Wednesday, 8 June 2011

An Afternoon in the Loft and a 1948 Article on the RSN for You to Download

I am rummaging around the loft this week, surprising myself with what I find. There was a whole stack of inherited Saturday Books which I was wondering if I should let go and thought before I decided I should at least look at them - and so I sat for most of the afternoon engrossed and amused - and of course, back they will go, I can't bear to part with them, or the thought that on another afternoon sometime in the future I shall find them again and enjoy their small pleasures once more.
I did find an article about the Royal School of Needlework tucked amongst the pages of the 1948 book and thought I could share it with you. Click here to download a PDF version. It is scanned sideways so you can print it out on A4 - though the odd line may be clipped. Princess Helena, (Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein) daughter of Queen Victoria, founded the School in 1872 to train young women and to give employment to skilled needlewomen who lacked business experience.
I was intrigued by this photograph of The Belgian Frame and wonder if any of you can shed any more light on it?
These magnificent Queens' boxes are a revelation to me: They were worked at the School for Queen Alexandra (lower left), Queen Victoria (lower right - my favourite), and the top one for Queen Mary.
This image of a woman at her needlework by a cosy fireside, overlooked by a female ancestor is very moving. I suppose a few years earlier this lady would have been in the Land Army or the WAAF, or, perhaps like my aunt, a nurse tending soldiers wounded in World War II. The return to needlework is somehow a return to healing, and I found myself trying to recall one of my favourite poems by Thomas Hardy entitled In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'
Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War's annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.

And maybe one could write a poem about needleworkers in this vein?

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