Friday, July 30, 2010

The French Connection - Old French Whitework

When I was ferreting about an antique market in the South of France, near Perpignan, a couple of years ago, I found two beautiful old bonnets, in finest muslin, with delicately embroidered whitework. I was immediately attracted to them, because they seemed to me to resemble Ayrshire whitework so closely, and of course, as I've blogged about before, here,  Ayrshire embroidery began when Lady Marie Montgomerie returned from France, with a little sprigged and embroidered baby gown which she lent to her friend, Mrs Jamieson of Ayr, who copied the stitches - and started a whole cottage industry. These are, I think, day bonnets for young women to wear over their hair - they are a bit big for baby bonnets. The stitches with their sprigging and delicate infills, do resemble Ayrshire Whitework (although I have to say that a good deal of the Scottish whitework which I have seen, is even finer!)

What really fascinated me about these as well, however, was the fine muslin. I have never seen anything like it - it was like tissue paper - and had been crimped, probably with an old fashioned goffering iron.

I've decided that the time has finally come to let these go, so I'm listing them on my eBay shop this week, but I won't be too sad if they don't sell!


Erna said...

Ohh Catherine what a gorgeous bonnets.I have to admit the moment I saw the photos I thought they were Ayrshire...Beautiful thanks for sharing...

Catherine Czerkawska said...

They're lovely, aren't they?