Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Ackworth Medallions and Watch Papers

For any researcher there are many blind avenues. In fact, the ratio of blind to fruitful avenues can be compared to an iceberg: the shining tip is all that is visible of the vast grey morasses of rejected material lying beneath the surface, which although rarely seen, is sometimes bumped into again! This was my experience when exploring sources or possible objects of the Ackworth sampler medallions. I came across a reference in a book that Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich had watch papers that were similar to the Ackworth Medallions. (Watch papers are protective circular slips of paper, often with the maker's name and address, which stop the watch glass from getting scratched with use. Sometimes watch papers were replaced by a circle of fabric embroidered with a loving sentiment, given as a gift by a sweetheart or caring daughter.) When I contacted the author of the book, now quite elderly, to discover more, her reply was that she had picked up on what a previous author had written. Since that author was now dead, there was nothing for it but to conduct a search in the museum to see if we could discover the watch paper or watch paper(s) that had sparked the comment. Unfortunately, we could find nothing. Ackworth medallions do have a shape that would lend themselves to being stitched as a gift to protect a watch glass, in the same way that watch papers do. The fact that, so far, we have not found one and all we have seen as objects of the medallions are knitted pinballs, does not rule out the possibility that a stitched watch paper with an Ackworth medallion may yet be discovered. If you do come across one, be sure to let us know, won't you?

1 comment:

  1. Hi there I read this passage a little while back, and have just now watched a repeat of "Antiques Roadshow" and lo and behold it featured a watch with 3 embroidered "papers" alas the show was more intent on the printed papers than the embroidered ones so the vision was very brief - just though you'd like to know that they do indeed exist!