Friday 30 September 2011

Fane Family Needlework

This intriguing needlework piece - a French sweetheart sampler - was stitched for Major General Sir Vere Fane and is dated Octobre 1918: the end of the Great War. It is for sale by Bateman's on 1 October 2011 some 93 years after it was made. The estimate is £60 - £100. Click here for more details. What is even more intriguing is the history of the Fane family.
The Fane family have lived at Fulbeck Hall since 1632 when it was left by Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland (1580-1629), to his third son, Sir Francis Fane (circa 1611-1681), a courtier, Royalist and commander of the King’s forces at Doncaster and Lincoln. The building was burned down in 1731, and was subsequently rebuilt between 1732 and 1733, possibly by Stamford architect George Portwood, with only the back wings and cellars surviving from the early 17th century. In 1767, the grandson of Sir Francis Fane, Henry Fane (1669-1726) was left the residence at Fulbeck, before the estates in Lincolnshire were left to his eldest son Thomas Fane (1701-1771), 8th Earl of Westmorland, making him one of the richest landowners in England. He then left Fulbeck Hall to his younger son the Honourable Henry Fane MP (1739-1802). In 1777, Henry married Anne Buckley Batson, heiress of the Avon Tyrrel estate in Hampshire, by whom he had 14 children, and went on to occupy and enlarge the hall from 1784, adding a new north wing. During the 19th century, the house was home to General Sir Henry Fane MP (1778-1840), Commander-in-Chief of India, and his brother General Mildmay Fane. They were succeeded by their nephew and the son of the Reverend Edward Fane, General Walter Fane (1828-1885), who raised Fane’s Horse, a regiment of volunteers to fight in China during the Second Opium War. Walter was also an avid artist, completing a number of pieces included within the following lots. Although he had limited artistic success during his lifetime, he was the most successful member of a moderately artistic family. He married Maria Hodges, and was buried at Fulbeck after his death. As Walter and Maria Fane had no children, ownership of the estate then went to Colonel William Vere Reeve King-Fane (1868-1943), the son of William Dashwood Fane and the Honourable Susan Reeve. During the Second World War, the hall was requisitioned by the army and is famously known as the headquarters where the Battle of Arnhem (code name Operation Market Garden) was planned. The samplers above and below were stitched by Fane girls, Elizabeth Christine in 1916 aged 10 and Charlotte in 1786.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Mrs Jenner's Casket

Born Leonora Stewart, she took as her second husband in 1899 Leopold Jenner, son of William Jenner who was physician to Queen Victoria. And in 1902, Leopold bought Avebury Manor in Wiltshire and the couple invested their labours in bringing the house back to its former glory, Leopold took charge of the estate and Leonora tasked herself with furnishings and embroideries. Here is one example of her neo-Stuart works, a casket signed and dated 1940. The front panels show scenes from Abraham and Isaac and is smothered with fruits, flowers, insects and birds - many three dimensional - which you might be able to see from the top of the casket itself. Leonora did not confine herself to Avebury alone. When Leopold's brother, Sir Walter Jenner, purchased Lyte's Cary Manor in 1907 (now a National Trust property) to rescue it from ruin, Leonora set to work there also and you can still see there in the Great Parlour an impressive stumpwork mirror frame that she embroidered. However, many of her items have been sold and you may just possibly come across them - so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Needleprint Give Away - Amager Panel 1799

The island of Amager is just a short bus ride away from central Copenhagen - not far from the end of the airport runway, in fact. But the people of Amager were a world apart from their host Denmark.
Invited to Copenhagen by King Christian in 1523 to grow vegetables for the King's pantry, families from the Netherlands were given land on Amager.
They were exempt from taxes, were to all intents self-ruling, and continued to listen to sermons in Dutch until the middle of the 19th century. They continued to wear their own distinctive costumes which you can see here. And continued to stitch their own distinctive patterns. Sometimes these monochrome patterns were knitted using moss stitch to create wonderful fishing Ganseys.
So this week you can enter a draw for a free copy of this lovely chart which also has a birthday list and mini-projects for you. To enter the draw simply click on the flying angel below. The results of the draw will be announced on Monday 3 October - Good Luck to you all!

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Le Smoking

The nip of autumn is in the air and yet walking by pub and office doors there is never a shortage of huddled, pinched bodies, stamping their feet, grabbing a quick smoke. Who would ever have predicted the rapid demotion and devaluation of the leisured activity with so much cachet - le smoking? Once, smoking necessitated a wardrobe of its own, complete with hats like these, lovingly embroidered, betasselled and bequilted. The one above is in a Locke and England auction on 29 October. It is lot 147 and comes with an estimate of just £20 - £30.
In the 1850s, the Gentlemen's Magazine of London defined the smoking jacket as a kind of short robe de chambre, of velvet, cashmere, plush, merino or printed flannel, lined with bright colours, ornamented with brandenbourgs, olives or large buttons.
Whether this might be deemed a wee bit de trop these days is the question. Particularly when one has witnessed the damage done by sparks of ash landing on cloth and the tarification of all surfaces subject to prolonged tobacco fumigation. We need to remember that these elaborate garments were worn to protect habitual clothing against such disasters!
This rather elegant smoking jacket of the 1870s-1880s is item 4144 for sale at Vintage Textiles with a price tag of $1,500.
But hang the expense of clothing, my dear, what about the Smoking Room? Above you can see a smoking room from Cardiff Castle designed by William Burges. Now in the past I confess (why confess?) I have enjoyed after dinner Turkish cigarettes, but never in such fantasiaical surrounds - and this is just the Summer Smoking Room - below is the Winter Smoking Room.
But returning to the role of the needle in Le Smoking - were there any other accoutrements to this activity that you recall which were worked with a needle? Were stitched covers for cigarettes ever made - rather like TV Times covers? Ash-tray covers? Little pockets for matches?

Monday 26 September 2011

Blackwork Embroidery Course * Ashmolean, Oxford * 18/19 November 2011

Thanks to Bertie from Samplers and Buttons for telling us about this course and that there are only 15 places available - so sign up now - click here for more details.
‘Blackwork’ or ‘Spanish work’ was a popular form of embroidery in England in the 16th and early-17th centuries. In this two-day workshop tutored by Lynn Hulse and Nicola Jarvis you will explore the development of the technique from counted, geometric patterns, to free design incorporating curvilinear floral motifs, birds and insects. Particular reference will be made to the portrait of Elizabeth I at Jesus College (pictured above). All abilities welcome. The fee for the two days which runs on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November from 10.30am-5pm is £170 (£160 concessions) and includes materials.

Sunday 25 September 2011

London Antique Textile Fair 2 October 2011 * London

Prepare yourself for a textile extravaganza of the up-close and exciting kind. On Sunday 2 October 2011 textile lovers from around the world will be congregating from
10.30am-4.30pm at swinging Chelsea Town Hall in London SW3 5EE. Expect to see dealers from UK, France, Germany and Holland selling a vast array of quality items including ethnic rugs and fabrics, vintage clothing and accessories, antique costume and textiles and related items. Make a date and I'll see you there!

Saturday 24 September 2011

The Creation Collection by Alex Beattie - Special Sale Prices

Here is a brilliant project for any church stitching group who would love to make something for their church but don't quite know where to start in terms of design. Alex Beattie has designed this creation set of 6 panels correspoding to the 6 active days of creation. Here they are pictured in order starting at Day 1 and finishing with Day 6. Each measures 16" or 41cm square.
And what is more they come in kits, each with its own printed 12 hole to the inch canvas, needle, full instructions and pure new wool yarns.
Perhaps even better news, they have been reduced from the original price of £45 each to just £29.95.
Imagine them stitched and framed around the church. Or as a banner. Or as a long panel. Or as special kneelers or cushions.
They would certainly be a talking point in any format, and what a pleasure to work as a group now the autumn evenings are closing in. They are available from Ehrman Tapestry - just click here for more details and how to order instructions.

Friday 23 September 2011

Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art * Newark Museum, USA * 14 September - 31 December 2011 * Special Quilt Turning 27 September

Since purchasing its first quilt in 1918, Newark Museum has amassed one of the most comprehensive quilt collections in the USA, both stylistically and historically, consisting of more than 150 pieces today. Such as as this crib or child’s quilt, early 2004-2005. Bibijan Ibrahimsahib, Kendalgri, India. Cotton, 37”H x 49”W. (Purchase 2006 The Members’ Fund 2006.32.2) Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art tracks the evolution of quilts—from functional masterpieces of women’s folk art to self-conscious artworks intended for display rather than practical purposes. Many have never been on public view before. The exhibition features more than two dozen quilts, some created with powerful graphic designs pieced together from geometric patches of silk, wool or cotton, while other are more complex works of narrative folk art, filled with appliqué motifs and embroidered enrichment. Album quilts, commemorative quilts and crazy quilts—all of these were ways in which women in centuries past built community and were able to express their artistic skills within the confines of gender roles. Contemporary studio quilters have also embraced the historic traditions of their craft, while creating a kind of quilt that has only existed since the late twentieth century. Accompanying this exhibition is The Global Art of Patchwork: Africa and Asia, showcasing work of patchwork traditions outside the world of quilts, also drawn from the Museum’s holdings. For more details click here.
On 27 september there will be a special quilt turning day which will be a special opportunity to study and explore 32 quilts from the Museum's collection brought out of storage specially for this event. With four experts present to reflect upon and discuss the unique pieces, visitors will gain familiarity with what lies behind the stitches and patterns of these rare masterpieces.
Fee: $35 for members; $50 for non-members
Pre-registration required, call 973.596.6613 or purchase tickets online.
Program: 10:30–11:30am Lecture: Quilts Uncovered at the Newark Museum
Speaker: Ulysses Dietz, Senior Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts.
11:30am–1pm Tours of the exhibitions, Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art and The Global Art of Patchwork.
1–2pm Lunch
2–4pm Quilt Turning
For more details of the Quilt Turning Event click here.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Charles I Purse For Auction

This rare Charles I needleworked purse or swetebag of circa 1630 has silk and silver threads depicting flowers growing on a trellis, with a drawstring cord top and tassel trimmings and silk lining. It measures 12cm (4.5") square. It is being offered at auction by Lyon and Turnbull on 28 September. Lot 20, it has an estimate of £1,000 - £1,500. Click here for more details.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Unfolding Stories: Culture and Tradition in American Quilts * 24 Sept - 31 Dec 2011 * Fenimore Art Museum, New York

Organized by renowned quilt scholar Jacqueline M. Atkins, the Fenimore Art Museum for the first time in over 10 years will display selections from its large collection of quilts. The exhibition will address themes of diversity, ethnicity and culture. Also included are the three award-winning quilts from the 2010 New York State of Mind Quilt Show. The Quilt pictured above comes with no further details in the press handout - but I personally think it is one of those quilts you need to see before you die - it is magnificent.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

More About the Norfolk Hundreds

I have just had a really interesting email from Philippa Smith at Carrow House Museum concerning the sampler we featured on 16 September. Philippa writes: I was interested in the Norfolk Hundreds map sampler up for auction and you may remember the one in Pamela Clabburn's book (image above). It is unusual as it is stitched by a Pupil teacher. Pam asked me to do further research and - with the help of a map expert friend - we found that the map was taken from 'A Topographical Dictionary of the United Kingdom' published London 1808. The Norfolk map by Cooper shows the initials of the Hundreds, the numbers being from the index of the Hundred names.
What has always perplexed us are the strange tripod objects, which are not on the Cooper map. It could be that they are Cresset beacons which were often placed on the top of highest building - a church tower - and lit to signal the approach of invasion such as the Spanish Armada, the Jacobite uprisings, or celebration such as VE Day 1945. Apparently Monken Hadley church near Barnet still has its cressett in place. Perhaps someone has more information and can help?

Monday 19 September 2011

Winner of the Ann Trump Pin by In The Company of Friends

We know a little of the later life of Ann Trump, thanks to Roger Angerson, a Bristol Friend. The tale is tragic. Ann married Isaac Furnell of Bristol and on 15 December 1811 she gave birth to Lydia Maria, named after Ann's own older sister, Lydia. Sadly, Isaac is recorded deceased at the time of Lydia's birth. And baby Lydia survived just 16 years, her death being noted in 1827.

Too long out of print. Ann Trump's lovely, horizontal format Ackworth School Sampler of 1797 is now back as a download.
On a happier note I am delighted to announce the winner of the Ann Trump Pin made especially for Ackworth 2008 by In The Company of Friends. Congratulations Jeanny!

Sunday 18 September 2011

Sunday's Child - Free Jigsaw Download

Since it happened to be my birthday last week, I was trying to remember on which day of the week I was born. I couldn't recall if it was Wednesday or Thursday. Not something I should really fuss about - but it does make a whole world of difference. Am I full of woe? Or do I have far to go? I suppose I could pull daisy petals to decide, but the wonder of the internet is that I can have an instant answer - and, thankfully, I find I was born on a Thursday. So, I can banish all woe! Since today is Sunday, I thought this might make you smile - and of course, all those with the good luck to be born on a Sunday. I hope you enjoy your free jigsaw download this week. However, sadly, this is not going to work for Mac users. Instructions: Click here next Click Open, then click the .EXE file name and click Run, when you see the jigsaw puzzle, click Play Too many pieces? Try clicking on Trays on the top tool bar to create any number of resizeable trays to sort your pieces ........ you can also click the Cheat button and watch the puzzle solve itself! The software is by David Gray designer of Jigsaws Galore - the powerful jigsaw player and creator for Windows.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Edwina Ehrman's Latest Book

It has been my very great pleasure over a number of years to work with some of best writers on textiles and textile history: Mary Brooks; Dorothy Bromiley Phelan; Eva-Lotta Hansson and, of course, Edwina Ehrman. They are all delightful colleagues and I am privileged to know them. Edwina has a fabulous new book out now on The Wedding Dress - celebrating 300 years of Bridal Fashion. The timing is perfect for me as our son Gareth is to be married in November - on Guy Fawkes' Day - and I just cannot wait to see the bridal gown of our new daughter, Rachel. Goodness, I get goose-bumps just thinking about it!
Limited stocks remaining. Authored by leading textile expert Edwina Ehrman of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London this exceptionally well-researched book brings to life the 17th century needlework teacher Judith Hayle and her students. Price includes postage.

Friday 16 September 2011

Hundreds In Stitches

The county of Norfolk in the UK was subdivided at the time of the Domesday Book into administrative and taxation areas called hundreds. These ancient divisions survived until 1834 when the Poor Law unions replaced them. Since then there have been many reorganizations and restructurings, so it is interesting and rare indeed to see the old hundreds marked on a stitched work. Here are the Norwich hundreds in alphabetical order (some are further divided into North and South or East and West): Blofield, Brothercross, Clackclose, Clavering, Depwade, Diss, Docking, Earsham, Erpingham, Eynsford, Flegg, Forehoe, Freebridge, Gallow, Greenhoe, Grimshoe, Guiltcross, Happing, Henstead, Holt, Humbleyard, Lackford, Launditch, Loddon, Mitford, Shropham, Smithdon, Taverham, Tunstead, Walsham, Wayland. This example stitched by Mary Anne Burnham when she was 7 in 1788 is for auction at Ewbank Auctions at their 28-30 September sale and has a guide price of £200-£300. Click here for more details.

Thursday 15 September 2011

How Much Did That Sampler Sell For?

One of the many questions I am frequently asked is, How much did that sampler go for? While we post notices of samplers coming up for auction, we don't always have time or space to go back and review just how much they realised come the all-important day of the auction. So, I am picking up on a Tennants of Leyburn auction on 12 August from which we featured some text samplers - just so you can see how good your estimates were against those of the auction house. This unframed sampler worked by Sarah Hodgson 1832 in cross stitch in blue thread had a guide price of £70-£100. If you remember Sarah Hodgson from Appleton appears in the Ackworth School register for 1830-1833 and her sampler is very similar to alphanumeric samplers worked by the Mills sisters in the early 1840s. Maybe that little, last minute, unexpected information helped put the sale price up to £320 - but still that was a bargain.
The sampler above worked by Elizabeth Rawes at the Quaker Milverton School in 1790 had a guide price: £200-300 and sold for £560. And we shall be seeing more of that sampler soon.
The pair of samplers (above and below) from Chapel Allerton Girls School worked by Marianne Hildyard in 1839 and 1837 together had a guide price of £100-150 and sold for £260.
And this pair of samplers by sisters Eliza Ann and Mary Bowes had a guide price of £100-150. And the hammer went down on them for £190.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Shakespeare's Merchandise of Venice

This is a detail of an exciting and recently discovered portrait of William Shakespeare, which has been presented by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to the British Museum. During the summer of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games the British Museum will present a major exhibition on the world and works of William Shakespeare, supported by BP. Shakespeare: staging the world will be part of the World Shakespeare Festival in the London 2012 Festival. Do not miss! Ah, but look at that fabulous lace collar! This is ponto in aere par excellence and probably made in Venice by the needleworkers where the laces were described as perforated incrustations. According to Venetian sources, it was the Dogaressa Giovanna Dandolo Malipiero who, during the time of her husband's election (1457-1462),  provided a powerful impetus for lace and printmaking, though the best known books today date from a hundred years' later: L'opera nova by Vavassore; L'essempio di recammi by Tagliente; Esemplario di lavori by Aristotile (detto Zoppino); La fontana degli essempli by Pellicciolo; Opera nova by da Sera; amongst others. Initially pursued by noble ladies seeking to occupy their time graciously, the needlelaces became greatly sought after and so workshops were set up in convents and asylums. Later the exploitation of lacemakers became quasi-slavelike with entrepreneurs moving the centre of production to Burano. Thousands of women worked in conditions redolant of today's despised sweatshops. The profits to the marzari or haberdashers were enormous and sufficient to raise several families to ranks alongside the Doge and other notables. Below you can see needlelace workers of this century during one of the periods of craft revival.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Needling Hitler

I am an avid Guardian reader, but I missed last Saturday's edition and would have been totally ignorant of this excellent item had it not been for Denise in the USA who kindly told me about and sent me the link. Above you can see Tony Casdagli holding a sampler stitched by his father, Major Alexis Casdagli, some six months into his internment as a prisoner of war by the Germans. He had been given a piece of canvas by a fellow inmate. Pinching red and blue thread from a disintegrating pullover belonging to an elderly Cretan general, Casdagli passed the long hours in captivity by painstakingly creating a sampler in cross-stitch. Around decorative swastikas and a banal inscription saying he completed his work in December 1941, the British officer stitched a border of irregular dots and dashes. Over the next four years his work was displayed at the four camps in Germany where he was imprisoned, and his Nazi captors never once deciphered the messages threaded in Morse code: "God Save the King" and "F**k Hitler". The Major was already adept with a needle and thread and entered into his embroidery with characteristic attention to detail and enthusiasm. He ran a needlework school for 40 officers and much of his work illustrated his thoughts and feelings which undoubtedly was a major source of his strength in surviving his four years as a POW. He was to say that the Red Cross saved his life and his needlework preserved his sanity. His son, Tony Casdagli, was born in 1932, joined the Royal Navy as a cadet at the age of 13 retiring in 1984 as a Captain. He also is a long term needleworker.You can read the full article by clicking here.
And here you can see the needling sampler itself. This image is the front cover of an account of Major Casdagli's time as a Prisoner-of-War in Germany 1941-1945, taken from his diary and illustrated with examples of his embroideries. The book is availalbe from Lulu Marketplace for around £15 - click here for more information. This piece is also on display in The Power of Making exhibition at the V&A Museum, London running from September 2011 - January 2012.

Monday 12 September 2011

Free Giveaway - Ann Trump Pin from In The Company of Friends

Ann Trump who was a scholar at Ackworth School from 1793 to 1797 had 4 of her samplers gifted to the school in 1965 by a gentleman who, in his turn, had been given the samplers by an old lady many years ago. Two of Ann's samplers are darning samplers, and two are medallion samplers - one monochrome, and the other a gorgeous long polychrome dated 1797. Also at Ackworth was Ann's older sister, Lydia, who left a simple alphabet and number sampler. The girls were offspring of John Henry and Ann Trump of Bristol and later Keynsham. John Henry was a baker. To celebrate the first gathering at Ackworth School in 2006, In The Company of Friends made this charming pin based upon motifs on Ann's monochrome sampler. And this is the pin you can win in the free draw this week. Simply click on the angel at the bottom of this post to enter.

Too long out of print. Ann Trump's lovely, horizontal format Ackworth School Sampler of 1797 is now back as a download.
The draw is open to all - and as usual just click on the flying angel to enter. The winner will be announced next Monday 19 September. Good Luck!