Monday, 4 November 2013

Ann MacBeth Needlework & Patterdale

Patterdale in the Northern Lakes of Cumbria is a favourite place for walking with us. We never cease to tire of circuit of Fairfield Horseshoe or the breathtaking and sometimes precarious challenge of Striding Edge to Helvellyn. For those who don't climb, the village offers many less arduous but nonetheless captivating strolls and hidden gems such as those tucked away in St Patrick's Church.
There you will find needlework panels by Ann MacBeth - one of the Glasgow Girls. (Glasgow is only about an hour by train from the Lake District if you wish to combine visits.) Originally a Lancashire lass from Bolton, she studied and taught at the Glasgow School of Art at the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century and worked with notable arts and crafts designers such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh. In 1921 she took up residence at Wordsworth Cottage in Patterdale - one of the cottages owned by the poet - there she lived until her death in 1948. She was friendly with many Quakers in the area. In the photo above she is wearing a particularly beautiful embroidered collar which she made herself.

The Good Shepherd shown above is one of the panels worked by Ann from her home in Patterdale. It was worked 1935-36 and can be seen on the North wall. The panel background shows the view towards Kirkstone from Wordsworth Cottage. She probably used the barn of the cottage as a workshop for her crafts - and some of her stained glass can be found in the bedroom windows of Wordsworth barn.

The other major panel she worked in Patterdale was The Nativity and a framed image of this is also in the church, though the original is now in Glasgow Museums. In the background of this panel is to be seen the village of Patterdale with the river Goldsill in the foreground and Helvellyn and Striding Edge in the distance. The embroidered flowers are those associated with Mary - Lady’s Mantle, Lady’s Slipper, Lady’s Bedstraw, Lady’s Smock, Lady’s Finger and Marigold. The Nativity panel was exhibited by Ann Macbeth at the Lady Artists’ Exhibition in Glasgow in 1946 from where it was purchased by Glasgow Museums. In a letter to the museum Ann Macbeth wrote: I found when wandering in the countryside near my cottage in the Lake District the ruin of a farm steading. In it was tiny manger, made I should think for a goat. It was just large enough to hold a tiny baby comfortably ... and that set my needle going.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to whoever posted this site. We are going to be staying in Wordsworth Cottage where she lived in Patterdale and I am a lifelong textile person. This is so exciting.