Internet Shakespeare Editions


Purchases from the Market

Presentation of the Virgin at the
Temple (Detail). Dürer.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

In this detail from an engraving by the great German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer, women are stationed outside the Temple in Jerusalem, selling produce of various kinds, including sheep for sacrifice. The painting is typical of the later Renaissance in its foregrounding of images apparently incidental to the main subject of the painting.

Spices, medicines, wines, and all manner of specialized products would have been purchased from the market.

In The Winter's Tale, a feast was to be prepared by Perdita for the shearing festival; the Clown rehearses his shopping list just before he is robbed by Autolycus:

Let me see, what am I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound of sugar, five pound of currants, rice--what will this sister of mine do with rice? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. . . . I must have saffron to colour the warden [apple] pies; mace; dates. . . nutmegs, seven; a race [root] or two of ginger, but that I may beg; four pounds of prunes, and as many of raisins o' th' sun.