Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gorgeous Shawls, Tartan and Early Edinburgh

This week, in my ebay shop, I'm listing a couple of amazing and very old shawls - great textile and costume survivals. One is - as you can see from the picture - a beautiful old tartan crinoline shawl. The craze for tartan probably originated with Queen Victoria who loved all things Scottish (including, allegedly, John Brown!) The shawl is such beautiful colours, although it has bits of damage in the shape of moth holes and a couple of little tears, here and there. But something to be treasured, all the same.

 And the second shawl of the week is this delicately beautiful paisley patterned Kashmir style shawl but I'm told that this one is, in fact, a very early Edinburgh hand woven shawl, from about 1820. I hardly ever find something so old and so beautiful, so it's really exciting for me, and my imagination is working overtime on it! I can feel some stories coming on.  It's square, designed for a slimmer silhouette than a crinoline and when I think about it, it dates from the time when this cottage was newly built. The woven border is delicate and intricate and floral while the soft fabric itself is very fine with a wonderful sheen to it.

When you look at the back, (see picture below) you can see that the weaving technique is quite different from later paisley shawls. Amazing and moving to find something which has survived for almost 200 years in reasonably good condition. And something which would have been worn not long after the death of Robert Burns. Which could even have been worn - for example - by Nancy McLehose, Burns' Clarinda, in her later years.

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