Friday, 15 January 2010

All about Sheets

Old French linen and hemp sheets are usually made to fit a 4ft bed, so they are often a bit narrow for English double beds which are from 4'6 to 5'6 wide or American Super King up to 6' wide. The main bedrooms in France often had two 4' wide beds, even for married couples . For the grand and enormous beds in some of the chateaux, the sheets were specially woven on extra large looms and were normally decorated with lots of elaborate monograms and embroideries. The very best also had fine lace and were washed by hand very carefully . Older sheets are often extremely long by our standards - I have had them up to 15 ft long - this was because they were laid over the massive bolsters and pillows of the Georgian beds when people actually slept sitting upright 'for health reasons'. I have a big stock of every type in my stores; hemp. linen, metis and fil, ranging from a Princess's dowry to the rough 'porridge' hemp from the peasants' ancient lits clos, (cupboard beds,) in Brittany. More about Buying Sheets, Care for Sheets, etc. on later Blogs.Click on my website for views of my present stock.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

BONNET LADIES, May I introduce......

If I had known how charming - and how rare - these French 'bonnet ladies' were I should have started colleting them 20 years ago. They are called 'marottes' and were used to display bonnets and coifs in little millinery shops in France. The best are made of papier mache and are hand painted with doll-like faces and simple hair styles. They have been dug out of attics and store-rooms and have often suffered damage to their pert little noses but their eyes are fixed towards you in a naive stare and demand attention. I have seen them in museums of folk art, and did once own one but it did not stay long with me. The folk museum at Laduz not far from Auxerre in Burgundy has several, and these are from the Regional Art Museum at Saintes in the Charente. They now fetch several hundred pounds - if you can find one!