Tender’s dusty pink garments are dyed with madder- a lake dye extracted from the root of Rubia tinctorum, a relative of Bedstraw which grows wild in southern England.
Dyer’s madder has been cultivated for thousands of years, and is first known in Indian clothing from around 3000BCE, since then it has been widely used across Asia, and was introduced to Europe through France in around 500CE. Historically, woad and madder have been used in parallel and have a similarly rich, soft, tone. British Redcoats’ uniforms, originally dyed with Cochineal were later dyed with madder as it was found to be more stable.
Medicinally, madder has been used to treat a variety of ailments, from yellow jaundice and melancholy humour, to relieving back pain and binding surgical wounds.