Tuesday, 30 October 2012


   This is Mme de Pompadour stitching away at her tambour frame 1764/4.   One of her hands is below the frame to guide the hooked tool which was used to trace lines of chain stitch across the net or muslin stretched over the frame.  I have a net canopy over my own four poster bed worked on net and it is a real pleasure to look upwards when lying on the bed to see the elegant tracery above and I much prefer this airy look to the rather grand and stuffy pleated chintzy canopy you see on some old beds.    In the past some of these false ceilings were necessary because very old houses often had no plastered ceilings and were open to the slates and tiles of the roof, draughty and dusty, and sometimes inhabited by insects and animals and birds, a bit of a menace to a good night's rest.
   Madame P's dress is itself a lovely concoction of fine embroidery, trailing flowers, a deep and elaborate border to the skirt and layer upon layer of fine lace swathing her arms, not forgetting the silken striped bow at her bosom  The little lace bonnet with matching ribbon completes this charming portrait of a lady in her boudoir, surrounded by her pet dog at one side and very fine gilded furniture and a musical instrument on the other.  French civilization at its peak! 

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