Sunday, 9 January 2011

Smocks and Brightwells Toy and Textile Sale

When I was young, I had a friend who collected dolls in national dress. Friends and relatives brought them back as presents from far flung holidays. Since we holidayed in England, I also would look for a doll in English national dress as she didn't have one of those. The nearest I ever got was to give her a doll with a tall black hat and red cape when I returned from visiting Snowdon in Wales on a school trip. The only other known dress which marks out some of the southern counties of England, is the smock. These were worn by adults and children in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Since I made smocks for my children when they were small, I fondly believed smocks to have been stiched at home by wives and sweethearts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Naomi Tarrant put me right. She told me that there were professional smock stitchers who made these garments. Another illusion gone! But you could buy yourself a nice smock from the Brightwell's upcoming auction on 12th January. Click here for the Brightwell's catalogue. Lot 1019 above is a cream linen farm smock from Bransford Court Farm, Worcestershire. The deep collar with embroidered heart segments in a circle. Smocking to front and sleeves. Full length. Water stain to front, 19th century. The estimate is £150-£200
And here you can see some of the lovely detail of Lot 1019.

It seems incredible after all this time to find an unused smock from the 19th century, but here you are - lot 1018 - a Worcestershire full length farm smock made at Bransford Court Farm from natural unbleached linen. Smocked at front, back and sleeves. The estimate is £100-£150.

I think this is the prettiest smocked child's dress my mother never made.
You can see more items like this in the on-line collection of the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachussetts by clicking here.

Not smocks but in the Brightwell's sale, I couldn't resist showing you this lot 53 which is a bazaar stall selling prints and other wares with four South German wood lady vendors. Its estimate is £140-£160.

1 comment:

  1. My mom made smocked dresses for me when I was a child...really pretty confections of chiffon over satin and cute ginghams all with smocked bodices. She also made some for her friends children...thanks for bringing back the memories!