An embroidered alphabet: letter T


Embroidered letter T (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Home from London on Thursday evening and no time to relax as Friday morning had scheduled the monthly meeting of the U3A Art appreciation group at the Wilson. One of the main galleries has been rehung with paintings from the store so for part of the meeting we went to see what was having an airing and to practise ways we might look at these paintings. Almost all of us would have given immediate house room to a colourful Vanessa Bell painting of objects on table and the view from the window behind, even though we found much about the painting confusing and unfathomable (in particular the strange lumpish buildings seen through the window). Others, like the pair of Jan Steen paintings (The Fat Kitchen and The Lean Kitchen), we were happy to see in the gallery but would have found their witty moralising a bit uncomfortable as household companions in our own homes. The wonder is that the newly wealthy burger class of C17 Holland loved this sort of thing and would commission double pictures like these to hang one either side of the fireplace in their new splendid town houses.

Embroidered letter T (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

And yet, those two paintings nudged something in the depths of my memory and suddenly I was in a little loo in a tiny ancient college house opposite the back gate of Magdalen College in Oxford  almost half a century ago. The house was occupied by choral scholars and both house and boys were in the care of a tiny, seemingly ancient woman who was known for producing excellent Sunday lunches (and for daily visits to the nearby Eastgate Arms where she was said to enjoy a daily pint of Guinness and a glass of port).  Somehow I managed to get invited to one such lunch and it was a never to be forgotten and never to be repeated experience. The white damask covered dining table, filling most of the tiny first floor room, lurched at an angle on the uneven ancient floor and provided a real challenge to the security of anything placed on it. The old lady then appeared up the cruelly uneven stairs precariously carrying a tray of soup  in those wonderful mini tureens – all blue and white pottery and mostly very chipped. Apart from the roast beef and roast potatoes  that followed I can remember little more about the day. Oh, except for that trip to the loo and its edifying pictures – on one wall was a framed print of ‘A Good Dog’ while on the opposite wall was its companion piece ‘A Naughty Dog’. C17th Holland may like their lessons learned in the drawing room, while eccentric corners of Oxford set aside the loo for moralising sentiment! Sadly, I was never invited again. The house, though still there has been much renovated. The memory remains, though tucked back in my mind as if it occurred to someone else a hundred and fifty years ago.

Sketches of various Ts found online

I toyed with the idea of not blogging this week as none of the 3 Christmas jumpers I’m making for presents have been finished but then, returning from Friday’s session at the Wilson, I felt vivified sufficiently to produce a very simple satin stitched T (plum coloured DMC 3041), finished off with a tiny faceted red glass bead.

Cushion with flowers and letter T (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted December 16, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful memory – good food, and something that makes sense of an earlier time..

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      My memories are often triggered by fabrics – perhaps yours are too, you seem to have lots of memorable textiles in your family.
      Your Egyptian head is coming on really well – not an easy task.

      • Posted December 27, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. I’ve not got back to it since my father died in October, because I’ve just not been able to concentrate very well, and I don’t want to ruin it. I’ve taken refuge in crochet instead…

        • Mary Addison
          Posted December 28, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          So sorry to hear about your father’s recent death Rachel. Your first Christmas without him can’t have been very easy.
          I’m sure you’re right to do something else until you’re ready.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • December 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Nov   Jan »
  • Photographs & Media

    Please attribute any re-uploaded images to Addison Embroidery at the Vicarage or Mary Addison and link back to this website. And please do not hot-link images!