Dearest dog lovers I am so grateful for the time you took to write down your thoughts on which breed we should take. Every comment has been carefully read and we are still mulling over this big decision. Thank you so very much! I never cease to be touched by the kindness and patience of those who stop by this space of mine.
The title-page of John Taylor's embroidery and lace design book, first published in 1624, depicts an elaborate garden with raised flowerbeds and ornamental flower pots and vases. In the foreground of this garden scene three alegorical female figures are clad in high-fashion costume. Wisdom, in a brocade gown and high ruff, reads a devotional or moralising manual while Industrie works on a cushion, having completed the undergarment to her right. Follie is empty-handed.
|The Needle's Excellency, 3rd edition (London: James Boler, 1631)|
If such embroidery books represented high-ranking women, whose virtue could be displayed in their artistic needlework, the great majority of gardening manuals targeted high-society men. The visual impact of needlework and gardening is important but whereas men clothed their pleasure gardens outside, women clothed their households and garments. Male/female divide aside, there exist many similarities between gardening and needlework handbooks. For example, whilst seventeenth-century writers of women's manuals recommended hand-worked clothing as a public sign of a woman's skill and virtue, contemporary horticultural publication claimed that to tend one's garden was good for one's soul. On the other hand moralising handbooks frequently considered fashion and flower gardens to be both vehicles of vanity and ephemeral pleasures. One thing is for sure; the aesthetic characteristics of gardens were thankfully well preserved over the centuries in the embroidery and lace design books which depicted many floral and garden parterre motifs - this distinctive genre of seventeenth-century French formal gardening which can be seen in the examples below - suitable for repeating as borders on the edge of various garments.
|Théâtre d'Agriculture et Mesnage des Champs, Olivier de Serres, 2nd edition (Paris: 1616)|
Gardeners sought similar effects to embroiderers in the colours and differing textures they used in their parterre designs. Yellow hued sands, crushed red and brown stones, dark grey metals together with flowers, and plants were mixed to set off the vivid green of the frequently used box tree. According to the Victoria & Albert exhibition on The Needle's Excellency the most popular colours for embroidery were various shades of green, yellow, orange, brown and red.
Lace was a ubiquitous part of both aristocratic men and women's clothing. The title-page of the French version of Federico Vinciolo's pattern book, from which the lace patterns above and below are taken, depicts garlands of lace which reveal a close resemblance to sixteenth-century parterre designs.
|Les Singuliers et nouveaux pourtraicts du Seigneur Federic de Vincolio Venitien |
(Paris: Jean Le Clerc, 1606)
Since gardening treatises frequently recommended that ornamental flowerbeds should be clearly visible from the house it is most natural that young women at court who embroidered would model their designs on the parterres they saw through the window. In winter, after a severe frost or a snowfall, in contrast with the dark earth beneath, these flowerbeds would have looked like the crisp white geometry of the laces which were so fashionable among the gentry and at the royal court.
|Picture taken from William Christie's house in Thiré|
For those of you who are interested in contemporary lace design pop over to Claire at Paint Drops Keep Falling to see details of her visit to the "Lost In Lace" exhibition at Birmingham.
Someone in this parts will be turning two on Friday so I will, hopefully, be posting before then on a truly insane challenge I have set myself AND a beautiful giveaway Angélique was offered by talented Lori over at Hippywitch Crafts. My little girl will not be separated from her at all these days!
See you very soon and have a peaceful Sunday.