A little bit of history

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and happy. It is another damp and dreary weekend here in Yorkshire but that means plenty of time for catching up on blogging and crafting!

Regular readers will know I love visiting historic places, all places are special in their own way and all very beautiful but sometimes you come across something really special that is a real wow moment.

You may remember that Ellie worked at Hardwick Hall before she moved to Clumber Park, they have an extensive collection of Elizabethan textiles, some worked by Bess of Hardwick and some by Mary Queen of Scots, her husband’s charge in the years before her death.

We were wandering through our second Trust Property, Coughton Court , really enjoying the beautiful treasures when we came across a darkened room full of the most amazing things.

Firstly there was this beautiful chalice cover with the most wonderful Elizabethan goldwork, then a priest’s cope which was made by Catherine of Aragon, (another heroine of mine), and her ladies, no pictures as it was too dark but you can get a glimpse of it at the collections site here.

Coughton textiles 5

Coughton textiles 6

Then at the back in a case was this very simple chemise, embroidered around the neck, the chemise that Mary allegedly wore when she was executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.

Coughton - MQS robe 1

This was one of the most wow moments I have ever had at a property, one of those really goose bumpy moments when you realise you are actually really close up to the reality of history. You can see a full length picture of the chemise at the collections site at the above link.

It was also very interesting as all contemporary reports said that Mary wore blood – red undergarments, the colour of a catholic martyr, maybe this was under those red robes.

You can read more about Coughton and the family history at this great blog post  from the very informative Tudor Stuff blog. The family were staunch Catholics and so had a bit of a rough time during the reformation but managed to retain their beautiful property.

There were also some other lovely costumes in portraits. The blackwork on the neck and sleeves of this robe and this lace collar were two of my particular favourites.

There was some very good interpretation using textiles as well, this is something that Ellie and I have noticed as a growing trend in Trust houses and one that we really like. I think it is far more interesting to read something set in the context and also from a practical point of view easier as the print is larger and several people can be reading the information at once.

This was a dinner party at which the guests were all members of the estate who died in the First World War. A very touching and lovely way to remember them, with their photos as place cards and their stories on the back of each chair.

Coughton - textile interpretation 1

Coughton - textile interpretation 2

I will be back soon with more lovely Trust stuff, now off to make another little basket, have resisted the urge to make more for a few weeks but they are so cute and this will be a present for a younger relative.

Hope that you all have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

 

Hello everyone

I started my week’s leave last Friday with a trip down to stay with Ellie in her new flat which is very smart and co-ordinated.

She is feeling very grown up as she has now got a full set of furniture all of her own since she moved into a totally unfurnished place and has gradually acquired everything she needs.

It was also a chance for me to see where she works, you may remember that she got a new job in November, still working for the National Trust at Clumber Park where she is Chapel and Collections Officer. Which means she is in charge of this beautiful place!

Clumber chapel 1

Clumber chapel 2

The setting is amazing, a drive in past the most gorgeous rhododendrons all in bloom, they are my very favourite plant and there were hundreds in the park.

Then into the stable block where her office is, right next to the clock tower and the courtyard with the café. Her office window is the one above the bay window in this picture.

Clumber office 1

Clumber park 1

She has a view down to the lake with the geese and swans. At the moment there are daises everywhere which makes a very pretty carpet.

Such a beautiful place to work and the chapel is stunning, especially as it was built as a private chapel in the late 1800s by the 7th Duke. It has ornate lamps and wonderful wood carvings of angels and saints.

We were there for the Requiem Mass for the Duke so got to participate in the full service with incense and candles as well!

The light coming in through the windows was beautiful.

Clumber chapel 11

Clumber chapel 12

I love all the little details as well such as this door lock.

Clumber chapel 13

There was also a bit of lovely ecclesiastical embroidery, an alter cloth and this banner as well as a couple of beautiful paintings. Apologies as the light was not very good in the side chapel for this picture.

Clumber chapel 14

The main house was demolished in the 1930s as it was too big to maintain, another one was due to be built but sadly due to the war and economic issues it never was so Ellie and her colleagues have been responsible for a new project this summer to try and recreate what the house would have looked like.

They have laid out ropes to make a floor plan and installed furniture, books, games, crockery and information signs telling people what the original rooms looked like and inviting them to come and make themselves at home.

It has been a great success, Clumber gets a lot of families visiting as there are great walks and bike rides and a camp site and it was brilliant to see everyone enjoying the installation.

We then went to Ashby de la Zouche castle for my first event of the season, it was lovely and sunny so got a little pink and had a great time catching up with everyone.

Will post some more pictures of that in another post. Meanwhile there is some work on my doctorate to do, started the research for real this weekend so am going to do some writing up!

Thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Beautiful campsites

Hello everyone and hope that you are well, I have had a lovely weekend away at our last event of the season in South Wales, another beautiful place to camp and I will share some pictures of that event later in the week.

We are so very lucky as re-enactors to camp in amazing places and this was the view I had from my tent the weekend before last at Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln Bishops' Palace show

Lincoln 3

The cathedral looked amazing lit up at night and the sky was beautiful as well, all very atmospheric and makes you realise what a powerful impact these magnificent buildings would have had in medieval times.

Lincoln 5

Lincoln 2

Lincoln 6

Lincoln 7

Here are some more pictures that I took of the interior of the cathedral.

Lincoln 11

Lincoln 12

Lincoln 13

Lincoln 14

Lincoln 15

This is my favourite because of the light coming through the windows – just beautiful!

Lincoln 16

Bishops’ Palace where we held the event, would have been very impressive as well, now sadly ruined, partly as a result of damage during the Civil War.

There were several Great Halls for entertaining, one of which we used for our camp and the other for our tournament arena. This one below was once used to entertain King Henry 8th and Katherine Howard.

Lincoln 10

Lincoln 4

Lincoln 8

It is brilliant to be able to camp in these places and help bring them to life once more!

I am busy this week with preparation for the new term, not long to go now. This weekend is set aside for making the wedding jacket so wish me luck😉

Have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Marble and gold

The last property we visited, Kedleston Hall  in Derbyshire was quite a contrast to the amazing amount of objects and sad state of disrepair at Calke.

From the drive through the beautiful grounds to the splendour of the rooms built for entertaining this was a palace, with Roman inspired décor and a wonderful collection of Indian goldwork.

Kedleston -park

Kedleston Hall

Kedleston 2

Kedleston 3

It was built in 1760 by Robert Adam and so looks very much like Nostell Priory which we visited a while ago.

The house was the family seat of Lord Curzon who was Viceroy of India between 1899 and 1905 and part of the ground floor is a small museum with a fantastic display of goldwork and silverwork, mainly cases that contain commemorative scrolls from places he made official visits to.

Kedleston -goldwork

Kedleston 8

Kedleston 9

Kedleston 10

Kedleston 11

Kedleston 12

There is also a beautiful beaded dress that his wife once wore inspired by peacock feathers and a painting of her in the dress.

Kedleston -peacock dress

Kedleston - Lady Curzon

The main reception rooms of the house are like stepping into the Pantheon in Rome, (we were lucky enough to go to Rome many years ago when Ellie was studying Classics), and the hall and side rooms are so splendid.

Kedleston - main rooms

Kedleston 15

Kedleston 16

Kedleston 17

Kedleston 18

Kedleston 19

The house has been restored and there were so many gorgeous rooms decorated with the stunning combination of blue and gold, this is one of the bedroom walls with silk wallpaper.

Kedleston -wallpaper

A truly beautiful and very stately home!

I am busy planning my crafternoon for this coming Saturday, which means digging the box of Christmas ornaments out from the back of the store cupboard.

Hopefully I will have chance to post pictures of our handiwork before I leave for Spain, am off there for a week and Sharon, my friend from knitting group, is coming with me which is very exciting.

I love being in Spain and it will be nice to share my favourite places with her and we are also looking forward to some relaxing time on the terrace, at the pool and the beach giving our knitting a little holiday as well!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Lorca – the final set of wonderful goldwork

The Paso Blanco Museum was in an old chapel which had recently been refurbished. So not only was it the most wonderful collection of robes, cloaks and head dresses but the setting was amazing as well.

Lorca Blanco museum 2

Lorca Blanco museum

These were the first robes we looked at, the head dresses have eyeholes in them and the 3D work on the robes was stunning.

Lorca Blanco

Lorca Blanco 2

Lorca Blanco 3

Lorca Blanco 4

Lorca Blanco 5

Lorca Blanco 6

This is a close up of the wonderful Roman general’s cloak in the centre of the museum.

Lorca Blanco Roman robe

Many of the cloaks were pictorial as in the other museums and these had stunning scenes from the bible, the ones below were two of my favourite.

Lorca Blanco pictorial cloak 1

Lorca Blanco 24

Lorca Blanco 25

The detail of the people on this one must have taken hours of stitching.

Lorca Blanco black cloak 1

Lorca Blanco black cloak 2

And then there was the chapel to visit, just a little bit of gold in there!

Lorca Blanco chapel

Lorca Blanco chapel 2

Lorca Blanco chapel 3

Lorca Blanco chapel 4

Lorca Blanco chapel 5

Lorca Blanco chapel 6

Lorca Blanco chapel 7

Lorca Blanco chapel 8

Lorca Blanco chapel 9

Lorca Blanco chapel 10

If you feel like seeing any more goldwork I have done another slideshow for you. So much inspiration will keep me going for a long time!

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Hope that you have all enjoyed the goldwork and have a good week ahead, thanks for visiting.

Lorca part 2 – Goldwork!

We visited the Paso Encardo (Crimson) Museum first, no pictures from this one but we did get to meet the embroiderers working in an upstairs room and in my very poor Spanish I was talking to them about what I had made as well and they were explaining their methods.

It was interesting to see the work in progress, I didn’t realise that so much work is still being done there, not realising the scale of the event. The majority of the work that we saw in the museums was from the 20th century and a lot of it was very recent.

The designs are drawn onto white cloth which was then laid over velvet, the design was then overlaid with strips of fluffy white cotton wadding which was couched down with tightly packed stitches, then the excess cloth was cut away.

I was surprised that they weren’t using gold for padding as I have previously seen it done with gold coloured felt as the gold threads are put straight on top of the white cotton.

They told us that it took 3000 hours to finish one of the capes and that includes the beautiful lifelike embroidered pictures that are surrounded by the goldwork.

The Paso Morado (Purple) museum was next which started off with the sort of things that we were expecting to see, beautiful clothes for the icons.

Lorca morado

Lorca morado 2

Lorca morado detail

What we weren’t expecting was this a whole gallery of beautiful and amazing goldwork.

Lorca morado museum 1

Lorca Morado banner 2

This piece was my favourite from that museum, not just the intricacy of the goldwork but the overall shape of the banner.

Lorca morado banner

I have put some more pictures from this museum into the slideshow below.

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We then went to the Paso Azul (Blue) Museum a couple of minutes away which was housed in an Art Deco style house very similar to Casa Modernista in Novelda that we have visited a couple of times.

Not only was the display of capes fabulous but the building was beautiful, I loved all the newel post baubles which were all of a different style on the first two floors.

Lorca Azul museum

Lorca Azul museum 2

Lorca Azul museum 3

This museum was very different as they had a lot more of the horse rider’s cloaks and a lot more emphasis on the pictorial side of the work, still amazing goldwork but also Roman and Egyptian pictures and biblical scenes like this one in silk shaded embroidery.

If the first cloaks the women were making took 3000 hours I estimate about 8000 for this one looking at the size of it, just incredible.

Lorca Azul horse cloak

This robe was also beautiful.

Lorca Azul Robe

Again I have put more pictures into the slideshow below, apologies as some of the photos are not brilliant as all of it was obviously behind glass but you can get a sense of the amazing work.

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Will love you and leave you now as stitching is calling but will be back later in the week with the mind-blowing last museum, Thanks for visiting.

Lorca Part 1

Is it sad that it gives me great pleasure to sit on a Saturday morning (looks like it is going to be a bit sunny as well – yippee!) and write blog posts?

Hope not as blogging does make me happy and I have been looking forward to sorting out my embroidery pictures from Lorca all week.

Am splitting them into two, maybe even 3 posts, as there are so many and the amount of work that has gone into these pieces I feel they need sharing with the stitchy bloggy world.

First some of the gorgeousness of the city itself. It is sadly famous for having a very bad earthquake in 2011 and they are still repairing a lot of the damage. What has been restored is gorgeous and those that are not beautiful old stone are painted mainly in white with a deep yellow trim.

These are some of the old mansions, the Casino and the town hall.

Lorca  houses

Lorca  houses 7

Lorca  houses 8

Lorca houses 1

Lorca houses 2

Lorca houses 3

Lorca houses 4

Lorca houses 5

We spent some time wandering around and visiting churches and the castle as well. This picture from Google is a great aerial shot of the castle.

Lorca Castle

Lorca was important in the medieval period as it was on the border between Moorish and Christian Spain being halfway between Murcia (the city that I visited on the last trip to Spain) and Granada so this was a very well used castle – great views of the surrounding countryside as you can imagine.

It was a long walk up (and we got lost a bit) but a short one down as we found the way back through the very poor area just below the walls.

Lorca castle 1

Stark contrast between the crumbling houses in the barrio and this church and seminary at the bottom of the hill. I am going to frame this photo and add it to my ‘beautiful buildings and blue sky’ collection of Spanish pictures!

Lorca church

We got the idea of going to Lorca from my brother and his partner who stayed there overnight on the way back from a trip to the mountains. They went to the tourist information and picked up a brochure that said four embroidery museums in the city and kindly thought of me🙂

It was also a very exciting trip as we did it all by bus from La Marina, these are the sort of things like I love doing and it made Mum and I feel very adventurous!

We also had some lovely food in cute little tapas bars like this one in a converted house where due to my poor Spanish I inadvertently ordered off the menu (luckily what I ordered was lovely and mostly non meat for Mum).

Lorca bar

Lorca bar 2

Lorca bar 3

I thought he was just explaining what was available and so was nodding to say that I understood and he obviously thought I wanted it all – we had to stop him after the first two dishes and say we had enough!

Mum and I were expecting to see loveliness and knew that the embroidery was connected with the Easter festivals(Semana Santa – Holy Week) and we have seen a few of these before so were looking forward to some lovely robes for icons etc.

However we didn’t realise that the parades are four days of spectacle that includes chariots, Romans and their Gods, Egyptians and the Devil  as well as usual icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Mum has lived in Spain for 11 years now and her sister for 24 and neither of them had heard of the event there so obviously a well-kept secret. So we know where we are going next Easter!

Here is a taster of the parade from some of local tourism web sites.

Semana Santa Lorca

Semana Santa Lorca 3

Semana Santa Lorca 4

Semana Santa Lorca 5

Semana Santa Lorca

The four museums represent the four brotherhoods – Paso Encarnado (Crimson), Paso Morado (Purple), Paso Azul (Blue) and Paso Blanco (White).

The last two are the biggest and the ones with the most spectacular embroidery as they are the groups with horses as well as icons and robes for participants. This tourism web site gives details of locations of all four and the other attractions if you ever fancy a trip.

Since this is a very long post now I will finish (and go and have brunch, my other favourite thing about the weekend!) and be back tomorrow for goldwork loveliness the like of which I have never seen before.

Thanks for visiting.