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)

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An embroidered alphabet: letter S

Embroidered letter S (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Just a brief post as this week end we’re up in Yorkshire visiting family. We spent this morning at the end of term concert by the  Saturday morning music school, which is always good fun. As you can imagine, up here where the tradition of brass bands in coal mining villages hasn’t died out (although the pits themselves have), the brass section is always very strong. Great noise, great fun.

Embroidered letter S (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Had fun with this Suzani inspired S. Layer upon layer of silk appliquéd to a black silk base called out for good strong colouring, so embroidered the S in a vibrant electric blue. (S padded out with chain stitch on a white felt base).

Sketches of various Ss found online

Sketches of various Ss found online

Below are a couple more embroidered Ss.

Fancy calligraphic style S (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Linen cushion embroidered with daisies and initial S

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