Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Simple Early 19th Century French Wedding

Tomorrow's Royal Wedding coincided with the purchase of this lovely early 19th century French printed toile de Rouen which arrive in the post today.

It depicts a lovely village wedding, starting with the introduction of the young man to his sweetheart's family. The couple exchange vows inside the church, before parading joyfully out of the church to the merry tune of the Fiddle. Next we see them and their family enjoying their delicious wedding banquet. Finally, we see into the future as the happy couple play with their little daughter.

It is a very charming panel despite being quite faded. The definition of the print isn't as good as it could be, this tended to happen when the engraved metal plates used for printing began to wear down after too much use, leaving a less distinct pattern. This sometimes allowed the dye to flood out a little too much, further increasing the lack of definition. However, I quite like the effect, it softens all the outlines, slightly blurring the detail, adding to the shabby chic charm of the design in this case.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

17th century bobbin laces

Here are 3 pieces of very early 17th century linen bobbin lace ; 2 pieces of Italian-style baroque lace, and a rather unusual piece of 'pinless' lace most likely from Flanders. This rather clunky looking lace puzzled me and I was unable to identify it at all, so I had it appraised by an American lace expert: 'The pinless laces are called that because they use pins only at the very edges of the lace, not at every intersection of the interior of the lace. They tend to be very early forms and are scattered across Flanders, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and Russia. Very early Flanders has this type of squared solid clothwork, and a variety of grounds are used, such as the most common trademark ground, the 5 dice, Kat stitch ground AKA Turnhout ground/ Pt d Paris ground, and round ground as found in old Valenciennes.'

The other two floral laces are either Flemish of Milanese as far as I can tell, the wider, finer lace I think may be Milanese while the narrower less delicate lace is probably Flemish - I need to do a bit more research in to techniques before I can be more positive! I find early laces incredibly fascinating in hteir beauty, complexity and variety. I especially admire the hardiness of the linen upholstery laces of this period as they can still be found in wonderful condition due to the hard wearing nature of flax.

Please click and double click on the photos for supersized and enlarged pictures showing the incredible detail of these laces.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A Riot of Colour and Texture: Indiennes, Tapestry & Needlepoint

Summer seems to have arrived too early here is the UK; mind you, I'm not complaining, but April in the UK is usually filled with Spring sunshine with that slightly crisp edge reminding us that we still have 'April showers' a-plenty to come before 'May's Flowers' as the old rhyme says. Yesterday was a different story though, 25C at Ardingly Antiques Fair; I was a little ill-prepared, and ended up getting a little sun-burnt and dehydrated and had to leave early, but before the heat overcame me, I managed to find some real treasures: some lovely fabrics including a couple of chintzes & indiennes (I suspect the yellow one is from Jouy), a Berlin woolwork panel depicting a playing card theme and an older Chinoiserie panel in fine tent stitch and a pair of gorgeous cushions made from 18th century tapestry fragments. Note to self: Drink more water and have breakfast before going to an all day fair...

Friday, 15 April 2011

Delicately Faded Shabby Chic French Florals for Spring

With perfect timing for Spring, one of my favourite dealers invited me to view their new French stock; she knows well my penchant for gently faded delicate floral fabrics in pale, wistful colours as well as stronger, richer tones, and she had plenty of both!

Most of the fabric here are late 19th century, a few from the first half of the 20th century, mostly lightweight lawns. These kind of antique and vintage cottons are becoming harder and harder to find so I was thrilled to buy up all that she had. The only drawback is that most of the pieces here are quite small, but that makes them perfect to cut and combine in pretty projects like cushion covers or patchwork.

I shall be listing a few pieces on ebay this evening, and should have some small patchwork packs for sale in the website over the next couple of days. I always find that Spring is the best time for buying textile stock, and have several buying trips lined up over the next few days, so watch this space for more oodles of interesting things!