domenica 20 ottobre 2013
At Victoria and Albert Museum and ...5 minutes.
My travel to London was not only for the Knitting and Stitching show which was only my secondary goal as the main reason was to visit the 17th C textile department at Victoria Albert. The collection is located in the left Gallery just upstairs the main entrance.
We went there on Friday 11th in the afternoon as the Museum on Friday is open until 10.00 pm but...at the desk they told me that in the evening that Gallery is closed so I should come back in the morning!
Can you imagine how annoying was this as I was having only the day of Saturday left and I was afraid to not have enought time to go also in Portobello market.
To not waste the time, we had a look to some other departments and I have been really impressed by the painted and stained glasses that are exposed there, absolutely magnificent ! but all art is magnificent, isn't it ?
On Saturday morning we where there again and....at the desk they told me that as six attendants where sick, the Gallery that day was CLOSED ! Believe me, I was nearly going to cry ! I tried to complain but they said it was impossible to visit that department and also most of the embroidery of my interest where not there but somewhere else (I did not understand where) to be restored.
I was totally desperated, I was finally in there so near to those Stumpwork and raised embroideries and THAT door was closed !
I surrended (for a while) and we went at the second floor to see the porcelain department. All in that large room was gorgeous and we have found a good reason to come back...photos ! Yes, it was possible to take photos but we had no camera so...next time !
Going downstairs and every step more near to the exit, I was feeling more upset so I realized that what was happening was not right ! You cannot close just because of sick staff it's the Victoria and Albert ! and I come from Italy is not just around the corner !
So back to the desk asking to talk to a manager. He came in few minutes, I told him about my passion for historical embroidery and implored him to give me just 5 minutes to see the Martha Edlin casket and the unfinished Mirror; I think he saw the desperation in my eyes and said : " let me take some keys and I will give you your 5 minutes" followed by a nice smile.
The time he took to go and come back was never ending, I was afraid something else could happen but he finally arrived with a bunch of keys and took us in THAT room, just in front of the window containing the mirror and casket...finally !!!
The time I had was really 5 minutes and he was waiting on our back, so all my attention was on materials used as I already well know the design of both embroideries.
What I noticed :
* Needlelace on Mirror was made using different sizes of thread, a finer one for small elements which I can say it could be a modern 100/3 silk (Au ver a soie 1003) and a ticker one for larger parts like dresses that could be a modern 40/3 silk (Mulberry silks).
Silk in needlelace was not shining so probably it was a spun kind.
* long and short stitched parts on Mirror where surely made using a filament silk as those where really very shining still after all this time, size and kind of thread similar to Pipers silk floss gloss or to one strand of Chinese silk from Suzhou (Yeppie ! I was right !).
*The tickness of silk gimp on Edlin's casket making the leafs on front panel, is really very similar to the one that Access Commodities is recently selling, really very fine and soft. Maybe the construction of the gimp is not exactly the same but tickness is ok.
* The range of colours well matches with the historical line actually available on the market.
My 5 minutes are ended and it's time to left, don't ask me what else was in the room...I don't know!
Again a good reason to come back having all time available and take photos and notes !
Anyway sincerely thanks to Mr. Manager for those 5 minutes !
The mirror here: