A wealth of needlework

Hello everyone, hope that you are having a good weekend so far. I have a change of plans as unfortunately my back is not too good so will not be going to Bolsover but will be mainly resting on the sofa carrying on with some of my projects. Luckily I have enough to keep me busy for the weekend ūüėČ

On our whistle-stop tour of Trust properties we made our way back up North stopping off at two houses in the Midlands.

Calke Abbey¬†was an amazing experience, billed as, ‘a very unstately¬†stately home’, it was a treasure trove of history, the collection of the Harpur – Crewe family¬†who owned the house for over 250 years and¬†never threw anything away!

Calke - house

Calke 11

There are gorgeous grounds and gardens and a church with beautiful Victorian stained glass windows.

Calke - stained glass

The house is still in state of disrepair and the decision of the Trust was to repair enough to make it watertight and safe and not to restore but to display it as a country house past its prime, telling the story of those many British houses that suffered due to social changes after the first World War.

The house is crammed with things, an incredible amount of taxidermy, especially given that half of it was sold to pay death duties, and more importantly for me a huge wealth of textile beauty, particularly needlepoint.

There were touching displays of family possessions¬†like this cabinet full of what look to be Edwardian children’s clothes and lace parasols.

Calke - cabinet

One of the first rooms that you visit displays some of the thousands of objects that are in the collection which are not usually out of their storerooms and looks at the conservation needs of the objects.

This 18th century embroidered jacket and waistcoat was among them and made Ellie and I wonder what other costume treasures the house has given that the family kept all their possessions.

Calke - jacket

Calke 13

This is one of the highlights of the collection, the perfectly preserved Chinese silk embroidered State Bed which was found still in boxes, having never been assembled since it was made around 1715.

State Bed

State Bed

These pictures are from the National Trust Collections web site as the bed is displayed behind glass in a dimly lit room to preserve its beauty.

There were so many lovely examples of needlepoint on chairs, cushions and fire screens and wonderful embroidered silk cushions – some pieces half hidden behind cabinets of stuffed animals and birds.

Calke 2

Calke 3

Calke 4

This group of chairs is displayed with only one uncovered at a time to stop them fading and the photo at the bottom is on display on a side table to show them all together uncovered.

Calke 16

Calke - chairs

Calke - needlepoint

Calke 17

There was also this beautiful silk bed coverlet that one of the volunteers had tried to research the origin of, the conclusion was that it may have been Indian and probably dated from the 1800s.

Calke - bed cover

Calke 8

One of the rooms had some of the children’s toys and at the foot of the doll’s house I spotted this sampler, excuse the poor light but you can just see the name and the date on it, Selina Crewe¬†1809.

Calke -sampler

Calke 6

Selina was one of the family and I managed to find a painting of her, again from the Trust Collection site. She died in 1838, 29 years after she completed this sampler so was not very old when she died.

Selina Harpur Crewe

It is rare to be able to see pictures of people who stitched the things that I see on my visits and I hope that she had a happy life and enjoyed her needlework.

I managed to find information about the fact that she married and had two children, a boy called Stanhope after his father and a daughter with the beautiful name Georgiana Jane Henrietta Eliza.

In my research for this post I found this great blog by one of the Trust staff called National Trust Treasure Hunt that has lots more photos of Calke and other properties that I will be going back to for a good browse and may inspire you for your visits.

Well I will love you and leave you now as I have sample knitting calling, I have started the mittens for Sarah and all is going well so far.

I have learnt how to do German Twisted Cast On this week so am feeling like a bit of a knitting genius again and have just had a delivery of new bamboo needles so am very happy!

Take care, have a nice rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

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