Tuesday, 12 August 2014


New art by Howard Hodgkin, an artist admired and sponsored by Tricia Guild, is featured in an article by Ros Byam Shaw in WOI.   She recounts a tale of his childhood, evacuated to a well-to-do Long Island lady in wartime, he was asked, aged 8, to help her choose some material, went to the shop, saw bolts of printed linen,"that one" he said, just like that.  And she said 0.K., and ordered an incredible amount, $500 worth.  This artist reckons it was a very formative experience which inspired a love of textiles, and comes out in his pictures of rooms, some with bedclothes, and the heavy red curtains in his home.
    I can think of many pieces in my own home which I both hated and loved as a child and my great treat was to rummage through an old tin bath, with lid, in the attics, that held all the surplus bits from my grandmother's decorations.   I loved the Victorian chintzy borders used to dress the valances on big old Welsh beds but hated the dark brown velvets that were shabby and faded.. I found there two old linen smocks which my father had worn for a portrait study with some sheep,  painted by my rather gifted grandmother, and I thought that was very romantic and resolved to find more smocks, which I did not find until I came to live in Somerset 70 years later.
    I acquired several and though I found the prices very high, they seemed to sell on their first outing at fairs .
The agricultural and County Museums were keen to acquire them and all the other old farm equipment - and people took to wearing them at local farming events and celebrations of old machinery and re-enactment displays of rural life in the 19C and ever since they have been in very short supply!   I have the two patterns shown here, so if you would like to have copies, contact me at  dbaer@onetel.com and I will gladly send them.  Maybe, your winter fireside project????

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