It is happening. Slowly but surely, Museums are placing their catalogues on-line for access. I mentioned at the recent AGM of the Textile Society, that given the staffing problems now for all but the largest museums, we need to be looking at specialist on-line mediation and interpretation of museum items also, since there is probably not much above the basic descriptive that can be accomplished by some volunteer staff who have to cover absolutely everything. So - for example, one could have a remote interpreter of early samplers who could cover many museum collections. I think that unless this is built into strategies now, then phone apps with pattern recognition will become the interpreters anyway. You will simply go into a gallery and point your phone at an object, and back will come a description of sorts. Whether that description has been authored by someone with knowledge of the item is entirely up to us to push for now. Another opportunity is to collect information on-line from anyone who has information to offer on a piece - rather like the very exciting Public Catalogue Foundation tagging project - click here for more details. OK, off the soapbox and back to the band sampler above. It was made in 1658 by Addree Paine.
What I love about this sampler is a band of arcading composed of linked hands. We often see a pair of clasped hands as a symbol of marriage, but rarely linked as a continuous arcade.
This is a burse or bag used by the Lord Chancellor of King George III. A Lord Chancellor's burse like this would have been used to carry the Great Seal which was used to seal Paliamentary writs, treaties and other important state papers. This example of a burse is from 1800-1833 and is richly made of deep crimson velvet and stumpwork decoration. The front is heavily worked in twisted and coiled gold and silver threads, gold spangles, pearls and some coloured silks. The back, however, is plain as this would not have been seen.
Above and below (detail) is a marriage quilt from the year 1697 with a name that looks like F A Bagot. It is made of a cream quilted silk satin. Each corner is embroidered with a basket of flowers between which are four exotic birds. There is also an oval floral design embroidered in the centre. The designs and motifs are influenced by oriental Chinese Art.
The stomacher below was made in the early 18th century and was worn in the front opening of the open robe. It is made from silk and embroidered in silk thread with a floral pattern consisting of six main flowers, the central one a being a tulip. The colours include purple, pink, cream, beige, yellow and green.