Sunday, 11 December 2011


  Buying linen from abroad, and antique as well, can make you a little uncertain what to go for, so with experience of buying in France for 25 years or more I will give a few hints on the good, and not so good buys.  Much depends on the quality you need, but condition is almost more important!

This magnificent extra large sheet(14' X 9') has everything,  finest lawn, several feet of wonderful satin stitch
 embroidery showing water lilies, grand initials, splendid coronet, hand worked lace,  and is in perfect almost
unused condition. P.o.A. On Offer.(Dec.2011), now SOLD, but I have another exactly similar but with Iris flowers
 and foliage at the centre and on the revers (down the sides of the sheet) and also immaculate condition.  The
 designs are very reminiscent of the Monet paintings and date from 1890 or so.   These are very rare it known as
 Birthing Sheets and measure a huge 14ft X 9ft excluding Valenciennes lace frills.  P.O A Scan
available and a bit more history!
     The very best and the most expensive are the big sheets, over 7ft wide and 9 ft long, in fine smooth lawn, with no bumps or irregularities in the weave, hand sewn hems, with fine hand-embroidered decoration, flowers scrolls and large initials often with infill of French knots, and coats of arms or coronets denoting previous aristocratic owners (la noblesse).  The finest may have insertions and/or frills of best hand-made lace and all will be in perfect order - repairs to embroidery and lace are extremely difficult.   When held up to the light, there will be no weak areas, or rows of fine pinholes where the linen has worn through ironing and folding, and no cloudy patches where bleach has been used.  These may cost over £500 in the current market.
My next Blog will cover the more ordinary, everyday fil linen sheets which are available in most decent antique fairs and are a more practical buy.

No comments:

Post a Comment