pp. 99–100. 20

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entrance fees. In so far as towns in the eastern part of the Netherlands (including Arnhem) showed less openness in the admission of new guild members than those in the West, the most important policy instrument was the regulations concerning admission to citizenship. In the eastern Zunftlandschaft, barriers to foreigners, Catholics and Jews were much higher than for Reformed natives – and citizenship was a precondition for admission to the guilds. In Utrecht in 1655, the urban government enacted to henceforth refuse citizenship to Catholic immigrants (except in cases to be decided at its own discretion) and to revoke the citizenship of burghers who had become Catholic after receiving their citizen rights.23 The main exceptions to this pattern in the Northern Netherlands were two towns in the western ‘guild landscape’ not included in this database: The Hague and Leeuwarden. Admission fees for masters in these towns in the eighteenth century were high in all guilds, even if they did not quite reach the levels of Southern cities.24 This deviation may have had something to do with another exceptional feature of these towns: they were both the seat of the court of a stadholder. The data reveal further differences in fees – measured in absolute terms – between particular guilds. The most striking finding is that these differences were not consistent between cities in the Northern and Southern Netherlands. In northern cities, registration fees and admission fees among gold- and silversmiths and dyers were generally higher than among carpenters, coopers and shoemakers, with tailors somewhere in between. In the Southern Netherlands, the gradation between guilds appears to have been much more fuzzy. Brewers, coopers, carpenters and cabinetmakers and mercers could levy both high and low fees, whereas the level of fees charged by cloth-dressers, gold- and silversmiths and shoemakers fluctuated somewhere in the middle. Nor did the fees always reach the highest levels in the same towns. Among brewers, the top rate could be found in Leuven. In this case, the crucial factor was probably primarily political. Leuven brewers, who were regularly – and at the end of the ancien régime, disproportionately – represented in the ‘full board’ (Vollen Raedt) as aldermen and (even more so) burgomasters of the city, wielded immense formal and informal political power.25 Still, the cases of the coopers, cabinetmakers and carpenters in Antwerp, who levied high fees despite their negligible political power, suggest that other Lourens and Lucassen, ‘Zunftlandschaften’, pp. 15–20 and 23–4; Maarten Prak, ‘The Politics of Intolerance: Citizenship and Religion in the Dutch Republic (Seventeenth to Eighteenth Century’, in Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia and Henk van Nierop, eds, Calvinism and Religious Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 159–75, especially p. 162. 24 Panhuysen, Maatwerk, p. 160. 25 Marc Swevers, Brouwers en politiek in Leuven tijdens de 17de eeuw (Unpublished Master’s thesis VUB, Brussels, 1999), pp. 70–82. 23

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factors may have been at play as well. Given the inconsistency of the level of the fees in the same crafts and trades across cities, these other factors were moreover not related to the skill or capital requirements of individual masters. The most relevant factor appears, again, to have been the guilds’ need for funds. The Antwerp coopers, cabinetmakers and carpenters were among the most heavily indebted guilds. It was this very financial burden that led to the merger of the carpenters’ and cabinetmakers’ guilds in 1755. This merger came about entirely for financial reasons and served in fact to prevent the entrance fees (in both guilds) from rising yet again.26 Entrance Fees in Relative Terms While the urgent need for funds among many Southern guilds thus appears to be a powerful explanatory factor for the observed differences in fees, this does not preclude that guilds may have also deliberately used fee levels to regulate entrance to the labour market. In order to detect guild boards’ intentions at this level, we have to take a look at ratios between fees rather than at absolute figures. Ratios have been calculated both between levels of fees for applicants of different origins (masters’ sons, non-masters’ sons, outsiders) and for different categories of applicants (apprentices, masters). Which fees were raised more in times of financial trouble? Regarding the ratios of the official fees for masters’ sons to non-masters’ sons, no clear pattern emerges. Official fees for masters’ sons, compared to those for non-masters’ sons, seem to have been somewhat higher in the Northern Netherlands than in Flemish or Brabantine cities – especially when it comes to registration fees – but our database does not yet allow us to establish a significant correlation. However, if the trend of masters’ sons paying relatively less in the South were to be confirmed, this would lend support to the hypothesis that powerful masters did influence the ratio between masters’ sons and others to their advantage. In the Southern Netherlands, masters’ sons often paid about half the admission fee prescribed for others, and they were often exempt from paying a registration fee (or even from being registered as an apprentices) altogether. It almost looks as though masters’ sons in the Southern Netherlands were to some extent ‘born into’ the guild – although this may have changed in the course of time. In Antwerp, the entry requirements for masters’ sons appear De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 93–4, 109 ff. Also: Bert De Munck, ‘Construction and Reproduction. The Training and Skills of Antwerp Cabinetmakers in the 16th and 17th Centuries’, in Bert De Munck, Steven L. Kaplan and Hugo Soly, Learning on the Shop Floor. Historical Perspectives on Apprenticeship (London and New York, 2007), pp. 85–110, especially pp. 92–5. 26

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to have gradually resembled those of others during the Early Modern period.27 In Ghent, ‘hereditary mastership’ actually disappeared in the first half of the seventeenth century.28 Ratios between fees for insiders and outsiders differed between the Northern and the Southern Netherlands, too, but in a somewhat unexpected way. In theory, one would expect that outsiders would be required to pay higher fees than natives in a setting where masters had a strong say in local politics; that is, in the Southern Netherlands. But the reverse turns out to be true. Almost all cases where outsiders paid higher admission fees than non-masters’ sons are to be found in the Northern Netherlands, not in the South. How can this be explained? It may be suggested, of course, that attitudes towards newcomers in cities in Flanders and Brabant had changed since the exodus during the Dutch revolt. As cities like Antwerp, Ghent and Mechelen had lost a substantial part of their population and failed to recover until at least mid-eighteenth century, they may have adopted a more welcoming attitude towards strangers. But another factor may have been relevant as well. Some guilds in the South appear to have distinguished not between citizens and non-citizens, but between those who learned with a local master and others – regardless of their geographical origin.29 Is this perhaps a sign of ‘strong guilds’ stressing integration into their own ‘community’ rather than the ‘community’ of the city?30 In Antwerp, the urban authorities sometimes even had to pressurize guild boards to apply the rule that masters who were not born in Antwerp had to buy citizenship.31 In the second half of the eighteenth century, guilds in the neighbouring Dutch province of Zeeland also began to use the place of apprenticeship, as distinct from the geographical origin of apprentices, as an additional criterion to determine the size of admission fees. Guilds in Goes, Zierikzee and Middelburg started Bert De Munck, ‘From Brotherhood Community to Civil Society? Apprentices between Guild, Household and the Freedom of Contract in Early Modern Antwerp’, Social History, 35 (2010): pp. 1–20. 28 Dambruyne, Corporatieve middengroepen, pp. 175–342. 29 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 89 and 92; Raoul De Kerf and Janneke Tump, ‘The Circulation of Technological Knowledge among the Coopers in the Early Modern Low Countries: A Comparison between Antwerp, Ghent, Haarlem and Rotterdam’ (Unpublished paper European Urban History Conference, Ghent, 2010). 30 Further research should take into account the recurrent rule that an apprenticeship term finished in another city (in the same craft) within Brabant or Flanders permitted dispensation in the city of arrival. Remarkably, the application of this rule would seem to have become more difficult in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, at the very time that outsiders (those who had not learned in the city in question) started to pay higher admission fees. 31 Jan De Meester, ‘Admittance of Immigrant Masons into the Sixteenth-Century Antwerp Labour Market’, in Bert De Munck and Anne Winter, eds, Gated Communities? Regulating Migration in Early Modern Cities (Aldershot, 2012), pp. 25–44. 27

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to admit members who had completed their apprenticeship terms in other cities, on condition that they paid an extra 200 guilders on top of the regular admission fee. In contrast with cities in Flanders and Brabant, however, urban governments, rather than guild boards, initiated this policy.32 Finally, were masters really concerned with the relative difference between the threshold to the labour market, marked by the registration fee, and the threshold to the corporative organization (and hence the masters’ labour market monopsony), marked by the admission fee, as we conjectured at the outset? At the end of the eighteenth century, ratios between registration fees and admission fees indeed differed to some extent between economic sectors and between cities in the Northern and Southern Netherlands. Both in the North and the South, ratios among gold- and silversmiths, for example, were higher than among carpenters or shoemakers, which meant that in the former groups, access to the labour market was more difficult to achieve than access to master status than it was in the latter groups. This does not seem odd given the presumably larger workshops among carpenters and the need for cheap labour among shoemakers, but differences related to the political clout of masters again do not appear to be the determining factor. Ratios between registration and admission fees for non-masters’ sons were generally somewhat higher in the South than in the North. In the late eighteenth century, apprentices appear to have paid more in the Southern Netherlands than in the Dutch Republic, so that access to skilled labour for masters in the South must have been more difficult than it was for their colleagues in the North. This phenomenon may be partly ascribed to the – in absolute terms – remarkably high registration fees levied by some guilds, which were, again, related to their huge burden of debt. Research on Antwerp has revealed that guilds sometimes spread this financial burden over both prospective masters and prospective apprentices. While trying to relieve the guilds’ financial predicament, they thus at the same time attempted to create a strong bond between apprentices and the guild. Guild officials reasoned that apprentices who had paid a huge fee would be less inclined to use the skills they had acquired in another city in the future.33 In other words: guilds themselves tried to compensate for the exclusivist effects of the higher entrance fees. What the data do not show, however, is a notable variation in ratios between statutory registration fees and admission fees in the course of time. There is no evidence that changes in official fees were actually used as a policy instrument by masters or merchant-entrepreneurs. Given the relatively low level of fees paid for the registration of apprentices in many guilds in Northern and Southern cities, it can also be doubted whether these fees functioned as ‘a bond on future Remmerswaal, Duurzame alliantie, pp. 98–9. De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 101–9; De Munck, ‘Construction and Reproduction’, pp. 92–5. 32

33

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performance’ or ‘a mortgage on trust’ for non-masters’ sons, as Larry Epstein has suggested.34 Although guilds in the Southern Netherlands tried to bind apprentices to the trade by having them pay higher registration fees and making these deductible from the admission fees to be paid later on, registration fees normally appear to have been just that: a fee for registering a new apprentice, formally marking the start of his apprenticeship term.35 Regulations and Practice From the preceding discussion we can infer that guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries apparently did not use regulations on entrance fees deliberately as an instrument to restrict access to the labour market and protect the masters’ labour market monopsony. If guilds’ statutory policies had exclusivist effects, this was an unintended rather than an intended consequence of their actions. In this regard, Ghent before 1540 (and during the Calvinist interregnum between 1577 and 1584) appears to have been an exceptional case.36 In other cities in the Southern and Northern Netherlands, variations in the inflow in guilds were related to changes in economic or political circumstances rather than to the height of the entrance fees.37 Up until now, we have concentrated on regulations rather than on actual practice. In reality, conditions in guild-regulated sectors both in the Northern and Southern Netherlands were more versatile and flexible than a survey of guild statutes suggests. In the ‘guild landscape’ in the western parts of the Dutch Republic, labour market access conditions for apprentices, journeymen and masters could be relaxed or restricted in many ways other than changing the texts of by-laws. The expansion or contraction of the local labour market was governed by a complex interplay of actions by guild boards, urban governments and other urban institutions, mostly dominated by regents and merchant-entrepreneurs, the rules of which were only partly registered on paper. The guilds in Brabant 34 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Pre-industrial Europe’, Journal of Economic History, 58 (1998): pp. 684–713, especially p. 691; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds in the Pre-modern Economy: A Discussion’, Economic History Review, 61 (2008): pp. 155–74, especially p. 165. 35 Cf. Panhuysen, Maatwerk, p. 137; Remmerswaal, Duurzame alliantie, pp. 95–7; cf. also his data on the income of guilds in Goes and Zierikzee in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, pp. 217–19. 36 Discussed in Dambruyne, Corporatieve middengroepen, pp. 213–53, especially pp. 225 and 241. 37 See Remmerswaal, Duurzame alliantie, p. 97; See also the contribution of Janneke Tump, ‘Market Logic’ in this volume; and Raoul De Kerf and Janneke Tump, ‘Circulation of Technological Knowledge’, passim.

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and Flanders, which faced the challenge of increasing their entrance fees while not becoming too exclusive, were very creative as well. They not only substituted financial requirements (fees for the masterpiece, for the meal, for the poor box, for the deans, for the altar, for the chapel and so forth) for expenses in kind (such as real treats) for new masters,38 but they also tried to bind apprentices to the trade by making higher registration fees deductible from the admission fee.39 It is therefore important to look more closely at the pragmatic ways in which guilds and urban authorities tried to regulate the labour market beyond and apart from imposing the statutory entry fees. First of all, guild boards or urban authorities could influence the market by introducing ad hoc manipulations of entry payments. The coopers’ guild in Haarlem, for example, raised the registration fees for apprentices between 1692 and 1698 in a few steps, from the statutory level of zero stuivers for masters’ sons, six stuivers for non-masters’ sons and 12 stuivers for outsiders to 20, 22 and 40 stuivers respectively, without waiting for any formal adaptation of the by-laws at all; in fact, the new rates were not passed into law by the urban government until 1750.40 As in the Southern Netherlands, many guilds in the North moreover proved to be extremely ‘creative’ in manipulating the costs of making masterpieces (and thus the entrance barriers to mastership) by adding (or waiving) payments for materials, the use of a workroom, heating and lighting of the guild’s premises, services from the guild’s servant, compensation for lost labour time for examiners, compulsory meals, compulsory membership of the guild box and so forth.41 This explains, for instance, why entrance costs for masters in the coopers’ guild in Rotterdam fluctuated markedly between 1641 and 1665 and why the total entrance costs for master carpenters in Amsterdam almost doubled between 1664 and 1798.42 For gold- and silversmiths in the small town of Schoonhoven, it was not the admission fee as such but the extra

This may also reflect a different attitude towards collective activities and the guilds as a brotherhood. See: Bert De Munck, ‘Fiscalizing Solidarity. Poor Relief in Antwerp Guilds Between Community Building and Public Service’, in Manon van der Heijden and Griet Vermeesch, eds, Serving the Community. Public Facilities in Early Modern Towns of the Low Countries (Amsterdam, 2009), pp. 168–93; and De Munck, ‘From Brotherhood Community to Civil Society?’. 39 See footnote 26. 40 (NAH), Gildenarchieven, nr. 126, Knecht en jongensboek kuipersgilde 1649–1798, nr.124, Keure en ordonnantie van het kuypers-gilde binnen de stad Haarlem, 30 April 1750. 41 See for example Panhuysen, Maatwerk, pp. 158–9; De Kerf and Tump, ‘Circulation of Technological Knowledge’; Lourens and Lucassen, ‘Zunftlandschaften’, p. 24; Vos, Burgers, broeders en bazen, p. 148; Remmerswaal, Een duurzame alliantie, pp. 102–3. 42 See the contribution of Janneke Tump in this volume; Lourens and Lucassen, ‘Zunftlandschaften’, pp. 24–5. 38

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payments required for the masterpiece that triggered their resistance to the ruling local elite in the 1780s.43 Second, the influence on the labour market from the side of urban governments and urban institutions made itself felt in the practice of exempting orphans from paying contributions to guilds. Exemptions of orphans came about thanks to urban magistrates or regents of orphanages, not on the initiative of guilds.44 The free entry of orphans made the ‘pool’ of potential apprentices in reality much larger than the seemingly rigorous system of registration fees would suggest. According to the enrolment books of the Haarlem shoemakers’ guilds, for example, the majority of apprentices who were registered free of charge between the 1730s and the 1790s were not masters’ sons, but children from the Arme Kinderhuis (‘poor orphans’ home’).45 While regents of orphanages, on their part, normally had certain preferences regarding the types of occupations in which their pupils were apprenticed (notably woodworking, textile-making and the building trades), they were never entirely dependent on the vagaries of masters in specific guilds. Orphans could also be placed outside the local labour market, especially by having them enlisted on ships bound for the East or West Indies.46 In the Southern Netherlands, poor youths and orphans were stimulated to work for guild-based masters as well.47 Typically, they paid half the fee.48 There, an additional solution to labour market shortages was to engage unfree journeymen, that is, journeymen who had not completed an apprenticeship term (and made a trial piece if required). From the sixteenth century onwards, and increasingly so from the eighteenth century, masters tried to circumvent the free journeymen’s ‘right of preference’ by employing outsiders (on lower wages): in this, they were sometimes assisted by the guilds’ boards, who legitimized the practice by having the masters or the unfree journeymen pay a small tax related to the number of unfree journeymen and/or the number of days worked – or even by the central government, as happened in the construction trade in Antwerp René Kappers, Schoonhoven: Keurkamers en regels 1705–1809, 2006, www. historischeverenigingschoonhoven.nl, p. 31. 44 Karel Davids, ‘Apprenticeship and Guild Control in the Netherlands, c. 1450–1800’, in De Munck, Kaplan and Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor, pp. 65–84, especially p. 74; Vos, Burgers, broeders en bazen, pp. 154–5. 45 NAH, Gildenarchieven, nr. 279, G Gildenjongensboek schoenmakersgilde 1736–96. 46 Davids, ‘Apprenticeship’, pp. 72–4. 47 Danny Pepermans, Sociaal-economische studie van het schoenmakers- en schoenlappersambacht te Mechelen in de Nieuwe Tijd (Unpublished Master’s thesis VUB, Brussels, 1999), pp. 53–4; Kristof Van Quathem, ‘Sociale mobiliteit en machtsverdeling in het Brugse schoenmakersambacht (1570–1790)’, in Lis and Soly, Werken volgens de regels, pp. 107–34 and 112–13; De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 144–69. 48 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 160 and 164. 43

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in the sixteenth century.49 In 1784, more than 10 years before the demise of the guilds, the distinction between free and unfree journeymen was abolished altogether.50 The logic of these measures is again somewhat different from that in the North, where – at least in the western parts of the Dutch Republic – urban authorities generally eased the supply of labour, both inside and outside the guild-regulated sectors, by keeping entry barriers to burghership low. In cities in the ‘guild landscape’ in the East, such as Arnhem, by contrast, where guilds exerted more political power, this openness proved much harder to realize.51 Is this perhaps proof that guilds tried to keep close watch over entrance conditions to their own ‘corps’ when they had sufficient political leeway, whereas urban authorities, in the absence of strong corporative organizations, were rather inclined to lay stress on the city as a ‘corps’? Future research may consider this hypothesis. Conclusion The entrance fees of guilds were not used as instruments to regulate entry to the labour market directly. The levels of fees were more related to the guilds’ need for income (or the lack of it) than to the economic interests of employers. Nor were entry fees used in order to enforce apprentice contracts and bind apprentices to the guild in the way Larry Epstein has suggested. In the Southern Netherlands, guild boards did indeed increase registration fees in order to prevent apprentices from using their skills elsewhere, but they regarded this only as a secondary purpose, in order to compensate for higher admission fees. While the fees in the South increased substantially during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, they did so for reasons other than economic and social interests. The southern guilds seem to have used rising fees to tackle two problems. While in the aftermath of the Dutch Revolt they faced additional expenses related to their cultural and symbolic capital, their income stagnated due to the stagnating number of prospective masters and apprentices. So, although in theory, the 49 Bert De Munck, ‘Meritocraten aan het werk. Deregulering van de arbeidsmarkt bij de Antwerpse timmerlieden in de 18de eeuw’, in Bruno Blondé, Bert De Munck and Filip Vermeylen, eds, Doodgewoon. Mensen en hun dagelijks leven in de geschiedenis. Liber Amicorum Alfons K.L. Thijs (Antwerp, 2004), pp. 87–106; De Munck, ‘One Counter and your own Account’, p. 32. 50 Hubert Van Houtte, Histoire économique de la Belgique à la fin de l’Ancien Régime (Ghent, 1920), p. 97. 51 Lourens and Lucassen, ‘Zunftlandschaften’, pp. 15–20 and 23; Roland de Ruiter, Burgerschap en gilden in Alkmaar en Arnhem in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw (Unpublished Master’s thesis, VU University, Amsterdam, 2009).

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southern guilds’ investments in cultural and symbolic capital (and, perhaps, in the juridical proceedings by which they safeguarded their monopsony) may have had the effect of attracting masters and apprentices alike, it is difficult to imagine that the benefits outweighed the costs from an economic perspective. Guilds in the Northern and the Southern Netherlands did not behave in an ‘exclusivist’ way either, except in the South, unintentionally. After the Revolt, guilds in the Southern Netherlands often faced a decline in the number of apprentices, to the extent that in the eighteenth century the very survival of the guilds appeared to be under threat. The guild boards tried to tackle this by making the masterpiece less expensive (in terms of the time required and the raw materials used) or by abolishing expensive meals in the event of rising entrance fees. Nonetheless, some guilds even faced a shortage of masters’ sons willing to follow in their fathers’ footsteps. In 1757, tinsmiths and plumbers in Antwerp therefore even requested that apprenticeship for masters’ sons be abolished altogether.52 In other guilds, the shortage concerned journeymen. In this case there were, broadly, two solutions. One was to exempt poor and orphaned apprentices from paying the entrance fees (or from paying part of the fee); the other was to legitimize the employment of unfree journeymen, by having the masters or the unfree journeymen in question paying a tax related to the number of days worked. The first solution materialized in the Dutch Republic as well, but, on the whole, policymakers there appear to have adopted another logic. Broadly speaking, the guilds in the Southern Netherlands appear to have been preoccupied with the incorporation of masters and apprentices in their very organizations. In the Northern Netherlands, in contrast, the main policy instrument would seem to have been citizenship. There, the issue of inclusion versus exclusion appears to have been related to the city as an economic and political body, rather than to corporative organizations. Our hypothesis would therefore be that the weakness of the guilds and the political power of the regents in the Northern cities, on the one hand, and the political power of the guilds in cities in Flanders and Brabant, on the other, did result in a different entrance policy after all. In this respect, Zeeland seems to have resembled the evolution in Holland rather than that in the Southern Netherlands. De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 144–68, especially pp. 146–7, and 209. A similar trend existed among other Brabantine guilds, for example the Brussels shoemakers: Ils Salien, Op de leest geschoeid’. Sociaal-economische geschiedenis van het oude en nieuwe schoenmakersambacht te Brussel in het Ancien Régime (Unpublished Master’s thesis VUB, Brussels, 1999), pp. 51–3; and the Leuven wood sector: Marina Laureys, Bijdrage tot de sociale geschiedenis van het Leuvense ambachtelijke milieu. Het ambacht van de timmerlieden, de houtbrekers en de molenmakers (1700–1795) (Unpublished Master’s thesis KUL, Leuven, 1980), pp. 29–32. 52

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In any case, any debate on the entrance to guilds and cities should move beyond the inclusive/exclusive dichotomy and the focus on the socio-economic context. Future research should consider broader political attitudes, including citizenship and the reasons for investing in cultural and symbolic capital and cultivating devotional practices. Why did guilds invest in cultural and symbolic capital and how did this change in the long run? To what extent were these investments related to their political ambitions, and how far did they themselves consider the debts resulting from this as a mere burden inherited from the past? In the end, how did this affect the waning credibility of the guilds in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? Whatever the case may be, future research still faces the problem of probing deeper into both the guilds’ regulations and the guild boards’ and other actor groups’ intentions. In which trades was apprenticeship an entry to the status of free journeyman or, rather, to the status of master, and how does this affect our understanding of the dispensations for orphans and poor boys or the attempts to bind apprentices to the trade? Did apprentices and masters enter a guild or rather a city? And to what extent did the motivation to enter change at all in the Early Modern period?

Table 9.1a Entrance fees for selected crafts in Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen, c. 1450–1560 (in guilders and stuivers) Craft Brewers

Fees Registration

Admission

Cabinet makers and carpenters

Registration

Admission

Cloth dressers

Registration

Admission

Coopers

Registration

Admission

Category

c. 1450 Antwerp

Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

Ghent

Leuven

Mechelen

c. 1560 Antwerp

Ghent 0-05

Leuven

Mechelen 2-00

96-00

1-04 2-08

18-00

288-00/6-00 1-05

1-00

10-00

?/4-00 23-00/30-00 6-00

48-00

0-16 2-18 0-00 18-00 18-00

1-12 2-18

48-00

4-00

9-00 18-00

6-00 0-01

48-00

1-00 1-00 36-00 48-00

6-00

Craft Gold- and silversmiths

Fees Registration

Admission

Mercers

Registration

Admission

Shoemakers

Registration

Admission

Category

c. 1450 Antwerp

Ghent

Leuven

Mechelen

c. 1560 Antwerp

Ghent

Leuven

Mechelen

Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

84-00

6-00 1-05

1-16 4-10

5-11 10-11

30-00

6-00 1-04

1-00

8-00 8-00

0-02

39-00

1-04 1-04

16-00 16-00

6-00

0-04 7-04 7-04

3-09 24-17 24-17

*Payments in kind were not included in this table Sources: Dambruyne, Corporatieve middengroepen, Table 30, pp. 184–5, Table 32, p. 203, Table 34, p. 207, Table 35, p. 210 and Table 37, p. 213; De Munck, Technologies of Learning, Table 1.4, p. 86; Stadsarchief Antwerpen (SAA), Gilden en Ambachten (GA), 4001, 4008, 4017, 4028, 4112, 4241, 4888, 4890, 4891, 4894; Stadsarchief Gent, Oud Archief (OA), 156; Stadsarchief Mechelen (SAM), Verzamelingen Varia, v 753; SAM, Leder 169, Leder 173; SAM, Brouwers 2B, 53B; SAM, Lakenmakers, August 24, 1469 and no. 84; Stadsarchief Leuven (SAL), Archief van de Leuvense ambachten en archiefbescheiden handelend over de ambachten SA 3, 4661; SAL 722, 723, 4685, 4694/8, 4694/9, 4694/10, 11739, 11743, 11589, 11591 and 11641.

Table 9.1b Entrance fees for selected crafts in Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen, c. 1670–1780 (in guilders and stuivers) Craft Brewers

Fees Registration

Admission

Cabinet makers and carpenters

Registration

Admission

Cloth dressers

Registration

Admission

Coopers

Registration

Admission

Category Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

c. 1670 Antwerp

Ghent

Leuven

Mechelen

c. 1780 Antwerp

63-00

18-00

0-00 546-04 546-04

40-00 (carps) 60-00 (carps)

Ghent

Leuven

0-08

42-00 45-19 545-19

18-00

21-15 43-10

0-12 0-12

240-00 300-00

62-08 62-08

4-00 8-00 48-00 60-00 60-00

1-00

0-16

30-06 76-10 76-10

1-12 26-12 26-12

8-00 12-00 122-00 154-00 180-00

9-00

50-00

287-12 0-24

Mechelen

0-00 20-06 20-06

0-00 12-14 28-00 84-00 84-00

Craft Gold- and silversmiths

Fees

Registration

Admission

Mercers

Registration

Admission

Shoemakers

Registration

Admission

Category

Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

c. 1670 Antwerp

Ghent

Leuven

Mechelen

8-00 18-00 26-00 36-00 100-00 150-00

c. 1780 Antwerp

Ghent

16-16

33-00 33-00

98-04

153-00 153-00

25-00 6-11 12-11

20-00 40-00 40-00

14-16 102-16

1-04

3-00

4-10 80-00 80-00

2-00 64-00 64-00

24-00 24-00 8-00 8-00 72-00 108-00

8-08 8-08 00-12 00-12

Leuven

Mechelen

10-12 244-12

100-00

45-00 45-00 3-00 0-00

6-00 6-00

167-00

*Payments in kind were not included in this table Sources: Dambruyne, Corporatieve middengroepen, Table 30, pp. 184–5, Table 32, p. 203, Table 34, p. 207, Table 35, p. 210 and Table 37, p. 213; De Munck, Technologies of Learning, Table 1.4 and pp. 95–114; Stadsarchief Antwerpen (SAA), Gilden en Ambachten (GA), 4001, 4008, 4017, 4028, 4112, 4241, 4888, 4890, 4891, 4894; Stadsarchief Gent, Oud Archief (OA), 156; Stadsarchief Mechelen (SAM), Verzamelingen Varia, v 753; SAM, Leder 169, Leder 173; SAM, Brouwers 2B, 53B; SAM, Lakenmakers, August 24, 1469 and no. 84; Stadsarchief Leuven (SAL), Archief van de Leuvense ambachten en archiefbescheiden handelend over de ambachten SA 3, 4661; SAL 722, 723, 4685, 4694/8, 4694/9, 4694/10, 11739, 11743, 11589, 11591 and 11641.

Table 9.2 Craft

Entrance fees for selected crafts in cities in the Northern Netherlands, c. 1600–1800 (in guilders and stuivers) Fees

Category

Carpenters Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Coopers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Dyers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

c. 1600 Alkmaar Amsterdam Arnhem Haarlem

0-10

Rotterdam Zierikzee Goes Tholen Vlissingen Middelburg Veere

0-00

0-10

0-06

1-00

3-00

0-12 1-00 0-18+0-12* 2-00

6-00

3-00+2-00* 2-00 6-00+4-00* 4-00

2-01

5-00

2-01

5-00

2-01

5-00

Craft

Fees

Category

Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Gold- and Registration Sons of silversmiths masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Shoemakers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Tailors Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters

c. 1600 Alkmaar Amsterdam Arnhem Haarlem

Admission

0-00 0-06 0-12

0-15 0-15 1-10 6-00 26-14 26-14 0-00 0-15

Rotterdam Zierikzee Goes Tholen Vlissingen Middelburg Veere

Admission

Outsiders Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

1-10 4-07 5-00

18-07

8-00

19-07

*Fees consist of a jointly contribution of the apprentice and master ** Payments in kind were not included in this table Craft

Fees

Category

Carpenters Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Coopers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters

c. 1640 Alkmaar

Amsterdam Arnhem Haarlem

Rotterdam Zierikzee Goes Tholen Vlissingen Middelburg Veere 3-00 3-00 3-00

0-00

6-00

1-10

3-00

7-00

6-00

1-10

3-00

12-00 1-10

3-00

8-00 1-16+12-00*

7-10

0-00

0-18+0-06*

0-06

0-18+0-06*

0-12

0-18+0-06* 9-00

Craft

Fees

Category

c. 1640 Alkmaar

Not sons of masters Outsiders Dyers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Gold- and Registration Sons of silversmiths masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Shoemakers Registration Sons of 0-00 masters Not sons of 0-00 masters Outsiders 0-00

Amsterdam Arnhem Haarlem 15-00

Rotterdam Zierikzee Goes Tholen Vlissingen Middelburg Veere 9-10 9-10

0-06 0-06 0-06 27-10 27-10 37-10

Admission

Tailors

Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

6-00

12-00

12-00

6-00

12-00

12-00

12-00

12-00

15-00 0-10

0-10

0-15

0-10

0-10

0-15

1-00

1-00 5-00

1-10 6-00

4-04

6-00

12-00

4-04

2-10 5-00

30-00

15-00/22-00

8-00/10-00

4-04

*Fees consist of a jointly contribution of the apprentice and master ** Payments in kind were not included in this table Craft

Fees

Category

Carpenters Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

c. 1720 Alkmaar Amsterdam Arnhem Haarlem 0-15 0-10

Rotterdam

Zierikzee Goes

Tholen

Vlissingen Middelburg Veere

0-15

0-20

1-00

1-10 6-00

25-00

10-10

7-00

12-00

25-00

10-10

7-00

20-00

25-00

10-10

7-00

Craft

Fees

Category

Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Dyers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Gold- and Registration Sons of silversmiths masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters

c. 1720 Alkmaar Amsterdam Arnhem Haarlem

Coopers

Rotterdam 0-18+0-06* 0-18+0-06* 0-18+0-06* 2-00 2-00 4-00 3-00 3-00 3-00 75-00+>10-00* 75-00+>10-00* 75-00+>10-00* 4-00

3-00/4-00

6-00

3-00/4-00 8-00

6-00 15-00+2-00*

20-00

37-00+2-00*

Zierikzee Goes

Tholen

Vlissingen Middelburg Veere

Outsiders

26-00

Shoemakers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Tailors Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission

Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

50-00-2-00/ 80-00+2-00* 0-00 0-10 0-12

1-00/2-00 1-00/2-00 1-00/2-00

55-00

*Fees consist of a jointly contribution of the apprentice and master ** Payments in kind were not included in this table

6-00

6-06

12-00

6-06 6-06

Craft

Fees

Category c. 1750 Alkmaar Carpenters Registration Sons of 0-06 masters Not sons 0-06 of masters Outsiders 0-08 Admission Sons of 12-00 masters Not sons 12-00 of masters Outsiders 12-00 Coopers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Dyers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

Amsterdam Arnhem

Haarlem 0-10

Rotterdam Zierikzee Goes Tholen Vlissingen Middelburg Veere 3-03

0-20

3-03

1-10 6-00

3-03 25-00

12-00 3-00

12-00

25-00

12-00 3-00

20-00 1-00

25-00

12-00 3-00

1-10 2-00 12-00+12-00* 18-00+18-00* 36-00+36-00* 0-06 0-06 0-06 27-10 27-10 37-10

Gold- and Registration Sons of silversmiths masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Shoemakers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Tailors Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

4-00

3-08

0-00

4-10

3-00

5-00 3-00/4-00 12-00+3-00* 8-00

5-00 21-18

6-00

24-00+3-00* 20-00

28-18

48-00+3-00* 26-00 0-00

29-18 0-00

0-00

0-10

0-00 4-10

0-12 4-10+4-10*

15-00

25-16

6-00

9+9*

25-00

51-06

15-00

18+18*

40-00

51-06

4-00

3-00/4-00

*Fees consist of a jointly contribution of the apprentice and master ** Payments in kind were not included in this table

1-03 1-03 1-03 32-00/38-00 45-00 59-00

Craft

Fees

Carpenters

Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

Coopers

Dyers

Category

c. 1800 Alkmaar 0-06

Amsterdam Arnhem Haarlem Rotterdam Zierikzee Goes 1-00

0-06

1-00

0-06 16-00

1-00 20-00

24-00

16-00

20-00

24-00

24-00

20-00

Tholen Vlissingen Middelburg Veere

24-00 1-00 1-10 2-00 9-10 9-10 9-10

Gold- and Registration Sons of silversmiths masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Shoemakers Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of 4-10 masters Not sons of 6-00/10-00 masters Outsiders 15-00 Tailors Registration Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders Admission Sons of masters Not sons of masters Outsiders

4-00 3-00/4-00

4-00

3-00/4-00 8-00

4-00 20-00

20-00

20-00

26-00

20-00 1-00 1-00 1-00 20-00 20-00 20-00

30-00

20-00

60-00

20-00 20-00

*Fees consist of a jointly contribution of the apprentice and master ** Payments in kind were not included in this table

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Sources: Roland de Ruiter, Burgerschap en gilden in Alkmaar en Arnhem in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw, p. 52, 53, 54, 93, 94, 99, 101, 103 and 104; Sarah de Waal, Kuipers en kapitalisten: van ambacht tot assemblagelijn. Het Amsterdamse kuipersgilde in de achttiende eeuw, p. 17 and 19; Lidewij Hesselink. Goud- en zilversmeden en hun gilde in Amsterdam in de 17e en. 18e eeuw, p. 129 and 132; Janneke Tump, Onderzoeksverslagen over kuipers, goudsmeden en ververs in Haarlem en Rotterdam; Bibi Panhuysen, Maatwerk. Kleermakers, naaisters, oudkleerkoopsters en de gilden (1500–1800), p. 137 note 30, appendix IX; Lambertus H. Remmerswaal, Een duurzame alliantie. Gilden en regenten in Zeeland, 1600–1800, appendix 4 and pp. 96–7; Noord-Hollands Archief (NHA), Gildenarchief Haarlem (GAH) Enschedé I, 433 and 764; NHA, GAH, 40, 41, 124, 126, 277 G and 315; NHA, Bibliotheek 43 008527k and 43 008559 k.

Chapter 10

The Coopers’ Guilds in Holland, c. 1650–1720: a Market Logic? Janneke Tump

Guild historians have traditionally stated that urban craft guilds were able to use legislation to influence the transmission of knowledge on the shop floor. According to the classic account, most craft guilds became increasingly exclusive during the Early Modern period, because the aim of the guild masters was to consolidate their own position and the position of their descendants by creating barriers for newcomers. In particular, the differences in the registration, trial and admission fees for strangers, citizens and the sons of guild masters have frequently been interpreted by historians as proof of the exclusiveness of the craft guilds. However, since the 1980s, historians have been writing in more positive terms.1 According to Stephan Epstein, the transmission of knowledge was even one of the most important tasks of the guilds.2 Although some authors continue to stress the exclusive character of the guilds, recent research has emphasized that this is not an accurate picture.3 A more nuanced image of the role of the guilds comes forward in recent Various Dutch historians have discussed the classic account and the changes in the historiography on guilds. The following authors are not representatives of the classic account. For example: Sandra Bos, ‘Uyt liefde tot malcander’, Onderlinge hulpverlening binnen de Noord-Nederlandse gilden in internationaal perspectief (1570–1820) (Amsterdam, 1998), pp. 25–8; Bibi Panhuysen, Maatwerk. Kleermakers, naaisters, oudkleerkopers en de gilden (1500–1800) (Amsterdam, 2000), pp. 14–17; Nico Slokker, Ruggengraat van de stad. De betekenis van gilden in Utrecht, 1528–1818 (Amsterdam, 2010), pp. 11–27. 2 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, The Journal of Economic History, 53 (1998): pp. 648–718, at pp. 687–9. 3 Stephan.R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008). The most important spokeswoman for the more critical scholars is Sheilagh Ogilvie, see for example: Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Guilds, Efficiency and Social Capital. Evidence from German Proto-industry’, Economic History Review, 57 (2004): pp. 286–333; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Institutions and Economic Development in Early Modern Central Europe’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5 (1995): pp. 221–50. Janneke Tump, Ambachtelijk geschoold. Haarlemse en Rotterdamse ambachtslieden en de circulatie van technische kennis, ca. 1400–1720 (Ridderkerk, 2012), p. 260. 1

Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities

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historiography, in which the inclusive character of the craft guilds in the Low Countries is underlined and guilds are no longer seen as obstacles to economic growth.4 One important aspect of this change has been the tendency among historians to identify differences between guild legislation and reality. In the last three decades, historians have regularly pointed to the flexibility of the craft guilds in adapting themselves to changing circumstances.5 Lourens and Lucassen state that the guilds in the Northern Low Countries were more inclusive than the guilds in other European countries. A migrant had a significant chance of becoming a master because the various guild fees were relatively low.6 Unlike the guilds in the Southern Low Countries, guild officials in most cities in Holland never gained political power and they lost their religious function in the last decades of the sixteenth century. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were therefore fewer incentives to show off the social or religious prestige of the guild by means of richly decorated guild houses, chapels and altars, among other things.7 In this chapter, I would like to go a step further than merely trying to prove the extent to which guilds were open or closed. More concretely, I will not only focus on the entry barriers for apprentices, journeymen and masters, but For example: Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, ‘Ambachtsgilden in Nederland, een beknopt overzicht’, in Koen Goudriaan et al., De gilden in Gouda (Zwolle, 1996), p. 15; Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp Guilds from the 15th Century to the End of the Ancien Régime (1100–1800) (Turnhout, 2007), pp. 37–40; Epstein and Prak, eds, Guilds. 5 Some examples in which Dutch historians point to the flexibility of the guilds are: Sandra Bos, ‘Uyt liefde’, p. 27; Aart Vos, Burgers, boeren en bazen. Het maatschappelijk middenveld van ’s-Hertogenbosch in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw (Hilversum, 2007), pp. 144–5; Lambertus H. Remmerswaal, Een duurzame alliantie. Gilden en regenten in Zeeland, 1600–1800 (Middelburg, 2009), p. 40; Janneke Tump, ‘“Wees van onbesproken wandel; Gij wordt misschien nog meesterknecht”. Het leerwezen in het Rotterdamse kuipers- en wijnverlatersgilde aan het einde van de zeventiende eeuw’, Rotterdams Jaarboekje, 1–8 (Rotterdam, 2010): pp. 176–97, at p. 176. 6 Piet Lourens and Jan Lucassen, ‘Oprichting en ontwikkeling ambachtsgilden in Nederland (13de–19de eeuw)’, in Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, eds, Werelden van verschil. Ambachtsgilden in de lage landen (Brussels, 1997), pp. 43–78; Lourens and Lucassen, ‘Ambachtsgilden in Nederland’, p. 15. 7 Johan Dambruyne, Corporatieve middengroepen. Aspiraties, relaties en transformaties en transformaties in de 16de-eeuwse Gentse ambachtswereld (Ghent, 2002), pp. 167–73; Johan Dambruyne, ‘Corporative capital and social representation in the Southern and Northern Netherlands, 1500–1800’, in Maarten Prak et al., eds, Craft Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries. Work, Power and Representation (Aldershot, 2006), pp. 194–223. In various guilds in Zeeland the guild officials invested meagre sums in these kinds of things: Remmerswaal, Een duurzame alliantie, p. 130. See the contribution of Karel Davids and Bert De Munck in this volume. 4

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also on the reasons why the different fees were adapted. The main question is: which mechanisms influenced the changing levels of fees between 1650 and 1720? There are two possible explanations. The first is that guild officials always responded immediately to economic change, and tried to influence the number of new apprentices, journeymen and masters directly. When there was less demand, they made entrance for new masters, journeymen and apprentices more difficult, and when there was more demand for craftsmen, they lowered their entrance barriers. The second possible explanation is that most of the time, guild officials did not respond immediately to economic change. Market mechanisms dictated the extent to which the guild attracted new journeymen, apprentices and masters. The officials were followers and they almost never used the instruments they possessed to influence this market logic. This chapter shows the results of a case study on two coopers’ guilds, one in Haarlem and one in Rotterdam. Given the centrality of coopers to the Early Modern urban economy, this sector can be used as an indicator for economic development. Moreover, making barrels was a difficult craft that could not be executed without an apprenticeship of several years. Skills were transmitted on the shop floor, something that was the case for many other technical professions in the Early Modern period. In the years between 1650 and 1700 no major technical innovations seem to have occurred in cooperage. This is advantageous, because technical evolution can be excluded as an explanatory factor for changing fees. Haarlem and Rotterdam were located in the Province of Holland, the most urbanized region of the Dutch Republic. Both cities were part of an extensive communication and transportation network. This case study and a focus on the period between 1650 and 1720 allow us to compare the strategies of the board members of the guilds in both cities when the economic circumstances changed. Haarlem, in particular, had to respond to economic problems quite early on in the period, which will be described later in this paper. Therefore, we might expect the board members of these two Dutch guilds to have reacted differently to the economic changes their guild members had to deal with. This chapter is arranged in four sections. After presenting a brief overview of the economic position of the two cities and the specifics of the cooper’s trade, I will focus on the entry barriers for new apprentices, journeymen and masters, and the reasons for the adaptations. Haarlem, Rotterdam and the Coopers The seventeenth century was a Golden Age for the Dutch Republic. It became the dominant trade partner in Europe and built up a colonial empire in Asia. Both economic growth and the population rate exploded, thanks to the country’s attractiveness to many foreigners looking for employment. The western part of

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Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities

the Dutch Republic, with Amsterdam as its centre, profited in particular from the new-found wealth. The Year of Disaster (1672), in which the Republic was almost overthrown, is often seen as a turning point, however some historians have pointed to the 1660s as the years of change. In the last decades of the seventeenth century there was less economic growth, although every city showed a different pattern.8 The citizens of Haarlem, a town in the northern region of the Province of Holland, had to deal with economic problems quite early on in comparison with other large Dutch cities. The population started to decline somewhere between 1665 and 1680.9 Haarlem had c. 38,000 citizens in 1650 and c. 33,000 in 1700, whereas in Rotterdam, the number of citizens in 1650 was c. 30,000 and c. 51,000 in 1700.10 In the second half of the seventeenth century the brewing industry in Haarlem contracted, which affected other sectors such as the trade in peat and cooperage. In 1699 only 15 breweries were left of the 54 that had existed in 1623,11 causing a fall in demand for new casks. On the other hand, in this period the silk industry and bleach industry were still flourishing, and the ribbon industry did very well until 1780. These industries had never been important buyers of casks, however.12 In Rotterdam, a city in the southern part of Holland, the breweries were an important source of income in the second half of the seventeenth century. This made the city, together with Amsterdam, the largest beer producer of Holland.13 Rotterdam was also Holland’s most important wine trading centre. Large barrels filled with wine were shipped to the city, where it was stored in new casks and exported to other towns.14 Herring was another important export product that 8 Jan de Vries and Ad van der Woude, Nederland 1500–1815. De eerste ronde van moderne economische groei (Amsterdam, 1995), pp. 68, 476, 474 and 773. 9 Gabrielle Dorren, Eenheid en verscheidenheid. De burgers van Haarlem in de Gouden Eeuw (Amsterdam, 2011), pp. 34–5. 10 Jan Lucassen, Immigranten in Holland 1600–1800. Een kwantitatieve benadering (Amsterdam: IISG working paper 3, 2002), p. 26. Via: www.iisg.nl/cgm/documents/cgmworkingpaper3.pdf. 11 Dorren, Eenheid en verscheidenheid, p. 25. 12 Jaap Vogel, Een ondernemend echtpaar in de achttiende eeuw. Pieter Merkman Jr. en Isabella van Leeuwen. De Haarlemse garenlintindustrie CBG-cahiers 2 (Delft, 1987), p. 1; Floris Mulder, ‘De Haarlemse textielnijverheid in de periode 1575–1800’, in Hans Rombouts, ed., Haarlem ging op wollen zolen (Schoorl, 1995), p. 56. 13 Richard W. Unger, A History of Brewing in Holland, 900–1900. Economy, Technology and the State (Leiden, 2001), p. 222. 14 Paul van de Laar, ‘Rotterdam. De koopstad en de VOC’, in Manon van der Heijden and Paul van de Laar, eds, Rotterdammers en de VOC. Handelscompagnie, stad en burgers (1600–1800) (Amsterdam, 2002), pp. 30–55, at pp. 36–7. Rotterdam even became Holland’s most important wine trade centre: Henriette de Bruyn-Kops, A Spirited Exchange. The Wine and Brandy Trade between France and the Dutch Republic in its Atlantic Framework, 1600–1650 (Leiden, 2007), p. 3; Unger, A History of Brewing, p. 222.

The Coopers’ Guilds in Holland, c. 1650–1720

229

was also stored in new casks in Rotterdam.15 The trade with France, Scotland and England encouraged numerous local industries, although several of the Dutch Republic’s wars, in combination with restrictive import and export policies in times of conflict, posed temporary threats to the city’s prosperity. Local industries were also positively influenced by the Admiralty and the Chambers of the East India Company and the West India Company. The Admiralty was responsible for the war vessels and many people were employed on its wharf.16 In the last decade of the seventeenth century Rotterdam was more prosperous than other Dutch industrial cities, but the economy was not really growing anymore. In the first years of the eighteenth century a temporary decline in the prosperity of the city and the number of inhabitants can be seen, although the city’s heyday was not yet over.17 Coopers in both cities were at the heart of urban trade and industry, because of their function as manufacturers of packaging materials. In the Early Modern period, barrels were used to store all sorts of fluids and dry materials, such as milk, gunpowder, beer and herring. Coopers also fabricated household goods, for example buckets, cheese malls and tubs.18 A rise or fall in the population as well as changes in the economy of a city therefore directly affected the employment of the coopers. Coopers in Haarlem were thus less and less in demand in the course of the seventeenth century. The difference between the two cities is visible in the registration books of the members of the board. In Haarlem, only 17 new masters were inscribed in the years between 1687 and 1720, whereas hundreds of new masters did their trial in Rotterdam. Important differences can also been seen in the number of registered apprentices and journeymen (see Figures 10.1–10.3).19 Apprentices and Journeymen: Causes and Consequences of Changing Fees New apprentices and journeymen had to register according to the guild regulations, and the registration fees in the seventeenth century were low. In Haarlem in the period between 1649 and 1692 there were no registration fees for sons of masters. Official citizens paid 0.30 carolus guilders and aliens (non15 Adri P. van Vliet, Vissers en kapers. De zeevisserij vanuit het Maasmondgebied en de Duinkerker kapers (circa 1580–1648) (The Hague, 1994), p. 157. 16 Van de Laar, ‘Rotterdam’, pp. 36–9 and 51–2. 17 Van de Laar, ‘Rotterdam’, pp. 36–8; Arie van der Schoor, Stad in aanwas. Geschiedenis van Rotterdam tot 1813 (Zwolle, 1999), pp. 317–27; De Vries and Van der Woude, Nederland 1500–1815, pp. 68, 476, 474 and 773; Tump, ‘“Wees van onbesproken wandel”’, pp. 177–9. 18 Tump, ‘“Wees van onbesproken wandel”’, p. 178. 19 GAR, Gildearchieven, inv. 77, Rekenboeken 1694–1748; NAH, Gildearchieven, inv. nr. 125, Boek van de bazen, registers van vinders 1693–1722. Lidmaten 1686–1794 en hoepgelden 1696–1722. See also Figures 10. 1 and 10.2.

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Innovation and Creativity in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Cities

official citizens) paid 0.30 guilders or more. If a former inhabitant of Haarlem wanted to register as an apprentice in Edam and had to pay 1 guilder, someone from Edam had to pay the same amount to become an apprentice in Haarlem. Journeymen who wanted to work in Haarlem paid the same fees as apprentices (Table 10.1). These registration fees changed in 1693. From that moment, inhabitants of Haarlem had to pay 1.50 guilders and aliens 2 guilders. These changes were not restricted to citizens and aliens. Prior to 1693, the sons of guild masters had never had to pay fees when they wanted to learn or work in their fathers’ workshops, but from August 1693 onwards they had to pay 1 guilder when they learned their fathers’ trade from another cooper. Beggars and orphans never paid a registration fee, except for beggars born elsewhere, who paid 1 guilder from 1693.20 Table 10.1

Registration fees for new apprentices and journeymen in Haarlem and Rotterdam

City/period

Sons of citizens

Haarlem 1607 Haarlem c. 1649–92 Haarlem c. 1693–1720 Rotterdam c. 1662–1720

0.30 guilder 0.30 guilder 1.50 guilders

Aliens (non-official citizens) 0.60 guilder

Sons of guild members Free

0.30 guilder or more. Free Depending on origin 2 guilders Free or 1 guilder

0.80–0.90 guilder 0.80–0.90 guilder

0.80–0.90 guilder

Sources: Noord-Hollands Archief Haarlem (NAH), OSA, Rood G, Afschriften van keuren; NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, inv. nr. 125, Boek van de bazen, registers van vinders 1693–1722. Lidmaten 1686–1794 en hoepgelden 1696–1722; NAH, Collectie van Stadspublicaties van het stadsbestuur van Haarlem, 1605–1813, inv. nr. 352X, Ordonnantie op het toetreden tot het kuipersgilde en op de verkoop van hoepen, 1693; NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, 124, Keuren 1443–1750. NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649–1798.

20 NAH, gildearchieven, inv. nr. 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649–1798; NAH, Collectie van Stadspublicaties van het stadsbestuur van Haarlem, 1605–1813, inv. nr. 352X, Ordonnantie op het toetreden tot het kuipersgilde en op de verkoop van hoepen, 1693.

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In Rotterdam the statutory fees were also low. From 1662 until after 1720, all apprentices and journeymen paid 0.90 guilders.21 However, some intermediate regulations might have been lost or were never published, because it is written in the account books of the guild that alien journeymen and apprentices paid 0.80 guilders per person in 1714 (Table 10.1).22 An ordinance of 1720 stipulated that the master himself had to pay an additional 0.30 guilders.23 We can conclude that in both cities, these fees were by no means a real entry barrier during this period. The amounts that were asked could be earned by the parents or guardians of the apprentices in a few days of work. A 14-year-old boy who learned the craft of cooping in Rotterdam earned 0.40 guilders a week in 1689, and his wage would probably increase over time.24 Even after 1693, the fees due in Haarlem were much lower than, for example, in the coopers’ guild in Antwerp. Aliens paid 8 guilders to become an apprentice in Antwerp and those who were born in the city itself paid 4 guilders (1671–1718).25 It is not evident that the apprentices or their parents always paid the registration fees themselves. For example, in Rotterdam’s guild of textile dyers, every master paid 3 guilders per apprentice.26 The registration fees for journeymen and apprentices in Haarlem increased only once in the second half of the seventeenth century. According to the classic account, this is an indication that guild officials tried to close their ranks. In reality, however, this was not the case. Not only aliens, but also formal citizens of Haarlem faced an increase, and the privileged position of masters’ sons was also affected. The fees had been the same for at least 85 years, and this was not the first time the welfare of the city was at stake or inflation had occurred. Moreover, between 1693 and 1720 the amount due did not change again.27 This shows that the board members did not use the registration fee to close ranks in GAR, Studiezaal, Extract uyt het register van de wille en keure der stadt Rotterdam, keuren en ordonnanties, inv. nr. 389: Ampliatie van de ordonnantie op het kuipersgilde, 1662. I do not know how much apprentices had to pay in the 1640s or 1650s. 22 GAR, Gildearchieven, 77, Rekenboeken 1694–1748. 23 GAR, Gildearchieven, 58: Extract uyt de keure ende ordonnantie der stad Rotterdam houdende ordonnantie op het kuypers gilde, 1720.; GAR, Gildearchieven, 77, Rekenboeken 1694–1748. 24 De Vries and Van der Woude, Nederland 1500–1815, p. 715; GAR, Remonstrants Gereformeerde Gemeente, Bedeelboeken, 551, Onderzoek der armen beginnende juni 1689. 25 Raoul de Kerf and Janneke Tump, ‘The Circulation of Technological Knowledge among the Coopers in the Early Modern Low Countries: A Comparison between Antwerp, Ghent, Harlem and Rotterdam’ (Working paper Urban History Conference Ghent, 2010). 26 GAR, Collectie gedrukte keuren op de studiezaal, Book 401–50, 425, Extract uyt de generale keure en ordonnantie der stad Rotterdam. Houdende ordonnantie op het verwen van wolle manufacturen, 1715. 27 NAH, Gildearchieven, 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649–1798. 21

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a period of economic decline. They hardly ever made alterations, and let market mechanisms dictate the number of apprentices and journeymen to be registered. We can conclude that a market logic prevailed. In the same period, the board members in Rotterdam reacted differently from their colleagues in Haarlem. According to the account books, the registration fees were even temporarily lowered; in 1714, at least, apprentices had to pay 0.80 guilders instead of 0.90 guilders.28 It is not possible to see whether these changes had a direct impact. This guild may not have needed extra income, because it was still able to attract many new masters (Figure 10.3). The members of the board in 1678 even made a new ordinance by which a master could employ two apprentices instead of one. Prior to 1678, a master could only employ one apprentice every two years.29 The guild officials of Haarlem tried to cope with financial problems in 1693. The board members themselves explained that the changes were necessary because guild finances were under pressure due to the arrival of new members. The guild officials meant that they had to support many of their masters financially and needed income in order to do so (Figure 10.3). More income was also needed because they were building a new guild house.30 Although the registration fees for new journeymen and apprentices were not high, they were an important source of income for the guild, because few new masters were admitted. Between 1686 and 1700 only three people did their trial. The registration fees of apprentices and journeymen were therefore necessary to support the guild’s own poor. The fact that the board members also raised the fees because of an investment in the guild house was not a common occurrence for guilds in the Northern Low Countries, but it happened regularly in the Southern Low Countries. The fees were higher in the Southern Low Countries because the board members there also had a religious and political function, which resulted in investments in altars, chapels and richly decorated guild houses, among other things.31 Bert De Munck has shown that increases in the entrance fees for a number of Antwerp guilds ‘arose first and foremost from the need for income to alleviate the consistently dismal financial predicament of the guilds’.32 Raising the fees in Haarlem in 1693 was not an attempt to exclude aliens, but primarily a necessary measure to gain more guild income. It is possible to examine the direct consequences of the changes in 1693. The first graph shows the number of new journeymen and apprentices in the coopers’ guild in GAR, Gildearchieven, 77, Rekenboeken van het kuipersgilde 1694–1748. Tump, ‘“Wees van onbesproken wandel”’, p. 193. 30 NAH, Collectie van Stadspublicaties van het stadsbestuur van Haarlem, 1605–1813. 352X, Ordonnantie op het toetreden tot het kuipersgilde en op de verkoop van hoepen. 31 See the contribution of Davids and De Munck in this volume. 32 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, p. 97. 28 29

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Haarlem.33 Anyone who wanted to work or learn as a journeyman or apprentice was obliged to enrol in the register. Sometimes people were registered more than once, because they worked for various employers during their careers. The growth in the number of new entrants in 1691 and 1692 (Figure 10.1) was not caused by better economic circumstances; rather, it seems that youngsters or their parents knew that the registration costs would be raised and therefore enrolled themselves. At first sight, this new regulation caused a long-term decline in the number of enrolments after 1693, because the total number almost never exceeded 15 per year. However, this is not the whole story. These low numbers may have been influenced by the higher fees, but also by the decline of the beer industry and the number of inhabitants, as well as by changes in the system of collecting the fees. Before 1696, the fees were collected four times a year in a so-called omloop, or tour, during which the workshops were visited by the board members or a servant of the guild. From 1696, however, people could enrol themselves every day.34 From that moment, it became easier to employ more journeymen and apprentices secretly than allowed by the statutes of the guild.

Figure 10.1 New journeymen and apprentices in Haarlem, 1649–1720

Source: NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, inv. nr. 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649– 1798.

NAH, gildearchieven, 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649–1798. Ibid.

33 34

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The number of journeymen and apprentice coopers was influenced more by economic and political developments than by rising fees.35 The first graph shows a decline in the number of new journeymen and apprentices in the Year of Disaster (1672). Furthermore, the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–54), the Second AngloDutch War (1665–67), the Dutch War (1672–79)36 as well as the Nine Years’ War, which started in 1688, seem to have led to fewer registrations. These wars did not threaten Dutch soil, except for a phase of the Dutch War (1672–79) that is known as the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–74). In 1661–64 and 1685–87, the decline does not seem obvious, because of the strength of the economy of Holland. At the same time, however, Haarlem had to deal with less demand for beer. Already by 1670, Haarlem was no longer Holland’s major beer-producing city,37 and industries that were related to beer production also contracted, such as the trade in peat and barrels.38 At that time, brewers were the most important cask-buyers. Registration books do not show any evidence of Huguenots being coopers in the 1680s, although the place of origin was not always registered.39 The growth in the number of apprentices and journeymen around 1685 coincides with the economic upheaval in Holland during that time.40 The new war with France in 1688 again resulted in a fall in the number of registrations (Figure 10.1). This was also the case in Rotterdam (Figure 10.2), where the economic upheaval and the war with France directly influenced the number of new registrations.41 The raising of the fees in 1693 in Haarlem was not an attempt to exclude aliens. This is clear from the registers of the board members. In the years between 1693 and 1720, 45 per cent of all journeymen and apprentices were born in Haarlem, 43 per cent were born elsewhere and only 12 per cent paid less than 1.50 guilders 35 Between 1649 and 1695 the guild had four moments, or tours, in which new apprentices and journeymen were enrolled, but these tours were not always held in the same months. In some years there was no need for four tours, such as in the Year of Disaster (1672). This makes the analysis somewhat difficult, because guild officials counted in guild years, which started and ended with the installation of new guild officials. Not every guild year started in the same month, with consequences for the different tours and thereby the total number of enrolments per year. To overcome these difficulties, I converted the guild years to ‘normal years’ in the period 1668–1720. This was not possible for the years 1649–67. 36 The Dutch War (as it was called by the French) includes the Third Anglo-Dutch War. 37 Unger, A History of Brewing, p. 222. 38 Jaap J. Temminck, Haarlem door de eeuwen heen (Haarlem and Antwerp, 1982), pp. 65–6. 39 NAH, Gildearchieven, 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649–1798. 40 Jonathan I. Israel, The Dutch Republic, Its Rise, Greatness and Fall 1477–1806 (Oxford, 1995), pp. 843–4. 41 This war with France started in 1688. Some fluctuations in the graphs can also partially be caused by differentiations in the length of the guild years. Some years contained 13 or 14 months, other years 12, 11 or 10.

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Figure 10.2 Number of apprentices in Rotterdam, 1683–96

Source: Gemeentelijke Archiefdienst Rotterdam (GAR), Gildearchieven, Kuipersgilde, inv. nr. 74, Register van de knechts en leerlingen 1662–97.

because they were sons of masters or boys from poor families.42 In this period, the number of boys from outside of Haarlem formed a significant part (43 per cent) of the total number of registrations. It was possible to ascertain the origins of 85 people who were born elsewhere because the guild officials sometimes noted the place of origin. Most of these aliens were born in the Dutch Republic and (not surprisingly) in Amsterdam (Table 10.2). Nevertheless, there is a problem with the data presented above: we do not know the extent to which apprentices were registered. There are indications that masters’ sons, at least, were not always registered. For example, in the period between 1649 and 1669, only six sons learned their fathers’ crafts, which is not a reliable number. Table 10.2 Origins of journeymen and apprentices in the registers of the coopers’ guild in Haarlem, 1693–1720 Category Born in Haarlem Sons, beggars Born elsewhere Total

Number % 134 45 35 12 126 43 295 100

Source: NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, inv. nr. 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649–1798. It is not possible to differentiate between journeymen and apprentices.

42

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Table 10.3 Origins of journeymen and apprentices born elsewhere in the registers of the coopers’ guild in Haarlem, 1693–1720 Origin Number % Holland 33 40 Other Provinces in the Dutch Republic 34 41 Foreign countries 15 18 Total 85 100 Source: NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, inv. nr. 126: Knechts en jongensboek 1649–1798.

The data presented above do not indicate that aliens had a problem finding a shop floor. It seems that aliens were looking for a degree of safety by following the guild rules. When a journeyman enrolled himself in the registers of the guild officials, he could seek their help if his employer did not respect their agreement. The number of registrations was therefore influenced by the willingness of journeymen and apprentices to enrol themselves. It is possible that the board members applied the rules on formal registration more strictly to aliens than to apprentices and journeymen from the city itself. Not only in Haarlem, but also in Rotterdam, the apprentices who started their learning period in the years between 1687 and 1691 were of diverse origin. Due to the equal fees for inhabitants and outsiders, it is not possible to give an accurate estimation of the number of aliens. However, we can conclude that not all of the ‘successful’ apprentices – the apprentices who finally did their master trial – originated from Rotterdam.43 The account books of Rotterdam do not show a positive correlation between the number or level of the fines and economic decline. During the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–74), even fewer fines than average were imposed. 44 In studies on the craft guilds, apprentices have always received more attention than journeymen. There was no legislation on the minimum period for which a journeyman could be hired, so a master was free to employ a journeyman for just a few weeks or months. When a journeyman did not find a job in town, he moved on. The fees charged in Rotterdam and Haarlem were always low and by no means a barrier to the arrival of new journeymen. In both coopers’ guilds, there was no maximum to the number of journeymen a master could hire. The number of journeymen regulated itself and was subject to the market. If there was no work, the master simply did not employ a journeyman, so a limitation in the form of an additional entry barrier was not necessary. This allowed him to spread out and add to the technical knowledge he had already gained. Tump, “‘Wees van onbesproken wandel’”, pp. 176–97. Ibid., and GAR, Gildearchieven, 77, Rekenboeken 1694–1748.

43 44

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Unlike in Haarlem and Rotterdam, in the Southern Netherlands, restrictions on the number of journeymen one master could hire seem to have been more common.45 The mechanisms described above can also be applied to the apprentices: when there was not enough work on the shop floor, for instance during the Year of Disaster, a master would not employ an apprentice. Moreover, boys would probably choose to learn another trade if they expected to gain more profit from it in future; there was no regulation limiting apprentices and journeymen to one trade. Both the number of journeymen and the number of new apprentices were subject to market fluctuations. We can therefore conclude that a market logic prevailed. Nevertheless, in both guilds there was a statutory restriction on the number of apprentices per master, as was also common in the Southern Netherlands. We do not know whether this regulation was followed in practice; we have already seen that this was not always the case in Rotterdam, for example.46 Masters: Causes and Consequences of Changing Fees A journeyman or apprentice became a master by finishing the prescribed learning and working period, passing a master trial and paying the necessary fees.47 Various Dutch historians have suggested that the cost of becoming a master might have acted as a barrier to new masters. According to these historians, the main barrier was the admission fee.48 In the ordinances it is not always clear whether these admission fees were inclusive or exclusive of the actual trial costs. In Rotterdam’s coopers’ guild, both fees were differentiated. According to the guild regulations of Rotterdam, from 1614 until at least 1720, all aliens paid 4 guilders for their admission. A son of a guild master or someone who had been an official citizen Bert De Munck, ‘One Counter and your own Account: Redefining Illicit Labour in Early Modern Antwerp’, Urban History, 37 (2010): pp. 26–44, at pp. 31–2; Bert De Munck, ‘Skills, Trust, and Changing Consumer Preferences. The Decline of Antwerp’s Craft Guilds from the Perspective of the Product Market, c. 1500–c. 1800’, International Review of Social History, 53 (2008): pp. 197–233, at pp. 203–7 and 230. 46 NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, 124, Keuren 1443–1750; Tump, ‘“Wees van onbesproken wandel”’, p. 196. 47 The master trial was not obligatory in all guilds, but it was in the coopers’ guilds of both cities. ‘Strangers’ also had to become formal citizens by paying the citizenship fees. 48 For example: Maarten Prak, ‘Een verzekerd bestaan, Ambachtslieden, winkeliers en hun gilden in Den Bosch (ca. 1775)’, in Boudien de Vries et al., eds, De Kracht der Zwakken. Studies over arbeid en arbeidersbeweging in het verleden (Amsterdam, 1992), p. 64; Ronald Rommes, Oost, west, Utrecht best? Driehonderd jaar migratie en migranten in de stad Utrecht (begin 16e-begin 19e eeuw) (Hilversum, 1998), p. 142; Dorren, Eenheid en verscheidenheid, 128; Bos, ‘Uyt liefde tot malcander’, pp. 39–40. 45

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for at least one year paid 2 guilders.49 The detailed account books of the guild do not indicate that these fees were actually charged.50 Anyone who wanted to establish himself as a master cooper in Rotterdam also had to do a master trial and pay a trial fee. Strangers who had become masters elsewhere still had to do a trial when they wanted to work in Rotterdam.51 These trial fees did not change very often and no distinction was made between aliens and citizens. From 1667 till 1691 (24 years), at least, the members of the board did not implement any alterations, as was the case between 1695 and 1720 (25 years). Table 10.4

Trial fees for new masters in Rotterdam in guilders Years 1641–48 1649–64 1665 1666 1667–c. 1691 1692–94 1695–1720

Trial fees 18.00 Carolus guilders 15.00 Carolus guilders 12.50 Carolus guilders Unknown 12.00 Carolus guilders Unknown 13.75–14.00 Carolus guilders

Source: GAR, Kuipersgilde, inv. Nr. 76 and 77, Rekenboeken van het kuipersgilde, 1614–1748.

In 1649 and in 1665, the trial fees were even lowered. In 1720, these fees were lower than they had been in 1641. After 1695, journeymen and apprentices also paid a small amount of compensation for each day they worked on their master trial. In the years 1695 up to 1720, the total amount of the trial cost, together with the compensation fee, was always between 13.57 and 14.00 guilders (Table 10.4). This indicates that the trial did not become more challenging in this period.52 We can also conclude that the fees continued to be low in the first decades of the eighteenth century. This ‘entry barrier’ was not really high; in the years between 1690 and 1699, someone with 13.75 guilders could feed GAR, Gildearchieven, 57, Authentieke kopie van de ordonnantie voor het kuipersgilde. Gegeven door Baljuw, Schout, Burgemeesteren en Schepenen van Rotterdam den 13 augustus 1614; Ibid., 58: Extract uyt de keure ende ordonnantie der stad Rotterdam houdende ordonnantie op het kuypers gilde, 1720. 50 GAR, Gildearchieven, 76 and 77, Rekenboeken van het kuipersgilde 1614–1748. 51 Archief Rotterdam, Studiezaal Archief Rotterdam, Extract uyt het register van de wille en keure der stadt Rotterdam, keuren en ordonnanties nr. 389, Ampliatie van de ordonnantie op het kuipersgilde, 1662. 52 GAR, Gildearchieven, 76 and 77, Rekenboeken kuipersgilde 1713–48. 49

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an average family of five in Holland for 26 days.53 A 20-year-old boy who left Haarlem’s orphanage in 1680 earned 1.50 guilders a week and his 23-year-old colleague earned 20 cents more.54 There were, of course, some additional trial costs. In 1726, for example, Gerrit Post paid 30 guilders to do his trial in Rotterdam, but the additional costs were higher. These consisted of beer, wine, meat and wood. Even the board member’s wife in whose house he did his trial received 8 guilders for her expenses and an additional 7 guilders as a gift.55 Table 10.5

Admission fees and trial fees in the coopers’ guild in Haarlem

Ordinance of 1693 Sons of masters Citizens Aliens Ordinance of 1750 Sons of masters Citizens Aliens

Trial fee unknown unknown unknown Trial fee 6 guilders or a meal 6 guilders or a meal 6 guilders or a meal

Admission fee 12 guilders 18 guilders 36 guilders Admission fee 12 guilders 18 guilders 36 guilders

Poor 12 guilders 18 guilders 36 guilders Poor children’s home 12 guilders 18 guilders 36 guilders

Sources: NAH, Collectie van Stadspublicaties van het stadsbestuur van Haarlem, 1605– 1813, inv. nr. 352X, Ordonnantie op het toetreden tot het kuipersgilde en op de verkoop van hoepen, 1693; NAH, Gildearchieven, kuipersgilde, inv. nr. 124, Keuren 1443–1750.

In Haarlem, too, a distinction was made between trial costs and admission fees (Table 10.5). A trial in Haarlem was less expensive than in Rotterdam, costing 6 guilders or a meal. Again, no differentiation was made between aliens, citizens and sons of masters. Nevertheless, at least from 1693 onwards, it was more expensive to become a master in Haarlem than in Rotterdam. In 1693 the admission fees in Haarlem were raised. Since the regulations from before 1693 are missing, it is not clear how high these fees had previously been. Next to the trial fee and the admission fee, anyone who wanted to become a master in Haarlem had to pay an equal amount to the poor or the poor children’s home. This regulation was stated by the city council, not the members of the board. It does not seem to have been the case that the board members used admission De Vries and Van der Woude, Nederland 1500–1815, p. 715. NAH, Arme Kinderhuis, 167: Notitieboeken. Resoluties en aantekeningen van regenten over allerlei zaken 1670–81. 55 GAR, Collectie G. Pieck, 735, box 14; GAR Weeskamer Boedelrekeningen, inv. nr. 2234, f. 128, d.d. 1726. 53 54

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or trial fees to make access to mastership easier in periods of welfare or more difficult in a declining economy. If this had been the case, the fees would have fluctuated more often. We have already seen that the reason for changing the fees in 1693 was to gain more guild income. According to the registers of Haarlem, only 17 masters did their trial in the period between 1686 and 1720.56 Even after 1693, the total sum of admission fees and trial fees in both Haarlem and Rotterdam was much lower than in Antwerp. In Antwerp, masters’ sons paid 72 guilders for their admission and others 104 guilders (1670–1818).57 Although it was more expensive to become a master in Haarlem than in Rotterdam, master status in Haarlem was not inaccessible for coopers born elsewhere or craftsmen with a religion other than Dutch Reformed, which was at that time the State religion. Only 17 new master coopers were registered in 33 years, but their origins were diverse. Approximately eight new masters were born in Haarlem, and five elsewhere. The origins of four master coopers are unknown.58 There was a chance that a cooper’s son would eventually become a master himself,59 but in total, more boys without fathers in the guild became masters between 1687 and 1720.60 Neither guild changed its admission and trial fees very often, but when they did introduce alterations, they adopted different strategies. In order to gain more income, the board members in Haarlem raised their fees, whereas the trial fees in Rotterdam were lowered. This was not a smart strategy in the case of Haarlem, because of the financial problems of the guild. The situation in Rotterdam was different from that in Haarlem. In 1686, for example, 30 people did their trial, whereas in Haarlem in the period between 1687 and 1620 only 17 new masters were admitted. Wine blenders were also part of the coopers’ guild in Rotterdam. However, the difference in the total number of registrations cannot entirely be explained by the participation of the wine blenders. The members of the board seem to have had different problems from those that afflicted Haarlem. Many coopers from Rotterdam temporarily left for the East Indies with the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC). On the other hand, 15 of the 17 craftsmen who became master coopers in Haarlem between 1687 and 1720 kept their master status until their death. Only a few

NAH, Gildearchieven, Kuipersgilde, GAH, 125, Boek van de bazen, registers van vinders 1693–1722. Lidmaten 1686–1794 en hoepgelden 1696–1722. 57 De Kerf and Tump: ‘Circulation of Technological Knowledge’. 58 NAH, Gildearchieven, 125, Boek van de bazen, registers van vinders 1693–1722. Lidmaten 1686–1794 en hoepgelden 1696–1722. GAH, doop, -trouw- en begraafregisters. 59 Three to six masters out of 17 = 17.6 per cent–35 per cent. 60 NAH, 125, Boek van de bazen, registers van vinders 1693–1722. Lidmaten 1686– 1794 en hoepgelden 1696–1722. 56

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journeymen became coopers on board the ships of the VOC Chamber of Amsterdam.61 Table 10.6 Origins of coopers in the wage registers of Rotterdam’s Chamber of the VOC, 1700–50 Origin abs % Rotterdam 174 70 Other towns in the Dutch Republic 63 25 Foreign countries 12 5 Total 249 100 Source: http://vocopvarenden.nationaalarchief.nl/.

Journeymen and apprentices from Rotterdam may have also been attracted to the wages paid by the navy in times of war; at that time, the navy was located in the port of Rotterdam. We will later see that the different wars did have a negative impact on the number of newly registered masters. This could have been the reason to lower the trial fees in 1665 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. More coopers were needed, at least in the 1660s and 1670s and beginning of the 1680s, due to Rotterdam’s growing beer industry and other prosperous industries and trades. This might have been the reason why in 1678, the members of the board made a new ordinance in which they stated that a master could employ two apprentices at the same time, instead of one.62 At the end of the 1680s and 1690s, the economic prospects of Rotterdam changed somewhat, and fewer casks were needed as a result. It is likely that it became more difficult to support the guild’s own poor, and this may have been the reason for finally raising the trial fees in 1695. Nevertheless, in Rotterdam the number of new masters was also influenced by market mechanisms, rather than by the changing fees. We have seen that the guild officials hardly responded to economic changes. The statutory admission fees did not change between 1614 and 1720 and the actual trial fees only changed five times between 1641 and 1720. The officials did not really have to respond to a changing economy, because the number of new masters also regulated itself. The information in the graphs comes from the so-called ‘scheepssoldijboeken’ on the Internet. Information has not been preserved for every ship. Someone who said he was from Rotterdam might not have been born in the city, but we can safely assume that he had already lived there for some years. Via: http://vocopvarenden.nationaalarchief.nl/. 62 GAR, Gedrukte keuren en ordonnantiën, 467, Extract uyt den Resolutien van de heeren van de Weth der stadt Rotterdam, genomen in haar ed. vergaderinge, 2 April 1678. 61

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The impact of the various wars and changes in the regulations can be seen in the third graph. This graph illustrates the number of master trials in Rotterdam in the period between 1650 and 1720, as written down in the account books of the guild.63 It shows the negative results of the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–54), the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–67), the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672– 74) and the Nine Years’ War (1688–97). These wars were accompanied by import and export restrictions, which caused less demand for casks.64 The arrival of the Huguenots after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes does not seem to have had an enormous impact on the number of master trials.65 Cooperage is not known as a craft that was popular with religious refugees, and few French names were registered in the master lists (although this does not tell us everything).66 It is possible that Huguenots were not obliged to do a master trial because their entry to the guilds was free.67 The many trials may also have been a result of the improving economy. As the figures on apprentices in Haarlem indicate, the early 1680s was a time of growing opportunities on the labour market (Figure 10.1). In the graphs referring to apprentices and masters, the same decline can be seen in the late 1680s (Figures 10.1–10.3). This corresponds with data on the economy of Holland. The new condition of 1678 that allowed a master to employ two apprentices at the same time, instead of one, led to a rise in the total number of master trials in Rotterdam just after 1678. The adaptation of the trial fees in 1667 also led to a rise, but this does not seem to have been the case with the lowering of the fees in 1665. It is not possible to see the impact of the other adaptations, because some data are missing (Figure 10.3). From these data we can conclude that most of the time, the number of new masters was subject to a market logic. This does not mean that officials never tried to influence this number; but while they possessed some instruments by which they could influence the number of new master trials, most of the time they were ‘followers’ instead of actively changing the various entrance barriers. 63 GAR, Gildearchieven, 76 and 77, Rekenboeken van het kuipersgilde 1613–93. In this graph, guild years, not ‘normal’ years, have been drawn. It was not possible to convert these years to normal years, because only the total number of master trials was recorded in the account books. Again, not every guild year contained 12 months, which may have led to small differences. The number of master trials in the years 1666 and 1692–94 is missing. 64 For example: GAR, Oud Stadsarchief Rotterdam, 28: Vroedschapsresoluties 1671– 75 and 32: Vroedschapsresoluties 8 March 1688–26 November 1691. 65 Israel, The Dutch Republic, pp. 843–4. 66 GAR, Gildearchieven, 67, Namenlijst van gildebroeders die hun proeve afgelegd hebben, 1642–92. 67 Jori Zijlmans, Vriendenkringen in de zeventiende eeuw. Verenigingsvormen van het informele culturele leven te Rotterdam (Meppel, 1999), p. 136.

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Figure 10.3 Number of master trials in Rotterdam, 1649–1720 Source: GAR, Kuipersgilde, inv. Nr. 76 en 77, Rekenboeken van het gilde.

Conclusion Becoming a master in the coopers’ guild in Haarlem or Rotterdam was something that had to be paid for: new masters had to pay an entrance fee, do a master trial and pay additional trial costs. New journeymen and apprentices had to pay a registration fee, too. In the past, historians referred to these different fees as evidence that the board members tried to make entrance to the guilds more difficult in less prosperous times, especially for craftsmen who were not born in the city themselves. In this chapter, the strategy of the board members of two guilds has been examined. We have seen that in theory, there were two possible strategies. The first is that guild officials reacted to changes in the economy by raising or lowering entrance barriers. This means that the members of the board played an active role. The second possible strategy is that a market logic prevailed and that board members were ‘followers’ who only changed the various guild fees when they really had to. We have seen that in the period examined, some changes in fees occurred. Sometimes the members of the board seem to have tried to influence the number of new apprentices, journeymen and masters. The members of the board in Haarlem raised the registration fees for apprentices and journeymen as well as the entrance fees for new masters once, in 1693. Yet their intention was not to exclude aliens, but to continue to support their members and to alleviate the financial problems of the guild. We have also seen that the members of the board in Rotterdam sometimes chose a different path than that chosen by the

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members of the board in Haarlem. By occasionally lowering their trial fees, they seem to have wanted to attract new masters. The extent to which the board members chose to raise or to lower the various entrance barriers was the result of different market mechanisms in the chosen period. In Haarlem, demand for new casks seems to have fallen in the period examined. In a situation that was different from that in Haarlem, in Rotterdam, many coopers chose to work on board ships bound for the East Indies for a while. The Admiralty and the West India Company may have also attracted craftsmen. At the same time, there was still strong demand for new casks in Rotterdam. However, in both guilds, changes were only implemented infrequently, and a market logic prevailed in both. We can thus conclude that the idea of increasing exclusivity needs greater nuance. Guild officials did not always have to respond immediately to changes in the economy, because the number of new journeymen, apprentices and masters also regulated itself. Therefore, they did not have to implement new regulations most of the time. When there was less demand, masters would not recruit new journeymen and apprentices, and journeymen would probably travel on or try to find employment in a different branch of industry. Boys, meanwhile, would probably learn a different trade that promised more profit in the future. And craftsmen would not do master trials or pay entrance fees when a craft did not promise to yield enough profit.

Chapter 11

The Early Modern Antwerp Coopers’ Guild: from a Contract-enforcing Organization to an Empty Box? Raoul De Kerf

Until recently, historians have generally assumed that the craft guilds, as monopolists, were usually opposed to any attempt at economic and technical progress. Instead of readily transferring their knowledge, free masters feverishly tried to protect their status and occupational secrets, and apprentices were all too often used merely as inexpensive workers. They were also burdened with various household duties that had little or nothing to do with their occupation. Apprentices wishing to acquire knowledge were forced to do so by ‘stealing with their eyes’ during their time on the work floor.1 Moreover, learning proceeded in a largely fragmented manner with little intensity (at least in England, where a minimum apprenticeship of seven years applied to every occupation), which led many apprentices to leave before completing their terms.2 With regard to Northwestern Europe, the Early Modern apprenticeship system has recently been re-evaluated in a more positive light. According to Stephen Epstein, by establishing a formal apprenticeship system with the associated regulations, the guilds made a crucial contribution to the expansion and maintenance of a reservoir of technically trained workers, which also increased technological innovation and economic progress. Because the guilds were capable of enforcing apprenticeship contracts (if necessary, by applying sanctions), both parties involved were discouraged from acting opportunistically. Whereas apprentices and their parents or guardians were mostly interested in reliable training, masters were primarily motivated to recoup the expenses they had invested in training. While apprentices were inclined to leave their masters prematurely once they had received sufficient training, masters often trained For an overview of this ‘pessimistic’ school, see: Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp Guilds from the 15th Century to the End of the Ancien Régime (Turnhout, 2007), pp. 3–7 and 37. 2 Patrick Wallis, ‘Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England’, The Journal of Economic History, 68 (2008): pp. 832–55. 1

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their apprentices insufficiently and used them purely as inexpensive labour. For this reason, a higher authority (such as a guild) was needed in order to guarantee the quality of the training and to enforce the completion of apprenticeship contracts. This ensured a constant supply of sufficiently trained journeymen who, in theory, could be employed only by free masters.3 Multiple studies have referred to the important roles played by institutions, migration, patents, tracts and actual products in the transfer and circulation of technological knowledge,4 although little evidence has been published with regard to the role of the guilds as contract-enforcing authorities.5 Therefore (and also because it is far from clear whether the guilds actually played a role in this field or not) this chapter investigates long-term changes in the extent to which the coopers’ guild acted, or tried to act, as a contract-enforcing authority by punishing apprentices who left their master too soon, as well as the masters who had lured them away and given them a job. The Antwerp coopers had a monopoly on the production and repair of barrels as well as on the maintenance of the stocks of all kinds of merchants in liquids, such as brewers, wine sellers and innkeepers.6 Because of the extensive archival information they left, they form an interesting case in this regard. In addition to having regulations that were much more elaborate than was the case with many other crafts, they are also one of the few guilds for which resolution books and account books have been preserved, containing reports of the meetings of the guild-chamber and registration lists of apprentices and masters. Using these sources, we will show that the guilds exerted an important influence on instruction and, when necessary, fulfilled or at least tried to fulfil the role of a ‘contract-enforcing authority’. Indeed, Bart Willems already argued that the deans of the Antwerp coopers’ guild, who had the authority to operate as a kind of ‘labour court’ for disputes between their members, preferred to Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, The Journal of Economic History, 58 (1998): pp. 684–713. 4 See the many contributions in Bert De Munck, Steven L. Kaplan and Hugo Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor. Historical Perspectives on Apprenticeship (New York, 2007); Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008); and Lilianne Hilaire-Pérez and Anne F. Garçon, eds, Les chemins de la nouveauté: innover, inventer au regard de l’histoire (Paris, 2003). See also: Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. 5 Moreover, it can be asked whether the guilds were actually needed for this purpose, as the parties involved also had the option of drawing up contracts amongst themselves or with a public notary, see: Karel Davids, ‘Apprenticeship and Guild Control in the Netherlands, c. 1450–1800’, in De Munck, Kaplan and Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor, pp. 66–84. In the Northern Netherlands the guilds had much less power. 6 For an extended introduction to the history of the Antwerp coopers’ guild, see: Bart Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht (1580–1796) (Brussels, 1997). 3

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play a mediating role.7 Still, it is interesting to note in this regard that the deans increasingly intervened between masters and apprentices, particularly in the early eighteenth century, albeit that their contract-enforcing role had weakened into that of mediation. A related question therefore concerns why the number of interventions increased even as their ‘quality’ declined over time (or at least underwent a change in character), and why this happened exactly at a moment when the economic outlook started to deteriorate. Although the religious troubles and the ultimate fall of Antwerp in 1585 had caused a temporary economic crisis and a massive wave of emigration, the Counter-Reformation and the high demand for luxury items quickly helped the city to achieve a partial recovery, with a considerable international industry up to about 1680.8 However, wars and protectionist trade policies in neighbouring countries, combined with increasing consumption of less expensive import products and a severe agricultural crisis, caused considerable damage to industry and exports in Antwerp. These events pushed the city into a second major crisis in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, from which a rapid recovery was no longer possible. Such developments obviously had effects on the coopers, who were consequently confronted with a lack of new masters willing to exercise the craft.

7 Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 123–4 and Bart Willems, ‘Loon naar werken? Sociale mobiliteit in het Antwerpse kuipersambacht (1585–1793)’, Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis, 82 (1999): pp. 37–8. 8 For a good introduction, see the many contributions in: Jan Van Der Stock, ed., Antwerpen, verhaal van een metropool, 16de en 17de eeuw (Ghent, 1993); and in Herman van Der Wee, ed., The Rise and Decline of Urban Industries in Italy and in the Low Countries: Late Middle Ages–Early Modern Times (Leuven, 1988), pp. 349–52; Bruno Blondé and Harald Deceulaer, ‘The Port of Antwerp and its Hinterland: Port Traffic, Urban Economies and Government Policies in the 17th and 18th Centuries’, in Randi Erstesvag, ed., Maritime Industries and Public Intervention. The fourth North Sea History Conference (Stavanger, 1995), pp. 21–38; Bruno Blondé, ‘Indicatoren van het luxeverbruik? Paardenbezit en conspicuous consumption te Antwerpen (zeventiende-achttiende eeuw)’, Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis, 84 (2001): pp. 497–512; Ilja Van Damme, Verleiden en verkopen (Amsterdam, 2007), pp. 187–228; Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘The Scheldt closed during two Centuries’, in Fernand Suykens, ed., Antwerp: A Port for All Seasons (Antwerp, 1985), p. 186; Gustaaf Asaert, 1585. De val van Antwerpen en de uittocht (Tielt, 2004), pp. 33–54; Herman van Der Wee and Jan Materné, ‘De Antwerpse wereldmarkt tijdens de 16de en 17de eeuw’, in Van Der Stock, ed., Antwerpen, pp. 19–30; and Paul Klep, ‘Urban Decline in Brabant: The Traditionalization of Investments and Labour (1374–1806)’, in van Der Wee, ed., The Rise and Decline, pp. 275–81.

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The Shift from a Contract-enforcing Authority to a Mediating Institution Those hoping to become eligible for the status of free master were required to study the craft of the cooper’s trade for two consecutive years in the workshop of an official free master, from whom they also received room and board. Whenever a master took on an apprentice, he was required to register him within three days, in order to establish the exact starting date of the apprenticeship, as well as when it was expected to end.9 Only after two consecutive years of training was an apprentice allowed to realize a masterpiece, which was anything but easy and which was required to be carried out openly and without help from others, in the workshop of one of the deans or jurors. In more concrete terms, the test consisted of making a three-legged meat barrel, a wine barrel, a butter vat, an olive barrel and a curved bucket according to the measurements specified by the deans.10 The fact that the coopers went further than other guilds did in the official prescription of many different obligations is also evident in the fact that the guild regulated even the manner in which tuition was to be paid. In order to protect masters (who invested their time and energy in training their apprentices), half of the tuition was to be paid at the beginning of the first year of apprenticeship, with the other half to be paid at the beginning of the second year.11 This was intended to guarantee that, even if an apprentice left his master prematurely (for example, after 18 months), at least his tuition would have already been paid. The apprenticeship contracts preserved in the notarial archives show that nearly all apprenticeship contracts explicitly state that the apprenticeship must take place continually (continueel), meaning that the apprenticeship years were required to be consecutive (eenparich deen op dander).12 In contrast to England, where apprentices were absent for extensive periods and where many left their masters prematurely, apprentices in Antwerp did not wish to waste time. Intensive training was needed, and half of the contracts contain explicit clauses stating that the master was to teach the apprentice everything involved 9 Stadsarchief Antwerpen (SAA), Gilden en Ambachten (GA), 4175 (1533) and 4175 bis (1580). On the formal requirements of the apprenticeship system and access to mastership, see also Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 73–4 and 81–2. 10 SAA, GA, 4175 (1533) and 4175bis (1580). 11 SAA, GA, 4175 (1533). 12 Of the 19 contracts found in the notary files, 14 have been discussed by Bart Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 74–7; Willems, ‘Loon naar werken?’, pp. 39–40. Those apprenticeship contracts can be found in the notary files: N 997 (1663), N 2555 (1667), N 2292 (1670), N 2509 (1670), N 2513 (1677), N 4419 (1678), N 3868 (1679), N 1927 (1681), N 4681 (1683), N 1928 (1684), N 1928 (1684), N 203 (1684), N 4682 (1688), N 857 (1698), N 4288 (1700), N 2724 (1702), N 484 (1716), N 1973 (1738) and N 203 (1787).

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in the cooper’s trade without keeping any secrets.13 Nonetheless, the fact that intensive training took place over several consecutive years and the fact that most apprentices also boarded with their masters does not necessarily mean that matters always proceeded smoothly. After some time, good apprentices were capable of working relatively independently. Those who had no ambition to become eligible to operate as a master or free worker within the city could easily be tempted to abandon their masters as soon as they had acquired sufficient knowledge. Because apprenticeship contracts were intended to be observed, coopers had included contract-enforcement measures in the regulations of their founding charter. According to the ordinances of 1533 and 1580, apprentices leaving their masters prematurely without permission were obliged to pay the entire tuition fee, and heavy fines were levied against any master who lured away the apprentice of another master. In cases involving evidence that the master was at fault for the premature departure of an apprentice, however, the apprentice was allowed to complete the rest of the apprenticeship under another master (without having to start over completely), and the first master was required to repay the excess portion of the tuition he had received.14 For the entire seventeenth century, however, there is only one instance in which the guild intervened. This case involved an apprentice who left his master without permission in 1611, after which the deans indeed ruled that he should pay his master in full, although he was allowed to work for another master.15 But conflicts regarding training in the workplace could also lead to legal action. Although no legal actions have been preserved involving contract violations between master coopers and apprentices (or their parents or guardians), there is evidence from other sectors of such conflicts having been brought to court, particularly during the period between 1585 and 1680. In addition to excessive violence against and neglect of apprentices, these cases often involved runaway apprentices. Runaway apprentices often complained about a shortage of work and an excess of household chores and repetitive or preparatory tasks. Although it is quite possible that some degree of household chores and routine tasks was expected, particularly with regard to the least expensive contracts, most It has already been mentioned that negotiations about the content, price, time and other conditions were usually very businesslike, see: De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 41–58; and Raoul De Kerf and Bert De Munck, ‘How Learning Worked. Early Modern Apprenticeship and the Commercialization of Technical Knowledge among the Gold and Silversmiths in Antwerp’ (Working paper for the World Economic History Conference, 2009). 14 SAA, GA, 4175 (1533) and 1475 bis (1580). See also Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, p. 74, and Willems, ‘Loon naar werken?’, p. 33. 15 SAA, GA, 4178 (1611). 13

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apprentices did not wish to be treated as servants, and the only way in which they could receive adequate training was to gain sufficient practical experience.16 Although not everyone adhered to the rules, these sources again make clear that both parties were well aware of what they wanted and that, if the guild did not enforce the contracts (or grant permission to break them), the court was expected to do so. Nonetheless, these processes should be interpreted with a certain extent of caution. In most cases, it was the apprentice who submitted the complaint, and all evidence suggests that some apprentices were deliberately kept at home by their parents, whether to force the master to provide better training or to elicit a breach in the contract. In the latter case, it was necessary to prove that the master was at fault for the departure of the apprentice.17 For whatever reason, masters were often on the defensive during this period. Near the end of the seventeenth century, they reacted by increasingly including breach clauses in their apprenticeship contracts.18 Partly in reaction to this practice, the guild suddenly began to play (or resume) a more active role in the early eighteenth century (as far as we can tell from the sources that have been preserved). In the resolution book covering the period from 1711 until the end of the ancien régime, the deans became involved in several conflicts regarding the premature termination of apprenticeship contracts.19 Interestingly, all of these interventions took place between 1711 and 1730. As already noted in earlier research, most of these cases also involved apprentices requesting permission to complete their terms elsewhere. Such requests were usually granted, on the condition that the apprentices paid their initial masters an amount of money and, not unimportantly, informed the deans regarding when and with whom they would be completing the rest of their apprenticeships. Only twice (in 1717 and in 1720) was an apprentice denied permission to change masters. The effect of such decisions, however, was to require apprentices to complete their terms with masters with whom they were in conflict. This was anything but logical, as became clear in the case between De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 55 and 214–23; Bert De Munck, ‘In loco parentis? De disciplinering van leerlingen onder het dak van Antwerpse ambachtsmeesters (1579–1680)’, Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, 1 (2004): pp. 3–30, at pp. 14–18; Bert De Munck and Dominiek Dendooven, Al doende leert men. Leertijd en ambacht in het Ancien Régime (Bruges, 2003), pp. 18–22. 17 Ibid. 18 Sometimes it was stipulated that in the case of an apprentice breaching the contract, the apprentice would have to pay part of the money (see N 3868 (1679) and N 4288 (1700)), the total sum (N 1927 (1681), N 203 (1684) and N 484 (1716)) or even an additional amount on top of this (N 1928 in 1684). In other cases, what was paid stayed paid (N 4681 (1683), N 4682 (1688) and N 857 (1698)). 19 Bart Willems counted 10 such conflicts: Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, p. 124 and Willems, ‘Loon naar werken?’, p. 37. 16

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Cornelis Meus and master Jan Baptist Emans, which was brought before the guild court on 20 October 1717.20 Cornelis Meus argued that his parents and the master had arrived at an oral apprenticeship agreement registering Cornelis in the guild book as a live-in apprentice on 14 September 1715. Jan Baptist, however, denied this, arguing that he had not accepted Cornelis as an apprentice until a year later. The reason that he had registered the apprentice in the guild book two months too late (that is, on 14 November 1716) was that he had not received the book fee until that time. The guild court ruled that Cornelis Meus should complete his entire apprenticeship with his master. If he did not, he would never be admitted to the master’s trial. Jan Baptist received a fine of six guilders for having registered an apprentice two months too late. Nonetheless, this case returned to the guild court several days later. Although it did not correspond to the dates in the guild book, Jan Baptist had subsequently presented Cornelis with a hasty letter stating that he had completed his apprenticeship with him, whereby the deans ruled that he could still complete the remainder of his term with another master. Apparently, the relationship between the two parties was so spoiled that further ‘cooperation’ had become impossible, and the guild could do little about it. It turned out to be better to arrive at a financial arrangement and to allow the apprentice to leave. Research has already pointed out that most guilds preferred to play an intermediary role in cases of internal conflict rather than sharpening the confrontation. Usually, the deans had a preference for mediating in situations involving the premature termination of an apprenticeship contract. As long as financial compensation had been paid, it was mostly possible to change masters.21 Moreover, in most cases apprentices were even no longer required to pay their masters in full, as prescribed in the ordinances of 1533 and 1580. Instead of the entire amount, many apprentices were now required to pay their masters only a portion (that is, a ratio of the time actually worked) and, at the end of the remaining apprenticeship, the new master was required to issue a formal statement that the apprentice had truly completed his term. From a long-term perspective, these observations suggest that originally the guild had indeed aspired to a contract-enforcing role, but became ever more unable to do so, with masters as a consequence increasingly starting to add breach clauses to the contracts themselves. Due to the circumstances, the guild’s role as a contract-enforcer had weakened to that of a mediator by at least the About these conflicts, and in particular the case between Meus and Emans, see: Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, p. 124, and Willems, ‘Loon naar werken?’, pp. 37–8. The resolution book is to be found in: SAA, GA, 4181 (1711–30). 21 Harald Deceulaer, ‘Conflicten en conflictregeling in de Antwerpse ambachtswereld, 1585–1796. Een verkenning van de juridische en sociaal-politieke aspecten op het lokale terrein’, in Catharina Lis and Hugo Soly, eds, Werken volgens de regels. Ambachten in Brabant en Vlaanderen, 1500–1800 (Brussels, 1994), pp. 137–77; Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’. 20

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early eighteenth century. In addition to the increasing tendency of apprentices to resort to legal action in order to circumvent the contract-enforcing guild and its privileged masters, a number of other factors indicate a decline in the power of the guilds. They point towards an evolution in which economic and political conditions, as well as the increasing number of offences regarding who was to be admitted to the status of master, all played an important role. The Guild-based Apprenticeship System as a Barrier to Intruders Alongside the above-mentioned economic developments, the position of the free masters gradually came under increasing pressure. For example, the majority of the legal procedures settled before the aldermen took place in the sixteenth century and, even more, in the seventeenth century.22 That the century between the fall of Antwerp and approximately 1700 was, for the coopers, a period particularly characterized by a continuous struggle against all kinds of abuse is further confirmed by an analysis of the many grievances that are recorded in the ordinance books. As before, the majority of these cases involved damage to the privileges of the guild, which extended beyond the production and sale of new barrels to include the maintenance of the casks in the cellars of merchants and brewers. For example, opportunists often attempted to produce or repair barrels on their own (or to have this work done) by hiring unfree labourers or by purchasing barrels from other sources, even though new barrels were officially required to be made in a free master’s workshop. Actions were frequently taken against such practices. In addition, actions were also launched repeatedly against free masters themselves. If they were called to perform maintenance on the stocks of brewers, merchants and tavern owners, they were expected to go in person, accompanied by helpers (if necessary). Instead, however, many free masters sent their servants without accompanying them or lent them out and boarded them there, thus allowing them to work on their own account.23 Although violations 22 On a total of 43 processes, 15 took place in the second half of the sixteenth, 20 in the seventeenth (from which 12 between 1600 and 1650) and 8 in the first half of the eighteenth century, see: Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, p. 167 and further. Most of these processes concerned the monopoly on the production and selling of barrels, the maintenance of the cellars of wine dealers, brewers and innkeepers, the monopoly on vinegar and the size of the barrels. For other guild professions, too, it has been shown that the number of processes decreased instead of increased during the Early Modern period, see: Deceulaer, ‘Conflicten’, p. 150. 23 As far as production is concerned, see: SAA, GA, 4175 (1587); SAA, GA, 4175 bis (1580, 1620, 1656, 1671 and 1690); GA 5602 (1603); GA 4194 (1596); GA 4186 (1611). For the services, see; SAA, GA, 4175 bis, 4175, 4191 and 4192: see the years 1582, 1589, 1603, 1611, 1614, 1624, 1640, 1646, 1651, 1658, 1668, 1678, 1690 and 1707. For actions

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continued to occur, petitions filed by the guild for stricter compliance with the relevant regulations constituted a constant factor in the ordinance books, particularly until the early eighteenth century. One important point in this regard is that, in addition to guaranteeing proper training, the officially imposed apprenticeship largely served as a criterion for selecting those seeking to gain access to the status of master. In their petitions for improved compliance with the regulations, the deans of the guild emphasized again and again that only those who had officially studied for two years could get access to the master’s trial and be promoted to free masters – although they were constantly confronted with unfree labourers attempting to evade guildbased privileges in various ways. In many cases, the fall of the guilds was related to the increasing number of foreign citizens who acted as illegal suppliers within the city or as false masters commissioned by the city’s free masters or traders, to merchants and entrepreneurs who contracted work out to the countryside or introduced proto-industrialization within the city and to low-wage labourers working in cellars and attics, all of which undermined the regulations of the guild to a certain degree. With regard to admission to the status of master in Antwerp, however, it has been shown that the regulations were not eroded but were elaborated further, eventually reaching maturity in the seventeenth century. The reactions of the guilds in Antwerp were largely directed against traders who had reverted to illegitimate production, thereby circumventing the expensive free masters and thus silently rendering the protected status of master unnecessary.24 Although the coopers continued to fight against illegal work by outsiders and servants, it could certainly not be argued that the guild had already admitted defeat in the early eighteenth century. On the contrary, we saw that, after having repeatedly emphasized the importance of apprenticeship, although often to no avail, the coopers had begun to monitor their own regulations in the area of training more strictly from the early eighteenth century at least (and probably already some decades earlier). Even as it became increasingly difficult to enforce individual contracts between masters and apprentices, the leaders of the guild (in addition to their weakened role as mediators) increasingly attempted to gain more control over the regulation stating that anyone admitted to performing the master’s trial must have been officially trained and registered with a free master. From this perspective, therefore, it comes as no surprise that, in 1675, the fine for not registering an apprentice on time had drastically increased to against masters sending their servants, see: SAA, GA, 4175 and 4175 bis (1582, 1596, 1603, 1617, 1620, 1640, 1646, 1668, 1707, 1731). For a more detailed analysis of some of these cases, see: Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 134–9 and 169–81. 24 Bert De Munck, ‘One Counter and your own Account. Redefining Illicit labour in Early Modern Antwerp’, Urban History, 37 (2010): pp. 26–44. For other domains, such as company size for example, the rules were liberalized.

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the exorbitant sum of 100 guilders (once again emphasizing that only those who had completed two years of official training with a free master could be admitted to the master’s trial and the status of master).25 Neither is it a coincidence that those contracts which stipulate explicitly that the master is obliged to register his apprentice all occur in the years after 1675.26 As a result, the major deviations with regard to apprenticeships also began to disappear from the late seventeenth century. Although apprenticeship contracts had previously ranged from one to four years, beginning in 1688, all but one corresponded to the guild’s official prescription of two years. In this sense, apprenticeship suddenly came to be arranged according to the officially prescribed rules. Moreover, while the number of more diplomatic mediations by the deans between masters and their apprentices suddenly increased during the first decades of the eighteenth century, the guild at the same time became increasingly clear in ensuring that apprentices could change masters only with the permission of the guild chamber. Without an official registration of the transfer to the new master, the apprentice would never get access to mastership. Nor was a master allowed to recruit a new apprentice without the consent of the guild chamber, even if the apprentice had remained at home. Seen from this point of view, neither is it a coincidence that the guild punctually started to register in the account books whether an apprentice had run away from his master by the end of the seventeenth century. During the last decade of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century in particular, this happened a lot, after which they also started to write down whether an apprentice had changed masters, while this had never been done during the sixteenth century and did not occur anymore after 1742.27 Given the impossibility of effectively enforcing the ancient, strict regulations in the area of training, and given that merchants and false masters simply ignored the coopers’ privilege, the guild never managed to find an efficient way of fighting the incessant increase in violations of its monopoly. It is for this reason that the guild changed its strategy near the end of the seventeenth century, launching an offensive in which it placed less emphasis on enforcing individual contracts and more on monitoring the officially prescribed apprenticeship, which served as a ticket to the privileged group of free masters. Although the conditions for changing masters were relaxed, apprentices who left their masters without permission from the guild court could never become free masters (or free journeymen). After more than a century of intense struggle against unfree labourers, this should have been more than clear. In this way, what seemed at first SAA, GA, 4175 bis (1675). See for example N 2513 (1677), N 4681 (1683) and N 4682 (1688). 27 See the account books in: SAA, GA, 4183, 4184 and 4185 covering the periods 1577–1600 and 1670–1795. The account book for 1600–70 is lost. 25 26

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sight to be a retreat was in fact an attempt to strengthen its control over access to mastership. Still, the question then arises whether such a concentration of intermediate and monopoly-protecting measures during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries (combined with a decrease in the number of legal processes) really indicates the ultimate victory of a guild that was becoming stronger, or whether it was more indicative of weakness and the final throes of a group of masters who could no longer stand against the advancing class of large and small merchants and entrepreneurs who increasingly ignored the privileges of the guild. The latter was probably the case. The reason why the guild tried to monitor the training and master’s trial so strictly was that it was expected to provide a clear definition of who could become a master and who could not. But, despite its attempts to regain control, the offences just continued, soon to be followed by new legislation that would further undermine the guild’s position and adjourn certain master privileges as early as 50 years before its actual abolishment. Besides, the guild had even less control over economic and demographic conditions and over foreigners claiming to have completed an official apprenticeship elsewhere. Originally, when the economy was still operating well, foreign apprentices and master candidates had been just as welcome as their ‘native’ colleagues. However, with the economy starting to show signs of deterioration, the guild was confronted with financial problems and started to take measures against foreigners from other cities who had been trained elsewhere. The Reciprocity System under Discussion and the Opening Up of Guild and City A long-standing agreement of reciprocal liberation (reciprocatieve bevrijdinghe) existed amongst the cities of Brabant. Anyone who had been trained in a particular trade by a free master in a free city in Brabant was automatically eligible to complete a master’s trial in another city in Brabant.28 The ordinance of the coopers likewise established that anyone who had spent two years learning the trade from a free master in a free city, and who could present a certificate drawn up by the deans or by the city administration, was automatically eligible to complete the master’s trial in Antwerp.29 The deanery books do indeed mention See: Marc Jacobs, ‘De ambachten in Brabant en Mechelen (12de eeuw-1795)’, in Raymond Van Uytven, ed., De gewestelijke en lokale overheidsinstellingen in Brabant en Mechelen tot 1795 (2 vols, Brussels, 2000) vol. 2, p. 591. 29 SAA, GA, 4175 (1533) and 4175bis (1580). See also Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, p. 137. 28

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several such certificates having been presented by candidates from such cities as Mechelen, Lier, Leuven, Herentals, Diest, Tienen, Breda and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, as well as a few from cities outside of Brabant.30 For example, separate liberation agreements had been arranged with Bruges, Ghent and Aalst.31 In addition to completing a master’s trial and paying the required entry fees, foreigners wishing to become masters in Antwerp were first required to become citizens.32 Although it is necessary to treat citizen registers with caution,33 the information presented in Graph 1 clearly shows that the number of new citizens applying to become coopers largely corresponds to the aforementioned economic conditions. An average of 50 coopers attained citizenship during the flourishing period in the sixteenth century, declining to nine during the crisis and once again increasing to 18 new citizens per decade from 1610 to 1679. Until well into the seventeenth century, the cooper’s trade appears to have remained sufficiently attractive for foreigners to apply for citizenship. It was not until the second major crisis that interest disappeared. With an average of only eight new citizens per decade in the eighteenth century, the coopers were unable to recover. Although there is no evidence of protectionism during the economic boom, it is interesting to note that foreign apprentices were suddenly required to pay higher registration fees from the mid-seventeenth century onwards, along with higher entry fees for masters starting in the eighteenth century. Originally, a distinction had existed only between the sons of masters (who could register as apprentices without cost) and others who were required to pay 1 guilder. Beginning in 1646, however, a distinction suddenly emerged within the category of applicants who were not the sons of masters between natives (ingebornen) and foreigners (vremdelinghen). At that time, native non-masters’ sons were required to pay 4 guilders, while foreigners had to pay twice this amount SAA, GA, 4178. SAA, GA, 4175 (1674), 4178 (1640) and 4181 (1717). 32 Antwerp citizenship could be obtained by birth, by marriage, by purchasing it (until 1663 it cost 20 guilders, which was the equivalent of 68 days of wages for an unschooled worker), or it could be granted. See Jan De Meester, ‘De gebruiks- en meerwaarde van poortersboeken voor historici. Casus: Antwerpen in de zestiende eeuw (vervolg)’, Vlaamse stam, 43 (2007): pp. 317–29; Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘Minderheden te Antwerpen (16de/20e eeuw)’, in Hugo Soly and Alfons K.L. Thijs, eds, Minderheden in Westeuropese steden (16e–20e eeuw) (Brussels, 1995), pp. 18–19; Etienne Scholliers, Loonarbeid en honger. De levensstandaard in de XVe en XVIe eeuw te Antwerpen (Antwerp, 1960), p. 225. 33 On the advantages and shortcomings of citizen books, see: Marc Boone and Peter Stabel, ‘New Burghers in the Late Medieval Towns of Flanders and Brabant: Conditions of Entry: Rules and Reality’, in Rainer C. Schwinges, ed., Neubürger im späten Mittelalter. Migration und Austausch in der Städtelandschaft des alten Reiches (1250–1550) (Berlin, 2002), pp. 322–4; and De Meester ‘De gebruiks- en meerwaarde’. 30 31

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Figure 11.1 Number of new citizen-coopers, per decade

Source: Citizen database by Bruno Blondé, Laura Van Aert, Ilja Van Damme and Jan De Meester. The years 1572–74 and 1688–97 are missing.

(8 guilders), increasing to 12 guilders in 1718. A similar development took place amongst new masters, who were required to pay entry fees to the guild upon the completion of their master’s trials. After a first failed attempt (in 1653) to require foreigners to pay higher master fees as well, it was decided in 1718 that new masters who were not the sons of masters and who had completed their apprenticeships in Antwerp would be charged 104 guilders, with those who had been trained elsewhere being charged 130 guilders. In 1752, these fees were raised to 154 and 180 guilders.34 Although the disadvantages for particular categories of foreigners were also due to the many monopoly violations committed by these groups, it was no coincidence that the increases in registration and entry fees were implemented at the very time when economic conditions began to deteriorate. This occurred even as the coopers (and many other guilds) came to face financial and reproduction problems. Examination of the evolution in the number of newly registered apprentices and masters (Graph 2) immediately reveals a long-term downward trend. Although the number of new apprentices declined considerably after 1585 and although there are no figures for the first 70 years of the seventeenth century, it can be assumed that the guild was able to recover quickly in the course of this period (which is also evident, to a certain extent, in the evolution of the number of new citizens, as shown in Graph 1). In the period 1671–75, the ranks were still expanded by 38 new masters and 138 new apprentices. From that time, however, 34 SAA, GA, 4175 (1533), 4175bis (1580, 1646, 1653, 1718 and 1752), 4008 (1784), 4183, 4184 and 4185. For another approach, see: Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 74 and 84–6, and Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’, pp. 33 and 41–4.

Figure 11.2 Number of new apprentices and new masters, per five-year period Source: Figures presented by Willems in Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 78–9 and 89–90, and Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’, 35 and 46, which are based on SAA, GA, 4183, 4184 and 4185.

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the number of new masters and new apprentices declined sharply, which was not a promising trend. Around the end of the seventeenth century, both numbers had decreased by almost half, and they continued to decline throughout the eighteenth century (aside from a brief recovery). In particular, the years around 1700 were a turning point. Between 1577 and 1602, there were still four new apprentices for each new master, with an average of 3.6 new apprentices for each new master between 1671 and 1705. This proportion shifted abruptly beginning in 1706/10, falling to only two new apprentices for each new master between 1706 and 1793, thus further demonstrating that it was becoming more difficult to reproduce a sufficient number of free masters and workers.35 The decrease was also so strong that, if nothing happened, there would eventually be a shortage of masters. The increases in entry fees and the sudden additional burdens imposed upon foreigners therefore appear to be anything but logical. Nonetheless, the increases in registration and entry fees should be placed in perspective. As was the case in many other guilds, the coopers were also facing the problem of continually increasing costs.36 Whenever the deans appealed to the government for permission to raise the registration and entry fees, their requests referred to the high costs associated with the many legal procedures, the maintenance of the altar and chapel and, beginning in the seventeenth century, the increasing need for funds for the poor box.37 In the early eighteenth century, when the ratio between the number of new apprentices and masters suddenly changed and while the debt for the poor and for the chapel continued to accumulate, the situation became so dramatic that the coopers were forced to undertake a drastic increase in the entry fees for some categories of new masters. In addition to the long-standing entry fees of 72 guilders for sons of masters and 104 guilders for others, a 1708 decision specified that the contribution to the poor box (which was always short on funds) would be increased from 2 to 60 guilders, and that the contribution to the chapel would increase from 6 to 40 guilders. In compensation, however, the master’s trial was made simpler and less expensive. Instead of five pieces, prospective masters were now required to produce only four. The wood to be used could also be changed. In addition to being lighter, ordinary wood from Leuven or Brussels was also considerably Bert De Munck mentions these turning ratios in: De Munck, Technologies, p. 145. It has already been demonstrated that several Antwerp guilds were increasingly confronted with rising costs because of the many juridical processes, social relief for widows and poor masters and the building of beautiful stone façades as well as altars and chapels, which repeatedly led to increases in the entrance fees. When the economy collapsed at the end of the seventeenth century and many guilds also had to suffer from a lack of new masters, another set of new but necessary increases was compensated by savings on other costs, such as the master trials and the entrance meals. In this way, guild revenues could be increased without making entry into the guild more exclusive. De Munck, Technologies, pp. 85–113. 37 SAA, GA, 4175bis (1646, 1653, 1708, 1718 en 1752) and GA 4175 (1694). 35

36

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less expensive. While the purchase of wood and other materials had previously required expenditures of between 132 and 138 guilders, it was now only 14 guilders. Instead of increasing, therefore, the total cost actually decreased by 32 guilders (from 146 to 114 guilders).38 Ten years later, however, the registration fee was increased by 4 guilders only for foreign apprentices, and the entry fee was increased by 26 guilders only for foreigners who had completed their apprenticeships in another city.39 Because none of these measures helped, the test was simplified again in 1752 and the meal fee of 18 guilders was eliminated, albeit that each new master was required to pay an additional 50 guilders in entry fees, along with other small additional charges.40 Taken together, the costs related to entry into the status of master in the first half of the eighteenth century were 32 guilders less (and for those who had been trained elsewhere, six guilders less) than they had been during the second half of the seventeenth century, and they would not increase again until 1752.41 Significant increases in entry fees were thus introduced regularly only during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, the problem of reproduction was so great that the debt faced by the guild could not be resolved with further increases in contributions. When these fees were nonetheless raised out of necessity, it became necessary to compensate for these increases through other measures. Even foreigners, on whom heavier burdens had been imposed since 1646 and 1718, paid a little less before 1752, although this does not negate the fact that they were suddenly required to pay more than others. It cannot be concluded, however, that foreigners suddenly began to encounter discrimination as such. Aside from the fact that, beginning in 1671, the number of new apprentices who were not the sons of masters but who had been born in Antwerp remained approximately equal to the number of apprentices of foreign origin,42 it must not be forgotten that the guild did not react against all foreigners, but only against a specific category of foreigners. Indeed, for apprentices, a distinction was made between those who had been born in Antwerp (geboortich in Antwerpen) and those who had been born elsewhere (van buiten). For incoming masters, however, the distinction was made between those who had been trained in Antwerp and those who had been trained in another free city. The problem thus involved training (received SAA, GA, 4175bis (1708). For a similar approach, see Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’, pp. 41–4, and as far as the funds of the poor box are concerned, Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 145–50. 39 SAA, GA, 4175 and 4175bis. 40 SAA, GA, 4175bis (1752). 41 For a similar approach, see: Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’, pp. 43–4. 42 See Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’, pp. 34–5. Sometimes the number of foreign apprentices was a little higher than those from Antwerp and vice versa, but there were never remarkable differences. 38

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elsewhere) rather than origin, although other factors may have been at work as well. The sudden increase in the burden imposed upon only those new masters who had been trained elsewhere clearly shows the continued occurrence of problems with this category, or at least that the deans had decided to adopt a stronger approach to these problems (which may have existed for some time). Paradoxically, this would eventually help to cause a rancorous break-up of the guilds, as citizenship and the status of master became more open than the deans would have liked. An early indication of the changing attitude towards those who had been trained elsewhere is provided in a case that was made against the Antwerp coopers’ guild in 1677 by Jan Vanden Brande (or Vanden Brant) in connection with the contract of reciprocity between cities in Brabant (reciprocatien tusschen de steden van Brabant).43 When Vanden Brande (who had completed his apprenticeship with his father in Herentals and who was able to present a certificate to this effect) applied to complete the master’s trial, the deans rejected his request. The reason, as stated by the deans of the Antwerp coopers, was that the guild in Herentals had been closed only in 1674 and that anyone in Herentals who knew anything about wood was eligible for membership in a general woodworkers’ guild that, in addition to coopers, also included carpenters, furniture makers, cabinetmakers and many other woodworkers. Consequently, anyone who had fulfilled his apprenticeship could come to Antwerp and choose whether he would become a master cooper, cabinetmaker or carpenter. The former reciprocity agreements had thus become little more than a ‘scar’ (litteecken). If he wished to become a free master in Antwerp, Vanden Brande would first be required to undergo two years of training in the city. After all, he would never be as good in the art as those who had been trained in Antwerp. It was impermissible to deceive the people of Antwerp through the errors and inexperience of such a person. Although the Herentals native reaffirmed that he had been thoroughly trained and that he had subsequently acquired work experience and was even considered a free master, the deans of Antwerp declared the certificates presented by Vanden Brande to be false. They suspected that when the guild in Herentals had finally closed, Vanden Brande had quickly been accepted and registered as free master because his father was one as well. Because his father had also never been a free master until two years before, the son could not possibly have completed his apprenticeship there. It was also no coincidence that his name was at the bottom of the Herentals registry. According to the Such complaints, as with the cabinetmakers, about newcomers falsely claiming to have been fully trained in another town were also made at the end of the sixteenth century when Antwerp experienced another major crisis: De Munck, Technologies, p. 176. For the case of Vanden Brande, see: SAA, GA, 4177 (1677), which is also discussed in Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, p. 137. 43

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deans, Vanden Brande had written his own name at the end of the list himself. Allowing such a candidate to complete a master’s trial in Antwerp would open the door to all kinds of fraud. Neither was Vanden Brande’s prospect of marrying a cooper’s widow from Antwerp accepted as a valid argument. Control over the apprenticeship as a guarantee of quality was the central concern here. According to the deans, anyone trained in Antwerp could certainly be considered well trained. Nonetheless, the quality of training was not the only issue at stake, as was evident in the existence of the master’s trial through which the skills of Vanden Brande might have been unambiguously tested. But in the seventeenth century, in response to the growing number of violations, the official apprenticeship increasingly became a weapon with which to deter unfree labourers from practising the trade. During the first decades of the eighteenth century, this resulted in more uniform apprenticeships and guild interventions of a more mediating character. In addition to ensuring a quality education, the official apprenticeship served as a condition for access to the status of master (in addition to having the necessary financial resources), and the sudden appearance of such legal cases also illustrates the increasing distrust of master candidates who had been trained in other cities. After all, the deans had less control over them. This is also why the reciprocity agreements had become a ‘scar’, which had an impact on the attitudes towards foreigners trained elsewhere. Because the coopers could not ignore these agreements without the consent of the government, it was necessary for them to recover a portion of the costs from those trained elsewhere. This situation thus created a new distinction between those who had been trained in Antwerp and those who had been trained elsewhere. In order to exercise greater control over the official apprenticeship, it was necessary for both the guild and the city to become more closed to those who had been trained elsewhere, even as access was eased for those who had been trained in Antwerp. The regulations regarding apprenticeship obviously could not be questioned, as they provided the basis for determining who would be allowed to operate as a more or less independent producer and who would not. In the late seventeenth century, therefore, the guild-supervised apprenticeship was increasingly advanced as the most important element of distinction. This also appears to be the reason why the central government that, alongside merchants, was working to limit the power of guilds, started eroding the official apprenticeship system. If the guildcontrolled apprenticeship system could be undermined, the power of the guilds could be broken, and an important means to that end was to grant dispensations of apprenticeship to ambitious applicants who had been trained elsewhere. The politics of dispensation pursued by the central government have scarcely been examined. According to Hubert Van Houtte, the Austrian regime initially had no intention of opening up the guilds. The measures taken were intended solely to improve the efficiency of the operation of guilds. It was not until the second half of the eighteenth century that, under the influence of meritocratic

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ideas, the status of master was opened to anyone who could demonstrate sufficient knowledge, regardless of training or origin. All of the exemptions cited by Vanden Houtte, granted to candidates who had been trained elsewhere, thus dated from after 1750.44 However, the guild books we analysed also contain older legal procedures in which people who had been trained elsewhere, or who had received insufficient training and who had been rejected by the deans, were finally allowed to complete the master’s trial because the central government obliged the deans to conduct the test. This was the case, for example, with the coopers of Ghent in the 1730s and 1740s,45 for the silversmiths in Antwerp in a case running from 1727 until 1735 and for the milliners in a case that started in 1701 (while still under the Spanish regime).46 By doing so, the central government helped to undermine the strategy adopted by the deans, who had just embarked on a final and fruitless offensive against all kinds of offenders. The once unavoidable guild-apprenticeship had already started to break down well before 1750. In this regard, let us also note that, in addition to the aforementioned widescale actions taken by the deans against various masters or widows who had lent out their apprentices to brewers or merchants where they actually worked on their own account, another case was filed against a wine merchant, with far-reaching consequences. In 1747, the deans of the coopers’ guild accused the wine trader Fernandus Van Pruysen of hiring an unfree, live-in servant to maintain his stock instead of engaging a free master cooper. Van Pruysen replied to this charge by stating that he had borrowed Joannes Bosmans from master Peter Van Den Berghe as a free servant, and that there was nothing wrong with that, even considering the fact that Van Den Berghe had not lived in Antwerp for more than two years and that his wife no longer operated the cooper’s studio. While it is clear that the ‘servant’ in this case was working on his own account without being a free master, the court ruled in 1752 that, contrary to all of the former regulations, the deans of the coopers’ guild were at fault. From that time, merchants and brewers could hire unfree labourers with the full consent of the government, thus definitively destroying the construction of the free-master status.47 The guild regulations no longer carried any weight, at least not as far as additional services such as the maintenance of the stocks of merchants in liquids and brewers were concerned. Hubert Van Houtte, Histoire économique de la Belgique à la fin de l’Ancien Régime (Ghent, 1920), pp. 54–115, especially pp. 83–4. 45 Stadsarchief Gent (SAG) reg. 171 6/6 (1734, 1735, 1736 and 1749). 46 These will be discussed in other publications, see: SAA, GA, 4889 (1701–05) and 4494 (1727–35). 47 Bart Willems, ‘“For members only”. Solidariteit en beroepseer bij ambachten. Case study: de Antwerpse kuipers (17de–18de eeuw)’, Oost-Vlaamse Zanten, LXXV (2000): pp. 38–9. See also: SAA, GA, 4193 and V 1201 (1752). 44

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Figure 11.3 Relative share of masters’ sons, native non-masters’ sons and foreigners in the total number of new masters (1577–1602 and 1671–1793)

Source: Figures presented by Willems in Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 78–9 and 89–90, and Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’, pp. 35 and 46, which are based on SAA GA 4183, 4184 and 4185, as well as on the citizen books.

Moreover, if the Antwerp coopers’ guild had been intending to block access to mastership for foreigners by increasing the fees for (only) those who were trained elsewhere, the results must have been disappointing. As the number of new citizens who declared themselves to be coopers is known, and as this number was always higher than the number of new masters trained elsewhere, it also becomes possible to estimate how many foreigners there were among the nonmasters’ sons trained in Antwerp after 1718. Of a total of 207 new masters, 12 per cent were foreigners trained elsewhere, 18 per cent were foreigners trained in Antwerp itself, 35 per cent were Antwerp non-masters’ sons, 32 per cent were masters’ sons (and an additional 3 per cent were youngsters from the poor house) during the period between 1716 and 1795. As becomes clear in Figure 11.3, the relative share of foreigners among the new masters even increased. It was only between 1676 and 1720 that Antwerp non-masters’ sons delivered (with a total average of 64 per cent) most of the new masters, while the share of foreigners

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then shrank to only 11 per cent. After 1725, however, the share of foreigners started to rise again to an average of 33 per cent and from 1771 on even to an average 50 per cent of new masters, while the share of native non-masters’ sons – despite some fluctuations – continued to shrink.48 Possible attempts to prevent foreigners or at least those trained elsewhere from penetrating too easily into the privileged circle of masters, to the advantage of native non-masters’ sons, thus had the opposite effect. In the end, it were the Antwerp masters’ sons and foreigners in particular who still had access to mastership. Indeed, increasing the entrance fees seems illogical at the moment when the absolute numbers of new apprentices and masters were decreasing, but it was necessary because of the many debts the guild was facing. Still, at least the first increase also happened at a time when vested masters were confronted with rising unemployment because of the economic crisis, so they must have welcomed the increases. The fact that they were financially compensated, for instance by easing the trial, might have been the result of pressure from merchants. Conclusion: Towards an Empty Box Since the Middle Ages, the requirement to be trained by a recognized free master had served as the quintessential condition for entering the privileged ranks of the guild masters, from whom customers (in theory) could be certain of receiving good quality for a fair price.49 In this respect, masters, apprentices, merchants, customers and the city itself all stood to benefit from high-quality and effective training. Given their importance and the large investment by both parties, contract-enforcing measures had been included in the founding ordinances. However, because it was often impossible to enforce agreements between masters and pupils effectively, the guild evolved from an intended contract-enforcing authority into a mediating institution, a trend that coincided with an increasing number of offences against the coopers’ monopoly. After all, juxtaposed against the free masters, who were grouped within the guilds as established within closed cities, were the merchants, who often held different views and who struggled to achieve a more open city.50 In an open city, merchants and shopkeepers would be able to offer any product on the market at any price. However, because the free masters also wanted their share of the economic surplus, they organized themselves and claimed the privilege that, within the For an alternative approach, see: Willems, Het Antwerpse kuipersambacht, pp. 87–8, and Willems, ‘Loon naar werken’, pp. 45–7. 49 See Raoul De Kerf, De juiste prijs in de laatmiddeleeuwse stad. Een onderzoek naar middeleeuwse economische ethiek op de ambachtelijke markt en in moralistische lekenliteratuur (Amsterdam, 2010), pp. 41–92. 50 De Munck, Technologies, p. 235. 48

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city, production and other services associated with it could only be performed by them or under their supervision. It is for this reason that various parties (in this case, primarily brewers, merchants and tavern owners) repeatedly tried to evade the expensive free masters by directly hiring unfree servants, apprentices or journeymen to produce or maintain their barrels – a deception in which many free master coopers also cooperated by lending out their servants, apprentices or even their workshops. Faced with the incessant violations, the guild decided towards the end of the seventeenth century to improve the monitoring of its monopoly, and the most obvious means to this end was to strengthen its control over the official apprenticeship process. Only those who had been registered as apprentices and who had completed an official apprenticeship with a free master in a free city could be admitted to the master’s trial and the status of master. Any apprentice wishing to change masters was required to obtain permission from the guild chamber. No deviations from the regulations regarding official apprenticeships could be tolerated anymore, and some evidence suggests that, around 1700, the guild initially began to succeed in bringing the numerous violations of the privilege under somewhat better control. For example, apprenticeship contracts were drawn up more in line with the regulations, and the deans increasingly played a mediating role in situations involving conflict. Although this made it easier for apprentices to change masters, such changes were required to take place in the officially prescribed manner. If not, the apprentices could never become masters. But all of these developments were merely an illusion. Not only did the offences continue and the guilds were in a difficult position because of their financial and reproduction problems, but with economic conditions deteriorating and fundamental changes taking place in patterns of demand and consumption during the second half of the seventeenth century, the balance of power between free masters and merchants definitively shifted in favour of the latter. Moreover, the guild was able to exercise less control over the training processes of master candidates claiming to have been trained elsewhere. As a result, the deans tried to block entry for those trained elsewhere. However, as the central and even the municipal governments ultimately began to take the side of merchants and brewers by claiming compensation for the increasing fees, granting dispensations and abolishing old privileges, the primary means of distinction (that is, the official apprenticeship) was undermined. After this, the direct link between training in accordance with the regulations of the guild and the status of the free master was broken and the battle was lost. Both guilds and cities had to be opened up, a process that had already become irreversible by the end of the seventeenth century. Adherence to ancient rights was no longer possible. Moreover, given their efforts to prevent decay by increasingly protecting access to the status of master instead of adapting to the changing

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world, the guilds actually helped to dig their own graves. In the course of the eighteenth century, the guilds figuratively and literally evolved towards empty boxes; figuratively because they increasingly lost their power to enforce the rules, and literally because the archive boxes themselves became increasingly thinner, to become almost empty after 1750.

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Chapter 12

The Paradox of the Antwerp Rose: Symbol of Decline or Token of Craftsmanship? Annelies De Bie

The birth of the so-called knowledge economy is a much debated topic in recent historical research. While Joel Mokyr situates the roots of the industrial revolution in the continuous feedback between technical (prescriptive) and scientific (propositional) knowledge during the Enlightenment period, Jan Luiten van Zanden argues that the European ‘miracle’ had already materialized in the late Middle Ages. It did so, he suggests, because of a relatively efficient capital market, the increasing availability of printed books and the existence of wellorganized institutions such as guilds – which acted as ‘third parties’ in the creation of trust, necessary for the conclusion of apprentice contracts.1 The work of both Mokyr and van Zanden has stimulated research on the ‘circulation of knowledge’. This concept was first introduced into historiography as a reaction to the onedimensional transfer approach, which presupposed a constellation of creative leaders, or geniuses, and passively imitating followers. ‘Circulation’ offers the advantages of including a wider range of knowledge transfers and leaving room for ideas of appropriation. Precisely because of their diversity, Hilaire-Pérez and Verna argue, the macroeconomic scale alone is insufficient for the study of technology transfers, notwithstanding the fact that these might have taken place across long distances. Hence, research is in need of in-depth studies on the micro-level.2 Guild historians have also stimulated the research on skills and education. The revived interest in urban corporatism since the 1980s has coincided with Joel Mokyr, The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy (Princeton, 2002); Jan L. van Zanden, The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution: the European Economy in a Global Perspective, 1000–1800 (Leiden, 2009). 2 Liliane Hilaire-Pérez and Catherine Verna, ‘Dissemination of Technical Knowledge in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era: New Approaches and Methodological Issues’, Technology and Culture, 47/3 (2006): pp. 536–65; Liliane Hilaire-Pérez and Catherine Verna, ‘Les circulations techniques: hommes, produits, savoirs au Moyen Age et à l’époque moderne (Orient, Occident)’, in Michel Cotte, ed., Circulations techniques en amont de l’innovation: hommes, objets et idées en movement (Besançon, 2004), pp. 11–35. 1

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increased attention to the historical aspects of apprenticeship and learning on the shop floor.3 For centuries, economic growth occurred in a context in which innovation was a process of trial and error on the shop floor, albeit that handson training became institutionalized or formalized in the late Middle Ages by corporative organizations, which prescribed a mandatory learning period and a masterpiece. The reasons for this, however, are highly unclear. Starting from recent insights in New Institutional Economics, Epstein and other ‘optimistic’ historians have claimed that craft guilds were economically efficient institutions.4 Guilds are said to have enabled masters to recover the cost of training by obliging apprentices to serve a fixed term, which was often longer than that which was needed in order to learn the trade. In addition, guilds allegedly prevented apprentices from absconding by means of entry fees (which may have served as a type of bond) and end-term rewards (such as higher wages or a privileged entrance to the labour market).5 This positive view has been criticized by Sheilagh Ogilvie, who has argued that guilds were primarily rent-seeking cartels which excluded outsiders.6 Notwithstanding the fact that recent research stresses the importance of skills and education on the shop floor in a period in which technical schools, scientific institutions and revolutionary technological discoveries were either absent or unimportant in an economic sense, the exact role of – and the precise relation between – on-the-job training and related guild regulations remains highly unclear.7 All too often, moreover, research is limited to success stories, while education and innovation become especially important in periods of decline. This chapter will therefore analyse the role of investments in skills during an economic crisis. More precisely, I will focus on the Antwerp diamond industry in the Early Modern period, examining apprentice contracts (practice) and guild regulations (norm). Towards the beginning of the seventeenth century, Antwerp Bert De Munck and Hugo Soly, ‘“Learning on the Shop Floor” in Historical Perspective’, in Bert De Munck, Steven L. Kaplan and Hugo Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor: Historical Perspectives on Apprenticeship (New York and Oxford, 2007), p. 4. 4 Bert De Munck, ‘De return of ouderwetse debatten? Recente trends in het onderzoek naar ambachtsgilden’, Leidschrift, 25/2 (2010): pp. 73–95, pp. 74–5. 5 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, The Journal of Economic History, 58/3 (1998): pp. 684–713. 6 Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Guilds, Efficiency and Social Capital: Evidence from German Proto-Industry’, Economic History Review, 57/2 (2004): pp. 286–333; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘“Whatever is, is right?” Economic Institutions in Pre-industrial Europe’, Economic History Review, 60/4 (2007): pp. 649–84; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds in the Pre-Modern Economy: a Discussion’, Economic History Review, 61/1 (2008): pp. 155–74. 7 For example, Bert De Munck, ‘Gilding Golden Ages. Perspectives from Early Modern Antwerp on the Guild-Debate, c. 1450–c. 1650’, European Review of Economic History, 15 (2011): pp. 221–53. 3

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lost its place as the leading diamond centre to Amsterdam. As big, high-quality stones became rare in the Scheldt city, the remaining diamond cutters were forced to perfect their skills and focus on specific cuts, such as the rose. What were the effects of this economic decline, including a changing entrepreneurial structure, on the local learning market? And what role did the guild play? A History of Diamonds in Antwerp Like other precious stones, diamonds found their way into Europe along the ancient trade routes between India, Constantinople, Alexandria and later also Rome.8 When exactly the diamond was first discovered is no longer ascertainable, but the oldest written sources mentioning the stone go back to the fourth century BC. Although the diamond’s origin was a mystery for the Indians and ancient Greeks, and although they did not fully master the polishing technique, they were already well acquainted with its specific properties.9 In the thirteenth century, Venice, the port of transhipment between East and West, monopolized the diamond trade with India.10 The doge’s city exported the diamonds to other European cities such as Paris, Nuremberg and Bruges. Well into the fourteenth century, the manufacturing of diamonds was probably limited to polishing and maybe slightly adapting the stones’ shape.11 The earliest record of diamond cutters in the Low Countries, more precisely in Bruges, dates from 1465. However, as Bruges was the hub of the Northwestern European trade network and host to an important community of Venetian merchants, and as there are indications of the presence of rough diamonds, it seems quite likely that Bruges already housed a flourishing diamond industry in the Middle Ages.12 Nevertheless, it is hard to determine the extent to which Bruges played a part in the development of this sector. For a long time, it was believed that diamond polishing was invented there. This presumption was Eddy Vleeschdrager, Hardheid 10: de diamant: geschiedenis, bewerking, handel (Antwerp, 1995), p. 420. 9 Iris Kockelbergh, Eddy Vleeschdrager and Jan Walgrave, The Brilliant Story of Antwerp Diamonds (Antwerp, 1992), p. 17. 10 Ibid., p. 20; Ludo Vandamme and John A. Rosenhoj, Brugge diamantstad: diamanthandel en diamantnijverheid in Brugge in de 15de en de 20ste eeuw (Bruges: s.n., 1993), p. 12. 11 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, 20; Roelie Meijer and Peter Engelsman, Vier eeuwen diamant: Amsterdam Antwerpen Londen (Amsterdam, 1986), p. 45; Vandamme and Rosenhoj, Brugge diamantstad, pp. 18–19; Herbet Tillander, Diamond Cuts in Historic Jewellery 1381–1910 (London, 1995), p. 15. 12 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 20; Vandamme and Rosenhoj, Brugge diamantstad, pp. 12 and 17. 8

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based on a statement by the Parisian jeweller Robert de Berquen, who wrote in 1661 that his ancestor, Louis de Berquen, had invented diamond polishing in 1476 in Bruges and had processed three famous diamonds that had been commissioned by Charles the Bold. However, the archival sources maintain a dogged silence.13 Scholars currently think that the art of diamond processing was probably introduced in Bruges by Parisian artisans.14 In Bruges, the diamond cutters never had their own guild and therefore some of them joined the guild of gold- and silversmiths.15 In Antwerp, the diamond cutters did get their own guild, but only after a struggle lasting several years. In the course of the sixteenth century, Antwerp became one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. The number of inhabitants rose from around 30,000 to 100,000, as a consequence of migration in particular. Gradually, the port city became one of the most important economic centres in Europe. The ‘miracle’ of sixteenth-century Antwerp has often been explained by referring to the shift of international trade routes from the Mediterranean towards the Atlantic shores and the North Sea area. In addition, it is stated that the dynamics of the internal market cannot be underestimated.16 This sixteenth-century boom is often referred to as Antwerp’s ‘Golden Age’ and one of its most renowned products was (and still is) the Antwerp diamond. The Antwerp diamond sector existed long before the official recognition of its guild in 1582.17 Probably at some point in the fifteenth century, Italian merchants moved the diamond trade from Bruges to Antwerp because of changing international trade routes.18 When exactly Antwerp started trading diamonds is hard to determine, but it is likely to go back to the beginning of the fifteenth century. Proof of this is the decree of the Antwerp City Council of 1447, which prohibited the trade in false precious stones, such as imitation diamonds.19 Not only did trading move to Antwerp, but rough diamonds were also increasingly processed in the Scheldt city. In 1582, 30 to 40 masters were Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, pp. 24–5; Meijer and Engelsman, Vier eeuwen diamant, pp. 78–9. 14 Vandamme and Rosenhoj, Brugge diamantstad, p. 19. 15 Ibid., p. 22. 16 Herman van der Wee and Jan Materné, ‘De Antwerpse wereldmarkt tijdens de 16de en 17de eeuw’, in Jan Van der Stock, ed., Antwerpen, verhaal van een metropool, 16de–17de eeuw (Ghent, 1993), pp. 20–21. 17 Dora Schlugleit, Geschiedenis van het Antwerpsche diamantslijpersambacht (1582– 1797) (Antwerp, 1935), pp. 9–12. 18 Albert Michielsen, De syndicale beweging in het diamantbedrijf (Antwerp, 1953), p. 17; and Vandamme and Rosenhoj, Brugge diamantstad, p. 23. 19 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 31; Eric Durnez, Antwerpen, zuivere diamant: een briljant verleden, een schitterende toekomst (Antwerp, 2008), p. 45. 13

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working in the Antwerp diamond industry,20 and a tax survey of 1584 listed 52 diamond cutters.21 In 1609, no fewer than 59 master diamond processors were active in the Scheldt city. In 1618, their number even amounted to 164, which made the members of the Nation (guild) of Portugal, the most important importers of rough diamonds, assert that the diamond industry was the most important industry in Antwerp.22 Until well into the sixteenth century, the cutting of precious stones was free from restrictions in Antwerp. However, some of the diamond workers strove to form an official organization that could regulate the diamond industry. They argued that in the absence of qualifications and regulations, product quality was sometimes neglected. 23 In reality, social factors may have played a role as well.24 The Antwerp diamond processors often felt cornered by their employers, mostly foreign merchants, because diamond workers could easily be replaced by labourers from other cities or by new people trained on the merchants’ own mills. In order to protect themselves in times of crisis and against the powerful merchants, the diamond processors attempted to join forces in a small guild or nation at the end of the sixteenth century. Their stated objectives were to guarantee high quality, introduce an apprenticeship system, curb the establishment of large enterprises and enforce on their members the necessary professional discipline. Their first application (1577) was strongly opposed by the traders and was therefore rejected.25 This resulted in a long-lasting conflict between the merchants in precious stones and the diamond cutters, a conflict between trade and craft. After several years of struggle, the Guild of Diamond and Ruby Cutters was finally accredited in 1582. 26 At that time, however, the sector’s heyday was coming to an end.27 Between 1582 and 1589, Antwerp’s demographic growth was completely reversed. Although Antwerp remained the largest city in Brabant and still attracted a lot of migrants, the city was no longer a metropolis in a European perspective.28 Towards the end of the century, diamond cutters started to leave Antwerp because of the Eighty Years’ War.29 In 1585, three years after the establishment of the Guild of Diamond and Ruby Cutters, Antwerp returned 20 Alfons K.L. Thijs, ‘De nijverheid’, in Antwerpen in de XVIIde eeuw (Antwerp, 1989), p. 134. 21 Durnez, Antwerpen, p. 53. 22 Thijs, ‘De nijverheid’, p. 134. 23 Michielsen, De syndicale beweging, pp. 18–19. 24 De Munck, ‘Gilding Golden Ages’. 25 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, pp. 61–2. 26 Michielsen, De syndicale beweging, pp. 18–19. 27 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 67–8. 28 van der Wee and Materné, ‘De Antwerpse wereldmarkt’, p. 21. 29 Vleeschdrager, Hardheid 10, p. 422; Andries Kinsbergen, Antwerpen, briljant aan de top van de diamantwereld (Antwerp, 1984), p. 100.

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into Spanish hands and the diamond trade and industry moved to Amsterdam.30 As a result, Antwerp lost its leading position in diamond cutting and trading to its Dutch competitor.31 Moreover, the closing of the River Scheldt cut off the overseas trade in rough diamonds and Antwerp only received second-rate stones.32 The emigration flow in c. 1585 thus also affected Antwerp’s luxury industries, but this market sector recovered quickly. According to a document of 1618, the Antwerp Guild of Diamond and Ruby Cutters even hoped to be able to increase membership to 400.33 This ‘Indian summer’, as it is sometimes called, was to a large extent due to the Counter-Reformation, which stimulated the production of high-value products to be used, among other things, for the decoration of churches and chapels.34 Antwerp’s entrepreneurs and craftsmen were urged to specialize in the fabrication of expensive, skill-intensive products if they wanted to be able to compete with their colleagues in the smaller centres and in the countryside. In particular, industries that made use of precious raw materials flourished in the Scheldt city, because this outweighed the relatively high wages in Antwerp in the eventual price of the products.35 Notwithstanding this revival of luxury, the situation changed dramatically between 1650 and 1750. The century between the Vrede van Münster (1648) and the Vrede van Aken (1748) has remained untouched by historians for a long time, as this period of crisis was thought to be a real wasteland, not worthy of scholarly attention.36 In the second half of the seventeenth century, Antwerp faded on the industrial map of Europe. At the turn of the century, the city experienced a severe crisis, of which its luxury industries were the first and most important victims. The city’s inhabitants were almost reduced by half. In 1755, there were only 48,600 of them left.37 Still, this so-called ‘crisis’ was not as straightforward as historians have long thought. Recent research has demonstrated the dynamics at the consumption and distribution level of the former metropolis.38 The material culture became more differentiated than ever Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, pp. 44–5. Vleeschdrager, Hardheid 10, p. 422; Kinsbergen, Antwerpen, briljant, p. 100. 32 Kinsbergen, Antwerpen, briljant, p. 100; Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 67–8. 33 Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, pp. 44–5. 34 Ilja Van Damme, Verleiden en verkopen: Antwerpse kleinhandelaars en hun klanten in tijden van crisis (ca. 1648–ca. 1748) (Amsterdam, 2007), p. 41; van der Wee and Materné, ‘De Antwerpse wereldmarkt’, p. 29. 35 Thijs, ‘De nijverheid’, p. 134. 36 Van Damme, Verleiden en verkopen, p. 41. 37 Bruno Blondé and Ilja Van Damme, ‘Een crisis als uitdaging? Kleinhandelsevoluties en verbruiksveranderingen te Antwerpen (ca. 1648–ca. 1748)’, Tijdschrift voor sociale en economische geschiedenis, 4/1 (2007): pp. 61–88, pp. 61–2. 38 Van Damme, Verleiden en verkopen, p. 263; Blondé and Van Damme, ‘Een crisis als uitdaging?’, p. 62. 30 31

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before, and retailers were very active because they were in the best position to answer the demand for cheaper and more fashionable products from the 1650s onwards.39 Most of these popular new products were imported,40 with exception of some typical Antwerp products such as lace and diamond roses. Notwithstanding the crisis in the 1660s, the number of master diamond cutters increased again in the third quarter of the seventeenth century: from 100 in 1648 to over 200 in 1674.41 The Antwerp Diamond Industry in Antwerp Hands Unsurprisingly, these economic and demographic transformations went hand in hand with important shifts in the diamond industry’s internal structure and labour relations. During the sixteenth century, a great number of Portuguese labourers and merchants were active in the Antwerp diamond industry. Many of them were marranen or baptized Jews. For a long time, scholars assumed that Jews were not active in Bruges, neither in the Middle Ages nor later on. However, recent research has proven otherwise. Even in early sixteenth-century Bruges, Jews resided in the Spanish milieu and seem to have been occupied with diamond trading or processing as well.42 The Portuguese became leaders in the diamond trade after Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route to India.43 In the second half of the sixteenth century, they forced the Italians out of the market.44 The exact number of Portuguese diamond traders, however, is hard to ascertain. Most of the Portuguese residing in Antwerp were probably involved in this trade, while some of them even specialized in it.45 Thanks to the Portuguese, Antwerp became the centre of the European trade in precious stones.46 When the rough diamonds arrived in Antwerp, Portuguese merchants put them out or sold them to native or Portuguese diamond cutters. The complaints about diamond cutters living with Portuguese merchants seem to indicate that the diamonds Van Damme, Verleiden en verkopen, pp. 234–5 and 263–4; Bruno Blondé, ‘Cities in Decline and the Dawn of a Consumer Society: Antwerp in the 17th–18th Centuries’, in Bruno Blondé et al., eds, Retailers and Consumer Changes in Early Modern Europe. England, France, Italy and the Low Countries (Tours, 2005), pp. 44–8; Blondé and Van Damme, ‘Een crisis als uitdaging?’. 40 Blondé and Van Damme, ‘Een crisis als uitdaging?’, p. 66. 41 Thijs, ‘De nijverheid’, p. 146. 42 Vandamme and Rosenhoj, Brugge diamantstad, pp. 23–4. 43 Michielsen, De syndicale beweging, pp. 17–18. 44 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 46. 45 Hans Pohl, Die Portugiesen in Antwerpen (1567–1648): zur Geschichte einer Minderheit (Wiesbaden, 1977), p. 206. 46 Ibid., p. 197. 39

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were not sold immediately, but it remains unclear how many Portuguese worked as Verleger (entrepreneurs).47 In any case, while the Portuguese were actively involved in the Antwerp trade until the mid-seventeenth century, the unattractive economic situation after the blockade of the River Scheldt later pushed them towards Amsterdam.48 By extension, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries native merchants became very active in the diamond business, not only because of the withdrawal of foreigners, but also because of changes among the native merchant community.49 As a result of a sort of ‘commercial democratization’, modest and even small traders broke through, and several indigenous Antwerp families became interested in the diamond trade, among them the Boon family.50 One of them was that of the Boons. In the early seventeenth century, before 1630 to be precise, the head of the family, Michiel Boon, was in charge of a large fish company. Unlike his father, Geraard, one of Michiel’s sons, did not become a fishmonger, but started his professional training within the diamond sector, as an apprentice to the Antwerp diamond cutter François Guls.51 Around 1660, Geraard even visited Paris and Rouen to perfect his skills.52 After his return, Geraard was accepted as a master and was elected (exceptionally quickly) as head of the guild (superintendent or opperdeken). Although he thus held an important office within the guild, he is far better known as a merchant, trading, amongst other things, in diamonds and jewellery.53 Another family that adapted itself to the changing economic situation in Antwerp was the Leydecker clan. They seem to have been involved in everything: from the textile industry over the diamond sector to inn-keeping. Around 1508, Margriete De Beer married the lakenbereider (cloth-dresser) Bernaert Leydecker. The couple had four children. Their only son, Cornelis, also became a manufacturer and merchant of cloth, just like his father, and their Ibid., p. 199. Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 46. 49 Erika De Coster, ‘De diamanthandel te Antwerpen in de XVIIe eeuw gezien vanuit de geschiedenis van de firma’s Wallis-du-Jon, Boon en Forchoudt’, in Album aangeboden aan Charles Verlinden ter gelegenheid van zijn dertig jaar professoraat (Ghent, 1975), pp. 107–8; Karel Degryse and John Everaert, ‘De handel’,  Antwerpen in de XVIIde eeuw (Antwerp, 1989), p. 113. 50 Degryse and Everaert, ‘De handel’, p. 113. 51 De Coster, ‘De diamanthandel’, p. 106; Jan Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, in Frederik T. Scholten, Diana Scarisbrick and Jan Walgrave, Een eeuw van schittering: diamantjuwelen uit de 17de eeuw (Antwerp, 1993), p. 51; Jan Denucé, ‘De Insolvente Boedelskamer: XXXIII Familie Boon’, Antwerps Archievenblad, 5 (1930): pp. 5–11. 52 Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, p. 51. 53 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 76–9; De Coster, ‘De diamanthandel’, p. 106. 47 48

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three daughters all married within the same mercantile environment. The next Leydecker generation stayed active in the cloth industry as well. Cornelis’s son Bernaert followed in the footsteps of his father and became a merchant in silk cloth. His special interest in silk cloth, however, is a first indication of a growing interest in luxury sectors. In 1548, he married Catharina Hockaert, whose father was a merchant in silk cloth as well. Her brother Philips and her son-in-law, Joannes Creemers, were both active as diamond cutters. These newly acquired connections within the diamond industry probably paved the way for a family business in diamond cutting. Going against tradition, Bernaert and Catharina apprenticed their son Adam to become a diamond cutter. Within one generation the Leydecker family had switched sectors in order to escape the decline of cloth manufacturing and cloth trading after 1560. They changed their core business by apprenticing sons with diamond cutters, marrying sons to their colleagues’ daughters and marrying daughters to diamond cutters. To be sure, these were not mere subsistence strategies, because their marriage partners were often welloff deans or daughters of deans of the diamond guild.54 The emergence of several local families and the withdrawal from the diamond sector by foreign merchants can also be observed in apprentice contracts (when addressing them on an aggregate level). These contracts, in which the modalities of learning were determined, are almost impossible to find in significant quantities elsewhere (as a result of aldermen’s registers and notaries’ archives not being indexed), but they are relatively easy accessible for Antwerp. Godelieve Van Hemeldonck gathered all source references on a CD-ROM, giving access to about 700 apprentice contracts in the diamond sector. This enormous number of contracts is interesting as such, given the importance of kin and friendship relations in this sector and the fact that there was no obligation to register a contract before a notary in Antwerp, in contrast to England and France.55 Unsurprisingly, the earliest agreements still contain foreign names. In 1609, for instance, the Portuguese merchant Gregorio Correa and diamond cutter Thomas Meunich agreed to apprentice Gregorio’s son, Francisco Correa.56 When Francisco finished his training, he – along with master Lambrecht Bets 54 Notes of the family Leydecker-Brackx; Bert De Munck, ‘Leerpraktijken: economische en sociaal-culturele aspecten van beroepsopleidingen in Antwerpse ambachtsgilden, 16de– 18de eeuw’ (Unpublished doctoral thesis, VUB, Brussels, 2002), pp. 254–5. 55 Godelieve Van Hemeldonck, Leercontracten, arbeidscontracten, compagnieën (1414– 1795) (Antwerp, 2008); Francesca Trivellato, The Familiarity of Strangers: the Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period (New Haven, 2009); Steven L. Kaplan, ‘L’apprentissage au XVIIIe siècle: le cas de Paris’, Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 40/3 (1993): pp. 436–79; Clare H. Crowston, ‘From School to Workshop: Pre-training and Apprenticeship in Old Regime France’, in De Munck, Kaplan and Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor, p. 46. 56 City Archives Antwerp (CAA), N 3595 (13 June 1609).

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– moved in with his father Gregorio and brother Henrico Correa, a merchant trading in precious stones. Because of this illegal cohabitation of masters and merchants, Francisco was accused of violating the guild regulations.57 Another example is the case of Francisco de Mendoza. In 1611, Adriaen Roeff, a diamond cutter, agreed to train him in the house and on the mill of Henrique Alvarez, Portugalois.58 Both these contracts suggest that in the early seventeenth century the Portuguese were not only interested in trading diamonds, but also wanted to control their manufacturing. In later times, such references to the Portuguese can no longer be found. The Antwerp diamond industry had moved into Antwerp hands. In short, the Portuguese were replaced by local entrepreneurs.59 Some of them were still trained as diamond cutters, but in most cases trading became their core business.60 The diamond industry was one of the few sectors (besides lace production) in which Antwerp entrepreneurs were involved directly in this period.61 In the late seventeenth century, merchants such as Forchoudt, Boon and de Pret sold diamonds and jewels in the Southern Low Countries as well as abroad: to the court, nobility, bankers and wealthy merchants in Vienna, Graz, Prague, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid and Seville.62 Antwerp thus remained an important centre for the processing of diamonds and many diamond traders kept visiting the city. But unemployment rates kept rising and internal conflicts grew.63 In 1710, only 60 or 70 diamond mills (between 20 and 60 masters) remained of the former 300 (c. 100 masters) some decades before.64 The majority of the masters became increasingly dependent on the local merchant jewellers. A growing number of merchants had workshops themselves (despite the resistance of the guild) or in any case employed journeymen or masters directly. In particular, the cleaving of diamonds – introduced rather late in Antwerp – often took place in the house of a merchant.65

Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 44–5. CAA, N 3600 (29 December 1611). 59 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 67–8. 60 Ibid., p. 68. 61 Degryse and Everaert, ‘De handel’, p. 127. 62 Ibid., ‘De handel’, p.119. 63 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 67–8 and 123. 64 Thijs, ‘De nijverheid’, p. 146. Every master diamond cutter was allowed to use no more than three mills. See: CAA, GA 4477, ordinances of 1582 and 1672; Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 126. 65 Thijs, ‘De nijverheid’, p. 146. 57 58

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The Challenge of Lower-quality Stones It is not entirely clear what the effects of this transition were on the ‘learning market’, but before going more deeply into that issue, another – perhaps even more important – change has to be brought to the fore. The closing of the River Scheldt at the end of the sixteenth century cut off the overseas trade in rough diamonds and made the Scheldt city often completely dependent on Amsterdam for its supply of precious stones. 66 As Amsterdam kept the best diamonds for itself, Antwerp only received the smaller ones.67 Even when diamonds were found in Brazil in 1725, the Northern Provinces monopolized the most beautiful stones. In such circumstances, one could argue, technical knowledge and skills became increasingly important. Antwerp’s secondary position forced the Antwerp diamond cutters to develop their technical and artistic skills to unprecedented levels. And, according to current literature, they succeeded and regained their old fame.68 Although the circumstances were no longer in favour of the Scheldt city, Antwerp reinforced its international reputation thanks to perfected techniques. In 1787, the French King Louis XVI had the old-fashioned rose-cut diamonds of the French Crown jewels repolished into brilliants in Antwerp because no one in Paris could do the job properly.69 The Antwerp government itself also believed in the value of its diamond industry. In his report of 13 June 1778, Antwerp’s city secretary Van Setter advised the Council of Brabant to preserve the nation of the diamond cutters, because it was one of Antwerp’s most important corporations.70 Besides diamond processing, trading in precious stones also increased in the second half of the eighteenth century, but was limited to transit trade because buying and selling were actually in the hands of English and Dutch merchants.71 In Amsterdam, the diamond business was very prosperous; around 1750, some 600 families made a living out of it.72

Kinsbergen, Antwerpen, briljant, p. 100; Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 67; Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, p. 46. 67 Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, p. 46. 68 Kinsbergen, Antwerpen, briljant, pp. 100–101; Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 129; De Coster, ‘De diamanthandel’, p. 115. 69 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 130; Jan Walgrave et al., Diamant, geschiedenis en techniek: catalogus (Deurne, 1968), p. 61. 70 Frans Smekens, ‘Ambachtswezen en “nieuwe nijverheid”’, in Antwerpen in de XVIIIde eeuw: instellingen, economie, cultuur (Antwerp, 1952), p. 66; Marc Jacobs, ‘De ambachten in Brabant en Mechelen’, in Raymond Van Uytven, ed., De gewestelijke en lokale overheidsinstellingen in Brabant en Mechelen tot 1795 (Brussels, 2000), p. 579. 71 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 148–9. 72 Salomon Asscher, Diamant: wonderlijk kristal (Bussum, 1975), p. 30; Walgrave et al., Diamant, geschiedenis en techniek, p. 61. 66

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One of the ways in which the Antwerp diamond cutters succeeded at perfecting their technique was by specializing in the manufacturing of ‘roses’.73 Roses (flat-bottomed pointed cuts) could be cut from smaller and especially from flatter stones, which were more easily available in Antwerp at that time.74 Unfortunately, our knowledge about the creation and development of the rose cut is rather limited. References to facet diamonds in inventories from the last decades of the sixteenth century are often held as references to roses. However, the cutting of facet stones (with a flat bottom) is much older than the rose cut.75 The first artist to depict the rose was Petrus Marchant, who released some drawings of brooches in Paris in 1623.76 A precise date for its invention is impossible to determine. No one ever took out a patent on the invention of the rose or the brilliant.77 It seems to have been generally introduced only in the first quarter of the seventeenth century; but in which centre was it developed?78 The rose became fashionable in the course of the first half of the seventeenth century (the flat rose as well as the full one).79 It subsequently became the favourite cut to provide the diamond jewel (in full bloom) with a deep and playful glitter.80 From c. 1630 onwards, jewels were inlaid with an increasing number of roses, and they would dominate jewellery throughout the seventeenth century.81 Like the brilliant, the rose was spherical at the top, but flat at the bottom. Its surface was divided into different facets. The roses were given different names depending on the number of facets. The full rose cut or Amsterdam rose had 24 facets.82 Rather uncommon was a combination of two of these full roses, the ‘double rose cut’. When smaller stones were used, the following forms were recorded: flat roses, the zesplak, the schildje and the à la mode rose or Antwerp rose.83 Antwerp was the great centre for the manufacture of the à la mode rose or 12-facet rose, but it was also produced elsewhere in Brabant, where cutters who had left the Scheldt city to escape taxation had established themselves. Another centre of production was Charleroi.84 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 149. Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 84; Tillander, Diamond Cuts, p. 234. 75 Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, p. 43. 76 Ibid., p. 44. 77 Ibid., p. 40. 78 Ibid., p. 44. 79 Ibid., p. 38. 80 Ibid., p. 43. 81 Walgrave, ‘Juweeltendensen in de 17de eeuw’, p. 16. 82 Vleeschdrager, Hardheid 10, p. 351; Asscher, Diamant, p. 87. 83 Walgrave et al., Diamant, geschiedenis en techniek, p. 45; Vleeschdrager, Hardheid 10, p. 353. 84 Asscher, Diamant, p. 87; Tillander, Diamond Cuts, p. 53. 73 74

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The first reference to rose cuts in the Antwerp City Archives goes back to an inventory of some cut diamonds belonging to Gaspar Duarte in 1615.85 In the second half of the eighteenth century, the Antwerp diamond cutters specialized in making minuscule roses and in this respect they surpassed Amsterdam. The Antwerp or Brabantine roses were appreciated well beyond the Southern Low Countries.86 From the eighteenth century onwards, the heavier full roses were called Amsterdam roses, while the flat rose cuts are considered to have been of Antwerp origin. Both kinds were produced in Antwerp, of course, but Antwerp specialized in the latter. Paris was probably another important rose centre. The first ornamental prints with roses were published in this city and in c. 1660 Geraard Boon visited Paris and Rouen to perfect his skills. Perhaps the rose cut was even a French invention.87 In eighteenth-century France, however, rose-cut diamonds were imported from both Amsterdam and Antwerp. In the crown inventories, they were all listed as roses de Hollande.88 In the nineteenth century most of the (literally) high roses were refashioned into brilliants. Rose cuts as principal gems lost their great popularity, but the demand for small, flat and therefore relatively inexpensive roses increased enormously. These were mainly designed to embellish informal, popular jewels, such as the Flemish hearts. Antwerp diamond cutters specialized in fashioning them.89 By the 1880s, the import of large diamonds was seriously diminished, and even in Amsterdam one had to cut smaller stones of lesser quality. Even the ‘chips’ were now used to cut little roses or brilliants. Given that workers were paid per piece, they had to work longer and harder for the same (or even less) wage. Women were highly prized for this kind of work, because it was said they had a lighter hand in cutting than men. A very important additional reason, no doubt, was that women formed a cheap labour force.90 In short, the shift in the position of Antwerp as a diamond centre and its changed access to rough stones forced the Antwerp diamond cutters to specialize in the manufacturing of rose cuts. Still, it is not yet clear what the effects of this reconversion of production were on the contemporary practice of learning and concluding apprentice contracts within the diamond sector. Did apprenticeships become more specialized, focusing on rose cuts? Did learning become concentrated in the hands of a limited number of families? And did these transformations have an effect on the apprenticeship term or the role of the guild? Antwerp in any case became one of the most important centres Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, p. 45. Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 149. 87 Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, pp. 45–6 and 51. 88 Tillander, Diamond Cuts, p. 56. 89 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 120; Kinsbergen, Antwerpen, briljant, p. 203; Tillander, Diamond Cuts, p. 55. 90 Meijer and Engelsman, Vier eeuwen diamant, pp. 100–101. 85 86

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of rose-cut production. Changes must have been noticeable in the regulatory framework (guild ordinances) as well as in practice (apprentice contracts). In the following section, I will analyse some apprentice contracts and guild regulations for the seventeenth century to find out which changes occurred on the learning market due to the changing circumstances and specialization in roses. The Antwerp Rose: Mirror of a Changing Learning Market? First of all, it is necessary to take a look at the evolution of the number of apprentice contracts. As is shown in Table 12.1, the number of apprentice contracts increased enormously in the second half of the seventeenth century. In the 1660s and 1670s, in particular, many apprenticeship arrangements were registered by a notary.91 Does this growing number of apprentice contracts point to a rise in the number of apprentices (corresponding to the increasing number of master diamond cutters in the third quarter of the seventeenth century92), or does it only reflect a growing need for contracts on paper? Maybe the apprentices were no longer familiar to the masters within the Antwerp diamond business? Or maybe trust was scarce due to growing unemployment rates among the master diamond cutters, which made parents worry about the quality of their children’s education?93 While we know very little about the nation of diamond cutters for the 1660s, a request of 1663 suggests the answer lies in a combination of the increasing intake of apprentices and the sense of crisis. In this request, masters complained about the hard times caused by an enormous rise in membership due to low entrance and registration fees.94 Most likely, the growing membership numbers of the nation caused unemployment and hence growing distrust between masters and parents (or apprentices). A related reason for the spectacular growth in the number of apprentice contracts may have been the highly valued (rose-cut) skills of the Antwerp diamond cutters. However, this attractiveness seems to have applied only to apprentices from the Low Countries. Migrants from abroad, in most cases Portuguese, had already left the city.

If we compare the number of notarial contracts handed down to us for the year 1671 (eight) with the total number of apprentice registrations in the same year (33), the written apprentice contracts seem to represent almost one quarter of the total number of apprentice contracts. Based on: Van Hemeldonck, Leercontracten; Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 75 and 84; CAA, GA, 4478, guild account of 1671. 92 Thijs, ‘De nijverheid’, p. 146. 93 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 69–70. 94 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 72. 91

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Table 12.1 Number of apprentice contracts per decade in the seventeenthcentury Antwerp diamond industry Decade 1600–1610 1610–1620 1620–1630 1630–1640 1640–1650 1650–1660 1660–1670 1670–1680 1680–1690 1690–1700 1600–1700

Number of apprentice contracts 5 31 5 0 6 19 59 65 36 5 231

Source: Based on my corpus of transcribed apprentice contracts. Sources traced through the inventory of Godelieve Van Hemeldonck, mentioned above.

Table 12.2 Number of rose contracts per decade in the seventeenth-century Antwerp diamond industry Decade

1600–1610 1610–1620 1620–1630 1630–1640 1640–1650 1650–1660 1660–1670 1670–1680 1680–1690 1690–1700 1600–1700 Source: See Table 12.1.

Number of rose % rose contracts (of total contracts number of apprentice contracts per decade) 0 0.00% 1 3.23% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 1 16.67% 3 15.79% 10 16.95% 12 18.46% 8 22.22% 3 60.00% 38 16.45%

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The next question is whether specialization really affected the practices related to training and concluding apprentice contracts. At first sight we would expect the rose cut to be regularly referred to in the apprentice contracts. However, the contracts mention it for the first time in 1618,95 the only early reference to the rose cut in apprentice contracts. The second reference dates from 1649.96 From then on, references to the rose cut are common in the contracts (see Table 12.2). Of the 231 seventeenth-century apprentice contracts, 38 (which amounts to almost 16.5 per cent) contain a direct reference to the cutting of roses.97 According to Table 12.2, its importance seems to have increased in relative terms in the course of the century. Apparently, the rose was not worth mentioning in apprentice contracts until the diamond industry fell into difficulties in the second half of the seventeenth century. In this period of decline, the rose cut was the stronghold of the diamond industry, which may be the reason why it is mentioned so often after 1650. The importance of the rose is also reflected in the guild ordinances. According to the founding statutes of 1582, the apprentice had to cut a thick and a thin table diamond and a faceted stone as a masterpiece. Whether ‘faceted stone’ already referred to a rose cut or not, is unclear.98 The ordinance of 1672, on the other hand, gives a clear description of the masterpiece. According to this statute, the candidate had to cut and polish three stones: a thick and thin table stone and an ‘à la mode rose’.99 This ‘à la mode rose’ or Antwerp rose, was Antwerp’s strength. CAA, N 2271, f 264 (28 May 1618): ‘leerjongen Beernaert Heckaert te leeren snyden dicke steenen, dunne steenen en[de] roose alles naer heysch van[de] conste van diamantsnyden’. 96 CAA, N 3483, f 186 (23 June 1649): ‘hem te leren de fatsoenen van dun en[de] dicksteenen en[de] roosen’. 97 CAA, N 2271, f 264 (28 May 1618); N 3483, f 186 (23 June 1649); N 1320 (1 February 1650); N 1323 (28 April 1653); N 4057 (27 July 1654); N 996 (3 November 1661); N 2297 (4 April 1662); N 3832 (26 November 1662); N 4269, f 62r (3 February 1664); N 1937, f 167 (20 August 1664); N 1907, f 106 (28 December 1664); N 3750 (9 October 1665); N 3421 (2 July 1666); N 1980, f 35v (24 August 1668); N 4274, f 159 (20 March 1669); N 4275, f 192v (25 August 1670); N 2831 (9 May 1671); N 1908, f 21 (6 August 1673); N 1620 (5 October 1673); N 2061 (16 January 1674); N 1620 (2 October 1674); N 1908, f 54v (15 October 1674); N 273, f 308 (10 May 1677); N 3865 (20 January 1676); N 1909, f 15 (2 March 1676); N 1909, f 24 and 43v (13 May 1676 and 12 August 1677); N 3726, f 38v (11 June 1677); N 3729, f 238v (12 November 1681); N 4682 (1 August 1686); N 4223 (2 September 1686); N 1857, f 67 (26 September 1687); N 2107, f 30 (1 March 1688); N 3935 (23 October 1688); N 2520, f 91 (13 May 1689); N 2520, f 106v (13 July 1689); N 204, f 6.2° (22 January 1690); N 2520, f 113v (5 August 1690); N 4685 (4 February 1696). 98 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 16; Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 66; Walgrave, ‘Diamantslijpvormen in de 17de eeuw’, p. 43. 99 Walgrave et al., Diamant, geschiedenis en techniek, p. 60. 95

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Clearly, it is not a coincidence that the rose became a focus in this period of economic decline. Parents probably wanted to make sure that their sons (or daughters) learned the most important techniques of the day and were not only used as a cheap workforce. The idea that extortion might have been a problem is also supported by the guild’s attempts to regulate the number of apprentices per master. While a master was still allowed to train three apprentices at the same time according to the founding statutes of 1582, their number was limited to a maximum of one apprentice every three years in 1648 and to one every six years in 1690. In fact (bearing in mind the rising apprenticeship terms, see below), this meant that a master could teach no more than two apprentices at once.100 Thus, growing uncertainty and a lack of trust probably caused a growing need for clarification and objectification of the learning content in the contracts. But what about the kind of businesses where the apprentices were trained? Looking more closely at the 38 rose contracts, it is clear that a broad range of masters concluded apprentices contracts, which suggests that the rose cut could not only be learned in some specific, dominant ateliers. Only in three cases there is a possible link between two contracts. Master diamond cutter Daniel Willemsens (1661) and master Norbertus Willemsens (1674) were probably relatives, possibly father and son.101 Two other contracts mention a Willebeeck (1673) and a Peeter Willebeeck (1674) as the contracting master.102 Very likely this is one and the same person. Joannes Van Severdonck is also mentioned twice, in a contract of 1664 and one of 1690.103 Apparently, various Antwerp masters were rose experts. There was no need for the apprentices (or their parents) to address themselves to a very limited number of specialized ‘rose-skilled’ masters. Did it, then, take longer to master this specific technique? It would indeed seem that teaching apprentices to cut roses might have taken some time. Apprentices learned to make à la mode roosen in a later phase of their training,104 so the growing number of diamond cuts probably required a longer learning period. Apprentices were even prepared to study longer to master this specific technique. In the Antwerp diamond industry, the apprenticeship took about four years on average.105 (Officially the apprenticeship had to last for five years.106) However, only in six cases was the apprenticeship term of the rose apprentice contracts (38 in total) exactly four years. In 13 cases it was less than four years (two of which were in fact labour contracts and therefore shorter). But in most cases (19), the term was longer than four years. I came across longer terms (of six Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 12–18 and 84. CAA, N 996 (3 November 1661); N 2061 (16 January 1674). 102 CAA, N 1620 (5 October 1673); N 1620 (2 October 1674). 103 CAA, N 1937, f 167 (20 August 1664); N 2520, f 113v (5 August 1690). 104 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 102. 105 Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 85. 106 Ibid., p. 66. 100

101

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and seven years) before the insertion of the ordinances of 1672 and 1690, which prolonged the apprenticeship from five years to six and nine years respectively. These long apprenticeship terms in the case of the rose contracts could mean two things: first, apprentices initially had to learn a certain basic package before specializing, for instance by cutting roses; or second, the skills acquired for making roses were expensive and the apprentices were no longer able to pay for their training, but willing to serve longer. The highly diverse contract prices suggest the first was more plausible. From the perspective of the guild as a whole, the success of the rose cut was overwhelming. Already around 1663, attempts were launched to limit the entrance to the guild in several ways, or at least to compensate for the enormous increase by augmenting the nation’s registration and entrance fees.107 It was not until 1672, however, that changes came about. Masters’ fees were raised, but the registration fees for apprentices remained the same. As a consequence, this ordinance did not have the expected result. A renewed attempt in 1674 to deal with the growing unemployment rates within the diamond industry again failed to yield much of a result. In 1690, therefore, a new decree came about, which was supposed to answer the need for limitations on the number of apprentices and masters once and for all. Fees for entrance (for masters) and registration (for apprentices) had never been higher,108 and the apprenticeship term was prolonged to nine years instead of five (or six, if we include the one year of journeymanship which had been required before). At first sight, foreigners seem to have been best off: they only had to be registered for three continuous years. However, in most cases they had already performed an apprenticeship outside the city walls. From 1582 onwards, foreigners had to work as a journeymen for one year with an Antwerp master before being admitted to make a masterpiece in order to become a free master. In 1672, this was prolonged to five years. Moreover, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Antwerp citizens and inhabitants of the Duchy of Brabant were treated on the same footing in the guild ordinances. From the mid-seventeenth century onwards (from the ordinance of 1648), the diamond guild considered all those originating from outside the Antwerp city walls as foreigners. Poor economic conditions probably forced the diamond guild to limit its entrance. In 1690, the length of the term for which they had to be registered within Antwerp was shortened again, but maybe this was nothing Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 72. Registration fees rose from 18 guilders, 30 guilders and 9 guilders respectively for Antwerp citizens, foreigners and sons of masters in 1674 to 60, 100 and 30 guilders respectively in 1690. Entrance fees doubled for locals (and masters’ sons, who only had to pay half ) in comparison with the situation in 1672: 150 guilders for Antwerp inhabitants (instead of 76). Foreigners’ entrance fees rose from 127 guilders to 200 guilders. CAA, GA, 4477. 107 108

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more than a way of compensating for the enormous rise in their registration fees.109 Bert De Munck has shown that when fees were raised, guilds often waived expensive meals and treats in the same ordinances, or they prescribed simpler and less costly masterpieces.110 Following the same kind of reasoning, the guild might have tried to keep the barriers low enough for foreigners by adjusting their registration terms. Apparently, the guild officials did not want the entrance barriers to become too prohibitive for foreign apprentices. In order to understand this, we have to return to Antwerp’s waning centrality index. A comparison of two samples of apprentice contracts from within the Antwerp diamond industry (sample periods: first 1600–25, containing 42 apprentice contracts, and second 1680–1700, containing 41 apprentice contracts111) reveals that only in the first sample period the guild was attractive to foreigners. Three apprentices (out of 42) and nine parents or guardians (out of 42) came from abroad; that is, they were not born in the Low Countries. Most of them were Portuguese. At the end of the seventeenth century, no foreign places of origin are mentioned anymore. While this does not exclude the possibility that migration within the Low Countries may have been important, an account of the nation from 1671 indicates that no more than two foreigners completed the masterpiece and only one immigrant paid the registration fee.112 The difficult political situation and changing economic climate had probably forced foreigners (and especially the Portuguese) to leave the Scheldt city. In addition, the relaxation of the term in 1690 may have failed to have its intended effect because of the excessive rise in the registration fees for foreigners at the end of the seventeenth century. Whereas the registration fee for a local rose from 12 guilders in 1648 to 18 guilders in 1674 and to 60 guilders in 1690 (masters’ sons only had to pay half ), migrants had to pay 16 guilders in 1648, 30 guilders in 1674 and 100 guilders in 1690.113 Further research should establish whether the shorter official apprenticeship term for foreigners was a way to compensate for these rising registration fees: a way to collect money but to limit exclusionary effects. Towards a Deregulated Learning Market In the last decade of the seventeenth century, the number of apprentice contracts plummeted (see Table 12.1), which seems to affirm the success of the ordinance of 1690. However, the decline in the number of apprentice contracts had already Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 84; CAA, GA 4477. De Munck, ‘Gilding Golden Ages’, pp. 232 and 241. 111 Based on my database of apprentice contracts compiled using the inventory of Godelieve Van Hemeldonck, mentioned above. 112 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 75; CAA, GA, 4478, guild account of 1671. 113 Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 83–4. 109

110

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started in the 1680s, a decade before really severe measures were taken to limit the number of youngsters in the sector. Were things already changing on the learning market? A comparison of the two samples of apprentice contracts from within the Antwerp diamond industry reveals why. Table 12.3

Length of apprenticeship terms, 1600–1625 (N=42) Apprenticeship Frequency Frequency term (absolute number) (percentage) < 2 years 4 9.52% 2 years 5 11.90% 3 years 6 14.29% 4 years 9 21.43% 5 years 6 14.29% 6 years 5 11.90% 7 years 4 9.52% 8 years 2 4.76% Undetermined 1 2.38%

Source: See Table 12.1.

Table 12.4

Length of apprenticeship terms, 1680–1700 (N=41) Apprenticeship Frequency Frequency term (absolute number) (percentage) < 2 years 1 2.44% 2 years 2 4.88% 3 years 2 4.88% 4 years 2 4.88% 4.5 years 2 4.88% 5 years 7 17.07% 5.5 years 5 12.20% 6 years 10 24.39% 7 years 6 14.63% 8 years 2 4.88% Undetermined 2 4.88%

Source: See Table 12.1.

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At the beginning of the seventeenth century (see Table 12.3), the apprenticeship term in more than half of the contracts was shorter than the officially required five years. After 1680 (see Table 12.4), learning to cut diamonds took more time. Contracts of less than five years became less frequent. Most of these changes took place before the instalment of the new apprenticeship rules of 1690, which seems to support the idea that the logic of the learning market functioned on its own, separately from the guild. It is likely that teaching at a high level required a longer apprenticeship term. Maybe there was also a link with the growing specialization in roses and with the mastering of specific skills to accomplish the masterpiece. The apprentice contracts in any case show a growing concern for the masterpiece. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, only three out of 42 contracts made the mastership goal explicit. Between 1680 and 1700 (N=41), mastership and the masterpiece were referred to nine times. Were apprentices no longer succeeding in finishing their masterpieces due to specialization? Or was there less trust between apprentices or their parents and masters (due to growing payment defaults and rising unemployment rates114), and were poor apprentices therefore only prepared to serve longer if the contract specified exactly what had to be learned? After 1690, the situation became worse. Between 1690 and 1700, the apprenticeship terms were – in contrast to what we would expect to be the result of the ordinance – shorter than in the decade before (see Table 12.5). Still, when the decree of 1690 was passed, it had far-reaching consequences. The fees being too high, many masters no longer managed to pay for their sons to become masters, and they therefore started to work illegally. The number of mills in operation dropped and only the older men in the trade still polished.115 Moreover, after 1689, no more references were made in the apprentice contracts to mastership and the masterpiece. All of this seems to suggest that many apprentices no longer cared about mastership. They no longer wanted to (or could no longer) pay the necessary fees and therefore did not want to follow the official educational path. The result was a growing lack of legal apprentices and young workmen, problematic for both individual masters and the complete guild. Therefore, masters had to counter this by making some concessions, for instance by lowering the apprenticeship term (against the stipulations of the ordinance of 1690). The nation followed, but no new ordinance lowering the apprenticeship terms again would come about before 1714.

Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, p. 70. Kockelbergh, Vleeschdrager and Walgrave, The Brilliant Story, p. 75.

114 115

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Table 12.5 Number of apprentice contracts according to length in 1680– 1690 and 1690–1700 (N=41) Apprenticeship % of apprentice % of apprentice term contracts 1680–1690 contracts 1690–1700 ≤ 2 years 8.3% 0.0% 3 years 0.0% 40.0% 4 years 2.8% 20.0% 4.5 years 5.6% 0.0% 5 years 13.9% 40.0% 5.5 years 13.9% 0.0% 6 years 27.8% 0.0% 7 years 16.7% 0.0% 8 years 5.6% 0.0% Unknown 5.6% 0.0% Total number of apprentice contracts 36 5 per decade Source: see Table 12.1.

Last but not least, what effect did all of this have on boarding practices? In the Southern Netherlands, the percentage of apprentices that boarded appears to have decreased significantly during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Concentration trends and proletarianization may have affected this. While some masters no longer had journeymen or apprentices, others had a dozen or more – too many to board in their home. Recent research suggests, however, that small, autonomous workshops with a few resident helpers ceased to be commonplace well before the eighteenth century, and that, conversely, smallscale businesses remained important until well after 1800. Moreover, other issues may have been at stake. Research on Antwerp has revealed that apprentices not only grew disinclined to board with their masters, but grew reluctant to perform household chores as well. So they may have drawn a line between training and upbringing. This may, in turn, have been related to a changing social balance between masters and their pupils.116 However, in contrast to these recent findings, there are indications that boarding practices did not change much in the seventeenth-century Antwerp diamond industry. In 1613, master Nicolas Schats took in Emanuel Henriquez. 116 Annelies De Bie and Bert De Munck, ‘Learning on the shop floor in the Spanish Netherlands’, in Sven Dupré, Bert De Munck, Werner Thomas and Geert Vanpaemel, eds, Embattled Territory. The Circulation of Knowledge in the Spanish Netherlands (forthcoming).

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He promised to teach, feed and board him and to wash his clothes.117 In 1677, the widow Anneken de Rousseau put her son Anthoni Teirincx under the supervision of the diamond cutter Daniel Geerts. Geerts promised to give the child food and drink and a place to sleep. Anneken remained responsible for her son’s clothing and loyalty.118 At the end of 1687, the situation was still the same: Jan Vermeulen, a diamond cutter, agreed to feed, board and dress Jacobus Coenrardus Cnudden.119 A comparison of the two sample periods reveals a large degree of continuity. In the early seventeenth century, 22 apprentices boarded with their masters (compared to three who did not and 17 unknown). At the end of the century, 19 out of 41 apprentices lived in their masters’ houses. Only five probably did not and the situation of the other 17 remains unclear. Why did boarding practices stay important in the diamond sector? In part, this may have been related to the particular nature of the guild,120 but it may also have had something to do with the difficulty of the craft. Of all the late seventeenthcentury contracts with references to the learning of different diamond cuts, six of them mention apprentices boarding with their masters and all the rest (seven) remain unknown to us. Anyhow, the continuation of the boarding system was ensured (or at least supported) by the regulations regarding the maximum number of apprentices per master. Conclusion In the sixteenth century, Antwerp became one of the most important economic players of that time and the most important diamond centre in the world. When exactly Antwerp started trading diamonds is hard to determine, but it probably goes back to the beginning of the fifteenth century. Not only did trading move to Antwerp, but rough diamonds were also increasingly processed in the Scheldt city. At the end of the sixteenth century, however, diamond cutters started to leave Antwerp because of the Eighty Years’ War. Gradually, Antwerp lost its leading place in diamond cutting and trading to Amsterdam. The Portuguese merchants left the Scheldt city and indigenous entrepreneurs seized their chance to take over the diamond business.

CAA, N 3603 (14 March 1613). CAA, N 3955, f 6v (14 June 1677). 119 CAA, N 2183, f 117v (6 November 1687). 120 Andreas Grießinger and Reinhold Reith, ‘Lehrlinge im Deutschen Handwerk des ausgehenden 18. Jahrhunderts: Arbeitsorganisation, Sozialbeziehungen und alltägliche Konflikte’, Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, 13/2 (1986): pp. 149–99. 117

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The closing of the Scheldt River also cut off the overseas trade in rough diamonds. From then on, Antwerp only received second-rate stones. However, there are reasons to believe that this forced the Antwerp diamond cutters to develop their technical and artistic skills to unprecedented levels. It would seem that they succeeded in perfecting their techniques and that in the end they reinforced their international reputation. In particular, the Antwerp diamond cutters specialized in the manufacturing of ‘roses’. Roses could be cut from smaller and especially from flatter stones, which were more easily available in Antwerp at that time. They became fashionable in the first half of the seventeenth century (the flat roses as well as the full ones) and were produced in Antwerp until the First World War. The aim of this chapter was to study the role of learning processes in this economic reorientation. The changed entrepreneurial structure of the diamond industry brought an end to the influence of foreign merchants on the manufacturing of diamonds, but what happened to the relationships within the indigenous diamond cutters’ community? Although this research is very preliminary, the rose cut seems to have helped the Antwerp diamond industry to overcome the crisis caused by the structural economic changes of the seventeenth century. At the same time, however, it seems to have caused severe social problems. Attracted by the highly valued rose-cut skills, many apprentices (including poor apprentices) joined the ranks of the diamond cutters, which caused mass unemployment within the sector. This uncertain future caused parents to worry about their children’s education, resulting in a growing need for written contracts. As indicated by these contracts, all masters were probably equally capable of teaching the rose cut. On the other hand, mastering it took more time. The same poor apprentices were prepared to learn longer, on one condition: the learning goals had to be written down explicitly. At the end of the seventeenth century, the apprentice contracts therefore showed a growing concern regarding mastership and the mastering of specific cuts, such as the rose. Until 1690, apprentices were willing to learn longer if they were taught this new technique. And maybe that is also the reason why boarding practices seem to have remained important in the diamond sector, in contrast to evolutions elsewhere in the corporative world. In the meantime, the guild tried to limit the entrance to the nation, but its measures failed or came too late. One example is the ordinance of 1690, which even aggravated the already downward trend in the number of apprentices, which had started in the 1680s. This was possibly because apprentices were no longer willing or able to learn as long and pay as much as masters wished for. Masters and guild would have to make compromises: masters did lower the apprenticeship terms again and the guild followed in 1714. Throughout the seventeenth century, the diamond corporation also experienced difficulties in terms of staying sufficiently inclusive towards foreigners. In the 1670s, poor

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economic conditions forced the guild officials to lengthen the journeyman term. By lowering the registration terms of immigrants again in 1690, they probably tried to keep the barriers low while raising the registration fees for foreigners. Although the shorter registration term for foreigners does not seem to have had a great effect, neither can the guild be accused of completely excluding outsiders in the way Ogilivie’s theory suggests. The nation’s somewhat ambiguous attitude towards immigrants can easily be explained by the guild’s rather poor financial position121 and the high intake of poor apprentices. Epstein’s idea that registration and entrance fees served as bonds might need some reconsideration as well. As soon as the fees were raised, a growing group of apprentices dropped out of official training and started to work in the illegal circuit. The declining concern about mastership and the masterpiece suggests that the Antwerp diamond cutters were confronted with unemployment, poverty and illegal labour at the turn of the century. In the early 1600s, however, the guild’s future still looked bright – despite the rather grim-looking general economic prospects of the Scheldt city. Even when the luxury industries collapsed and the regular supply of rough high-quality diamonds became problematic, the Antwerp guild of diamond cutters responded flexibly and successfully to these challenges by reconverting its production. The renown of its rose-cut techniques and the apparent stability of this locally embedded sector attracted a lot of apprentices. As time passed, however, unemployment rates started to rise. Fees and terms were raised, but the guild board responded far too slowly to these new challenges. As the guild turned into a cumbersome monster, unable to react sufficiently to actual needs, it gradually lost its credibility. Ad hoc measures – such as lowering the apprenticeship terms when apprentices stopped being interested in the official training system – were taken by individual free masters, indicating the birth of a deregulated, independent learning market. On one point, at least, Epstein might have been right: there are indications that the guild served as a kind of third-party enforcer in cases of conflict or dispute.122 In fact, it probably was the only real, meaningful function it had left. However telling these conclusions may seem, more research, including the situation in the eighteenth century, the price of learning and the investments made in education in general, is needed to fully uncover what changes took place on the shop floor of the Early Modern Antwerp diamond industry and on the Early Modern learning market as a whole.

Schlugleit, Geschiedenis, pp. 69–70, 73 and 158. Annelies De Bie, ‘It’s all about the money: apprenticing in the early modern Antwerp diamond industry’ (Unpublished research paper, presented at the Posthumus Conference in Amsterdam, May 2012). 121

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Chapter 13

Harbouring Urban Creativity: the Antwerp Art Academy in the Tension between Artistic and Artisanal Training in the Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries* Dries Lyna

In the past decade, academics have increasingly propagated the hypothesis that sustained urban economic growth requires a steady influx of creativity and innovation. This idea has not only inspired planners and policymakers, but has also stimulated considerable debate in the historical community.1 As a result, increasing numbers of economic historians are devoting their research time to studying creative processes in the pre-industrial age, exploring the crucial role of urban institutions in stimulating innovation.2 Not surprisingly, Early Modern * This chapter was written during a research fellowship at Duke University and the Getty Research Institute (US). The author would like to thank the Fulbright Commission, the Getty Research Institute, the Belgian American Educational Foundation and FWO Flanders for their support. The author would also like to thank Bert De Munck for his kind permission to reprint two tables from Bert De Munck, Technologies of Learning. Apprenticeship in Antwerp from the 15th Century to the End of the Ancien Regime (Turnhout, 2007), pp. 252–3. 1 Although Jane Jacobs published her seminal work in 1969, it would take until the 2000s before the debate on urban economic growth and creativity really took off, with influential authors such as Landry, Howkins, Florida and Glaeser. Jane Jacobs, The Economy of Cities (New York, 1969); Charles Landry, The Creative City: a Toolkit for Urban Innovators (London, 2000); John Howkins, The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas (London, 2001); Richard L. Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life (New York, 2002); Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier (London, 2011). 2 A well-known example is Avner Greif, Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy. Lessons from Medieval Trade (Cambridge, 2006).

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craft guilds are often situated at the very heart of these debates: could their economic system, ruled by privileges and dominated by monopolies, allow for innovation within European city walls, and what tools, if any, did they have at their disposal to incite and maintain creative impulses?3 Although craft guilds were indisputably vital components of the Early Modern urban economy to varying degrees across Europe, the growing focus on these institutions in the literature threatens to narrow the scope of historical debates. Other urban institutions, both public and private by nature, could also attract creative spirits or spread innovations inside and outside the city walls. This chapter therefore proposes to tackle the concept of urban creativity from a different institutional angle: that of Early Modern public drawing schools and academies of fine arts. For too long, these were almost exclusively studied in an art-historical context, whereby the transalpine academies of the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were analysed as emancipatory institutions that finally allowed painters and kindred artists to distinguish themselves from mere ‘mechanical’ artisans and emphasize the ‘liberal’ character of their calling.4 Drawing classes at the academy are thought to have been aimed primarily at young prospective artists, and as the eighteenth century progressed, their ranks were joined by the occasional art aficionado.5 However, recent research has convincingly shown the relevance of academies for the wider urban economy, as their strong focus on drawing lessons from the late seventeenth century onwards not only stimulated the creative genii of painters and sculptors, but also met the growing need for ‘ingenious’ skills such as designing and drawing in 3 For a good introduction in this literature, see: Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation, and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008). We can refer here as well to the lively debate on craft guilds between Epstein and Ogilvie in several issues of the Economic History Review (2007–08). 4 In her seminal work, the French sociologist of art Heinich described this seventeenthcentury birth of the free artist in relation to the developing Parisian Academy of Fine Arts. Nathalie Heinich, Du peintre à l’artiste. Artisans et académiciens à l’âge classique (Paris, 1993). On the emancipation of painters in the Antwerp context, see: Zirka Zaremba Filipczak, Picturing Art in Antwerp, 1550–1700 (Princeton, 1987). Miedema rightfully argues that this widespread presupposition can be dated back to at least Jacob Burkhardt’s Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien from 1860. Hessel Miedema, ‘Kunstschilders, gilde en academie. Over het probleem van de emancipatie van de kunstschilders in de Noordelijke Nederlanden van de 16de en 17de eeuw’, Oud Holland, 101 (1987), pp. 1–33, at p. 1. 5 Despite his overall critical attitude towards earlier literature on the emancipation thesis, Miedema nevertheless confirms this general view on the student population of academies in the Low Countries: ‘[Academies are] an additional practice, for another audience, in the Netherlands consisting mainly of advanced professional painters who have the means to further educate themselves, perhaps also for aficionados, but always with a tendency towards raising their status’, Miedema, ‘Kunstschilders, gilde en academie’, p. 21.

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sectors outside the visual arts.6 Changing consumer preferences and a growing desire for fashionable and novel products lured artisans to the academy as well, fostering their hope that they would one day be able to meet and even exceed their customers’ expectations. This chapter will contribute to the historical debates on creativity in Early Modern cities by analysing precisely this artisanal-artistic predicament at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts in a long-term perspective, from its foundation in 1663 until the end of the eighteenth century.7 After examining the roots of the academic tradition in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian cities, the Antwerp institution will be contextualized as one of the oldest transalpine public academies. Established, as one might expect, in a former commercial metropolis with a rich artistic legacy, by the middle of the seventeenth century the Academy was confronted with a fading painterly tradition and declining art market. Subsequently, the often neglected tension between artists and artisans within the walls of the Academy will be critically assessed, by scrutinizing enrolment lists from the late seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries that give insight into the students’ social and economic backgrounds. In doing so, this chapter aims to shed new light on the perhaps surprising role of academies of fine arts in harbouring the creative impulses of craftsmen within the changing urban economies of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe.

Bert De Munck, ‘Le produit du talent ou la production de talent? La formation des artistes à l’Académie des beaux-arts à Anvers aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles’, Paedagogica Historica, 37 (2001): pp. 569–607; Bert De Munck, ‘Corpses, Live Models, and Nature: Assessing Skills and Knowledge before the Industrial Revolution (Case: Antwerp)’, Technology and Culture, 51/2 (2010): pp. 332–56; Agnès Lahalle, Les écoles de dessin au XVIIIe siècle: entre arts libéraux et arts mécaniques (Rennes, 2006); Anne Puetz, ‘Design instruction for artisans in eighteenth-century Britain’, Journal of Design History, 12/3 (1999): pp. 217–329. Roberta Morelli (Università di Roma Tor Vergata) is currently undertaking research in which she scrutinizes the economic role of the Accademia di San Luca in the local labour market. 7 Unlike the situation for France and Great Britain, diachronic research on Early Modern academies in the Low Countries hardly exists, which is astonishing given the region’s rich artistic tradition. With the exception of the above-mentioned articles by De Munck, drawing schools and academies in Flanders and Brabant have hardly been studied. The Northern Netherlands is blessed with more historical analysis of Early Modern academies. Alexander Martis, Hessel Miedema and Evert Van Uitert, eds, Kunstonderwijs in Nederland (special issue Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek) (Haarlem, 1980); Alexander Martis, Voor de kunst en voor de nijverheid. Het ontstaan van het kunstnijverheidsonderwijs in Nederland (Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Amsterdam, 1990); Miedema, ‘Kunstschilders, gilde en academie’. In their PhD dissertations, Tim De Doncker (Ghent University) and Claartje Rasterhoff (University of Utrecht) deal with the Ghent Academy and the Amsterdam drawing academy respectively. 6

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The Roots of the Academic Tradition Art historians’ research interest in the early European academies can best be explained by the crucial paradigm shift that these institutions brought about, both by a) raising the perceived importance of art and artists in European urban society and b) instituting systematic training for artists, using intellectual educational methods. It is quite difficult to sketch an early history of the academies of fine arts, as the concept itself was rather vague at the time: in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries the Italian term ‘accademia’ had at least seven different meanings, none of them equating with our present-day definition.8 First articulated at the dawn of the sixteenth century in the Milanese humanist artist circles surrounding Leonardo da Vinci, no less,9 academies of fine arts were mainly conceptualized as part of a larger ideological programme that sought to free artists from the shackles of mere craftsmanship.10 Early advocates of these institutions were convinced that painting, sculpture and architecture ought to be recognized as liberal arts (artes liberales) that made up the educational programme of Late Medieval universities, and that they should thus be clearly distinguished from the mechanical arts (artes mechanicae). Academies of fine arts were considered the metaphorical midwives that should assist at the birth of the artist as a creative genius, allowing him to claim a higher social and economic position for himself and his art in sixteenth-century Italian urban society.11 This academic ideal crystallized in a revolutionary new form of education that went beyond the prevailing guild-related training, whereby young prospective artists learned their craft as apprentices in their masters’ workshops. Little is known about the exact training methods in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century

Carl Goldstein, Teaching Art: Academies and Schools from Vasari to Albers (Cambridge, 1996), p. 14. 9 Leonardo’s academy was probably not an art academy as such, but Leonardo was nevertheless one of the first artists to stress the importance of knowledge over practical skills in artists’ education. Cynthia E. Roman, ‘Academic Ideals of Art Education’, in Children of Mercury. The Education of Artists in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century (Providence, 1984), pp. 81–95, at p. 82. The earliest academic stimulus, however, was provided by Leon Battista Alberti’s treatise De Pictura (1435). Linda Olmstead Tonelli, ‘Academic Practice in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’, in Children of Mercury, pp. 95–107, at pp. 96–7. 10 Note that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the concept of the academy was more related to literature and poetry than to the visual arts. For more on these early academies in the Cinquecento, which influenced the later art academies, see: David S. Chambers and François Quiviger, eds, Italian Academies of the Sixteenth Century (London, 1995). 11 This emancipatory view on Academies is most prominently formulated in Nathalie Heinich, Du peintre à l’artiste. Artisans et académiciens à l’âge classique (Paris, 1993). 8

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European workshops,12 but in general apprentices were taught the necessary skills to become master painters or sculptors in four to six years.13 Leonardo and later theorists such as Zuccaro and Vasari, the famous author of the Vite, were convinced that the fine arts were more an intellectual endeavour than a handicraft, and they thus proposed an educational programme founded on scientific principles. By complementing (and not suppressing) manual training in the workshops with more specialized education at the academy, they wanted young painters to be exposed more to knowledge than to skills.14 Next to the central drawing courses using plaster casts and nude models, the academies could offer young painters classes on perspective, geometry and anatomy, and lectures on art theory and mythology. A rich library full of books on art theory, architectural plans and prints of ancient works would furthermore facilitate their studies.15 When Vasari presented these revolutionary ideas to the Florentine Duke Cosimi de Medici, Europe witnessed the foundation of its first public Accademia del Disegno in 1563, followed by the renowned Accademia di San Luca in Rome 30 years later.16 Next to these early public institutions, countless smaller private academies saw the light of day in Italian cities, where artists offered systematic drawing classes to a number of young students in their workshops, with the Accademia degli Incamminati (c. 1582) of the Bolognese Carraci brothers being one of the best examples.17 For a good introduction to general workshop practice and guild apprenticeship, see: De Munck, Technologies of Learning. 13 Based on the scattered normative documents in guild archives and the occasional artists’ biography, we can only state for sure that training methods could vary from city to city and even from master to master. Miedema, ‘Kunstschilders, gilde en academie’, p. 19; Hessel Miedema, ‘Over vakonderwijs aan kunstschilders in de Nederlanden tot de zeventiende eeuw’, in Academies of Art between Renaissance and Romanticism (special issue Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek), eds Anton Boschloo and Elwin Hendrikse (The Hague, 1989), pp. 268–75. For some anecdotal evidence, see: Gabrielle Bleeke-Byrne, ‘The Education of the Painter in the Workshop’, in Children of Mercury, pp. 28–39, at p. 29. 14 Nikolaus Pevsner, Academies of Art, Past and Present (Cambridge, 1940), pp. 34–5. 15 Olmstead Tonelli, ‘Academic Practice’, p. 97. 16 The educational programme of this academy was initially based on the aforementioned influential treatise by Alberti, as only towards the end of the sixteenth century did unpublished manuscripts by Leonardo start to circulate in Florence. Karen-Edis Barzman, ‘The Florentine Accademia del Disegno: Liberal Education and the Renaissance Artis’, in Academies of Art between, pp. 14–32, at p. 15; Karen-Edis-Barzman, The Florentine Academy and the Early Modern State: the Discipline of Disegno (Cambridge, 2000). 17 Pevsner, Academies of Art, p. 73. More on the private academy of the Carraccibrothers in Charles Dempsey, ‘Some Observations on the Education of Artists in Florence and Bologna during the Later Sixteenth Century’, Art Bulletin, 62 (1980), pp. 552–69; Carl Goldstein, ‘The Carracci Academy’, in Carl Goldstein, Visual Fact over Verbal Fiction: a Study 12

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Despite these early Italian forerunners of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, it was only with the Parisian Académie royale de peinture et sculpture in 1648 that the academic tradition became firmly established.18 The educational programme of the French Académie, probably drawn up by the painter and art theorist Charles Le Brun, emphasized the importance of architecture, perspective, mathematics, anatomy, astrology and history for future artists. Life-drawing classes remained at the core of academic training, however, even to such an extent that following a royal decree from Louis XIV in 1655, no other individual or institution was allowed to offer public drawing lessons any more; not even painters in their own workshops.19 This monopoly on drawing classes underscored the absolutist power of the Académie royale de peinture et sculpture in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century France, both over the local artists’ guilds and over individual painters and sculptors.20 Although the Italian and French academies saw the light of day in different political and cultural contexts, they embodied the same academic ideology: emancipating art and artists from the guild system in general and artisans in particular, by offering intellectual education to young creative genii with a central focus on drawing skills. Their example would soon resonate all over Western and Central Europe, and in the later seventeenth and a fortiori the early eighteenth century numerous cities welcomed public drawing schools and academies of fine arts. But although the Berlin Akademie, founded in 1697 by Frederick I, is generally acknowledged as one of the earliest followers of the French Académie,21 another urban centre witnessed the rise of the second oldest academy of fine arts north of the Alps: Antwerp, the city on the River Scheldt. The Antwerp Academy: Dreaming of a New Rubens In the first months of 1662, the renowned Antwerp painter David Teniers the Younger (1610–90) asked a Brussels clergyman to translate a letter of his,

of the Carracci and the Criticism, Theory, and Practice of Art in Renaissance and Baroque Italy (Cambridge, 1988), chapter 3. 18 Goldstein, Teaching Art, pp. 40–45. 19 Pevsner, Academies of Art, pp. 86–7. 20 Reed Benhamou, Regulating the Académie: Art, Rules and Power in ‘Ancien Régime’ France (Oxford, 2009). 21 Goldstein, Teaching Art, p. 49; Olmstead Tonelli, ‘Academic Practice’, pp. 104–5; Ekkehard Mai, ‘Die Berliner Kunstakademie zwischen Hof und Staatsaufgabe 1696–1830 – Institutionsgeschichte im Abriss’, Artis’, in Academies of Art, pp. 320–31.

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addressed to the Spanish King Philip IV, ruler of the Southern Netherlands.22 Thanks to his close relationships with the Governor General Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and his successor Don Juan of Austria in Brussels, Teniers had managed to climb up the professional and social hierarchy in the Southern Netherlands, and as such, he felt confident enough to ask a favour of the Spanish king himself. Teniers wrote his letter out of frustration, as he had seen his beloved city and her arts lose their appeal in the first half of the seventeenth century. Whereas Antwerp had been a vibrant commercial and artistic metropolis in the sixteenth century, after the death of the renowned painters Rubens and Van Dijck in the early 1640s, the city’s artistic reputation had faded.23 The changing art market of the early seventeenth century, whereby the power balance was shifting towards dealers, also forced Teniers – as a former dean of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke, the professional association for artists – to respond.24 The dwindling public and private demand for art was driving young talented artists to large workshops, where they produced increasing numbers of lesser-quality paintings to supply the burgeoning export market.25 Armed with this local production, art dealers were constantly seeking new markets in nearby cities and neighbouring countries and even in Eastern Europe and overseas.26 In addition, the Peace of Munster in 1648 closed off free navigation on the River Scheldt, Antwerp’s artery, which was so crucial for its economic well-being.27 The artistic and economic downfall of his native town strengthened Teniers’ conviction that Antwerp urgently needed a public and free academy in the image of the successful Roman and Parisian examples, as ‘the only way to restore the arts and bring them to their

22 Unless stated otherwise, this overview of the history of the Academy is based on the nineteenth-century work by Frans J. Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie van Antwerpen (Antwerp, 1867). 23 I disagree with Van Looij’s idea that the Antwerp Academy was a sort of culmination point in a period of cultural blossoming. Theo Van Looij, ‘De Antwerpse Koninklijk Academie voor Schone Kunsten’, in Academies of Art, p. 304. De Munck expressed the same objection in footnote 24 of his article. De Munck, ‘Le produit du talent’, p. 576. 24 Filip Vermeylen, Painting for the Market: Commercialization of Art in Antwerp’s Golden Age (Turnhout, 2003). 25 De Munck, ‘Le produit du talent’, p. 576. 26 Several examples of new foreign markets in Neil De Marchi and Hans J. Van Miegroet, eds, Mapping Markets for Paintings in Europe 1450–1750 (Turnhout, 2006). Sandra Van Ginhoven (Duke University, North Carolina) is preparing a dissertation on the Antwerp art exports to Spain and New Spain. 27 For a short overview of the economic well-being of the Southern Netherlands in this period, see in more detail Bruno Blondé and Ilja Van Damme, ‘Low Countries: Southern Netherlands between 1585 and 1830’, in Joel Mokyr, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History (Oxford, 2003), pp. 392–4.

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former glory’.28 Whatever the exact motives for his plea, Teniers’ networking and lobbying skills proved fruitful, as Philip IV granted him permission to start an academy as a daughter institution of the Guild of Saint Luke. When Teniers brought back the royal charter from Brussels to Antwerp on 26 January 1663, the foundation of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts was a fact, and the city’s current and prospective artists rejoiced. Following the educational model developed by the Italian academies and perfected at the Parisian Académie Royale, the initial – and perhaps somewhat unrealistic – aim of the Antwerp institution was to introduce prospective artists to geometry, perspective and architecture, as well as the basics of painting, engraving and sculpture and life-drawing.29 In reality, limited financial means initially forced the deans of the Guild of Saint Luke – also teachers at the Academy – to restrict their formal artistic training to free life-drawing classes in the morning (summer) and evening (winter). However, this strong tie with the guild, so important in the first decades after its foundation and practically unique in a European context,30 would prove a hindrance to the Academy, as from the end of the seventeenth century, the Guild of Saint Luke continually struggled with financial problems. As an institution under the supervision of the guild, the Academy increasingly suffered from the guild’s demise. The lack of interest in the guild’s deanship forced the guild to turn to art dealers and printers to take on these positions, and of course they were less qualified to instruct students in the Academy’s drawing lessons. More and more deans of the guild thus started to resent their teaching obligations, and, as a result, the number of classes diminished and the ones that remained were shortened. Students lost their motivation and respect for the remaining teachers; in 1719 drawing classes were even temporarily suspended when students threw clay or dirt at the nude model. In 1722 the classes after antique casts were even annulled due to the low number of students and the generally poor state of affairs of the Academy.31 By the summer of 1741 six artists had become tired of the situation and offered the guild a solution: from now on, they would take over classes at the Academy for free. The guild allowed them to try, but contrary to what they 28 Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, p. 17. A complete transcription of the Spanish letter, now in the Archivo General de Simancas, can be found in Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, pp. 103–4. 29 Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, p. 19. 30 Most academies were founded in response to the traditional guild system, with the French Académie as the best example. Filipczak, Picturing Art, p. 167. In the Dutch Republic numerous painters’ societies blossomed around the middle of the seventeenth century, in a similar attempt to emancipate arts from crafts. However, contrary to the Antwerp Academy, these societies were conceptualized outside of and in response to the guilds of Saint Luke (see the contribution of Rasterhoff in this volume). 31 Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, p. 40.

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hoped, the six artists actually managed to raise enough funds among Antwerp’s city elite to revive the Academy, attracting new students to the city. In just one year, they more than doubled the number of students from 30 to 75. The guild was not best pleased with the six artists’ success, and after a long judicial struggle, the guild and the Academy finally agreed on an amicable divorce in November 1749. From now on, the Antwerp Academy was an independent institution, albeit that individual deans of the guild would remain involved in the education at the Academy. In the following years, the Antwerp Academy blossomed like never before. In 1755 the Governor General Charles of Lorraine, a known patron of the arts, proposed a plan to reform arts education at the Antwerp Academy in line with that of other European academies, mainly by professionalizing the management. In the introduction to his plan, Charles referred to how other painterly schools had flourished as a direct result of the introduction of academies, such as the French school of painting. The Antwerp Academy had the potential to revive the glory of the Flemish school of painting, and with his plan, that goal could be finally achieved. The Antwerp city council objected to the governor general’s plans, as they feared Charles’ underlying intention to increase the control of the central authority over the Academy. Charles understood the complaints and withdrew, but nevertheless remained an important patron for the Antwerp Academy, supplying its prize competitions with silver medals. With the exception of a small intermezzo of drawing after antique models around 1700, the Academy’s curriculum was limited to dal nudo (life-drawing) until the middle of the eighteenth century. Teniers’ impressive educational reform plan, following the Roman and Parisian examples, with its theoretical courses and auxiliary sciences, was thus left unaccomplished. The welcome financial independence ensured a newfound sense of motivation, however, and in 1756 the Academy started to offer free classes in geometry, perspective and architecture.32 In 1765 these courses were revitalized, as the new teacher thought that students were not sufficiently familiar with the subject, and drew clear links to Teniers’ initial plans by stating that ‘the necessity of this course was already acknowledged at the foundation of the Academy’.33 In the same summer of 1765, the drawing classes after antique casts were resumed after an interruption of 40 Abraham H. van der Aa, ‘Heur, Joseph Cornelis de’, in Abraham H. Van der Aa, Biographisch woordenboek der Nederlanden, vol. 8 (Haarlem, 1867), p. 731; Adolphe Siret, ‘Heur, Corneille Joseph d’, in Biographie Nationale, vol. 9 (Brussels, 1887), pp. 329–30; Abraham H. van der Aa, ‘Herreyns, Guillaume Jacques’, in Abraham H. Van der Aa, Biographisch woordenboek, vol. 8 (Haarlem, 1867), p. 687; Kris Callens, Willem Jacob Herreyns (1743–1827): een monografische benadering (Unpublished master thesis, K.U. Leuven, 1999). 33 Cited in Van Looij, ‘De Antwerpse Koninklijke Akademie’, p. 314. 32

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years, allowing the Antwerp Academy to slowly realize its initial ambitions and grow to become a full-fledged training centre for the fine arts. Despite the formal separation and the Academy’s financial independence, there continued to be a strong connection with the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke. Several deans were still involved in the Academy’s education, and the guild regularly placed their Grande Salle at the Academy’s disposal if there were too many students for a class. When the city responded to the reform plans of Governor-General Charles of Lorraine in 1755, it equally emphasized the complimentary and necessary link between the Academy and the guild, whereby the former took care of the drawing education, while the basic training was still provided in the workshops of guild masters. But the changing spirit of the times ensured the slow demise of the guilds of Saint Luke, and in the Southern Netherlands in particular, Andries Cornelis Lens (1739–1822) should be mentioned as an instigator of this process. In 1756 Lens won the first prize in the Academy’s competition, and would later become a teacher and, from 1763, even the director of the Antwerp Academy. The above-mentioned Governor-General Charles of Lorraine was impressed by Lens’ artistic talent, appointing him as his court painter and sending him on a study trip to Italy, to Florence and Rome, among other cities. During his four years in Italy (1764–68) Lens slowly became convinced that the Guild of Saint Luke was an impediment for the artist, and that arts education should be liberated from the guild system. In this realization, he was undoubtedly inspired by the Italian academies he frequented during his stay. On his return, Lens would start an unceasing lobbying campaign to break the power of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke over young artists, aimed at the central authorities in Brussels and the Austrian Government (which had ruled the Southern Netherlands since the War of the Spanish Succession in 1713).34 His attempts proved successful, as the Empress Maria Theresa issued a decree in 1773 that ‘freed’ artists from obligatory inscription in the guilds of Saint Luke, thus condemning these institutions to a gradual abolishment.35 Although the two institutions were officially separated since 1749, the abolition of the guilds nevertheless had a profound impact on the Antwerp Academy, whose revival faltered in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Following internal disputes with the director, Lens, the dynamic teacher Willem Abraham H. Van der Aa, ‘Lens, Andreas Cornelis’, in Van der Aa, Biographisch woordenboek der Nederlanden, t. 11 (Haarlem, 1865), pp. 335–6; J. Dierckx, ‘Kunstschilder Andreas Cornelis Lens als theoreticus 1739–1822’, Gentsche bijdragen tot de kunstgeschiedenis, 7 (1941), pp. 173–209. 35 Frans Baudouin, ‘Bouw, beeldhouw- en schilderkunst’, in Antwerpen in de XVIIIde eeuw: instellingen, economie, cultuur (Antwerpen, 1952), pp. 187–230, at p. 227. For an overview of the consequences of this liberation of artists in the Southern Netherlands, see: Christophe Loir, L’émergence des beaux-arts en Belgique: institutions, artistes, public et patrimoine (1773–1835) (Brussels, 2004). 34

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Jacob Herreyns had already left in 1771 to start up his own academy in the nearby city of Mechelen.36 And whereas the Antwerp Academy only had to close for a few days during the Brabantine Revolt in 1789–90, the raid by the French army heralded harsh times. On 15 September 1794 the board of directors took the difficult decision to postpone its activities indefinitely given a lack of funds, except for the cheaper classes in architecture, perspective and geometry. After a decade full of difficulties, the Antwerp Academy would only restart in September 1805, to continue its educational programme up until today. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Academy was often referred to as the institution par excellence that could bring the Flemish school of painting back to its former glory. Following earlier Italian and French examples, the directors of the Antwerp Academy developed a specific discourse whereby they tried to legitimize their existence, and more specifically their constant need for financial resources. However, the continuing complaints and recurring references to the glorious past indicate that the Academy never truly succeeded in its initial goal of reliving the glory days. How, then, was this apparently failing institution able to continue to exist for almost two centuries? To what extent did this discourse on the academy as a centre for the arts correspond with reality, that is, the daily practice in the Antwerp Academy over two centuries? We are able to use unique lists of students attending the classes at two intervals to test the true nature of the Academy’s claim, examine the potential tensions between artisans and artists and connect these observations to broader changes in the urban economy. The Antwerp Academy: a Centre for Artisanal Training? Snapshot One: the End of the Seventeenth Century Although David Teniers the Younger, in his initial letter of 1662, tried to persuade the Spanish king that the Academy would bring forward ‘good and great artists’, a report from the guild sheds light on the ‘ripple effect’ at which Teniers and his comrades were aiming, beyond restoring the Flemish school of painting: they also hoped that the successful Academy would once again persuade art lovers to reside in the city on the River Scheldt, and would also attract artisans and artists involved in the creative industries related to the arts (suppliers of basic materials such as paint, oil and linen; sellers of copper, wood and stone; pencil and frame-makers; ebony workers; gold- and silversmiths). Teniers not only targeted related indirect ripple effects, however, but he also acknowledged the 36 Marcel Kocken, ‘De Koninklijke Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten te Mechelen (1772–1972)’, Handelingen van de Koninklijke Kring voor Oudheidkunde Mechelen, 76 (1972), pp. 200–260.

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importance of academic training in architecture, geometry and perspective for a wide variety of craftsmen, such as silversmiths, stonecutters, masons, carpenters, joiners and ebony workers.37 With its unusual openness towards craftsmen, the Antwerp Academy was remarkable in a European context. By contrast, both the Italian and the Parisian academies, and later the London one, refused entry to the non-visual arts, at least up until the end of the ancien régime.38 At the end of the seventeenth century, the drawing lessons held on the first floor of the Antwerp Borse (at that point, the only education that the Academy offered) were mainly attended by aspiring artists who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Rubens (Table 13.1). Besides painters and image cutters (sculptors in wood or ivory), two related professions were also represented: engravers and plate-cutters, both involved in the printing business. Although silversmiths cannot be wholly classified as artisans, it is fair to conclude that Teniers’ initial goal of reviving the Antwerp school of painting was matched by the content of the student population, as student-artists clearly constituted the lion’s share within the walls of the Academy. The hope that the Academy would also support related professions in the arts also seems to have materialized. Table 13.1 Occupations of students enrolled in the drawing classes at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts, 1696–1705 Occupation

Drawing from a live model Drawing from figures Total % Total % Art painters 390 73 193 73.1 Image-cutters 90 16.8 52 19.7 Silversmiths 24 4.5 6 2.3 Engravers 8 1.5 0 0 Plate-cutters 5 0.9 3 1.1 Unknown 17 3.2 10 3.8 Total 534 100 264 100 Source: Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, Oud Archief, 293 (16).

As mentioned above, the first four decades of the eighteenth century were harsh times for the Academy, due to all sorts of financial issues on the part of the guild. Both teachers and students excelled in a complete lack of motivation, drawing classes were shortened or even annulled and in 1722 the Academy had to give up one of its classrooms in the Borse to the East India Company. Only with the Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, p. 20. Goldstein, Teaching Art, passim.

37 38

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remarkable initiative of the six artists in 1749 and subsequent independence did the Academy managed to rediscover its initial dynamism of the late seventeenth century. In the 1750s and 1760s the educational programme was significantly enlarged with new classes in geometry, perspective and architecture, as well as the revitalization of the drawing classes after antique casts (cf. supra), which allowed the Antwerp Academy to reconnect with similar artistic institutions elsewhere in Europe after decades of inertia. Not only did the educational programme show clear signs of a newfound energy, but at the same time a series of personal initiatives also underscored the ambition to turn the Academy into a regional knowledge centre. Quite atypically, the Antwerp Academy did not have its own library, which was considered a conditio sine qua non for the Italian and French predecessors to which Teniers and later directors so often referred. In 1760 director Jan-Baptist Verdussen, descendant of a renowned local printer, decided to donate important seminal works on art education to the Academy.39 The importance of this donation, although limited in size, cannot be overestimated. Access to books and written knowledge was rather unusual for young people at that time, given the fact that the city’s only ‘public’ library in the town hall was largely unknown to its citizens. The visual literacy of the students was also given the necessary stimuli, with a significant enlargement of the Academy’s cast collection. For his new class starting in 1765, the teacher Martenasie had 25 statues from the renowned collection of the Duke of Arenberg cast in plaster at his own expense, which he then bequeathed the Academy.40 These remarkable initiatives, combined with the presence of a generation of motivated teachers, ensured that the Academy saw a remarkable growth in the student population during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. Although it is difficult to find hard data, the sheer accumulation of indirect evidence is overwhelming. For example, the board issued a new set of educational rules barely one year after the Academy had become independent, due to the sudden influx of students.41 It seems that especially after 1765, with the broadening of the curriculum, the student population grew at a fast pace. This expansion occurred, not coincidentally, parallel to the economic and demographic revival of Antwerp after a century-long recession.42 In a letter of 1766 from the Academy board to the city, the Academy board urgently demanded more space in the Borse This donation included among others Florent le Comte’s Le Cabinet des Singularités d’Architecture, Peinture, Sculpture (1702); Johan Van Gool’s De Nieuwe Schouburg der Nederlantsche Kunstschilders en Schilderessen (1750); Jean Baptiste Descamps’ La Vie des Peintres Flamands (1754). Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, p. 49. 40 Van Looij, ‘De Antwerpse Koninklijke Akademie’, p. 314. 41 Ibid., p. 313. 42 Bart Willems, Leven op de pof. Krediet bij de Antwerpse middenstand in de achttiende eeuw (Amsterdam, 2009), pp. 35–91; Blondé and Van Damme, ‘Low Countries’, pp. 392–4. 39

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because of the `influx of inhabitants of Antwerp and the country and also from foreigners, the number of students has augmented so that the present school for drawing after life has already become too small’.43 But the classes using antique casts were also bursting at the seams, as after one year, Martenasie was already having to add classes in the winter semester to meet the growing demand from students. Snapshot Two: the End of the Ancien Régime In the same period, the Academy was able to look beyond the city walls again for the first time since the turn of the century. The plea for extra classrooms in 1765 was not only necessary because student numbers had risen dramatically, but also to ensure that the Academy ‘would continue to shine over the younger Dutch and foreign [i.e. non-Antwerp] Academies’.44 The Antwerp Academy was thus no longer merely a local institution, but had managed in a short period of time to grow into a knowledge centre that exerted its influence far beyond the city walls, and even beyond the borders of the Duchy of Brabant. In 1769 the Academy board successfully applied for supra-regional subsidies from the States of Brabant, since an ever-growing number of non-Antwerp students was flocking to the institution to receive training. There are, however, strong indications that most of these students in the 1760s and 1770s were not at the Academy to realize their dream of becoming the new Rubens, but had entirely different motivations. The enlargement of the curriculum after 1750 apparently attracted a considerable number of students in the applied arts. In April 1780 the board issued a special set of regulations for the classes in architecture, geometry and perspective, to make sure that the last class was interesting for students in both the fine and the applied arts. In addition, as early as the late 1750s, explicit references were made to interesting classes that were apparently specifically targeting the latter students.45 Indeed, enrolment lists from the 1780s for the courses in architecture, geometry and perspective prove, rather surprisingly, that not only students in the applied arts were increasingly finding their way to the Antwerp Academy, but also that the intense student growth in the third quarter of the eighteenth Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, pp. 120–121. Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, p. 121. Around that time, present-day Belgium had five other Academies as well, namely Brussels (1711), Bruges (1717), Ghent (1751), Doornik (1757) and Kortrijk (1760). The Antwerp Academy was the oldest in the Low Countries, as similar institutions in The Hague (1663), Amsterdam (1708) and Utrecht (1717) were all founded at a later date. Gustaaf A. De Wilde, Geschiedenis onzer Academiën van Beeldende Kunsten (Leuven, 1941), pp. 160–61; Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, p. 40; Pevsner, Academies of Art, p. 130. 45 Van den Branden, Geschiedenis der Academie, pp. 122–3. 43 44

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century can be attributed in large part to ‘real’ craftsmen.46 Besides a handful of applied artists, such as jewellers and glassblowers, mainly student carpenters, cabinetmakers and cartwrights made up over half of their cohort in the 1780s.47 Table 13.2 Occupations of students enrolled in geometry/architecture and perspective classes at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts, 1780–89 Occupation

Geometry/Architecture Total % Art painters 70 16.4 Sculptors 6 1.4 Stone-dressers 17 4 Jewellers 2 0.5 Turners 5 1.2 Glassblowers 5 1.2 Masons 23 5.4 Cabinetmakers 151 35.4 Carpenters 77 18.1 Cartwrights 9 2.1 House painters 7 1.6 Artists (drawing) 24 5.6 Aficionados 6 1.4 Miscellaneous 20 4.7 Unknown 4 0.9 Total 426 100

Perspective Total % 16 34.8 3 6.5 8 17.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4.3 11 23.9 3 6.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4.3 1 2.2 46 100

Source: Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, Oud Archief, 317 (30).

Contextualizing this as evidence of a failed programme to revive the arts, however, would be only addressing one side of the coin. This table clearly indicates the crucial role of the Antwerp Academy in the training of artisans active in the city’s creative industries.48 Although in-depth research on Antwerp’s Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (KASKA), Oud Archief, 317 (30). 47 De Munck, Technologies of Learning, pp. 252–3; Van Geyt, De rol van de Koninklijke Academie. 48 The concepts of creative and cultural industries are often used as synonyms, both referring to economic sectors producing and distributing objects, the use value of which is generally considered inferior to the aesthetic design. Rasterhoff deals with a similar concept in her study of Dutch painting and printing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (see the contribution of Rasterhoff, in this volume). 46

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creative industries after 1750 is urgently needed, indirect evidence supports the thesis that design and drawing skills became crucial for their success.49 Like in other cities in Europe, the consumption patterns of Antwerp citizens had been undergoing a remarkable transformation since the late seventeenth century.50 Parallel to the arrival of new goods from overseas, a series of product and process innovations had diversified the existing material culture. The use of cheaper raw materials and lower production costs yielded less durable and lower-priced products.51 ‘Fashionable’ overrode ‘durable’ as the most important characteristic of consumer goods. The continual call for newness, so ubiquitous and relentless in our contemporary society, arose as a soft whisper in late seventeenth-century Europe.52 With the growing importance of fashionability as a product characteristic, design skills became a key characteristic of successful craftsmen active in the creative industries. Thus not only was the visual arts sector in need of ingenious skills, but also in other sectors design grew ever more important in the course of the eighteenth century.53 Although not a prime mover in the increased perceived value of design, the Antwerp Academy certainly reinforced existing patterns. The large number of artisans at the Antwerp Academy should thus not be perceived as a mere failure of its artistic goals, but as proof of its crucial role in advanced Although fashion cycles were also making their entrance in the eighteenth-century clothing business, tailors and related professions must have received their design training elsewhere, as they are not to be found among the Academy’s student population. Harald Deceulaer, Pluriforme patronen en een verschillende snit. Sociaal-economische, institutionele en culturele transformaties in de kledingsector in Antwerpen, Brussel en Gent, 1585–1800 (Antwerpen, 2001). 50 On the Antwerp situation, see: Bruno Blondé, ‘Tableware and Changing Consumer Patterns. Dynamics of Material Culture in Antwerp, Seventeenth-Eighteenth Centuries’, in Johan Veeckman, Majolica and Glass. From Italy to Antwerp and Beyond. The Transfer of Technology in the Sixteenth–Early Seventeenth Century (Antwerp, 2002), pp. 295–311; Bruno Blondé, ‘Cities in Decline and the Dawn of a Consumer Society: Antwerp in the 17th–18th Centuries’, in Bruno Blondé, et al., Retailers and Consumer Changes in Early Modern Europe: England, France, Italy and the Low Countries (Tours, 2005), pp. 37–54. 51 Maxine Berg, ‘From Imitation to Invention: Creating Commodities in EighteenthCentury Britain’, Economic History Review, 55/1 (2002): pp. 1–30; Maxine Berg, ‘New Commodities, Luxuries and their Consumers in Eighteenth-Century England’, in Maxine Berg and Helen Clifford, Consumers and Luxury in Europe 1650–1850 (Manchester, 1999), pp. 63–85. 52 On the desire for newness in our contemporary consumer behaviour, see: Colin Campbell, ‘The Desire for the New. Its Nature and Social Location as Presented in Theories of Fashion and Modern Consumerism’, in Daniel Miller, Consumption. Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences (London and New York, 2001), pp. 246–61. 53 Berg, ‘From Imitation to Invention’, pp. 1–30; John Styles, ‘Product Innovation in Early Modern London’, Past and Present, 168 (2000): pp. 124–69. 49

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artisanal training.54 The median age of students at the Academy at the end of the eighteenth century was 21,55 and it is plausible to assume that student artisans started their academic education after their initial training at the guild.56 The specific classes at the Academy that focused on the acquisition of drawing and design skills were apparently perceived as additional training, complementing the basic training in the craft guilds. Although more research is needed, it even seems that the Antwerp Academy functioned as a magnet for young artisans: of all the carpenters and joiners that took geometry, perspective and architecture classes at the Antwerp Academy between 1780 and 1798, more than half came from outside the city. Most of these ‘foreign’ students came from the age-old migration area east of the city,57 but there were also some students from other parts of the Southern Netherlands, and even the Dutch Republic and France.58 These data for the Antwerp Academy can be placed within a larger framework, as other academies and drawing schools in the Low Countries show a similar shift. When Ghent was finally able to welcome its own academy in 1751, the board announced that in addition to artists, their target audience consisted of ‘masons, carpenters, sculptors, joiners, gold- and silversmiths’ – craftsmen that later that century would indeed make up the largest segment of the student population.59 Students at the Bruges Academy in 1755 were mostly the children of craftsmen and citizens, who ‘during the daytime have to dedicate their time to the study or the training of their craft or other function’.60 And whereas the enormous wave of newly founded drawing schools and academies in cities such as Mechelen (1771), Oudenaarde (1773), Ath (1773), Luik (1773), Temse (1776), Ieper (1780) and Bergen (1781) are generally contextualized as institutions for 54 One might wonder why not every artisan went to the Academy, since design and drawing education was free there. Not only was it an intensive training programme, but only artisans who needed active knowledge of designing and drawing required these courses. Other artisans could rely on their passive knowledge, as being able to read a design was far less complicated than creating one. 55 Laura Van Geyt, De rol van de Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten binnen het Antwerpse timmerliedenambacht in het laatste kwart van de 18de eeuw (Unpublished master thesis University of Antwerp, 2011), p. 12. 56 Tim De Doncker reached the same conclusion for the Ghent Academy at the end of the eighteenth century, where the logical pattern was to start at the Academy simultaneously with or right after the apprenticeship. Tim De Doncker, The Institutional Context of Art Production in the Southern Low Countries during the Early Modern Period (paper presented at the Posthumus Conference Antwerp, 13 May 2011). 57 Anne Winter, Migrants and Urban Change: Newcomers to Antwerp, 1760–1860 (London, 2009). 58 Van Geyt, De rol van de Koninklijke Academie, p. 14. 59 De Doncker, The Institutional Context, p. 10. 60 Dominiek Dendooven, De Brugse academie in de achttiende eeuw (Unpublished master thesis, VUB, Brussels, 1994), p. 129.

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art aficionados and art amateurs, new research on the actual student population would probably offer a much more diffuse image of the countless craftsmen who went there to sharpen their drawing and design skills, so as to stay competitive in the local economy.61 This unexpected marriage of academies and handicrafts was hardly limited to the Flemish and Brabantine cities, but also in other European cities, this union featured in larger plans to stimulate the ‘national’ economy during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. In 1763 the Dresdner Academy was drastically reformed on the grounds that improving artistic education was ‘useful to raise the demand abroad for one’s industrial products’, while four years later, the École royale gratuite de dessin (later known as the École nationale des arts décoratifs) was founded in Paris.62 In the Dutch Republic, urban drawing schools in the second half of the eighteenth century were also involved in a process to raise the quality of ‘national’ production. The idea reigned that craftsmen would benefit greatly from good drawing education, allowing them to develop their taste and, in turn, design better objects, thereby adding to the international appeal of Dutch production. In 1769 the director of the Amsterdam Academy even went so far as to refer to ‘only the encouragement and further expansion of the art of drawing would be able to revive Dutch industries’.63 In 1773 a special drawing school for future craftsmen was even founded next to the existing drawing academy.64 This concern for the national economy would subsequently lead to free drawing education for craftsmen at other Dutch academies such as those in The Hague (1787–80) and Groningen (1798).65 Conclusion Early in 1663, the Spanish King Philip IV granted the renowned painter David Teniers the Younger and some other fellow artists the foundation of an Academy of Fine Arts in the city of Antwerp, following earlier Roman and French examples. According to Teniers, founding an academy was ‘the only way to restore the arts and bring them to their former glory’, referring to the glorious age of Rubens, Van Dijck and other successful Antwerp painters. For over two centuries this rhetoric surfaced time and again in the Academy’s discourse, as Dendooven, De Brugse Academie, p. 8; De Doncker, The Institutional Context, p. 8. Goldstein, Teaching Art, pp. 253–4. 63 Paul Knolle, ‘Dilettanten en hun rol in 18de-eeuwse Noordnederlandse tekenacademies’ Artis’, in Academies of Art, p. 293. 64 Elisabeth B.M. Lottman, ‘De bijdrage van de Amsterdamse weeshuizen aan de bouwkundige opleiding in de achttiende eeuw’, Jaarboek Amstelodamum, 69 (1977), pp. 140–141. 65 Knolle, ‘Dilettanten en hun rol’, pp. 292–3; Dendooven, De Brugse academie, p. 138. 61 62

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– despite its good intentions – the institution never reached this primary goal of achieving an artistic revival. Generation after generation of artists received artistic training at this institution, and sometimes hope flared up, but the success of Rubens and his contemporaries was never to be attained again. But while the so-called ‘Rubens dream’ was waiting impatiently in the background, the Academy anchored itself firmly in the Antwerp economy. The institution grew to be much more than a centre for artistic formation waiting for its true fulfilment, paradoxically by being a ‘mere’ (sic) drawing school. At the end of the seventeenth century Teniers’ wish seemed to have come true, as future painters crowded the drawing classes, together with a small group of students aiming at arts-related professions such as image-cutting and printing. In the course of the eighteenth century, the Academy of Fine Arts ‘degenerated’ into being a drawing school, as artistic ambitions were temporarily put aside. But few researchers up until now have acknowledged the fact that these drawing lessons were an answer to the growing need for ‘ingenious’ skills in sectors outside the visual arts. Changing consumer preferences and a growing desire for fashion and novelty lured hundreds of students in wood-related and other professions to the Academy in order to meet the changing needs of their (future) customers. Classes on geometry and perspective supplemented earlier training in the craft guilds and helped craftsman to grasp the basics of sketching, as well as fostering creative design and adding a touch of individual genius to their products. Future prosopographic research into the later careers of these young artisans should clarify the extent to which the Antwerp Academy functioned as a true magnet for talented craftsmen, not only by luring them to the city, but, perhaps even more importantly, by encouraging them to establish themselves permanently in the city on the River Scheldt and contribute to its urban economy. Early modern craft guilds were thus far from the only urban institutions that could attract and spread creativity within the European urban context. Academies of fine art and public drawing schools undoubtedly played a role in the urban economies of late seventeenth and eighteenth-century Europe. Although at the outset these institutions solely aimed to emancipate painters and sculptors and simultaneously raise the level of artistic production by providing intensive drawing classes, in the course of the eighteenth century, they also harboured the innovative impulses of young artisans in the creative industries. By offering free or practically free access to ‘ingenious’ education, general discourses and libraries, they finally provided these artisans with the necessary visual vocabulary with which to express their creativity, an increasingly important asset in the European urban economy of the eighteenth century. So in the end, Early Modern academies of fine arts may not only have emancipated painters and sculptors, but also allowed the artisan to evolve into sort of an artist himself.

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Chapter 14

Innovation in the Capital City: Central Policies, Markets and Migrant Skills in Neapolitan Ceramic Manufacturing in the Eighteenth Century Alida Clemente

In the Early Modern era, the European ceramics industry was substantially influenced by oriental porcelain.1 Many innovations arose from a more or less explicit desire to emulate the characteristics of Eastern products in an attempt, pursued by many sovereign authorities, to reproduce Chinese hard-paste porcelain. The Kingdom of Naples was part of this general trend, as here the new ruling dynasty founded a royal porcelain factory and thus entered into a competition of prestige with the other European monarchies.2 The creation of royal factories, however, was a striking aspect of a widespread process of emulative innovation involving many private producers. Innovation is upstream of the process of applying knowledge, and downstream of opportunity and convenience in exploiting growing demand. Its spreading, therefore, can only be explained by dynamics pertaining to the labour market, to forms of the circulation of knowledge and to the characteristics of demand. Although for many reasons Naples was represented as a parasitic city during the eighteenth century, as a parasitic city, it was a capital city, and certain features in the labour and goods market made innovation possible. Despite its weak manufacturing tradition, Naples drew skilled workers from all over the kingdom and abroad. Second, the city was the site of large demand for consumer goods. So far, there has been little consideration of the role played by the capital city in stimulating innovation.3 In contrast, according to a long historical tradition, the great capital cities of the Early Modern era have been conceived as large Patrizia Carioti and Lucia Caterina, La via della porcellana: la Compagnia olandese delle Indie orientali e la Cina (Genova, 2010). 2 On the Kingdom of Naples in the eighteenth century, see: Girolamo Imbruglia, ed., Naples in the Eighteenth Century. The Birth and Death of a Nation State (Cambridge, 2000). 3 With the exception of London; for this see John Styles, ‘Product Innovation in Early Modern London’, Past & Present, 168 (2000): pp. 124–69. 1

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parasites that lived at the expense of their hinterlands. This idea originated at the same time in which great capital cities arose, being first formulated by William Petty in the seventeenth century, and then reworked, in many ways, during the Enlightenment.4 Many historians, notably during the 1950s,5 saw in the great capital cities, the ‘Baroque city’ as defined by Lewis Mumford, a reversal of the stimulating role that cities had played during the Middle Ages.6 They were understood to have had a zero or negative effect on economic development, despite their possible generative role in the cultural sphere.7 This image has dominated the historiography of Naples. Economic history preserves the image of Naples in the eighteenth century as it was represented by the thinkers of the Enlightenment, as the overpopulated capital of a declining kingdom, oppressed by feudalism and playing a peripheral role in international trade as an exporter of primary goods in exchange for manufactured goods. For these thinkers, it represented a perfect example of how cities could devour the human resources and capital coming from the

4 Franco Venturi, ‘Napoli capitale nel pensiero dei riformatori illuministi’, in Storia di Napoli (10 vols, Naples, 1971), vol. VII, pp. 1–73. 5 In this period the role of the so-called ‘primate cities’, a concept introduced for the first time by Jefferson, in 1939 (see Mark Jefferson, ‘Why Geography? The Law of the Primate City’, Geographical Review, 79/2 (1989): pp. 226–32) was discussed by sociologists, urban geographers and development economists, starting from the assumption that in most underdeveloped countries the parasite primate cities could be an obstacle to development. This idea was revised during the 1960s; see Surinder K. Mehta, ‘Some Demographic and Economic Correlates of Primate Cities: A Case for Revaluation’, Demography, 1/1 (1964): pp. 136–47; Arnold S. Linsky, ‘Some Generalizations Concerning Primate Cities’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 55/3 (1965): pp. 506–13. 6 Gideon Sjoberg, ‘The Preindustrial City’, American Journal of Sociology, 60 (1955): pp. 438–45. Eric E. Lampard, ‘The History of Cities in the Economically Advanced Areas’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 3/2 (1955): pp. 81–136. He wrote: ‘Thus the presence of an overly large city in a preindustrial society may act as a curb rather than a stimulus to wider economic growth. Its growth and maintenance have been somewhat parasitical in the sense that profits of trade, capital accumulated in agricultural and other primary pursuits, have been dissipated in grandiose urban construction, servicing, and consumption by a “colonial’ elite”’ (Ibid., p. 131). Paul M. Hohenberg and Lynn H. Lees, The Making of Urban Europe, 1000–1994 (Cambridge, 1995), p. 169. ‘The growth of some cities such as London, Naples or Constantinople seems to run counter to most accepted economic and demographic trends. They dwarfed other towns around them; they filled no economic function remotely consistent with their size’. See also Marino Berengo, ‘La città di Antico Regime’, in Alberto Caracciolo, ed., Dalla città industriale alla città del capitalismo (Bologna, 1975), pp. 24–54. 7 Bert F. Hoselitz, ‘Generative and Parasitic Cities’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 3/3 (1955): pp. 278–94.

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agrarian provinces, one of the fundamental subjects of reformist thought.8 In this view, the capital city had a centripetal effect on the circulation of resources, impoverishing the countryside; the resources coming from there to the feudal nobility through rents, and to the state and its bureaucracy through fiscal levies, were not spent in investment, but in parasitic luxury consumption. The idea of the parasitic city began to be questioned in the 1970s, both on a theoretical and on an empirical basis.9 First, the idea was based on an unconceivable dichotomy between city and countryside, on a reification of the city, as well as on an over-rigid typological classification of the city itself.10 Secondly, Wrigley and others challenged the traditional view by arguing that the large primate cities were a stimulus both for large and concentrated demand, and for their ability to introduce and disseminate new models of consumption.11 Moreover, the term ‘parasitic’ would seem to refer to a city that does not return anything to its hinterland, while a city that promotes agricultural production through growing demand cannot be defined as such. These achievements were obviously consistent with cases such as London during the eighteenth century, but can they be generalized? Can they fit the case of a Mediterranean megalopolis such as Naples, which arose and grew mainly for political reasons?12 Brigitte Marin advances a similar argument in an article that in part critically revises the traditional view of eighteenth-century Naples. According to Marin, the growing demand of the capital city stimulated the growth of its hinterland, Venturi, Napoli. About the Italian and Neapolitan Enlightenment, see: Franco Venturi, Settecento riformatore. I. Da Muratori a Beccaria (Turin, 1998); Melissa Calaresu, ‘The Enlightenment in Naples’, in Tommaso Astarita, ed., A Companion to Early Modern Naples (Leiden, 2013), pp. 405–26. 9 The starting point of this revision was the 1975 ‘Past and Present’ conference about cities and economic development, the proceedings for which were later published as Phillip Abrams and Edward A. Wrigley, eds, Towns in Societies. Essays in Economic History and Historical Sociology (Cambridge, 1978). 10 See Phillip Abrams’s Introduction, in Abrams and Wrigley, eds, Towns, about the overcoming of a strict functional definition of the city and of its role in economic development. Phillip Benedict, ‘Lo stato, le elite fondiarie e la vita urbana nella Francia degli inizi dell’età moderna’, in Carlo Olmo and Bernard Lepetit, eds, La città e le sue storie (Turin, 1995), pp. 87–122. 11 Edward A. Wrigley, ‘A Simple Model of London’s Importance in Changing English Society and Economy, 1650–1750’, Past & Present, nr. 37 (1967): pp. 44–70; Martin J. Daunton, ‘Towns and Economic Growth in Eighteenth-century England’, in Abrams and Wrigley, eds, Towns, pp. 245–77; Edward A. Wrigley, ‘Parasite or Stimulus: The Town in a Pre-industrial Economy’, in Abrams and Wrigley, eds, Towns, pp. 295–309. 12 Maurice Aymard, ‘La Méditerranée chrétienne et l’essor du monde moderne (XIIIe– XVIIIe siècles)’, in Claude Nicolet, Robert Ilbert and Jean-Charles Depaule, eds, Mégapoles méditerranéennes. Géographie urbaine rétrospective. Actes du colloque de Rome (mai 1996) (Rome, 1999), pp. 104–16. 8

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and during the eighteenth century, the disproportionate levels of demographic growth between Naples and the rest of the kingdom were less marked than during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.13 The role of demand seems to be the dividing line between older, more pessimistic views and these newer, more optimistic ones. Another positive aspect of the great capital was the stimulus that it gave to cultural production, as was the case for Naples, the centre of a significant reform movement in Europe.14 Nonetheless, historical writing on the role of urban demand in the development of and innovation in manufacturing is quite scant. Luxury consumption is meant to be simply a removal of resources from productive investment, and not a stimulus to innovation. The generative cultural role of the capital city, consistent with the case of Naples as a ‘capital of the Enlightenment’, can indeed be linked to an increase in high-quality handicrafts and productive innovation due to trends in both demand and supply, in the labour market as well as in the goods market. As to the demand for goods, Naples, with its high demographic consistency and its concentration of aristocrats and an official and commercial bourgeoisie, had a higher medium income than the kingdom as a whole,15 and higher demand for luxury goods and decencies. The sovereign court set fashions and styles of consumption that quickly spread throughout the deeply symbolical dimension of urban public life.16 On the supply side, the position of Naples seems to be more ambiguous; urban demand for goods could be satisfied by local production of luxuries as well as by imports, depending on complex factors ranging from the level of integration in international trade and the duty policy to the specific targets of each manufacturing sector. In Naples, the high demand for goods from the middle classes, the old and new aristocracy and the clergy, turned towards imported goods. This was already the case in the seventeenth century, because of an international division of labour that relegated Southern Italy as subordinate to Northwestern Europe.17 According to an ongoing historiography, traditional manufacturing, mostly organized into craft guilds, experienced a long and 13 Brigitte Marin, ‘Naples: capital of the enlightenment’, in Peter Clark and Bernard Lepetit, eds, Capital Cities and their Hinterlands in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot, 1996), pp. 143–67. 14 Calaresu, The Enlightenment. 15 Paolo Malanima, ‘Crescita e ineguaglianza nell’Europa preindustriale’, Rivista di storia economica, XVI/ 2, n. s. (2000): pp. 189–212. 16 Alida Clemente, Il lusso ‘cattivo’. Dinamiche del consumo nella Napoli del Settecento (Rome, 2011). 17 Gigliola Pagano de Divitiis, Mercanti inglesi nell’Italia del Seicento (Venice, 1990); Ruggiero Romano, ‘La vita economica’, in Storia di Napoli (10 vols, Naples, 1970), vol. 6: pp. 537–80.

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ineluctable decline,18 which was reflected in increasing conflicts and in their entrenchment in corporative privileges.19 The local guilds increasingly became seen as mutual institutions, characterized by a strong imbalance between an artisan class on the threshold of poverty and a merchant class strengthened by practices of usury and monopoly.20 It is certain that local producers were unable to cope with international competition. Their economic and political weakness, together with a general taste for foreign styles, can explain why the Bourbon policy to promote the establishment and growth of factories was conceived without the help of the guilds21 and mainly attracted foreign artisans.22 The role of demand could not encourage urban manufacturing within the capital because it was focused not on local products, but on imported items. This image, affirmed by reformers and generally accepted by the historiography, is coherent with the unmistakably peripheral role of the kingdom in the international market. On the other hand, however, this interpretation hides the dynamics of emulative innovation with which certain factories, notably those producing ceramics, experimented in Naples. A History of Migrations From the very start, the geography of ceramic production in Southern Italy reproduced that of the migration flows of skilled artisans. Introduced in We are still missing much information about the Neapolitan guilds. A great many documents in the Central Archive of Naples were lost throughout history and so the historiography of Neapolitan guilds is very poor compared to the studies conducted elsewhere. The productive decline of Naples began during the seventeenth century, although urban guilds continued to play a political role. Giovanni Muto, ‘Spazio urbano e identità sociale: le feste del popolo napoletano nella prima età moderna’, in Marco Meriggi and Alessandro Pastore, eds, Le regole dei mestieri e delle professioni : secoli 15–19 (Milan, 2000), pp. 305–25. 19 Luigi Mascilli Migliorini, Il sistema delle arti. Corporazioni annonarie e di mestiere a Napoli nel Settecento (Naples, 1992). 20 Giovanni Aliberti, Economia e società a Napoli dal Settecento al Novecento (Naples, 1974). 21 See, for example, the sovereign attempt of limiting the prerogatives of guilds in the disputes between local tailors’ guilds and French tailors in Roberto Zaugg, ‘Mercanti stranieri e giudici napoletani. La gestione dei conflitti in Antico Regime’, Quaderni storici, 133/1 (2010): pp. 139–69. The attempt to coordinate and control the activity of corporations took place above all in the reformist phase of the 1730s and declined by the 1750s. Migliorini, Il sistema, p. 101. 22 Charles of Bourbon hired workers and manufacturers from Venice, Florence and France. Consular correspondence shows the role of the consuls urged by their kings to repatriate them. Ruggiero Romano, ‘Il commercio franco-napoletano nel secolo XVIII’, in Ruggiero Romano, Napoli: dal viceregno al regno. Storia economica (Turin, 1976), p. 92, n3. 18

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Muslim Sicily (827–1091) by the Arabs, the manufacturing of coloured and glazed pottery began to decline in this region in the thirteenth century, when Frederick II (1220–50) achieved the Christianization of Sicily by expelling and deporting the Arabs.23 These compulsory migrations brought the new technique first to Puglia and then to the central regions along the Adriatic coast, with migrants settling in certain towns in Abruzzi, Umbria and Marche (generally in those areas close to raw materials).24 In the south of Italy, the development of manufacturing was blocked by the decision of Charles II of Anjou (1285–1309) to wipe out the Arab community in Lucera (Puglia), whereas in the towns of Abruzzi and Marche ceramic manufacture continued to flourish, leading to the development of the main technical and stylistic innovations in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.25 Although inferior in quality, ceramic production in the Kingdom of Naples between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries was also scattered throughout smaller towns such as Castelli in Abruzzo, Agerola, Cava dei Tirreni, Majori, Ogliara, Giffoni, Vietri, in the neighbourhood of Salerno and Naples and in others near Palermo in Sicily.26 In turn, the development of ceramic production in the city of Naples, both of tiles and pottery,27 was linked to migration from the provinces and from abroad. From the time of the Aragonese, Naples contained a great concentration of bureaucrats and nobility, as well as a commercial and financial bourgeoisie who brought strong demand for luxury items. The presence of the court as well as that of foreign trade communities attracted artists from abroad, contributing to the flourishing of ‘minor arts’ such as textile production and luxury carpentry.28 In the fifteenth century, the patronage of Alfonso il Magnanimo (1442–58) attracted Valencian ceramists of Arabic descent, who brought the technique of baking colours.

Luigi Mosca, Napoli e l’arte ceramica dal XIII al XX secolo (Naples, 1908; repr. 1963). Guido Donatone, ‘La maiolica’, in Giuseppe Galasso and Rosario Romeo, eds, Storia del Mezzogiorno (15 vols, Naples, 1991), vol. 11, pp. 699–723. 25 Mosca, Napoli, pp. 40–43. 26 See the ‘Index of artists’ in the category ‘masters of cotto, majolicai, figulinai and ceramists’ in Gaetano A.G. Filangieri, Documenti per la storia le arti e le industrie delle province napoletane (6 vols, Naples, 1891; repr. 2002), vol. 5, pp. 558–60. 27 The production of tiles, stimulated by the great elite and religious demand for majolica as floor material, was pre-eminent. But there was also the production of decorative dishes and, from the seventeenth century, of jars for pharmacies. The producers of tiles were called riggiolari, while the producers of potteries were called rovagnari, or faenzari. 28 Elio Catello, ‘Introduzione allo studio delle arti decorative nel Mezzogiorno’, in Giuseppe Galasso and Rosario Romeo, eds, Storia del Mezzogiorno (Naples, 1991), vol. 11, pp. 571–84. 23 24

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Another main pull factor for generic migration flows from the provinces was that of the tax and grain privileges enjoyed by Neapolitans.29 It was this huge migration that made Naples the third biggest city in Europe between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.30 The migration flows of specialized artisans from the provinces, however, seem to have followed a different dynamic.31 For the artisans from Castelli, who began to play a pivotal role in this flow of migrating skills from the seventeenth century, geographic factors were decisive. Mostly targeted at the Neapolitan market, Castelli ceramics were indeed exposed to competition from products from other towns of Central and Northern Italy and from abroad, mainly because of the incidence of costs and risk of transport to Naples. Perhaps it was this economic constraint that lay behind the increasing migration from Castelli to Naples recorded since the sixteenth century.32 Conversely, for the artisans from Vietri, it was the proximity to the capital city that encouraged migration.33 It has been remarked that migration is in itself a process of selection.34 That insight seems quite pertinent in this case, as the capital city was indeed a magnet 29 Claudia Petraccone, Napoli dal Cinquecento all’Ottocento. Problemi di storia demografica e sociale (Naples, 1974). About privileges of Naples inhabitants, see: Piero Ventura, ‘Privilegio di cittadinanza, mobilità sociale e istituzioni statali a Napoli tra Cinque e Seicento’, in Società italiana di demografia storica, ed., Diseguaglianze: stratificazione e mobilità sociale nelle popolazioni italiane dal sec. XIV agli inizi del secolo XX (2 vols, Bologna, 1997), vol. 2, pp. 515–30. 30 In the first half of the sixteenth century, the Spanish sovereign Philip II decided not to obstruct migration flows. Marino Berengo, L’Europa delle città. Il volto della società urbana europea tra Medioevo ed Età moderna (Turin, 1999), p. 37. 31 See for a general view, Giovanni Pizzorusso, ‘Migrazioni di lavoro: la penisola italiana in età moderna’, in Storia d’Italia, Annale 24, Migrazioni (Turin, 2009), pp. 41–54. And also David Jacoby, ‘Migration of Merchants and Craftsmen: A Mediterranean Perspective (12th– 15th Century)’, in Simonetta Cavaciocchi, ed., Le migrazioni in Europa. Secc. XIII–XVIII. Atti della XV settimana di Studi 3–8 maggio 1993 (Florence, 1994), pp. 533–60. 32 Brunamonte Pompei from Castelli opened a jar shop at the end of the sixteenth century. His family name is linked to innovations in the ‘compendiario’ style characterized by the use of a white glaze for the manufacture of ceramics. After the establishment of the free port in Naples in 1628, migration increased, and in the 1630s Zerbino Cappelletti and Filippo Pardo opened their shops at the Magdalene Bridge (Ponte della Maddalena). Paola Pierucci, ‘Produzione e commercio delle ceramiche di Castelli in età moderna’, Proposte e ricerche, 59 (2007): p. 253. Paola Pierucci, ‘Gli imprenditori della ceramica’, in Franco Amatori and Andrea Colli, Imprenditorialità e sviluppo economico. Il caso italiano (secc. XIII– XX), Atti del Convegno Società italiana degli Storici Economici, Università Bocconi, 14–15 novembre 2008 (Milan, 2009): pp. 246–56. 33 Aniello Tesauro, Maestri cretari e faenzari a Vietri tra Cinquecento e Seicento (Salerno, 1991), pp. 57–8. 34 Massimo Livi Bacci, In cammino. Breve storia delle migrazioni (Bologna, 2010), p. 23.

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chiefly for those artisans looking for remuneration and wider acknowledgement of the quality of their work. It is worth noting that in the pre-industrial age, craft migration, that is, the circulation of human capital, was the main factor in the spreading of technical know-how because of the lack of codified knowledge.35 Commercial networks and migration flows were the vehicles of new patterns of consumption and production. In the middle of the sixteenth century, for example, the invention of faience,36 which was imported for elite consumption in Naples, was quickly imitated by Neapolitan artisans, and indeed they changed their names from cretari to faenzari.37 But the local evolution of style and methods of production reflected the presence of artisans from different traditions. In the seventeenth century, the Tuscan style, brought by artisans from there, spread as quickly as that imported from Umbria and Marche,38 whereas the increasing numbers of Genoese merchants in the Mediterranean commercial networks introduced the baroque taste for Turkish and Eastern decorations. The cosmopolitanism of Naples as the vice-royal capital made it a melting pot of techniques and styles, and Neapolitan manufacturing began to develop its own original style to the extent that pottery became an export item from the second half of the seventeenth century. While we know much about migration flows, we know less about systems of transmission of skills. The number of riggiolari, or brick manufacturers, grew in the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries because of an increasing demand for majolica as a floor material. They settled in clusters in the peripheral area of Lavinaio, where there was a ditch whose water was used for the processing of clay. The closeness of the beach also enabled easy access to clay from the islands in the Gulf of Naples. The baking of bricks required big furnaces and big factories, most of which belonged to religious institutions. Work organization was complex and characterized by a clear division of tasks.39 In turn, it is not clear whether there was a strong division between brick and pottery manufacturers. A brick manufacturer could also produce dishes and vases, whereas pottery manufacturers used smaller furnaces that were not suitable for the production of bricks. During the 35 Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, Journal of Economic History, 58/3 (1998): pp. 684–713; Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents, and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge. Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age’, Technology and Culture, 45 (2004): pp. 569–89; Carlo M. Cipolla, Storia economica dell’Europa preindustriale (Bologna, 1997), p. 188. 36 The white glazed ceramic invented in Faenza during the sixteenth century. 37 Donatone, La maiolica, p. 703. 38 In the 1620s a ceramics factory, which employed artisans from Casteldurante in Umbria, was established in Naples (Chiaia) by a society funded by a Neapolitan master from Gubbio. Donatone, La maiolica, p. 710. 39 Gennaro Borrelli, ‘Le riggiole napoletane del Settecento. Tecnica ed organizzazione sociale’, Napoli nobilissima, XVI/V (1977): pp. 161–76; XVI/VI (1977): pp. 218–31.

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seventeenth century, the so-called rovagnari, manufacturers of clay kitchenware, were scattered in various areas including the city centre.40 In the eighteenth century the importance of pottery manufacturers grew while that of brick manufacturers declined, due to the growing baroque taste for marble instead of majolica. Pottery manufacturers thus began to concentrate in the peripheral area of the Magdalene Bridge, not far from Lavinaio. It seems that faience was also made by glassmakers,41 who had very strong corporative organizations and whose role in ceramics manufacturing was connected to the technical precision of majolica (clay painted with glass paste). None of these jobs are recorded as being organized into craft guilds. There are no records of any kind of guilds or brotherhoods in the archives,42 nor in the lists of trades compiled by the nineteenth-century historians studying the pre-industrial age.43 We have no conclusive explanation for this absence.44 One can simply argue that the prevalence of migrant craftsmen in small numbers was not favourable to establishing a guild. Art historians’ research also underlines the role of single dynasties of non-native artisans in the transmission of skills, and an absence of guilds was therefore a common feature of the ceramic artisans in the smaller towns from where most of them came. However, this does not mean that they did not have complex, acknowledged rules for apprenticeships. In Vietri, for example, apprenticeships were regulated by contracts between the master and the young person, or his father. The master committed himself to teach the craft and to give the apprentice room and board, and sometimes also to assist him in case of illness; the apprentice pledged to be honest and accepted that he would be punished in case of absence. The apprenticeship usually lasted five years, and at the end, the master presented the apprentice with a certificate of skills and a 40 In a 1692 fiscal record we found 11 rovagnari. Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli Vittorio Emanuele III, Situatione fatta dall’illustrissimo signor Portulano di questa fedelissima città nell’anno 1692, di cacciate e pennate delle botteghe, posti fissi, commestibili, barracche ed altro (Naples, 1692). 41 In some notary documents, Pernamonte de Pompeo from Naples is registered as selling basins, dressers and faience jugs with Minico de Pietro, defined as ‘crystal manufacturers’. Mosca, Napoli, p. 65; Filangieri, Documenti, p. 281. In the statutes of the glassmakers’ guild there is no mention of the manufacture of majolica. Archivio di Stato di Napoli (ASN), Cappellano Maggiore, f. 1183/66. 42 ASN, Cappellano Maggiore, Statutes of guilds, inventories 86–7. 43 ‘Indice delle capitolazioni o statuti di artisti napoletani raccolti dall’avv. Francesco Migliaccio’, Archivio storico campano, 11 (1892–93): pp. 345–71. Unfortunately, many documents were lost in the twentieth century. 44 Some scholars argue that the scarcity of sources compiled in the nineteenth century was due to a climate of prejudice towards the so-called ‘minor arts’. Guido Donatone, La maiolica napoletana del Rinascimento (Naples, 1993), p. 54. This hypothesis is questionable because the absence of guilds was noted by the historian who compiled the list. Mosca, Napoli, p. 42.

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set of clothes as a gift.45 Written contracts regulated the apprenticeship and were the prevalent tool for reducing transaction costs in the relationship between the master and the apprentice. Eighteenth-century Fashion and the Advent of Porcelain Between the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, the taste for exotic goods played an important role in the making of the European consumer.46 The most recent historiography, indeed, has noted how the Industrial Revolution that took place in England in the eighteenth century was initially the result of a process of emulative innovation, triggered by the wider social demand for exotic goods, items and drinks that had previously been the preserve of the aristocracy.47 The reallocation of family income to the purchasing of unnecessary goods48 explains the increasing demand that drove technological creativity toward ‘new’ items that were cheaper copies of imported luxuries. This process was often supported by central policies of import substitution that favoured national manufacturing.49 Among these Eastern import items, porcelain was definitely the most attractive to European consumers. Imported first by the Portuguese and then by the Dutch, the highly desirable hard translucent ceramic used for the manufacture of light thermal-proof items, ideal for hot drinks, became a status symbol all over Europe. The taste for porcelain immediately exercised a strong influence upon the private manufactures of faience, such as the Delftware factories in the Netherlands, and the Italian producers of faience themselves; these imitations were so successful in most European markets that they led to attempts by sovereigns and private entrepreneurs to imitate the original hardpaste porcelain. The first attempt by a central government to reproduce real Chinese-style porcelain was by Augustus II, Prince Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, and his lead was soon followed throughout Europe.50 Tesauro, Maestri, pp. 58–63. Maxine Berg, ‘Asian Luxuries and the Making of the European Consumer Revolution’, in Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, eds, Luxury in the Eighteenth century. Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods (Basingstoke, 2003), pp. 228–44. 47 Maxine Berg, ‘From Imitation to Invention: Creating Commodities in EighteenthCentury Britain’, The Economic History Review, 55/1 (2002): pp. 1–30. 48 Jan De Vries, ‘The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution’, The Journal of Economic History, 54/2 (1994): pp. 249–70. 49 On this position, see also Styles, ‘Product’, p. 128. Innovation in London occurred through a combination of imports and invention, associated with a process of progressive import substitution. 50 Irma Hoyt Reed, ‘The European Hard-Paste Porcelain Manufacture of the Eighteenth Century’, The Journal of Modern History, 8/3 (1936): pp. 273–96. She counted about 84 towns 45 46

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There are doubts as to whether these royal factories were established for artistic or economic purposes. Charles of Bourbon aimed at increasing the international reputation of the crown through a policy of promotion of the arts on his accession in 1734, and the royal institution of a porcelain factory in Naples was mainly due to reasons of prestige.51 Established in 1741, the porcelain factory at Capodimonte was closed on Charles’ departure to Spain in 1759. It was later reopened by his successor Ferdinand IV in 1771. Carefully studied by art historians,52 the Capodimonte factory has been represented as a chapter in the history of art and design, rather than economics, because it was not managed in an efficient and economic way. However, the representational policy of the monarchy was combined with the mercantilist aims of the new economic policies during the first, so-called ‘heroic’ phase of the rule of Charles of Bourbon.53 The reopening of Capodimonte in 1771 by Charles’ son Ferdinand IV was part of a phase of great reforming zeal in Bourbon policy.54 Between the two royal initiatives, there was a third, if rather mediocre, attempt to establish a with porcelain factories at the end of the century. Most of them were established between the years 1745 and 1785; see ibid., p. 273. 51 Franco Strazzullo, Le manifatture d’arte di Carlo di Borbone (Naples, 1979); Gerard Labrot, ‘La città ai tempi dei Borbone: orgoglio dinastico ed illusioni illuministiche’, in Giuseppe Galasso and Rosario Romeo, Storia del Mezzogiorno: Aspetti e problemi del medioevo e dell’età moderna 1 (Naples, 1991), pp. 261–8. 52 There is a wide range of sources for Capodimonte, enriched by many catalogues from museum exhibitions. Of note for the era of Charles of Bourbon, Soprintendenza per i beni artistici e storici di napoli, Porcellane di capodimonte. La real fabbrica di Carlo di Borbone 1743–1759 (Naples, 1993); and for the era of Ferdinand IV, Angela C. Perrotti, La porcellana della real fabbrica ferdinandea 1771–1806 (Naples, 1978). Angela C. Perrotti, ‘Le reali manifatture borboniche’, in Galasso and Romeo, eds, Storia, pp. 649–95. More attention is paid to aspects of work organization by Silvana Musella Guida, ‘La Real Fabbrica della Porcellana di Capodimonte: la sperimentazione, la struttura produttiva, la commercializzazione del prodotto’, in Cesare De Seta, ed., Manifatture in Campania (Naples, 1983), pp. 68–107; Silvana Musella Guida, ‘The Business Organization of the Bourbon Factories. Master-craftsmen, Crafts and Families in the Capodimonte Porcelain Works and the Royal Factory at San Leucio’, California Italian Studies, 3/1 (2012): pp. 1–30. In the end, we owe much to the erudite historiography of the end of the nineteenth century, as this used the archival sources that were sadly lost in 1943, and these will be cited henceforth. 53 Anna M. Rao, Il Regno di Napoli nel Settecento (Naples, 1983). Roberto Tufano, ‘Il contesto politico del tardo mercantilismo francese e napoletano’, in Biagio Salvemini, ed., Lo spazio tirrenico nella ‘grande trasformazione’. Merci, Uomini e istituzioni nel Settecento e nel primo Ottocento: atti del convegno internazionale di Bari 17–18 novembre 2006 (Bari, 2009), pp. 373–400. Maria Natale, ‘Per una ‘pronta e spedita’ giustizia. Il Supremo magistrato del Commercio di Napoli e le sue ascendenze francesi’, in Biagio Salvemini, ed., Lo spazio tirrenico nella ‘grande trasformazione’, pp. 417–40. 54 Angela C. Perrotti, La porcellana.

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factory for the fine but more popular majolica (1753–55) in Caserta, in the new royal residence modelled on Versailles.55 This initiative shows that economic and commercial targets became more important in Bourbon policies, in accordance with the ideals of enlightened reformism. However, the experiment in Caserta was short-lived, and the attempts to turn the Capodimonte factory into a business came late in 1799, after the Revolution and on the eve of its definitive crisis, mainly for political reasons.56 So, the production of luxury goods that replaced the expensive imported items from the East was inspired by a desire for greater prestige on the part of the Bourbon monarchy, as well as by the mercantilist aim to reduce the deficit in the balance of trade. The experiments, the search for materials and information about the technique of making ‘original porcelain’, form a fascinating chapter in the political, diplomatic and industrial history of the eighteenth century. ‘Original porcelain’, as well as other Chinese items, continued to be much sought-after by the aristocracy, whereas its imitation in faience contributed to the creation of a socially wider market that was exploitable for the new European manufacturers. The role of demand seems fundamental to understanding the dynamic of innovation insofar as growth, ongoing or potential, gave the necessary incentive to introduce a new form of technology, which was an expensive process in itself.57 In the case of porcelain and ceramics manufacturing, the incentive of the market was so great in countries like Britain that it made private risk worth taking. Elsewhere, for example in the Kingdom of Naples, the monarchy took the initiative, but this does not mean that there was no demand in Naples for exotic luxuries. The taste for Eastern styles, such as for Cineserie, both original Chinese items as well as local products in a Chinese style, was already widespread in Naples in the seventeenth58 and at the beginning of the eighteenth century.59 It is to be noted that there were also private attempts to introduce porcelain Guido Donatone, ‘Documenti per la real fabbrica di maioliche di Caserta (1754– 55)’, in Nicola Spinosa, ed., Le arti figurative a Napoli nel Settecento (Naples, 1979). 56 Only at the end of Ferdinand IV’s experiment, after the Revolution of 1799, when a reorganization of the destroyed and ransacked factory was necessary, did the director Domenico Venuti suggest a new management style inspired by economic standards, envisaging the need for an industrial transformation of the factory. ASN, Casa Reale Antica, f. 1533. 57 Meir Kohn, How and Why Economies Develop and Grow: Lessons from Preindustrial Europe and China (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~mkohn/how.html, 2008), chapter 4, pp. 1–6. 58 Giovanni Muto, ‘Le tante città di una capitale: Napoli nella prima età moderna’, Storia Urbana, 123/32 (2009): pp. 19–54; Giuseppe Galasso, ‘Aspetti della megalopoli napoletana nei primi secoli dell’età moderna’, in Claude Nicolet, Robert Ilbert and Jean-Charles Depaule, eds, Mégapoles méditerranéennes. Géographie urbaine rétrospective (Paris, 2000), pp. 565–74. 59 Gennaro Borrelli, ‘La borghesia napoletana della seconda metà del Seicento e la sua influenza sull’evoluzione del gusto da Barocco a Rococò’, Ricerche sul Seicento napoletano. 55

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factories in the kingdom before the institution of Capodimonte, but they were unsuccessful.60 No individual entrepreneur had the financial and managerial capability to introduce similar innovations. The leading role of the monarchy in introducing porcelain can also be explained by the cost factors associated with porcelain. The Management of Innovation Porcelain was the result of an innovation of both product and process. Its uniqueness compared to the faience made in Europe lay mainly in the composition of its paste,61 and second in the particular attention paid to the firing process, which took place at high temperatures, giving the final product its unique resistance. Therefore, innovation came from something different to the empirical experiments typical of traditional technical progress; it needed a wider ‘epistemic’ basis.62 In other words, information about the materials used for the paste and knowledge of their characteristics was needed in order to be able to get a similar, if not identical, product. At the same time, the manufacture and decorating of porcelain required expertise, just like in the faience tradition. In order to overcome these constraints, the monarchy committed its whole diplomatic and administrative apparatus to the aim of making its experiment work, through both access to knowledge of the recipes required to make the paste63 and to the skills necessary for experimentation and working. Royal Consulates were involved to gather information, but first of all they had to Saggi e documenti per la storia dell’arte (Milan, 1989), pp. 7–28; Elio Catello, Cineserie e turcherie nel ’700 napoletano (Naples, 1992). 60 In 1741 in Messina, Andrea Minutolo wrote to the King announcing his successful manufacture of porcelain in the French style and asked permission to use the brand of His Majesty. At the same time a manufacturer, paid by the King, wrote to him complaining that Minutolo wanted ‘to steal his art’, obliging him to transmit the secrets of the art to his apprentices. ASN, Segreteria d’Azienda, I inventario, f. 12, fs 89. Minutolo is reported to have been given exclusivity, but with lower-quality porcelain, by Musella Guida, La Real, p. 92. 61 The main elements of porcelain were two kinds of clay: kaolin, an infusible fine white clay, providing it with the necessary hardness, and the so-called petuntse, containing quartz and feldspar, providing its translucency. 62 Joel Mokyr, I doni di Atena. Le origini storiche dell’economia della conoscenza (Bologna, 2004). 63 In Naples, too, the first source of information was the popular manuscript by Pere Dentrecolles. Dentrecolles lived in China in the early eighteenth century and seems to have been the first to describe the manufacture of Chinese porcelain and to reveal the composition of the paste. ASN, Segreteria d’Azienda, Manuscript du pere Dentrecolles, s. c.

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contact masters and artisans who could teach the know-how, and, in some cases, to invite them to the Neapolitan court by offering large salaries. The Neapolitan Consul in Venice, Gabriele Rombenchi, bribed manufacturers to get the secret of their composition, offering them 990 fiorini. In 1741, the Secretary of State Joachim de Montealegre was engaged to pay two German manufacturers, who worked in the factory of Ginori64 as masters, promising them a higher salary. In 1742, the Neapolitan minister at the Viennese court, Prince of Ottaviano, negotiated to send some porcelain manufacturers secretly to Naples, paying them 234 zecchini. This venture may have been unsuccessful, however.65 The internal administrative machinery was mobilized to look for materials for the composition of the paste throughout the country. Montealegre, who personally directed the factory at Capodimonte, sent messages to local departments to invite them to search for tarsus and hard stones, stimulating an enthusiastic response. Various samples of chalk and clay came from the provinces of Calabria, Sicily and Abruzzo. Clay and hard stones were sent from Chieti along with a report by a well-known manufacturer of ceramics from Castelli, Aurelio Grue, who described in detail the results of his experiments in the production of white and resistant earthenware, very similar to porcelain.66 The history of Capodimonte was marked by research. A mineralogical committee was established and new technicians were sent to study mineralogy abroad, principally in Germany.67 In terms of recipes and materials, it was necessary to combine the ability to make the former and the skill needed to handle the latter. The chemical knowledge that had recently been employed in factories had to be combined with technical and artistic knowledge. Therefore, the skills of artisans and technicians who worked in the factory were essential to accomplish the desired goals. Notwithstanding information, industrial secrets and the discovery of better materials, the paste made by the first Tuscan chemist, Livio Schepers, once an employee at the Royal Mint, was clearly mediocre. The technician was soon supported by his son, who seems to have achieved better results, readily recognized by the king; the dramatic history of the jealousy and 64 Ginori was one of the first private porcelain factories in Europe. It was founded in Tuscany in 1737 by the Marquis Carlo Ginori, who brought skilled artisans and chemists with him on his return from Vienna. See Laura Casprini Gentile, La porcellana a Firenze: storia e tecnica tra artigianato e industria (Florence, 2007). 65 Camillo Minieri Riccio, Gli artefici e i miniatori della real fabbrica della porcellana di Napoli. Memoria letta all’accademia pontaniana nella tornata del 3 e 17 marzo 1878 (Naples, 1878), pp. 4–5. 66 Camillo Minieri Riccio, Notizie intorno alle ricerche fatte dalla Real Fabbrica della Porcellana di Napoli per rinvenire materiali a migliorare e perfezionare sempre più la manifattura della pasta della porcellana, le sue dorature e le miniature. Memoria letta all’accademia pontaniana nella tornata del 10 febbraio 1878 (Naples, 1878). 67 ASN, Casa Reale Antica, f. 1533.

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of the boycotts the young man suffered from his father are a clear sign of how family loyalties came second to identifying expertise.68 Such a huge organization of production had its results: kaolin was found in the local area and porcelain created, though in this first phase it was a French-style, soft-paste porcelain, not a hard-paste one. Capodimonte itself became a school, both because the cooperation with foreign artists allowed native apprentices to increase their knowledge and because proper schools were opened, such as the Modellers’ School in 1749. Charles of Bourbon viewed this creation as his own property, and cautiously took it with him on his return to Spain in 1759. The factory at Capodimonte, whose building was designed with separate workshops for the artists and big kilns, retained the hybrid character of porcelain-processing, as it was partially artisanal, partly scientific.69 However, it was destroyed, with all its contents, models and kilns, when the artisans were ‘deported’ to Spain with Charles. In the beginning of its history, Capodimonte’s relationship with the native manufacturing tradition was ambivalent. The technical and artistic ambition to make a product that was comparable to European porcelain, particularly that from Germany, was pursued by attracting foreign manufacturers, above all, such as the painter Giovanni Caselli from Parma, who directed the factory; the modeller Giuseppe Gricc from Florence; Pietro Chevalier, a gold miner working in Dresden, employed in 1747 with a remunerative agreement including travel expenses and a substantial pension;70 and Sigismondo Fischer from Dresden.71 Neapolitan majolica artisans were viewed with suspicion. In 1758, a majolica master from Castelli, from the Grue family, applied to the royal factory to be met with the scornful response from the director that decorating majolica was not like decorating porcelain.72 Therefore, artisans from the native tradition of faenzari, like Carlo Coccorese, a Neapolitan educated at the school of Francescantonio Grue from Castelli,73 were in the minority. In the second phase of the history of the factory (1771–1806), launched by Charles’ successor Ferdinand IV in 1771, the recruiting policy was less distrustful of those with local skills. Ferdinand continued to hire foreign artisans Minieri Riccio, Gli artefici, pp. 6–8. Musella Guida, La Real, p. 87. 70 Minieri Riccio, Gli artefici, p. 16. 71 Ludovico De La Ville sur Yllon, ‘La Real Fabbrica di Porcellana in Capodimonte durante il Regno di Carlo III’, Napoli nobilissima, III/IX (1894): pp. 131–8. 72 Minieri Riccio, Gli artefici, p. 26. 73 Francescantonio Grue from Castelli graduated in theology in Urbino. He first worked in the Bussi factory, then returned to Castelli in 1716. He led a protest against the local feudatories and was taken to Naples and imprisoned in the Vicaria. Set free 10 years later, he stayed in Naples and funded a school of majolica. He returned to Castelli shortly before his death. Mosca, Napoli, pp. 66–74. 68 69

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for the processing phases that required specific knowledge of certain processes and that could not be found in the local tradition (such as steel production),74 or for their excellent artistic skills.75 Apart from these foreign artisans, however, the recruiting of manufacturers was more strictly connected than in the past to the local tradition of majolica and earthenware manufacturing and of the minor arts in general. Many Neapolitan painters and miniaturists were hired, some of whom had been apprentices with foreign painters,76 others in the royal academies and in the other royal factories.77 The royal factory also hired artisans working in private factories, which, as we will see, flourished in the 1760s.78 The attractiveness of factories to both foreign and native artisans was surely due to favourable conditions in terms of wages and benefits. The opportunity of a fixed salary, though not high, and benefits for illness and disability, often granted by sovereign patronage, was enough to withstand the hard work in the factory.79 Aside from its mainly artistic inspiration, the long sovereign experiment produced two different economic effects: first, it built up a place where skills, scientific knowledge and empiric know-how were transmitted to a generation of 74 Most of the technicians for the steel production and the planners of new furnaces were hired from Germany. ASN, Casa Reale Antica, ff. 1532–3. 75 Many painters and experimenters in successful new kinds of porcelain came from Venice and Florence, where important private porcelain factories had been founded, like the already cited Ginori in Florence, and Cozzi in Venice. See: Cinzia Piglione and Francesca Tasso, Arti minori (Torino, 2000), p. 268. About vitality in the Venetian ceramic industry, see: Giovanni Favero, ‘Old and New Ceramics. Manufacturers, Products and Markets in the Venetian Republic in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in Paola Lanaro, ed., At the Centre of the Old World. Trade and Manufacturing in Venice and the Venetian Mainland, 1400–1800 (Toronto, 2006), pp. 271–315. From the Cozzi factory came Filippo Tagliolini, a master modeller, who led a neoclassical turn in Neapolitan manufacturing. 76 Like Antonio Cioffi, a miniaturist from Naples, who did his apprenticeship with the Saxon painter Fischer, and had already worked in Capodimonte before Charles left for Spain. 77 These included Nicola Pecorella, interior sculptor for the King, Gaetano Toscano, apprentice at the academy of San Carlo alle Mortelle, Antonio Cipullo from Palermo, employed at the royal tapestry, and Luigi del Giudice, painter, famous for his gouaches, and the already mentioned Carlo Coccorese, Neapolitan, imitator of the ceramics of Castelli, manufacturer in Capodimonte during the reign of Charles of Bourbon. Painters at the royal factory also included Francescantonio Grue’s son, Saverio, and Eusanio d’Eusani, both from Castelli. 78 Pietro Lefeve from France was hired at the royal factory after working in a faience factory at the Magdalene Bridge. Nicola Giustiniani’s son, Giovanni, and Giuseppe Massa, from Cerreto Sannita, a small town near Benevento, applied to the royal factory on the basis of their experience as manufacturers of majolica and porcelain. 79 Most of the documents found in the archival binder classified as ‘Practices about the workers of Capodimonte factory’ were applications for pensions or grants by the workers and their families. The majority were not refused. ASN, Casa Reale Antica, ff 1532–4.

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native manufacturers who were ready to exploit them outside the factory; and second, it unwillingly widened the market for ceramic items. The Spreading of Innovation among Private Manufacturers The relationship between innovation and the urban market lay not only in increasing taste for cineserie and the subsequent demand for imported goods, which led to the establishment of local substitutive factories, but the production from the royal factory conversely led to increasing consumption. A study of a sample of 100 post mortem inventories during the century shows that the use of porcelain and ceramics also spread to the middle class in the second half of the century.80 Consumption of earthenware and porcelain went together with the fad of drinking chocolate, which became a real passion for the whole of Neapolitan society. There was, of course, a remarkable stratification of consumption: the products of the royal factory, above all the collection of serial statuettes, decorated the houses of aristocrats and rich merchants, as well as porcelain imported from China and Saxony. More widespread was the ownership of English earthenware, and most popular were those pieces defined as creta del ponte from local factories.81 The latter, which was produced in Naples, is often mentioned in the inventories of the lower-middle classes, and at the end of the century it seems to have replaced base metals, tin and copper, as the raw material for kitchenware. It can be supposed that the aristocratic fashion for porcelain contributed to stimulate the production of generic earthenware and faience as a cheaper imitation of the first. Indeed, the first experimental porcelain of Capodimonte itself, when defective, was often sold at very low prices.82 Furthermore, several fakes began to circulate in Naples: in 1795 Ferdinand prohibited the production and sale of porcelain statuettes modelled on the royal ones, giving exclusive sale rights to Vincenzo Talani, but complaints about the sale of counterfeit statuettes continued to arrive at the Supremo Consiglio.83 In the second half of the century, new earthenware and faience manufactures were set up in the city. In a list of arts and crafts compiled for fiscal purposes in 1772, we find the class of ‘pionatari and faenzari’,84 which was absent from a The research is collected in: Clemente, Il lusso. Literally ‘earthenware from the bridge’, where bridge means the Magdalene Bridge (Ponte della Maddalena), on the east side of the city, where immigrant artisans from Castelli lived in the seventeenth century. 82 ASN, Casa Reale Antica, f. 1532. 83 Ibid., f. 1533. 84 ASN, Ministero delle Finanze, f. 279. 80 81

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similar list in 1692,85 in addition to the class of rovagnari, which already existed in 1692. Another new class was that of venditori di cristalli e porcellane (glass and porcelain sellers), including both those of the royal factories and the importers of fine glass from Venice and of European porcelain.86 Traces of the relevant development of the manufacture of this local faience and ‘half porcelain’ can be found in post mortem inventories, and in their significance as export items.87 A 1782 document that seems to attest to the strength of the faience workshops contains a request from some faenzari labourers to the Chamber of Santa Chiara to institute a mutual aid bank in case of inability or illness. In this report they maintained they were forced to accept low salaries by ‘the few owners of workshops manufacturing faience’88 (there were about 10 in the city). In a list of Neapolitan shops of 1807, we can find 27 faience factories located in the commercial area of Via Toledo and on the east side of the city, between Borgo Loreto and the Magdalene Bridge, where masters from Castelli had founded their workshops. This area experienced a new boost in the 1760s.89 We know some details of this process. Nicola Giustiniani,90 a manufacturer of majolica, moved from Cerreto Sannita to Naples in 1760.91 His son Giovanni applied for a job in the royal factory many years later. Giustiniani’s experience in the city was not new, because Ignazio (presumed to be his father) had made a majolica floor for a Neapolitan church in the 1720s. The new Giustiniani factory was created under auspicious conditions: Capodimonte had been closed and Ferdinand’s factory had not yet been set up. The Neapolitan market was completely at his disposal and had grown so much that Tanucci had been bound to lower the duty on porcelain imports in 1762, because local production was unable to satisfy demand.92 Giustiniani was a skilful experimenter: in his attempt to imitate porcelain he introduced a Patt muffle kiln (‘forno a muffola Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, Situatione. Ferdinand ordered a census of the manufacturers in 1772, amounting to 11 overall. They were three Neapolitans selling ‘low-quality porcelain’, two French manufacturers selling imported porcelain, two Germans and a man named Geremi Sejidel, who was more than likely a foreigner. See Angela C. Perrotti, from Camillo Minieri Riccio, Delle porcellane della Real Fabbrica di Napoli, delle vendite fattene e delle loro tariffe. Memoria letta all’accademia pontaniana nella tornata del 7 aprile 1878 (Naples, 1878). 87 In 1782, the Prince of Marsiconuovo got a franchise for the export of various products to America, among which there were 40 boxes of ‘porcelain from the bridge’ (creta del ponte). ASN, Ministero delle Finanze, f. 1355. 88 ASN, Cappellano Maggiore, f. 1200/80. 89 ASN, Ministero delle Finanze, f. 2327. 90 It seems that the Giustiniani family came from Castelli, too. Tesauro, Maestri, p. 57. 91 Mario Rotili, La manifattura Giustiniani (Benevento, 1967). 92 Letters from Tanucci to Carlo, 3 August 1762, in Rosaria Mincuzzi, ed., Lettere di Bernardo Tanucci a Carlo III di Borbone (1759–1776) (Rome, 1969). 85 86

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del Patt’), creating a fine earthenware comparable to that produced in England by the famous Josiah Wedgwood. Giustiniani went on to build other workshops during the first half of the nineteenth century.93 The history of art considers him the heir to the tradition of the royal factory, not only because of his style, but also because he recruited several former Capodimonte artisans. In this way, the royal factory provided the faenzari with experience. Other examples are Ferdinand Miller from Germany, who had left the factory of S. Peterborough for the Capodimonte factory in 1781,94 and Pasquale Mollica from the royal factory, who was hired as a master in the Giustiniani factory and subsequently opened a factory of his own in 1842.95 Gesualdo Fuina (1755–1822), another well-known ceramist from Castelli and one of Saverio Grue’s students, was also a key player in developing innovation, when the decline of the elite taste for porcelain went hand-in-hand with the widening of taste for English earthenware. He used reverberating furnaces and, above all, wrote a treaty on the composition of colours.96 In 1785, another factory was opened at the Magdalene Bridge by Gennaro and Nicola del Vecchio. It was sponsored by Ferdinand himself with 18,000 ducats for the production of majolica and half-porcelain.97 The latter was not real porcelain because it was made up of claystone and not of kaolin from Ischia, but the result was visually pleasing and similar to porcelain. Galanti, in his famous description of Naples, emphasized this ceramic quality and the merit of the king in supporting its production.98 These factories continued to multiply and flourish until the 1830s,99 increasingly aiming at imitations of English earthenware, which was widespread 93 ASN, Supremo Consiglio di Cancelleria, f. 30, G-94, 1819. Biagio Giustiniani, who may be one of Nicola’s sons, applied for a licence to manufacture ‘stoves of clay on the model by Francklin’ and ‘plant jars in the most rustic clay of the Kingdom like urns, ares, tripods and other ancient models painted in the colours of the different metals’. The licence was granted because of the positive opinion of the Committee of Arts and Manufactures. A second manufacturer of faience, named Giacinto di Bernardo, opposed this licence; the council replied to the second opposition that Giustiniani’s licence was for the use of colour, and that di Bernardo could freely go on with his manufacture of clay. 94 Luigi De Mauri, L’amatore di maioliche e porcellane (Milan, 1988). 95 Mosca, Napoli, pp. 158–61. 96 Filangieri, Documenti, pp. 236–7. 97 Dell’industria ceramica nelle province napoletane. Relazione letta al Reale Istituto di Incoraggiamento nelle tornate accademiche di febbraio e marzo 1865 (Naples, 1865), p. 36. 98 Giuseppe M. Galanti, Breve descrizione della città di Napoli e del suo contorno (Naples, 1792, repr. 2000), pp. 209–10. 99 Migliuolo, Colonnese, Maiorini were the best-known artisans in that period. Giuseppe Novi, ‘I fabbricanti di maiolica e terraglia in Napoli. Memoria letta nella tornata del 21 settembre 1879’, Atti dell’Accademia pontaniana, vol. XIV (Naples, 1881): pp. 165–89.

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among the middle class and a symbol of the industrialization of ceramic manufacturing. However, the competition with the cheaper and more resistant English earthenware, emphasized by the policy of free trade,100 led to a crisis and the disappearance of these factories after the 1850s. The decline of the local art of ceramics was connected to its strong artisanal character, and the difficulties it experienced in keeping up with scientific and industrial progress.101 Turning Back to the Role of the Capital City The case of ceramics analysed in this article is an example of technical innovation that occurs in the context of the capital city, and indeed, has the city as its raison d’être. Innovation was made possible by the accumulation of human capital and technical knowledge. Naples drew on an inexhaustible reservoir of skilled workers from the provinces, who promoted the development of the ceramics industry from the sixteenth century onwards. The development of this craftsmanship, with its original stylistic features, was an exact product of the mix of styles and skills brought by artisans from different backgrounds. Naples, as the seat of a court with its widespread consumption of luxury, a port city and home to communities of foreign merchants, also attracted artisans and artists from abroad, from areas of excellence in ceramic production. It was a place of concentration of knowledge and information.102 The city’s role as a magnet for skilled craftsmen was not hindered at an institutional level; rather, it was favoured from the sixteenth century onwards, as Philip II adopted a clear policy of welcoming foreigners and not restricting the flow of people. Naples was a world city because it was the kingdom’s gateway for international goods from the sixteenth century onwards. It reflected consumption patterns that were increasingly oriented to foreign tastes, and, not by chance, this forced innovation towards an imitation of styles and products from the East. In this context, the sovereign experiment was just one attempt to reproduce something that had already been established in general tastes and in 100 Between 1815 and 1823, the Kingdom of Naples accorded long-established privileges to its dominant trading partners. In 1823, however, there was a protectionist turn in the trading policy of the Kingdom, which ended in 1845 with a gradual introduction of liberalization. Luigi De Matteo, Politica doganale e industrializzazione nel Mezzogiorno(1845–1849) (Naples, 1982). Many customs duties were abolished, including that on porcelain. See Mario Di Gianfrancesco, La rivoluzione dei trasporti in Italia nell’età risorgimentale. L’unificazione del mercato e la crisi del Mezzogiorno (L’Aquila, 1979), p. 164. 101 Dell’industria ceramica nelle province napoletane. Relazione letta al Reale Istituto di Incoraggiamento nelle tornate accademiche di febbraio e marzo 1865 (Naples, 1865). 102 Bernard Lepetit, ‘Gli spazi delle città’, in Maurice Aymard, ed., Storia D’Europa. Vol. IV. L’età moderna, secoli XVI–XVIII (Turin, 1995), pp. 295–326.

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the market. The success of this innovation was mainly due to the huge investment that the monarchy, like a big corporation ante litteram, made in research, which no private entrepreneurs in the kingdom could have done. Innovation could of course have different sources, including the circulation (or import) of products. Yet in order to introduce innovation, the monarchy used the same mechanism that had traditionally served the ceramics industry: migration. In the eighteenth century, the ceramics industry intensified and the movement of skilled artisans multiplied throughout the peninsula and beyond. In the pursuit of excellence, the monarchy used artisans from abroad with previous experience of testing porcelain. The urban location of the factory at Capodimonte underscores the city’s role as a site of power and the factory’s role as a tool for political representation. However, Capodimonte produced a multiplier effect in the private world of manufacturing. It expanded the market and the taste for porcelain and for lower-cost imitations, though made with the traditional faience. It created new artisans who were more or less specialized. After the first closing of Capodimonte, the private faience factories, again operated by immigrant artisans, flourished. They provided inspiration and exchanged labour and ideas with the new factory of Capodimonte, and engaged in the attempt to emulate the English style of white ceramic. Innovation continued to be based on the emergence of new tastes and on the circulation of human capital, both mechanisms that were efficiently triggered by the capital city, and notably by eighteenth-century Naples.

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Chapter 15

Innovations, Growth and Mobility in the Secondary Sector of Trieste in the Eighteenth Century Daniele Andreozzi

In the early years of the eighteenth century, the Emperor Charles VI of Habsburg decided, for strategic and economic reasons, to develop a mercantile fleet flying the Habsburg flag.1 On the oceans the task was given to the privileged Company of Ostend, but was discontinued after a few years due to pressure from England and Holland.2 In the Adriatic and the Mediterranean, among the areas controlled by the emperor, the Habsburg bureaucracy preferred to focus its efforts in the Northern Adriatic, in Trieste and Rijeka. In 1717, Charles VI, disregarding the demands of the Republic of Venice, proclaimed freedom of navigation on the Adriatic Sea and in 1719 declared the two cities free ports.3 1 Archivio di Stato di Venezia (ASV), Cinque Savi alla mercanzia (Savi), series II, 6, 2, 2 December 1723 and, 7, 3, 26 November 1718 and 31 December 1729. Daniele Andreozzi, ‘“Qual generatione di fiera si pensi di introdurre”. Spazi dei commerci e pratiche dei mercanti a Trieste e nel Litorale austriaco nei primi decenni del Settecento’, in Daniele Andreozzi, Loredana Panariti and Claudio Zaccaria, eds, Acque, Terre e spazi dei mercanti. Istituzioni, gerarchie e pratiche dello scambio dall’età antica alla modernità (Trieste, 2009), pp. 115–19. 2 On the Ostend Company, created in order to trade in East and West Indies and Africa, see: Michal Wenner, ‘The Establishment of the General Company in Ostend in the Contest of the Habsburg Maritime Plans 1714–23’, Prague Papers on the History of international Relations (2006): pp. 29–63; Gerald B. Hertz, ‘England and the Ostend Company’, The English Historical Review, 22 (1901): pp. 255–79; Georges-Henri Dumont, L’épopée de la Compagnie d’Ostende (Brussels, 2000); Ana Crespo Solana, ‘Josè Patiño Y la Compañia de Ostende’, in Ana Crespo Solana, ed., Mercaderes atlànticos. Redes del comercio flamenco y holandés entre Europa y el Caribe (Cordoba, 2009), pp. 55–75. 3 On the history of Trieste in the eighteenth century, see: Roberto Finzi and Giovanni Panjek, eds, Storia economica e sociale di Trieste, I, La città dei gruppi 1719–1918 (Trieste, 2001) and Roberto Finzi, Loredana Panariti and Giovanni Panjek, eds, Storia economica e sociale di Trieste, II, La città dei traffici 1719–1918 (Trieste, 2003); Daniele Andreozzi and Carlo Gatti, eds, Trieste e l’Adriatico. Uomini, merci e conflitti (Trieste, 2005); Daniele Andreozzi, ‘Il peso delle parole. Linguaggi di esclusione e linguaggi di inclusione nella

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In Trieste, the projects devised at the Viennese court anticipated the growth of mercantile traffic; the building of infrastructure needed for commerce, starting with that relating to the port; the creation of a fleet; the development of the shipbuilding sector; and the creation of a craft and manufacturing sector. These sectors would strive to achieve three goals: satisfying the needs generated by an expanding commercial and urban centre; sustaining the flow of merchandise through Trieste; and competing with Venice, the proudest adversary to the expansion of Habsburg power in the Adriatic. When Charles VI started his projects, Trieste had almost no commercial, manufacturing or craft sectors. There were few local merchants, and Trieste was dominated by a patriciate that limited his activities to managing the urban and port spaces and making them available to foreign merchants, counting on profits that came from the tariff imposed on merchandise in transit and from the tenure of city offices.4 There was a weak guild presence in the form of the Confraternity of Saint Nicolò. Founded by the owners and captains of ships, it had competence over shipbuilding. Its prerogatives were weak, however, and during the 1720s they were ignored without causing any protest or resistance.5 In fact, the city’s low level of economic and social development – at that time Trieste had approximately 5,000 inhabitants6 – and the close identification between patricians, the elite class and the city government left no space or opportunities for guilds.7 However, despite being the main power in the city, the patriciate was weak and possessed little wealth. It was thus unable to organize the surrounding area and to preclude access to potential competitors in urban spaces. storia di Trieste’, in Roberto Scarciglia, ed., Trieste multiculturale. Comunità a linguaggi di integrazione (Bologna, 2011), pp. 13–38. 4 On the urban patriciate, see: Carlo Gatti, ‘Uomini e politiche nella Trieste del Settecento’, in Roberto Finzi and Giovanni Panjek, eds, Storia economica e sociale di Trieste, I, La città dei gruppi 1719–1918 (Trieste, 2001), pp. 359–80. 5 Archivio di Stato di Trieste (AST) Intendenza commerciale (IC), 550 and Daniele Andreozzi, ‘Gli “urti necessari”. Dalla manifattura all’industria (1718–1914)’, in Roberto Finzi, Loredana Panariti and Giovanni Panjek, eds, Storia economica e sociale di Trieste, II, La città dei traffici 1719–1918 (Trieste, 2003), pp. 547–8. 6 Marco Breschi, Aleksej Kalc and Elisabetta Navarra, ‘La nascita della città. Storia minima della popolazione di Trieste, secc. XVIII–XIX’, in Roberto Finzi and Giovanni Panjek, eds, Storia economica e sociale di Trieste, I, La città dei gruppi 1719–1918 (Trieste, 2001), pp. 69–273. 7 On the guilds and mobility of work within the Habsburg Empire, see: Josef Ehmer, ‘Guilds in Early Modern Austria’, in Clara Núñez and Stephan R. Epstein, eds, Guilds, Economy and society (Sevilla, 1998), pp. 121–34; and Josef Ehmer, ‘Worlds of Mobility: Migration Patterns of Viennese Artisans in the 18th Century’, in Geoffrey Crossick, ed., The Artisan and the European Town 1500–1900 (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 172–99.

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Given this context, the formation of an entrepreneurial class and a workforce and the localization of skills and knowledge lay at the core of Habsburg policy. In the local arena, a complex process started that involved many actors: the Empire, the peripheral branches of the Habsburg bureaucracy, the patriciate and the institutions of the city community, the first merchant-entrepreneurs to settle in Trieste and the women and men who were moving along the sea circuits looking for opportunities. The interests of these actors changed depending on the time and circumstances: now divergent, now convergent, now parallel. In recent years, scholars’ attention has focused upon the role played by the mobility of people, by the family, community and patronage ties affecting the transferral of abilities and knowledge, and upon the methods and outcomes of states’ and urban institutions’ attempts to attract knowledge and human capital. On this last point in particular, the debate has often focused on cities, and, within them, on the guilds that are sometimes seen as an element that was able to facilitate the achievement of such results, and at other times are perceived as an obstacle. The goal of this chapter is to show the process through which, within a few decades, Trieste managed to supply itself with the human resources needed to transform itself into an important manufacturing centre capable of innovation. We pay particular attention to the local arena and to the strategies used by the different actors involved: the state, local institutions of urban governance, the peripheral bureaucracy, entrepreneurs, local elites, migrants and so on. We do so in order to see, within a city deprived of a guild system and where the main goal was the formation of human capital, the methods and outcomes of institutions’ policies, the regulatory mechanisms, the individual strategies and, especially, the methods and outcomes that occurred when these factors interwove, confronted and clashed with each other. Furthermore, in comparative perspective, the case study of Trieste is offered as an element of comparison with the analogous processes that took place within urban centres and port cities equipped with various resources and that featured different actors, such as the guilds.8 On these debates, see: Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Between Mercantilism and Market: Privileges for Invention in Early Modern Europe’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 2 (2006): pp. 319–38; Carlo M. Belfanti, ‘Guilds, Patents and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge: Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age’, Technology and Culture, 45 (2004): pp. 569– 89; Liliane Hilaire-Perez and Catherine Verna, ‘Dissemination of Technical Knowledge in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era’, Technology and Culture, 47 (2006): pp. 536–65; Karel Davids, ‘Shift of Technological Leadership in Early Modern Europe’, in Karel Davids and Jan Lucassen, eds, A Miracle Mirrored, The Dutch Republic in European Perspective (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 338–66; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft, Guilds, Apprenticeship and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe’, The Journal of Economic History, 58 (1998): pp. 684–713; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Property Rights to Technical Knowledge in Premodern Europe, 1300–1800’, American Economic Review, 94 (2004): pp. 382–7; Stephan R. Epstein, ‘Craft Guilds in the Premodern Economy: A Comment’, Economic History Review, 61 8

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The Imperial Policies The lack of human capital, skills and knowledge described above constituted an obstacle to the imperial projects to develop the secondary sector. The absence of established local interest and power was an advantage, however, that ensured the absence of rent-seeking, monopolistic tendencies, resistance to innovation and closed access to knowledge, skills and human capital. The patrician class initially favoured the Habsburg plans, hoping to exploit the increase in mercantile traffic in accordance with traditional strategies. Later, when it realized that its expectations were unfounded, it was too weak to oppose the plans. First the patriciate was removed from the control of the new economic sector and of the people who worked for it, and then, around the middle of the century, it was finally ousted from the local government. The urban institutions that fell within its sphere of influence lost the ability to determine the outcomes of the ongoing processes and only played a marginal role. It was thus in this context that the Court of Vienna began its development efforts without being significantly hampered by the ‘original’ urban community. Along with the privilege that gave Trieste free port status, it was ensured that all merchants, entrepreneurs, artisans and workers who came to live in Trieste would be able to operate freely and free of tax, and that they would be provided with living quarters along with help in finding a location for these activities at a fair price.9 However, these concessions represented a possibility rather than a certainty, and were immediately limited by other privileges given by the emperor himself to another party. The driving force of the imperial strategies was not the spontaneous migration of women, men, workers and entrepreneurs. In 1719 Charles VI gave the task of developing Trieste to a privileged company, the Oriental Company, of which the emperor himself and a number of Habsburg aristocrats were the main stockholders. Besides large privileges in the commercial sector, this company was also given the right, in a monopoly regime, to start up the new craft and manufacturing activities.10 In the 1720s, along with some new magistrates who were sent directly from Vienna, the company was thus responsible for the economic and social growth of the city (2008): pp. 155–74; Bert De Munck, Steven L. Kaplan and Hugo Soly, eds, Learning on the Shop Floor: Historical Perspective on Apprenticeship (Oxford, 2007); Stephan R. Epstein and Maarten Prak, eds, Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 2008); Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Guilds, Efficiency and Social Capital: Evidence from German Proto-industry’, Economic History Review, LVII (2004): pp. 286–333; Sheilagh Ogilvie, ‘Rehabilitating the Guilds: a Reply’, Economic History Review, 61 (2008): pp. 175–82. 9 Pietro Kandler, Emporio e porto franco di Trieste (Trieste, 1864), pp. 110–12. 10 On the Oriental Company, see: Giovanni Bussolin, Della imperiale privilegiata compagnia orientale nel secolo scorso e del Lloyd austro-ungarico nel secolo presente. Studio storico (Trieste, 1882), pp. 29–164 and Andreozzi, ‘Qual generatione’, pp. 119–30.

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and for its government. The Company and the magistrates were active in three main areas: the shipbuilding sector, the infrastructure of the city and the port, and the craft and manufacturing sectors. At that time, the shipbuilding sector was underdeveloped.11 The Confraternity of Saint Nicolò owned the tools needed to carry out the construction and the warehouse where the tools were kept. Moreover, it had the right to choose the master responsible for managing them. This master not only had to do the work himself, or with workers hired directly by him, but he also had to rent the tools to the Confraternity members that requested them.12 He mainly attended to ship maintenance and repairs. The meagre need for new vessels was also met with the purchase of ships built in other Adriatic centres and with an influx of temporary foreign workers, such as members of the Borri family of Pisin, for example, who were Venetian subjects. The workforce arrived following a direct agreement with future owners and stayed in Trieste as long as necessary for the completion of the ships.13 The activities of the Oriental Company began in 1720–21. In this sector, state interventions were mixed with the actions of the Company, ranging from imperial direct investment to state orders, concessional loans and grants, concessions of monopolies and privileges, imports of workers and managers and training for young apprentices. Once a location in which to build a new rudimentary dockyard had been spotted, the first goal was to bring to the city the technicians and workers that were needed to start construction. To accomplish this, the Company mainly utilized the international networks of the Habsburg bureaucracy, rather than the traditional ones based on Adriatic families upon which the city had come to rely in the past. During the 1720s the dockyard workers, numbering between 50 and 160 units, came mainly from Genoa, Hamburg, the Kingdom of Naples, Rijeka and Bakar, and the idea of hiring workers from Holland and England was even considered.14 All the workers and masters were hired and paid by the Company, and their residence in Trieste was temporary. In 1726, in an attempt to establish the presence of workers with professional skills, 30 boys were hired in the hope that they would learn the art of construction. They were well-behaved and

ASV, Inquisitori di Stato (IS), 254, Capodistria (16 December 1712). On the shipbuilding sector: Andreozzi, ‘Gli “urti”’, pp. 546–50, 553, 563–6, and 572–7. 12 AST, IC, 558 (22 January 1721); in 1717 the master was Mattia Chertiza, who purposely came from Rijeka and was the son of a man from Dubrovnik. 13 ASV, IS, 254, Capodistria, 7 April 1713 and 254, Capodistria, 7 April 1719. 14 ASV, IS, 254, Capodistria (14 and 30 March, and 22 September 1722) and, 317, Palma (9 December 1725) and Savi, II, 7, 9 July 1721. 11

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dressed in uniforms. However, the attempt was short-lived and the results were poor, while the working of sails and rigging was given to a master who also came from Genoa.15 Occasionally, when these particular workers were not available, they were replaced by a small group from the Venetian Piran. This group was led by the Borri family, which also focused on the construction and maintenance of a few vessels on the account of private merchants, probably in the old squero (boatyard) of St Nicolò. However, these Venetian workers’ employment was brief and sporadic during this period.16 At first, the technical direction of the dockyard was assigned to Fockse Gersen from Denmark, previously a general agent of the Company. Later, after 1723, the direction was assigned to the French-speaking Flemish constructor des vaisseaux, Rinaldo Buyé. Buyé remained in the post for about a decade, with very disappointing results. He had a very tumultuous relationship with the other members of the Company, as well as with the Habsburg magistrates. The ships that were built were few and of low quality, and it seemed that the Flemish man was above all interested in the profit he could make by managing the dockyard itself. In 1726, in an attempt to find a remedy the poor management style (which was resulting in low product quality, low productivity, high expenses and financial losses), first two German-speaking inspectors were sent from Vienna, and then Buyé was paired with a captain from Genoa, Filippo Bellandi. These measures further complicated the situation at the dockyard. The Flemish man tried to block the supervisors from entering the location, refused to show them papers and documents and did not allow them to examine the vessels that were being built. Buyé had used beech wood rather than oak, the type of lumber normally used, and to make things even worse, the wood had been used before it had been seasoned. As a result, as the wood was drying, cracks would appear in the hulls of the ships. Bellandi and Buyé argued openly and there was constant friction between them, to the point that the latter haughtily challenged the man from Genoa to a duel.17 At the end of 1720s the decline of the Company also meant the decline of shipbuilding linked to the State. In the 1730s activities at the dockyard essentially came to a halt, and its spaces started to be used for commercial activities, such as organizing the free fair that took place in August for four years (until 1733). In 1734 Buyé ran away from Trieste, taking the cash belonging to the dockyard with him. In 1735, a start was made on a last building effort managed by the ASV, Savi, II, 6, part 1 (23 November 1726). ASV, IS, 254, Capodistria (7 April 1719) and 32, Capodistria (22 January 1723). 17 ASV, Savi, II, 6, I (2 October and 13 November 1726); IS, 254, Capodistria (3 August 1722) and 317, Palma (30 January 1727). 15 16

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imperial bureaucracy. Workers from Genoa, Naples and Rjieka built a number of flat-bottomed ships to sail the Po River. However, this sudden burst of activity was quickly interrupted; the dockyard was destroyed and the state shipbuilding effort was abandoned.18 The building and the adjustment of the port and urban infrastructure were tasks that were managed almost exclusively by the imperial bureaucracy, while the local community played a minor role and was substantially dependent on Vienna’s strategies. The Habsburg officials tried to make up for the shortage of human capital by arranging for its arrival in the city and covering the necessary expenses. The managers in charge of simpler tasks, such as excavations, came from the nearby Austrian and Venetian Friuli, and the bricklayers employed in the more complex operations came from the same areas, and also from Istria. The bulk of these workers did not choose to make Trieste their city of residence. They were attracted to the city, must likely, by the news of new jobs, and combined their activities in Trieste with other ones, often of an agricultural nature, located around their homes or around the traditional migration routes. So they did not permanently reside in the city; they often lived in makeshift shelters and their presence was closely linked to the job opportunities. This allowed Trieste to avoid bearing their weight during the frequent times of crisis and to avoid bearing all their costs, making significant savings to support the growth of the city.19 Instead, the workers with more refined knowledge came mostly from the domain of the Republic of Venice. In this case, the demand for skilled workers came from the Habsburg magistrates, and it was met with the supply that was manifest along the traditional migration routes of the Adriatic. The most important and complex works that began around the 1720s, for example – the construction of the Lazaretto and excavation of the small inner basin, the Mandracchio, which was used as a port – were assigned to Venetian subjects. Direction of the lazaretto construction was given to master Martinucci of Monfalcone, a Venetian subject. He was also put in charge of the port excavation. Unable to complete the latter task, Martinucci was then replaced in 1725 by another Venetian subject, Antonio Benussi from Rovigo. After a year of fruitless attempts, Antonio was arrested and sentenced to replay 6,000 florins. He then began a secret collaboration, as a spy, with the Venetian bureaucracy.20 In the meantime, the operations had been assigned to Iseppo and Marco Giada, two brothers from Castello – a district of Venice – who had been banished for ASV, IS, 317, Palma (9 May 1728) and 617, Moroni (13 and 20 March 1740); Savi, II, 7, 4 (25 May 1730); Giacomo Braun, I diari di Antonio Scussa, I, 1732–1738 (Trieste, 1929–30), p. 84. 19 Andreozzi, ‘Gli “urti”’, pp. 560–662. 20 ASV, Savi, II, 6, I (2 October 1726) and IS, 254, Capodistria (26 August 1725, 26 January 1726 and 3 May 1728). 18

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smuggling. The brothers used a method that was considered state of the art in Trieste, working on rafts with large shovels with strong ropes lifting large amounts of mud, which was later dropped onto surrounding boats and carried to a predetermined spot.21 Regarding the craft and manufacturing sectors, the Oriental Company and the Habsburg bureaucracy took a different approach. The imperial magistrates were involved in negotiations to allow the organized immigration and settling of groups of craftsmen and entrepreneurs from the Levant: for example, Uniate Armenian and Greek entrepreneurs and artisans. However, these efforts had no immediate results.22 In fact, the inflow of human capital was the result of individual choices, in the context of networks of family, patronage and community relationships, by women and men moving along the traditional migration routes. Attracted by the news of the free port, they came to Trieste to test its potential and evaluate the localization of embryonic craft and manufacturing activities. While on the one hand, the prerogatives of the Company came into conflict with these efforts, on the other, the Company and the magistrates did not make direct investments to sustain such developments. The strategy chosen was to grant privileges and monopolies to entrepreneurs and artisans proposing to locate their activities in Trieste, who looked to have sufficient capacity and resources. However, this strategy was followed with little conviction, and sometimes it hid the real intention of the Company and bureaucracy, which were interested in achieving apparent results to show to the emperor or personal gains.23 The reconstruction of the ways in which soap manufacturing settled in Trieste allows us to evaluate the process. In 1722, a merchant from Genoa, Pietro Francesco Delfino, arrived in Trieste after learning that the edict managing the free port was granting special privileges to merchants. Once in Trieste he met with some of the main exponents of the bureaucracy interested in developing the port. As a result of these meetings, Delfino decided to move the city in order to build a ‘Genoa-style’ soap factory, having received the promise of a patent. He rented a house, built a factory and started production. Finally, in April 1723, the licence to build the soap factory arrived. In 1725, others requested permission to start similar activities, but were turned down due to the monopoly granted to Pietro Francesco. After his sudden death, his widow decided to carry on the business by bringing in two workers from Genoa at her own expense. The relationship with the woman turned out to be quite difficult and the two men ASV, Savi, II, 6, I (2 October 1726); IS, 317, Palma (13 July 1727). ASV, Dispacci ambasciatori al Senato, Germania, 213 (26 April 1721); ASV, Savi, I, 585 (22 November 1750); Daniele Andreozzi and Loredana Panariti, ‘Trieste and the Ottoman Empire in the Eighteenth Century’, in Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp, ed., Europe and Turkey in the 18th Century (Bonn, 2011), pp. 219–30. 23 Andreozzi, ‘Gli “urti”’, pp. 546–51. 21 22

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requested permission to open another soap factory. At the end of the dispute, in April 1728, the imperial bureaucracy proclaimed that anyone could freely start a soap-making business. At that time, however, the Company was playing a diminished role.24 The conflict between the privileges granted in the free port decree to craftsmen and the manufacturers and those of the Company appeared resolved initially thanks to the substantial lack of interest shown by the Company concerning the development of these sectors, and then because the Company became weaker. Without making any direct investments, with no direct involvement and purely to show Vienna results, it only gave weak and irregular support to some of the craftsmen who had come to the city, enticed by novelties, to try its potential. Even the granting of patents, like the one used to attract Delfino, formed part of this landscape containing an extreme form of trial and error that on one hand aimed at fulfilling imperial expectations, and on the other tried to recognize the powerful interests. As a result, the actions of the Company did not cover all of the initiatives taking place in Trieste and, despite the privileges of free port, the entrepreneurial efforts that started outside its sphere of influence were subject to the duties imposed by the city community.25 The Mercantile Class Starting in 1728, the Oriental Company became weighed down by the insufficient development of commerce. First it moved its own headquarters to Rijeka, and later it went bankrupt. The failure of the Company also meant the failure of the imperial policies to support the development of traffic and the attraction of human capital. However, this did not mean that Trieste was unable to grow. At the turn of the century, with the weakening of Venice’s ability to control the Adriatic, a profound reshaping of hierarchies concerning commercial networks and seaports had taken place. Coastal trade had become a central element for the definition of economic spaces, and a very thick network of trade arose linking a multitude of ports and even natural harbours. The main protagonists in this network were the marinerie of the small and mediumsized centres on the Adriatic, Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. These centres also defined identities, social groups and citizenship, giving the region AST, IC, 808 (31 March 1728). For an introduction to the tax system of Trieste, see: Giovanni Panjek, ‘Una “commercial officina” fra vie di mare e di terra’, in Roberto Finzi, Loredana Panariti and Giovanni Panjek, eds, Storia economica e sociale di Trieste, II, La città dei traffici 1719–1918 (Trieste, 2003), pp. 244–9. 24 25

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its cosmopolitan appearance that so impressed its contemporary and future observers. The mechanisms of interchange between the Adriatic, the Levant, Central and Continental Europe and the Po Valley were the central element in the mercantile circuits involving Trieste. It was these mechanisms, guided and directed by the ‘sea forces’, with the women and men that moved back and forth along the merchandise routes, that sustained commerce in Trieste for the best part of the 1720s and 1730s. Therefore, with the failure of the Habsburg policies, those forces also became protagonists in the development of the secondary sector in Trieste.26 The Court of Vienna also acknowledged the importance of these mechanisms and abandoned the development policy that had been based on the privileged company and direct intervention by the State. In fact, initially, at the end of the 1720s, the imperial magistrates chose a development strategy based on a fair system, internal to Adriatic trade circuits, designed by the fixer Fortunato Cervelli, a merchant-entrepreneur from Ferrara.27 Then, concerned with the condition of ‘the arts, manufacturing and trades lacking in Trieste’, they approved this new model of development when, in 1732, they decreed that all effort be made, including financial grants, to locate ‘manufacturers, artisans and skilled workers’.28 However, at that time, the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733–38) and the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) demanded the attention of the State, and the Court of Vienna lost interest in what was happening in Trieste. Thus during this period there was growth in business initiatives of a small nature, fluid and discontinuous, sometimes failing, and controlled by commercial capital when successful. It was through such businesses that experience and skills started settling in the city. In 1733, Bellandi and some Jewish store owners got into the business of making soap, entrusting the technical aspects to a master from Venice. In 1735 a tailor, besides working leather and soap, was making trousers and garments for soldiers who had deserted the Spanish Army and had enlisted in the Imperial one. In the following year, three merchants built a silk stocking factory on a lot given away for free by the public authorities, using ‘rocks that were already there’, even if they had to pay for those. In 1740 two Lutheran merchants, Pandolfo and Giacomo Miller, started making lead pellets. The actual manufacturing task was assigned to a worker who was hired on a daily basis. Robert Escallier, ‘Le cosmopolitisme méditerranéen. Réflexions et interrogations’, Cahiers de la Mediterranee, 27 (2003): pp. 1–13; Daniele Andreozzi, ‘Tra Trieste. Ancona, Venezia e Bologna. La canapa e il commercio nell’Adriatico del ‘700’, in Daniele Andreozzi and Carlo Gatti, eds, Trieste e l’Adriatico. Uomini, merci e conflitti (Trieste, 2005), pp. 153–68 and Andreozzi, ‘Qual generatione’, pp. 113–39. 27 Alberto Caracciolo, Fortunato Cervelli ferrarese “neofita” e la politica commerciale dell’Impero (Milano, 1962) and Andreozzi, ‘Qual generatione’, pp. 130–39. 28 Kandler, Emporio, p. 142. 26

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The product was destined for the German market. That venture did not go far, however, because the pellets did not turn out as round or shiny as their Venetian counterparts. There was a wax factory, owned by two brothers who had fled bankruptcy in Koper in the Venetian dominion to come to Trieste. According to Venetian spies, the brothers were poor, disliked by merchants interested in the wax trade and incapable of making good-quality products. The wax plant ceased its activities in 1739 due to its owners’ debts and bad weather that had made whitening the wax impossible, and the brothers left town. Stocking and sockmanufacturing was still an ongoing activity, but was slowly fading. The master rope-maker from Genoa, who had arrived in town to work at the dockyard in the early 1720s, had left the yard, continuing his activity on his own at a new location. Moreover, workers and various craftsmen kept arriving in Trieste to satisfy the needs of the city (coopers, carpenters and boiler-makers). So, these activities and the flow of traffic started by the small ships made it possible for Trieste to overcome the difficulties of the wars without losing any of the small fortune of skills it had amassed, but rather increasing it.29 As a result of these mechanisms, a more stable group of merchantentrepreneurs began to emerge. They also had more capital. The group was made up of people from different places (the Italian Peninsula, the Habsburg Empire, the Balkans, the Levant and Western Europe) and different religions (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Orthodox), who had arrived in the town between 1720 and the 1730. This group of people won the struggle with the original patriciate, whose initial strategy based on the exploitation of commercial flows and consumption of the newly arrived migrants had turned out to be a failure. Once an early phase of formalization started with the creation of a ‘mercantile corps’ and with a network of central and peripheral officials, the merchants began to position themselves as a leading group in the city, and they replaced the patrician caste, which was relegated to marginal roles, as the dominant class. The mercantile class was a cosmopolitan type of social class held together by common interests, self-awareness and by sharing the heritage of early rudimental myths, ideals and behaviour. It was able to assimilate outsiders as long as they stayed within the established context while not competing with it.30 When, with the consolidation of the power of Maria Theresa of Habsburg and the restoration of peace, Vienna resumed to deal with the city’s growth more closely, the imperial bureaucracy could see the development that had occurred and identify its protagonists. Vienna recognized the role of the mercantile corps ASV, IS, 255, Capodistria (24 and 31 August 1733) and 617 (9, 10 and 18 September 1740). 30 Gatti, ‘Uomini e politiche’, pp. 359–80; Daniele Andreozzi, ‘L’organizzazione degli interessi a Trieste (1719–1914)’, in Roberto Finzi, Loredana Panariti and Giovanni Panjek, eds, Storia economica e sociale di Trieste, II, La città dei traffici 1719–1918 (Trieste, 2003), pp. 191–202. 29

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and, with the founding in 1755 of the stock exchange deputation (the Borsa), it made the mercantile class the main referent for the government of Trieste. Vienna also assigned part of the task to the nazioni (‘nations’ – cultural, ethnic and religious communities), which included prominent members from the mercantile class. The role of the nazioni was more limited and mainly related to the management of the domestic sphere, but they also had important functions linked to the circulation of people, skills and knowledge. For example, the Greek Orthodox and Jewish nazioni were required to check the quality and ability of newly arrived migrants to pay, determining their prospects of entering the city.31 In this context, the mercantile class was a leader in the development of the craft and manufacturing sectors, by subjecting them to its own logic and its own needs: to meet the needs of the growth of the urban centre and mercantile trade; to have goods to reload; and to reduce the role of money in trade. In 1744, the ‘mercantile corps’ thus tried to gain the privileges that once belonged to the Oriental Company, asking the Commercial Inspectorate to be assigned privileges, patents and subsidies.32 In the meantime, these sectors grew rapidly, following the model established during the 1730s. The direction of the enterprise lay firmly in the hands of merchants, and technical direction was mostly assigned to masters recruited in the Venetian area; those masters were also in charge of finding workers. Therefore the strategies of the mercantile class guided the innovation process. The result was growth, both in quality and quantity, of the craft and manufacturing sectors. Over the decades, these sectors became more and more important in the economic context of Trieste, in terms of the number of ventures and workers and the value of their production, achieving complex organizational structures, significant dimensions and a high technological level. The sectors showing the most development were the transformation industries able to exploit the ease with which raw materials could be found, and particularly the food (rosolio – a kind of liquor, candies, pastries, sugar, spirits) and chemical (wax, candles, soap, white lead, sulphur, potassium hydrogen tartrate, medicines such as triaca) industries. Moreover, important products included leather goods, majolica, textiles (cotton and silk), seafaring equipment (sails and ropes) and goods connected to needs deriving from urban growth. Development also restarted in the shipbuilding industry. Some examples give an idea of the growth: the manufacturing plants making ropes and sails grew from only one in 1762 to five in 1794, and from six people employed to over 130; their production value grew from 3,000 florins to more than 121,000; in 1762, 162,000 flasks of rosolio were covered in straw and in 1793 there were 840,000; 31 Carlo Gatti, Tra demografia e storia sociale. Gli ebrei di Trieste nel Settecento (Trieste, 2008), pp. 45–55 and 75–7; Andreozzi, ‘L’organizzazione’, pp. 192–9. 32 AST, IC, 284 (1744).

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during that year, five manufacturing plants were active in town making candles, and there were two wax and four candle-making units, three plants working cotton, four producing majolica, three making medicines, two tanneries and four soap factories. Without considering shipbuilding, in 1793 the manufacturing sector numbered around 400 workers and the value of its production, according to estimates by the Habsburg magistrates, largely exceeded one million florins. Moreover, in the second half of the century, Trieste moved from being an ‘imitation centre’ to an ‘innovation centre’, both as regards the secondary sector and as regards the financial and mercantile sectors. The knowledge, skills and human capital that allowed these changes depended on the networks of family, community, friendship and patronage available to the mercantile class and the master protagonists of the sea circuits, besides the individual choices of men and women sailing the sea routes.33 Shipbuilding is the sector that probably allows us to see most easily the logic behind the mobility of skills. This sector also experienced growth that resulted in an increase in the number of vessels being built and in better-quality, larger and more sophisticated vessels being launched. Once the state-sponsored dockyard had been abandoned, the protagonists of this new development were the merchants and the masters and workers who, sailing along the sea routes, had looked at Trieste at the time of the construction started by the Oriental Company, and in which they had only been marginally involved: the Borri and the Caparozzolo families. Domenico Caparozzolo was the main protagonist of shipbuilding between 1750 and 1770. He presented himself as the reference point of a group of Venetian workers, a group in which family ties – with brothers, children and nephews – played a fundamental role. The mechanism that ensured the existence of such a nucleus was fairly simple: one of the members resided where it was possible to obtain commissions and acted as a point of reference for the others. The latter would arrive only when there was an actual need for them, and were ready to leave and head for other ports on the Adriatic as soon as that job was completed. In this way, the group was able to overcome the periods of shortage in demand for workers without having to disband, and without dissipating the acquired skills; at the same time, the chances of getting new commissions increased. For example, in 1751, Caparozzolo was negotiating with a merchant regarding the construction of a frigate in Trieste. His brother, Bastiano, master at the Arsenal in Venice, joined him with Domenico’s son, but after a short stay, he returned to Venice when the negotiations broke down. In 1755, Bastiano 33 Andreozzi, ‘Gli “urti”’, pp. 541–600; Daniele Andreozzi, ‘“Per vestiario o per addobbi o per lusso”. Mercati del lusso, prodotti di imitazione, scambi internazionali e strategie commerciali nella Trieste settecentesca’, in Nadège Sougy, ed., Luxes et internationalisation (XVIe–XIXe siècles) (Neuchâtel, 2013), pp. 145–64.

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returned, along with another master from the Venetian Arsenal, Gian Battista Ponti, to assist Domenico (whose wife was in Malta) in the construction of a ‘pielego’ (a kind of ship), and in 1756 there were three members of the family working at the dockyard in Trieste. In 1761, Caparozzolo started construction on a 250-ton vessel commissioned by a mercantile firm; it was a ship of exceptional capacity by Trieste’s standards. One of his sons arrived from Dubrovnik and another, secretly, from Venice. There were now four family members in Trieste and a core group of 35 workers, of whom 17 were Venetians.34 The Borri family adopted similar strategies.35 Those who brought the necessary skills for further urban and infrastructural development also continued to move along these networks of relations and, especially, along the Venice-Trieste axis. Matteo Pirona, for instance, arrived from Venice to direct, among other things, the excavation of the canal in the port and the building of all the necessary machines for the job. He was also the boss of a group of specialized workers he had brought in from Venice.36 Another example is that of Domenico Bernardinelli. Having arrived in Trieste in 1754, he was an architect from Treviso; in charge of 60 stonemasons working on the construction of the pier, he was also given the task of solving the problems connected with supplying water to the city and the manufacturing plants.37 Obviously the Venetian Republic did its best several times to stop the flow of skills towards Trieste. It tried to prevent emigration by using the police to arrest and detain workers and their family members; it started secret negotiations with workers, offering rewards, legal pardons, debt forgiveness and work if they returned to Venice. It came to the point of planning the assassination of those who were bringing the most precious knowledge and skills to Trieste, people like Domenico Caparozzolo.38 Regulatory Mechanisms and Conflicting Interests In addition to the strategic position taken with regard to the circulation of human capital, one of the success factors of the mercantile class was their capacity to interact with the imperial bureaucracy, manipulating and exploiting them in accordance with their own logic and objectives. The mercantile class, in fact, was capable of using all forms of central resources to further its own growth-related ASV, IS 186, s.d.; 619 (19 March 1755) and 583 (1 March 1756 and 27 February 1762); Savi 752, I (30 January 1763). 35 ASV, IS, 583 (1 March 1756). 36 Ibid. 37 ASV, Savi 843, I (3 March 1754); IS 583 (1 March 1756). 38 ASV, IS, 583 (1 March 1756, 11 April, 5, 19 and 22 May 1756); Savi 752, I (18 June 1763). 34

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goals. It was thus also able to partly remedy the discontinuities, weaknesses and errors in Vienna’s policies. This was also facilitated by the connection between the mercantile class and the peripheral branches of the imperial bureaucracy, a connection that was strengthened by their common interest in the development of the city and the many forms of personal enrichment it ensured. This alliance proved crucial during the strong acceleration of growth beginning in the 1740s. The imperial magistrates residing in Trieste became guarantors of the continuity of the flow of investment from the centre, protecting the actual policies adopted by the mercantile class.39 One of the most distinct exponents of this practice was Pasquale Ricci, from Livorno. He was a leading figure in the peripheral Habsburg bureaucracy and the main inspirer of the economic policies adopted in Trieste for a large part of the second half of the century. Connected to networks of relatives, friends and clients in the mercantile class, he also shared their entrepreneurial interests in close proximity to the most affluent and prestigious exponents of that group. He constantly strove to support policies in favour of the free market, as long as this ensured the largest possible flow of merchandise and lowered the price of goods and services that the merchants had to purchase, while at the same time he was also a strong supporter of the monopolies and privileges those same merchants enjoyed. He was also in favour of some early rudimental attempts of closing down Trieste adopted by the mercantile class and he supported the use of public resources to sustain the city’s entrepreneurial initiatives. In order to understand the rationality of such seemingly erratic measures, we must identify the interests of the mercantile class. Again, the shipbuilding activities are a good example. During the 1760s, when Vienna was increasingly favouring the idea of locating the state shipbuilding activities in Rijeka, Ricci managed to support the interests of the mercantile class by keeping that category active, thanks to his own ability to charge the State for many of the costs while leaving leadership in this sector to the merchants. In this way, shipbuilding continued in Trieste and the costs for constructing and arming vessels fell to private firms; this made commercial flows more lucrative, otherwise their margin of profit would have been in doubt. In 1763 Ricci financed the expansion of the rope-making industry, supporting its technological development and an early form of mechanization. Dimensional growth was also expanded. He started from scratch the production of anchors suited to use on large vessels. At the same time he supported the construction of the largest ship Daniele Andreozzi, ‘Tra centro e periferia. Pasquale Ricci e la Commissione sulle manifatture e fabbriche del Litorale (1763–1766)’, in Daniele Andreozzi and Carlo Gatti, eds, Trieste e l’Adriatico. Uomini, merci e conflitti (Trieste, 2005), pp. 123–51 and Daniele Andreozzi, ‘Croissance et économie licite, illicite et informelle à Trieste au XVIIIe siècle’, in Marguerite Figeac-Monthus and Christophe Lastécouères, eds, Territoires de l’illicite: ports et îles. De la fraude au contrôle (XVIe–XXe s.) (Paris, 2012), pp. 173–87. 39

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ever built in Trieste until then, by supplying a location and assuming the cost of the construction of the dockyard and all necessary equipment. So the agreement between the mercantile class and the local imperial bureaucracy had positive effects throughout the craft and manufacturing sectors. These sectors continued to develop along with the growth of traffic and the city, while the inflow of men and women along the sea and land and sea migration routes also continued. They came from all corners (the Italian Peninsula, the Levant, Europe, the Mediterranean), sometimes lacking any form of specialized skill and willing to take any job, sometimes possessing some level of craftsmanship and carrying new knowledge. This situation could sometimes be fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures, which frequently turned out to be ephemeral, but often injected skills and knowledge into the city. However, the agreement between the mercantile class and the peripheral bureaucracy shaped their chances of success. As part of the imperial privileges of the free port, facilitation and support were reserved for the mercantile class; so were the concessions in various forms of aid, financing and patents. It eventually reached the point where in Trieste, the differentiation between the manufacturing and craft sector was basically the result of the role that mercantile capital played in the different activities. This had some key consequences.40 The class gathered around the Borsa constantly stayed at the helm of the city’s economy, and the craft sectors found help and support from the State only as long as they remained in sync with the interest of the merchants. This situation resulted in constant friction; with the coopers, for instance, who had tried in vain since the 1760s to obtain patents and monopolies regarding the trade in lumber or regarding the whole sector. In 1780, for example, 67 craftsmen, among the most important in the town, turned in vain to the authorities in order to gain the same rights and acknowledgments enjoyed by the merchants. The craftsmen referred to the imperial privileges of the first half of the century, which had also been specifically meant for the artists. However, during such conflicts the imperial magistrates always sided with the mercantile class.41 Surveying the masses of immigrants and their flows were the city magistrates, in league with the Borsa and the nazioni, using the mechanisms of citizenship and residence to oversee the arrival of workers in ‘a difficult game of balance between exclusion and integration, elimination of con