Monday, December 27, 2021

Rachel Adams and Fragments of Her Embroidery, c. 1789

Tucked away safely in a dresser drawer in the Stone School Museum of the Newmarket Historical Society (New Hampshire) are several fragments of what were most likely bed hangings (the donor notes for a canopy bed), made of homespun, hand-woven linen and embroidered with delicate floral motifs, predominately in shades of blue.

The four small pieces of well-worn textiles were donated to the Historical Society on February 14th, 1968 by a descendant of the maker who “vouched for” its authenticity. The label which accompanied the gift notes that the textile was “spun, woven and worked by Rachel Adams of West Medway before her marriage. About 1789.” Her father was Revolutionary War officer, Captain Moses Adams.

Although there remain genealogical issues to work out, the details regarding the actual textile align – the use of small scale motifs and limited palette certainly reflect the visual aesthetics of the last quarter of the 18th century. Further, the tradition of ‘going to housekeeping’ meant that many females of the time created useful household items related to bedding to take into their new home after marriage.

All photos by the author; courtesy, Newmarket Historical Society


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Jacques Henri Lartigue & French Fashion, 1910s

Photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue captured the French elite at play - whether at motorcar racing or at fashionable promenades. 

His work capturing fashion may be seen in numerous examples, such as "Carriage Race Day, Auteuil, Paris, 1911"

Hats, gloves and beautifully designed silk dresses were on display. For a comparison, see a striped silk afternoon dress, c. 1912 by Jeanne Hallee - it is a perfect complement to Lartigue's photo from Race Day.

And more stripes – Paris street style in 1912, photo by Lartigue

Lartigue's images here capture a pre-WWI moment -- a world which will soon experience a crippling war and a devastating pandemic.