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Museum treasures and Artistic gifts

So, last night the Duchezz and I kept our promise to join delcavallo and the other hardy Shire members for the weekly Friday social gathering.

As usual, everyone met at Edana's. Two notable items were displayed, the first of which brought out every single one of my history-geek genes. What, you ask, was that?

Well, Edana has been doing research on 18th century fashion, and while searching the V&A site found the Lord and Lady Clapham dolls. And then she printed out the relevant documents, with really high resolution photographs. How high, you ask? Well, you can see the individual quilting stitches on the Matelasse style underskirt/crinoline. You can see the stitches of the clocks on the tiny silk stockings. You can see the individual canes on the caned seats of the miniature chairs. You can see...well, just go look for yourself--go to the link above and type in "Lord Clapham" and then do a new search with "Lady Clapham."  (You can only get all of the images if you sign in, but the quick search will give you a taste.)

I'm glad to have provided everyone with amusement as I gasped, and "Oh, my gawd"d, and squeeked in glee.

The second item of note...

Edana finished his portrait. (Here is a link to a photograph taken of the painting in it's unfinished form.) She added just enough red to his hair and beard that it was him as he was this last year, not as he would have been five or ten years from now, had we been blessed to have him. Somehow, she got the laughing eyes, that tiny wicked twist of lip, that were such a delight to see, and know, in life.

I cannot look at the painting without pain, and I cannot look away without loss.

We are blessed to have such friends--ones who see with their hearts, and whose hands can show us what their hearts see.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
All right, so this is trivial and geeky, but this isn't the right application of the word "matelasse" here. Matelasse is really a 20th C. fabric, a doublecloth, and this is probably a damask with some metal brocading. Structure words. Sorry. It's what I teach.

As for the loss, my heart spends a lot of time with you, even if my body cannot.
Jan. 18th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
No, actually, the piece I'm talking about isn't in the little "previews" on the image page, and definitely not brocade. It is a double cloth, finely quilted (heavy detail)piece. Yes, strictly speaking, it is a "quilted" underskirt/crinoline [yes, crinoline is probably the wrong word, too, but "stiffened fabric underskirt designed to provide structure to the skirt in lieu of hoops" seemed much too clunky], but for the casual reader, if I said quilted they would not have gotten an image even close to what this piece is, which is much more like the coverlets advertised currently as "matelasse." The piece appears to be two layers of very fine white linen, quilted in a dense floral pattern. I can't tell from the photograph whether the raised parts are from natural raising, puff quilting, stuffed quilting, or quilting with a cord between the layers. Given the scale (the dolls are 52 or 54 cm (I'm blanking on which) the pieces are...well, words fail me.

Edited at 2009-01-18 04:50 pm (UTC)
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
As long as *you* understand that matelasse is a weave structure and quilting (which this is) is a stitched technique, that's ok. And actually crinolines were the skirts with other stiffenings, horsehair or metal. But yeah, I see your point. Not trying to give you a hard time, just want to make sure you knew the differences. My cats also say hello and shed blithely in your general direction. Hugs!
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
;-) Last I checked, this is the stuff you were supposed to give me a hard time about.

Cat hair. Yummo!! Here: have some Birman, calico, and tabby, with a pug chaser! Miss you.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )