25 December 2011

Elizabeth II: Christmas message 1952

In 1952, following the example of her father, George VI, the new Queen Elizabeth did her first Christmas broadcast, which included the words in the embroidery above.  This was an example from eBay this year.  As with other embroideries (as opposed to cross-stitch designs), the examples I've seen show the variations produced by embroiderers with different levels of skill and who have made individual variations to thread colour (I don't think it's always fading from sunlight - if you look at the letter E on the side in these examples, it's in a single colour in one, and more than one colour in another).  I suspect this must have been a transfer, as the examples I've seen are on different colours of evenweave linen/cotton, from light cream to deeper beige/brown.

You can read more about the Queen's 1952 Christmas broadcast on her website (click here).   That page has links to all her Christmas messages.

Here's another version of this sampler:

...and another...

...and another, that had a couple of detail photos too..

Christmas Greetings!  I plan to continue documenting British patriotic samplers in this blog into the future.  It fascinates me how many there are, and how many people have chosen to make them.  Particular thanks and greetings to Sylvia at Linens and Royals for her much appreciated comments and for being so inspiring with her amazing collection of British patriotic samplers.

If you know more about this design eg. where and how it was published, please do leave a comment.

18 December 2011

21st June, 1982

Does 21st June, 1982 ring any particular bells for you? (Bells were rung on the day, I have no doubt).

Another clue:

Somebody thought it important enough to design quite a detailed work.  Someone thought it significant enough to make this tapestry.

Have the crown and the date and the stylised English roses given it away? (extra clue: Charles and Diana were married in 1981... did you spot their initials at the top of the design?)

I think the red/white/blue item at the bottom of the design is intended to be a cradle.  There's a lot of fecund/flourishing greenery.

You must be close to guessing, or have already guessed, that this records the birth date of Prince William.

It's done in wool on tapestry canvas - as a tapestry or needlepoint, depending on your terminology.  The cream areas are unstitched, so you can see through them to the backing board.

If you know any more about this design - where/if it was published, who designed it, if it was available as a kit - please do leave a comment.  It could have been a charted design (thus able to be used for cross stitch or canvas tapestry stitching) or a kit.  I incline towards the charted design (maybe in a magazine) because most tapestry kits of this vintage and up to the present day generally include enough tapestry wool to stitch the background, whereas counted cross stitch on Aida cloth/linen/evenweave doesn't usually involve stitching the background.  This stitcher chose to interpret the chart using wool and tapestry canvas, rather than as counted cross stich.   There are earlier designs from the 1930s and 1950s employing tapestry canvas with the background left unfilled/holey, but it's rare for more recent work, in my opinion.

11 December 2011

Elizabeth II : Diamond Jubilee (III)

Found on The Making Spot blog:

Ten years ago Needlecraft magazine celebrated the 50th anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II's reign with this stitchy project.
Stitching is golden with this vintage pattern from the the 2002 Golden Jubilee.

For the best result, stitch the foreground first but don't carry dark colours from one area to another otherwise they could show through when you stitch the background.

“The long legged cross stitch gives a pretty plaited effect and gives an instant edging. It's the perfect finish for a project that's fit for a queen!”

PS. Why not adapt it for the 2012 HM Queen Elizabeth's II Diamond Jubilee in 2012!

I am amused by 2002 being 'vintage' already...

It's a simple combination of rose, leek, thistle and shamrock. The original has a tapestry/woolwork look to me, but a counted chart can of course be done in cross stitch or tapestry, as you prefer.

The pattern is a free download - go to the blog page here for the download link.

Hmmm.  I don't think I've yet seen the 'category-killer' Diamond Jubilee pattern yet....

10 December 2011

George VI: 1937 coronation chairback & 1953 Yeoman of the Guard tunic

I can understand that this Yeoman of the Guard tunic from the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II was a 'professional' item, so to speak: worn by a participant on the day -

Nice embroidery on it, too (it was on eBay: can't imagine parking this in a corner of my parlour!).

But here's a chairback embroidery from George VI's 1937 coronation:

...which is like a window on a world now gone.  I can't imagine this was done for use on the day at the ceremony: my guess is that it was done to adorn an armchair in someone's parlour.  The embroidered side visible on the back of the chair, the plain side to prevent Brylcreem or hair oil or pomade or whatever were the hair unguents of the time from soiling the fabric on the chair.

Instead of a bouquet of flowers, it is a patriotic statement: the king and queen's initials, the floral emblems of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with the crown over all and the coronation date.  Where many British patriotic samplers have fussy detail, this one is a simpler and strong graphic statement.

I've never seen an Edward VIII version of this (ER would be the intials, I presume, for Edward Rex).  I find the font particuarly evocative of its time, slightly olde-worlde-calligraphic in style.  It's not a small design, either - the design occupies an area of around 12 inches square.

I have seen a couple of versions of this, with slight colour variations which would imply that this was a transfer design which individual embroiderers interpreted in their own colour selections - either because they liked their choice better, or they used what thread colours they had easily to hand.

Here is another version that was found as an embroidery, not as the long rectangle of a chairback.  You can see the lighter fabric and changes in thread colour.

I wonder what else was in that patriotic parlour? And if this chairback (and any others, if the embroiderer made a pair) were used for display/special occasions, or at all?

If you know any more about this design - where it was published, who designed it, whether it was a transfer - please do leave a comment.

03 December 2011

Peace Sampler: 1945

Earlier this year on eBay this peace sampler was offered.  It is patriotic rather than royal, commemorating the end of World War II for Britain - VE Day and VJ Day, both in 1945.  The design features a lot of symmetry - the flags and searchlights; and balances different motifs representing the Allies in a pleasing way - the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, the kangaroo facing the elephant.  I particularly like the font on this.  I do not know if it was a commercially-available design/transfer or the work of a single embroiderer (if the latter, she certainly had design ability as well as stitching skill).  As the seller noted, if it was made when or soon after the war ended, materials to make it would likely have been in short supply.  I find the searchlights particularly poignant as a reminder of the constant danger of wartime life for civilians as well as those in the services.

A couple of pictures showing it in more detail:

There are quite a few samplers commemorating the jubilees and coronations of the 1930s and 1950s, many if not most from commercial interests and sewn by many many embroiderers and needlewomen.  I have seen fewer designs relating to World War II.  Partly, no doubt, because the nation was busy elsewhere - pattern designers and newspaper columns and magazines (paper shortages, too).  But there is a history of wartime needlework.  In quilting, the famous quilt by Jane Stickle known through Brenda Papadakis' Dear Jane book has, in the bottom corner of her immensely complex design (dozens and dozens of 4in blocks, all different), the evocative embroidered phrase, "In War-Time, 1863" - the US Civil War.  During World War II, the women interned (in terrible conditions) by the Japanese at Changi made three quilts - including one for their Japanese captors - from embroidered signature squares.  Read more about the Changi quilts here and here.  Possibly the most poignant square is this one:

There are so many records of war - in words and images and stitches.  These ones in stitches I find to have a particular and immediate impact.  The hands that stitched them were there with the needle and thread, and the stitched words and images feel as individual and close as fingerprints, humans connecting over time.

I think that's why I find these British patriotic samplers and embroideries so compelling and interesting and engaging, that sense of a connection to another individual life.  I wonder if, for some of these, the embroidered sampler is the only thing that survives of some of these people.  Clothes and possessions can be dispersed, household chattels dispensed with: but the samplers have the testament of an individual's  life, and a specific time in that individual's life when they committed themselves to the task of commemorating an event of importance to them.  There's a sadness in that so few of these have a record (either stitched on the sampler or noted on the back of the frame etc) of the embroiderer's name.  So they survive as testament to mind and heart, but to the mind and heart of someone anonymous.  I have asked for provenance for some of those I've added to my collection, but nearly always they've come from a fair or clearance sale, not from a known household or person. 

There's a curious quality to all these patriotic samplers, most particularly the royal ones - few if any of the embroiderers would ever have been likely to meet the monarchs whose jubilees and coronations they laboured for many hours and days to stitch and remember; and yet clearly they felt involved and connected, that these things were important enough to them to spend that time and create the artefact of their patriotism.

And if you look at the earlier blog entry about William and Kate's wedding, the patriotic sampler industry is alive and well and finding customers in 2011, as samplers and embroideries associated with Charles and Diana events did in the 1980s and 1990s.

As ever, if you know any more about the design/source of the peace sampler illustrated above, please do leave a comment. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...