Sunday, 31 July 2011

Some Interesting Victorian Items

I am starting to feature some interesting Victorian items on the Misc page of my website, here are the first three items, a collapsable Opera hat or top hat, a farthingale and a miniature Etui in the shape of a Gladstone bag.

Victorian silk Opera top hats are so called as they can be easily collapsed flat to stow away safely, for example in an opera claokroom. These hats were invented in 1812 by Antoine Gibus in France when the fashion for wearing very tall hats in such places as the Opera became an annoyance to those seated behind the wearer…

The farthingale dates to about 1860 - thanks Glo for the help with the dating - flat fronted with a bell-shaped back to give the correct shape for the period. It is made of pink wool lined with cream silk with metal boning. It too collapses flat for storage. It is quite tatty, but as very few from the period survive it is an interesting piece for reference or study.

The miniature gladstone-style etui is very sweet, perfectly elegant yet eminently practical at the same time! I have seen a few ordinary 19th century handbags in the is style - all French - so although this was bought in the UK I suspect it to be French.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A Magpie or possibly a Dragon's Hoard

Those of you who often visit this page will be aware of my haberdashery habit, or fixation with threads, especially of the vantage glittery variety! I staggered home under the weight of quite a few kilograms of booty last weekend, all vintage or antique French threads and braids, ranging from the 1960s right back to about 1916, so some are almost 100 years old!

Where does it all come from? Well, I have been lucky enough to get to know a dealer who cleared an old French factory; he started off a few years ago with a large lock-up stacked full of it all, but now there isn't too mach left, so I greedily grab a bit more whenever I see it... And yes, I do sell it from time to time, but not too much... It is 'My Precious'...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Pretty 19th century French prints

These pretty French prints arrived in the post today and have been a real pleasure to photograph and process for the website as they are so interesting and photogenic. Natural dyes like indigo and madder give such wonderful colours and shades especially when gently faded over time.

18th century prints began by imitating book printing styles butthe 19th century saw the gradual invention & introduction of a new textile repertoire using innovative ideas and motifs along with traditional ones that exploited the growth of new technology such as roller printing.

Monday, 4 July 2011

July 4th, A British toile commemorating Independence Day

Happy July 4th to all my American friends! Here is a very special fragment of a late 18th century British toile commemorating Independence Day, called America Presenting at the Altar of Liberty Medallions to Her Illustrious Sons. It was given to me by an American friend and fellow collector a while ago as a thank you for sourcing some early block printed textiles for him (thanks Bronnie). It is a rare and sought after design, especially when there is a full pattern repeat, which this fragment doesn't have, but there is enough here to get the gist of the design, The famous toile company at Jouy produced a very similar design in 1790 that was in print for 17 years.