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In early Renaissance France, the domestic environment was made comfortable and personal with carved wooden furniture and all manner of textiles that added color and warmth. Objects of daily use often bore the initials, coats of arms, and mottos of their owners. Such possessions might also carry some indication of the owner's rank: a crozier signifying a bishop, for example, or the red hat of a cardinal. The segment of paneling with the initials of Pierre of Bourbon and Anne of France is thickly encrusted with such marks of ownership and status.

In a castle, manor house, or town mansion, the large, more public reception rooms, which included the bedchamber, would be relatively sparsely furnished, although these would be hung with tapestries if the owner could afford them. Here seating was provided by wooden chairs or by cushions placed on the ground. Smaller inner rooms—retreats or studies—might be lined with wood paneling. Another small private space was the oratory, a corner set aside for private prayer. The walls of Anne of Brittany's oratory at the castle of Loches were carved with her emblems, the cord and the ermine tail. Furnishings were often portable. Tableware, books, and paintings could be stored away in dressers or chests—the latter were indispensable for transporting items from house to house, from city to country, or from court to private residence.


Jean Perréal, Pierre Sala. Little Book of Love: Portrait of Pierre Sala, ff. 16v–17, Paris and Lyon, c. 1510. The British Library, London, Stowe 955.