Friday, 14 January 2011
I have had a wonderful, long love affair with French antiques and textiles - I was first hooked on the dashing, striped tickings used for the old feather beds that kept the French and many other nations, warm in bed. Tough, closely woven, down -proof in jolly stripes, they were filled with feathers, and also straw, maize shucks and horsehair, two underneath on the rigid planks of uncomfortable slatted beds, and one on top, acting rather like a tea cosy. The French were fairly conservative with the colour in the weaving; using mostly indigo blue in wide and narrow stripes and rather less in beige and red fine stripes, but other countries wove them in hundreds of different brilliant stripes, in every colour except green(which was thought to be unlucky and was a difficult dye to manage). Sometimes they were made with a long slit on one side so that the contents could be stirred up by hand in the morning and easily removed when soiled , but of course feathers had to be sealed in the bags with very tiny stitches. This image, with my name and address, printed in World of Interiors Magazine, brought me dozens of buyers who had never seen tickings in such brilliant combinations and the big US designers sent reps as many were keen to add to their collections, and these were unique and without copyrights.