Friday, 4 July 2014


All hand embroidery from France and Ireland.  Above satin stitch on the finest linen.

Two examples of the best fine needlework on pillow cases; one, square with the lace flounces and almost all-over embroidery of water lilies (very Monet style) French convent work, and the other with large initial M and also with lace borders, probably Irish convent work. The linen of both is silky smooth and immaculate.

The water lily design is repeated on a really huge sheet with embroidery in a very deep border of water lilies, covering half the length of the sheet, and with a fine crown and initials,  SB, with more Valenciennes lace in a wavy line of flounces, which I bought near Bordeaux many years ago;  I think this may have been a 'birthing sheet' used to decorate the bed of a new mother when the relatives came to admire the baby and the sheet was often spread round the base of the bed on the floor, to prevent the visitors getting too near the mother and baby and infecting them with dangerous germs for which there were few cures.   The other, which I think is Irish, is equally fine, on a pillow case,  but not so elaborate, I bought from a lady very recently who told me her mother and grandmother always bought their linen in Ireland. The shape is rectangular and not a continental 'square'. Both are in perfect condition - maybe they were always 'too good to use'. If you can help me with any ideas about the source of the 'Irish' work I would be most grateful as I like to put a name to special things - I feel this is only due respect to the expert needlewomen who worked so brilliantly on the very fine linen. Contact me. Email at  ALL SOLD

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