I recently showed a tiny detail of a 17th c. box, or casket, covered in raised work needlework, from the textile collection of Colonial Williamsburg. By coincidence, one of our readers, Tricia Nguyen, forwarded this silent Vimeo clip to me, showing a similar casket in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. What's most amazing to me is that both these caskets were the work of adolescent girls. The one in the video was worked by Martha Edlin (1660-1725), who was only eleven when she completed the needlework panels for this casket. It's hard for me to imagine many modern girls who possess either the focus or the patience to create something so beautifully detailed and stitched. The V&A page for the Martha Edlin's casket is here.
Tricia Nguyen is a skilled needleworker and teacher in her own right, and she was part of the team who recreated this exquisite c. 1600 embroidered jacket under the auspices of Plimoth Plantation (here's more about the jacket, now on display at Winterthur.) If you're inspired to create a replica embroidered casket of your own, Ms. Nguyen offers an on-line course, complete with the wooden box and all supplies. Patience and perseverance, however, aren't included; it's an eighteen-month-course from start to finish, and a definite labor of needlework love.
Oh, to be a genteel 17th c. lady, sitting at needlework each day instead of a computer keyboard....
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.