Monday 31 October 2011

Foundling Museum Tokens - Book Winner

The next time you are walking down Marchmont Street in London, near to the Foundling Museum, do look down at your feet as you will see that embedded in the pavement at intervals are replica tokens from the Foundling Museum. How many can you spot?
Which brings me to the happy news that the winner of the book - Introduction to the Tokens at the Foundling Museum by Janette Bright and Gillian Clark is Freyalyn from Baildon. Thank you to everyone who participated. If you didn't win and would like a book, you can order a copy directly from the Foundling Museum, just click on this link.

Sunday 30 October 2011

18th Century Castelo Branco Colchas at Augusta Auctions 2 November 2011 * New York

The Portuguese were amongst the first to trade in the Far East and in addition to the valuable spices they brought home, they brought home sumptious floral silks from China and India. If you look at the two embroidered bedspreads - colchas - stitched in the city famous for the work - Castelo Branco - you will see a very strong resemblance to English crewel work as shown beautifully on the Norwich school samplers. In fact the influence of these Far Eastern imports leaves a strong and lasting impression all along the maritime coasts of western Europe which can be seen in textiles from Portugal, to the East coast of England, the Netherlands, and particularly the Northern Netherlands at Hinderlopen. The influence was also carried up the Rhone valley from the Mediterranean port of Marseilles to the vast market of Beaucaire and from there to Mulhouse, which lay outside of French jurisdiction ruling illegal, for a time, the import of these well-loved and greatly desired fabrics. The first colchas above is Lot 31 in the 2 November Augusta Auction to be held in New York City. It has an estimate of $300-$500 and is worked on a natural linen ground employing couched silk embroidery in long satin stitch, worked in cream, pale gold, shades of green and blue.
A male figure is depicted in 2 separate scenes - in the first playing fiddle while near by dog holds prey in its mouth and in the next following over-size turkey while a second man kneels, pointing a shotgun at the turkey.
Both scenes are surrounded by stylized flowers and curving boughs. It measures 47" x 50". Much embroidery worn away.
The second colchas is lot 23 with an estimate of $400-$700. Worked on natural linen ground, couched silk embroidery has been employed in long satin stitch in cream, pale gold, shades of green and blue.
Here are embroidered figures in two separate scenes surrounded by stylized flowers and curving boughs. The first scene is of a man, and woman holding an animal while a second man kneels behind the first aiming a shotgun. The colchas is bordered with short gold fringes and measures 60" x 90". Embroidery is very worn and there are many scattered small holes and repairs. For more details click here.
And here you can see a modern practioner of Castelo Branco at work.

Saturday 29 October 2011

Pre-Order Now Your Betty Ring Catalogue from Sotheby's

We posted in July the breaking news that the Betty Ring Collection of American schoolgirl embroideries would take place during the sale of Important Americana scheduled for January 22 2012 by Sotheby's of New York. The exhibition for the sale will open to the public on January 14 and run through January 19. The printed, single owner catalogue will be available sometime after Christmas, with the online catalogue available soon thereafter. In the meantime, Wendy White was concerned that there would not be enough printed catalogues to go around to all those who would want one. She took the initiative (for which a medal is deserved, I believe) and contacted Nancy Druckman, Senior Vice President & Director, American Folk Art at Sotheby’s and suggested that they allow individuals to pre-order the catalogue before it goes to print to assure that there are enough. Sotheby’s for the first time has agreed to pre-order and is pleased to announce you can request a catalogue for this sale (8832) now. You can either call Sotheby’s on 212-606-7000 (USA) and ask for the Catalogue Sales Department or email to and you will be contacted by a representative who will take your order. Carol and Stephen Huber will author the catalogue from Betty Ring's notes. It is expected to cost around $40. Talking of notes - Betty's notes are to go to Winterthur Museum.

Friday 28 October 2011

Sampler Charts from Haslemere Educational Museum

Just a reminder of the wonderful sampler charts available from Haslemere Educational Museum. Mary Gibson's delightful sampler of 1824 was worked when she was 11 years old, is now available as a download from Haslemere Educational Museum. Mary's sampler measures: 19.5 x 20.5 inches (49.5cm Length: 52cm) and is 293 x 304 stitches. The sampler is worked on linen with 30 threads/inch (12 threads/1cm). The PDF chart, only available from Haslemere Museum, is priced at £10 or $20. All your money goes to the museum. For more details or to buy just click here.
There are just a few samplers stitched by boys and this one in the Haslemere Educational Museum is a very special and lovely example with its charming house (do you think it could be James' house?) in the shade of a tree, its many pots of flowers and not one, but two darling squirrels. Again you can buy the chart direct from the museum. For more details or to buy just click here. Thank you for all your support.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Feeling Foxy?

Living in the country, most of us tend to feed foxes and are rewarded by their fidelity and later return with their litters. Foxes are affectionately called Charlie by my friends and dinner talk is always of what Charlie did next. Though it has to be said that Charlie does have a tendency to commit savage acts against domestic fowl which are not necessary to allay either his or his family's hunger.
But if you are feeling foxy, you may be taken by this intarsia knit cardie by Urban Outfitters.
And if you don't like foxes, well there are also raccoons! Click here for more details.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Queen Victoria's Stockings & Bloomers at Lyon & Turnbull * 1 November

I once held a pair of WB Yeat's underpants. They were large and long - baggy even - and much washed. They belonged to a friend of mine and the whole event of their being brought out for display was so utterly bizarre that the details of their provenance went by me. This I can say, they were not autographed, did not have a tag in the back with WB Yeat's name on nor were they cross-stitched with WBY anywhere I could see. Without my friend's tale I guess they were indistinguishable from any pair of men's underpants of that age. I am bothered now thinking who would give away or lend underclothes? If you were kin to Queen Victoria, would you dispose of her stockings and bloomers? Gloves, yes, I can see that. But intimate undergarments? How? Bebaffled that I am, the fact is that Lyon and Turnbull are auctioning these pieces which formerly belonged to Queen Victoria. Lot 411 is a pair of Queen Victoria's ivory silk stockings embroidered ‘VR20’ and crowned. They are presented in a frame measuring 48 x 35cm (18.9 x 13.8in) and come with an estimate of £2,000 - £3,000.
The items belonged to the wealthy publisher Malcolm Forbes and were on display in the family home in Old Battersea - a home in which Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky had their honeymoon. Another visitor to the house was Prince Charles and this particular lot - 414 - a pair of Queen Victoria's silk bloomers also embroidered ‘VR2’was popped away in a cupboard during his visits. They are now in a frame measuring 89 x 85cm (35 x 33.5in). Their estimate is £2,000 - £3,000.
Lot 412 is a pair of Queen Victoria's Kid Gloves embroidered ‘VR’ in silver thread, in a frame 39 x 28cm (15.4 x 11in). The estimate for these gloves is £300 - £500.
Lot 409 is another pair of Queen Victoria's silk stockings embroidered with initials ‘VR’, framed, 93 x 35cm (36.6 x 13.8in); together with a framed and glazed pair of photographs and bearing inscription ‘John Meakin (born 1816) and Ann Birkin (born 1816)/ Hosiery Weaver and Hosiery Embroideress for Her Majestys (sic) the Queen/ for sixty years: both photographed in 1898’ The estimate for this lot is £500 - £800.
Lot 403 is Queen Victoria's whiote silk and lace nightgown circa 1870 embroidered ‘VR 28’ and crowned. Framed it measures 104 x 96cm (40.9 x 37.8in) and comes with an estimate of £800 - £1,200.
Finally, lot 410 is a pair of black and cream silk mourning stockings having belonged to Queen Victoria and embroidered ‘VR20’ and crowned. Framed size is 104 x 41cm (40.9 x 16.1in) and their estimate is £500 - £800.
For more details, just click here.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

17th Century Casket, Panel and Picture at Christie's Auction * London * 1 November 2011

Christmas is coming so we can be forgiven for drawing up wish lists ..... Lot 143 is a mid 17th century needlework casket with scenes from the life of Abraham. It is worked in tent stitch employing silk and metal threads. The front has hinged double doors depicting two ladies before a castle, the individual sides are worked with biblical scenes, including Jacob's Ladder and the Banishment of Hagar. There is a hinged lid embroidered with the Sacrifice of Isaac and Rebecca at the Well, the underside of the lid is embroidered in long stitch with the personification of Justice. The doors are worked with a king and queen, each under a raised work tented canopy. Six drawers have depictions of birds, animals and flowers and are lined in pink silk, bound in metal ribbon. The casket measures 12 x 11 x 7 in. (30 x 28 x 18 cm.) and is mounted on a wooden stand having a glass case.
The estimate is £25,000 to £30,000. Click here for more details.
Also for auction is Lot 146 - a needlework casket panel circa 1650 depicting bible stories. The ivory silk ground is worked in coloured silks and metal threads with seed pearl details, depicting three scenes. The central scene is a queen conveyed by a carriage, pulled by four gentlemen. To the left there is a scene of Golgotha, and to the right various buildings, birds, trees and insects embroidered either side, the top section divided by metal braid and worked with Noah's Ark, the rains and a rainbow issuing from clouds above the Eye of God, trimmed in metal braid with a key hole to the centre. The panel which is framed and glazed measures 15.5 x 4 in. (40 x 10 cm.) and has an estimate of £6,000-£8,000. For more details, click here.
Lot 144 is a raised work picture depicting a king, possibly Solomon meeting Sheba, beneath a tented canopy. It, too, is embroidered in silks and metal threads, with the initials 'S S' worked in seed pearls to the roof of the tent. These may be the maker's initials or may signify Solomon and Sheba. It measures 10 x 8.5 in. (27 x 22 cm.) and has an estimate of £5,000-£10,000. Click here for more details.

Monday 24 October 2011

Tokens From The Foundling Museum - Give Away Draw

It has been a while since we had a give away and the truth is I was waiting until I could offer you a copy of a new book from the Foundling Museum in London. So here we go.
The Introduction to the Tokens at the Foundling Museum is authored Janette Bright and Gillian Clark and is an excellent, revealing and touching guide to some of the tokens left with children at the Foundling Hospital two and a half centuries ago. I was taken by this fish as I have seen some very similar and I always took them to be thread winders, since they turn up more often than not in antique needlework baskets. But these fish were originally chips! Gaming chips.
You cannot get more basic than a simple hair pin for a token and this could only be paired with the child's record because of its distinctive impress over time in the record book. Humphrey Joyce is one of the happier stories, since he survived until adulthood and became apprentice to a needle maker.
The story of coral as a prophylactic against childhood ailments such as stomach aches, fevers and poxes was also new to me, which puts me in mind of those elaborate coral teethers children are often depicted holding in old portraits.

And these are just a few fascinating snippets from the book - there are many, many more, together with stories of the children and their parents. To enter the draw just click the flying angel below. The winner will be announced next week, 31 October. Good luck!

Sunday 23 October 2011

French Sampler Free Jigsaw Download

Many thanks to Marie-Louise who has undertaken some time-consuming research into Marie Duclos' sampler. She went to the archives of the Departement of Isere (9NUM/SE53/17) and found the following information: "L'An dix huit cent quarante neuf et le seize février à neuf heures du matin, pardevant nous, Edouard Martin, Maire, officier de l'Etat civil, sont comparus Joseph Rivet, âgé de vingt cinq ans, marchand de farine, et Arist(?) Massat, trente sept ans, percepteur intérimaire, domiciliés à Bourgoin, lesquels nous ont déclaré que Joséphine-Susanne Duclos, âgée de huit ans, fille de Justin-Eugène, marchand de charbons, et de Marie Douzet, son épouse, domiciliés à Bourgoin, rue d'Italie, y est décédée hier à dix heures du soir. Dont acte lu aux comparants qui ont signé avec nous." (February 16 1849 at nine in the morning, before me, Edward Martin, Mayor, of the civil State, was brought Joseph Rivet, twenty-five year old flour merchant and Arist(?) Massat, thirty-seven years, acting collector, domiciled at Bourgoin, who declared that Joséphine-Susanne Duclos, eight years' old, daughter of Justin-Eugène, coal merchant, and Marie Douzet, his wife, domiciled at Bourgoin, Italy Street, died yesterday at ten o'clock in the evening. This being read to the witnesses who have signed with us.) Marie-Louise was able to uncover the entire genealogy of the family. Josephine, born on 8 November 1840 was one of three sisters. Marguerite Marie was born on 11 November 1839 and Susanne Marie on 20 November 1841. Both sisters lived to be married. A maternal uncle who was witness to the marriage of Justin-Eugène and Marie Douzet was registered as a maker of silk stuffs from Lyons, and Marie-Louise wonders if this is where the silks came from to stitch this sampler. 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 22 October 2011

Tennants Costume Catalogue Now On-Line

If you are not able to visit Leyburn for Tennants' special and free costume exhibition running from 21-27 October (excluding Sunday) with a sale of the items taking place on Friday 28 October starting at 10.30am, then you might like to peruse the exhibition catalogue which is now on line.
In addition to costume, there are a number of needleworked pictures
lovely samplers
and needlework tools.
Just click here to see the catalogue.

Friday 21 October 2011

Startling Vierlande Progress by Winni-Linda & Free Hallowe'en Download

It's not that long since we set up this SAL for the Vierlande II sampler and already Winni-Linda is filling up her cloth with startling speed - it is hard to keep up with her progress. Winni-Linda says Perhaps it is because it is October that I'm seeing all the Hallowe'en decorations in some motifs: pumpkin blossoms, ghosts, nesting birds and even stylized bats in the corners.

Which gave me the idea that you might like to do a mini SAL with these Vierlande Hallowe'en-suggestive medallions! Just click on them for a larger chart.

Download. This is the second volume of the Vierlande motif library and comes with a separate eBook containing 11 additional mini-Vierlande sampler projects for you.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Meetings With Remarkable Women - Elizabeth Gibbons & Penpont Textile Fair 22-23 October 2011

To tell the truth, we are surrounded by remarkable people, and it is sad that sometimes we are too busy or too shy or too in awe to get to know them. At the Textile Society Fair in Chelsea, it was delightful to say hello to a number of women who are working with textiles, and to find out a little more about them. Elizabeth Gibbons is well known for her love of Antique Textiles and her well-edited collections. Her life in textiles began ordinarily enough with her obtaining a double degree in both Hand and Machine Printed Textiles. Then life started to get exciting. She ran away to Delhi, India and married a fellow student, an architect from the same college. While assisting in the selling of Indian textiles in a well-known craft store there she won an All India Competition organized by a famous Delhi cloth mill and was well rewarded. From Delhi, she moved with her husband when his firm relocated to Singapore. There Elizabeth started and built up a hand-block printing workshop with male Chinese labour (and also weaving on hand looms with Chinese women). All the fabrics were designed by Elizabeth and incorporated typical scenes from local life, e.g. rickshaws, painting batik cloths, Malay houses with curved roofs, and puppets, all cut in wooden blocks by trainees, and printed with very good, vibrant dyes from I.C.I. in England. These were made up into table linen or dresses, etc. according to individual customer's requests. Singapore was not the end of the journey for Elizabeth. Next, there was a move, again with her husband, to Kuala Lumpur (Malaya). Her flourishing business in Singapore was gifted to charity. In Kuala Lumpur, Elizabeth designed large dolls in Malay costume with Malay features (mainly for tourists) under the auspices of a famous gift shop, while running a small craft complex at home. Then returning home to the UK, Elizabeth made church vestments for the monks at Haverstock Hill and hats for John Lewis and Peter Jones. She had a studio at Barley Mow Workspace, Chiswick, where she made one-off items which were sold by Liberty's in London, Bloomingdales in New York, and some shops in Paris. (Barley Mow was an old and very smart factory space which was converted into studios for designers.) About this time, or soon after, Elizabeth was asked to take classes in Adult Education, teaching needlecrafts, collage, and crochet. She taught in Chelsea, Westminster, Fulham, South Kensington, Putney, and later at the Royal School of Needlework and the American College in London where she lectured in Textiles to students of 95 nationalities who were taking their B.A. and M.A. in Interior Design or Fashion Design. It was only after all this that she began her work with Antique Textiles. (One or two people predicted she would be a natural, especially as she had so many collections!). The rest, Elizabeth says, is history.
But it is important to mention that somewhere in the midst of her travels and work, Elizabeth raised 5 children. If you would like to meet Elizabeth, you can do so this coming weekend if you visit the 2 day Textile Fair at Penpont, a famous country house Near Brecon, in the Black Mountains, Wales. And you never know who else you might meet! Click here for more details of the fair.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

DMC Exhibition at Parc-Wesserling, Alsace, France Until 31 December 2011

I thought I had mentioned this lovely exhibition earlier, but somehow it got lost in all the other news here until Erica reminded me of it, my apologies.
The exhibition is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am - 12am and 2pm - 6pm, on Sundays 10am - 6pm. Closed on Mondays and on 1 November, 11 November and Christmas Day. There is an entrance fee.
The story of this great Alsatian enterprise continues to this day. "From a simple thread, a work of art is created" - this is the family motto of the Dollfus family. The story begins in 1746 when Jean-Henri Dollfus set himself up as one of the pioneers of industrial printing of cloths in the Indian style, painted by hand. When Daniel Dollfus, nephew of Jean-Henri, wed Anne-Marie Mieg in 1800, the company was renamed Dollfus-Mieg & Compagnie - DMC. In 1850, the grandson of Daniel discovered the process for mercerizing cotton in caustic soda.
For more details, just click here.