Not mine

I know I haven’t posted for a week, but in my defence I’ve sort of been on holiday.

When I say holiday, I do of course mean extended pub crawl.

Gareth wanted a trip to Cambridge for his birthday. Now, his birthday was february, but obviously no one in thier right minds wants to go to Cambridge in February, so we went last week. It being his birthday trip we did stuff he wanted to do, hence the pubs which were all from his student days. I also got to see various labs where he worked and the first house he ever bought.

I did manage to sneak in some culture though, much to Gareth’s chagrin. He did take me to King’s college chapel, where he admitted he couldn’t remember who the altar painting was by – I suggested Rubens, which turned out to be correct, which is why he thinks I’m the clever one.  I also suggested that the medieval university must have been a mecca for whores, which turned out to be the only fact he  could recall from his colleges’ history. Sigh…

On the way there I persuaded him that Waddesden hall might have a garden he would like. Obviously this was a cunning ruse on my part, since I abandoned him in said garden and buggered orff to see the sacred stitches exhibition without him (what!? – there was no point in taking him in with me, he thinks victorian archictecture is overblown and medieval embroidery looks like a bunch of old rags. Although he may have a point with Waddesden, the archictecture is a bit OTT). Obviously I stayed there staring at these until someone came and threw me out…

waddesden saints

And I think I have decided what pattern to use for the goldwork on the lovers embroidery I did over christmas, as I loved this

waddesden saint

These saints used a lovely mixture of goldwork, including some or nue.

There were also several sofas covered, in the victorian period, with old medeival dalmatics, and it was obvious how much damage had been done to those textiles by such use. The exhibition said that the Rothchildes valued the textiles for thier artistic merit, yet from a modern point of view I couldn’t quite get over the sheer arrogance of gratuitously destroying a percieved work of art by eroding it with one’s well padded plutocratic arse.

Other examples of re-use I found interesting. There were two chalice viels made from c17th brocades that had come from dresses which reminded me of the examples from Anglo-Saxon female will which gifted beautifully embroidered garments to the church for re-use as vestments and altar furniture.

Some gratuitous lace-

waddesden lace

On the way out at Waddesden I managed to impress one of the custodians by glancing at an appliqued velvet mirror frame (unlabelled) and asking, correctly, if it was c17th Italian. Sometimes I like to remind myself that I’m very good at art history.

Between pubs we managed to squeeze in a brief visit to the Fitzwilliam, which was very poor on medieval stuff and textiles. However, there was a coif,

fitzwilliam coif

Which I found interesting for it’s use of alternating plaited braid stitch in gold with blue silk. Also a nightcap,

fitzwilliam nightcap

Sorry they’re not brilliant pics – the light was very low and of course I didn’t use flash. These are sort of related to the Waddesden stuff, since they were in a gallery donated by the Rothschilde family. Both cap and coif were labeled as adult, but both were tiny, reinforcing the theory that a lot of surviving costume survived because it was to small for any reasonable re-use. Both were so small they looked more like infants garments.

I loved this c17th embroidered picture that sat between cap and coif – it’s about the size of a greetings card

fitzwillaim c17th portrait

On the way home we stopped for a potter around Ely, and I noticed this c19th medieval style banner in the cathedral

ely banner

What I really loved about it was the way the embroiders had used couching to simulate the effect of a richly woven medeival brocade

ely banner detail

Finally we stopped at Oxburgh hall to see the hangings there. I’ve never yet found a publication that shows the full extent of these, there are just so many panels. This year the valance, which is normally held in storage, was on display. Obviously I took pictures of every single panel for my own reference, but this little satyr is definately my favourite

oxburgh satyr

Don’t tell Gareth that I corrupted his pub crawl into an embroidery trip – he’d be apalled!

BTw, you won’t get much out of me next week either, since its my birthday trip away


~ by opusanglicanum on June 5, 2013.

15 Responses to “Not mine”

  1. Ah, you’d been round near me. Guess I know where I’ll be going in the following weekends…!

    (And, yes, the FitzWilliam does have a lamentable lack of medieval things. I’m glad you found the room with the coif in.)

    • I am cunning, I examined the floor plan and headed stright for the room that sounded most promising before the 45 minute window of gareth’s tolerance for anything resembling culture snapped shut.

      I like the ashmolean better. do you live in cambridge?

      • Ah, very cunning! The renaissance art gallery is also fairly interesting, if you’re ever back there. A fair few pieces all 15th/16th C, mostly Italian and mostly religious art.

        My other favourite is a pair of Hogarths of before/after a countryside liaison…

  2. I was looking at the “postcard” with the 17th embroidery and wondered if the face was painted on first and then stitched… or what? These are amazing photos… thanks for sharing. Sounds like a great way to spend a weekend. 🙂

  3. I am amazed that there is quite a few items still available for viewing.
    The time and care which each piece was given is truly a huge gift to those of us who were born over a hundred ++ years later. Thank goodness and thank you for all the wonderful pictures.

  4. You *would* like the satyr! Heh-heh….

    I like the medieval style banner – “Cambridge 1861-1910,” especially the couching detail you showed. So where are you going on *your* birthday trip?

    • what? he’s cute – its not like he’s actually ithyphallic or anything!

      we are going first to gareth’s sisters hotel in windermere, then for a ride on a steam train on the settle to carlisle line

  5. I’ve had a couple of instances of room guides coming over to see if I’m alright because I’ve been staring at a piece of tapestry or embroidery – I suspect they think I’m planning to commit an act of vandalism! Mind you, I’ve also had some fascinating conversations when the guides have been embroiderers too.

    • I think I once upset one on a guided tour of tatton park. I walked into the room, thought, “yup, those are canalettos, how dull” and scampered over to admire a medeival ivory box on the far side of the room. the guide was all like “bow down before the awesomeness of the canalettos…oi, why aren’t you admireing my lovely canalettos?”

  6. Well done you! I’m rather taken with the lace, myself..

    • the lace is safe to admire, since I can’t make lace and have no intention of learning, therefore I can admire without the evil demons in my head insisting I need to make some

  7. I love your blog! I imported the coif photo into Aperture and lightened it up. If you want a copy for OpusAnglicanum, email me and I’ll send it to you. Gorgeous coif!

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