[HNW] Elizabethan series

LadyCellach at aol.com LadyCellach at aol.com
Tue Oct 2 17:18:28 PDT 2007

In a message dated 10/2/2007 10:41:49 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
SNSpies at aol.com writes:

Cellach (whose full name, SCA or mundane,  I don't know) has a paper she 
wrote titled "A Study of the Oxburgh Hangings  from an Embroiderer's Point of 
View".  Her email address, as of 2004, was  _LadyCellach at aol.com_ 
(mailto:LadyCellach at aol.com) .   

Hi all! I am actually on the list. I usually just lurk and  don't post much. 
My full SCA name is Mistress Cellach ingen Chernaig and my  e-mail address is 
still the same as listed above if anyone wants to contact me  off list.
   The pieces by Mary Queen of Scots were all definitely  cross-stitch. I 
have saved my original e-mail from the V&A  confirming they are in cross-stitch 
and have copied and pasted it below. If  any of you need to use the letter for 
your documentation to prove they  were cross-stitch, please feel free.
    They still have not changed any of the descriptions  despite the fact 
that I have sent them many e-mails asking them to at least  change the ones on 
the web page.  I visited the V&A again last  March and was quite disappointed to 
see the large description next to them  still stating that they were tent 
stitch. It gets me really sad that a  museum I treasure so much knows they 
labeled something this important wrong  and just leave it like that for all these 
years. I will admit it has been a  while since I have written to them again, so 
I think it is about time for  another letter. If it doesn't work this time 
perhaps I can persuade  a bunch of you to write letters as well, we can hit them 
with a force by  numbers campaign *GRIN*
    My computer with my research paper and pictures on it  crashed. I had 
revised the paper a little bit and am not sure if I  have the updated version on 
a disk(I couldn't find it). I have  the original version on a disk that I 
copied to this computer and can send  it by e-mail to anyone who wants a copy.(it 
does not have pictures) I  also have a hard copy of the newer version that I 
can make copies of and snail  mail them or bring to an East Kingdom event.The 
only difference between the old  and new version is some of the grammar is 
corrected and the conclusion is to  changed to include that I contacted the 
museum. I will be happy to share  whatever I have on the topic.
Dear Ms Bent,

I replied to your original email in October 2004 and I  assume that it
must have got lost in cyberspace.

I and a colleague  studied some of the embroideries belonging to the so
called Oxburgh hangings,  of which some is attributed to Mary Queen of
Scots, after your first e-mail,  and you are right. A majority of them
have been worked in cross-stitch, but  there are also examples of mixed
techniques in both tent and cross  stitch.

We did put in requests at the time to add cross stitch to the  labels in
the galleries and also other information sources, such as the web  page,
but I am sure you can understand that this can be a lengthy process  (and
also unfortunately a costly affair).

Thank you again for drawing  our attention to this label and we
appreciate your interest in the  Museum.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Persson
Assistant  Curator
Textiles & Fashion
Victoria & Albert Museum
Telephone:  020 7942 2679
Fax: 020 7942 2678 

>>>  <LadyCellach at aol.com> 03/06/2005 20:52:34 >>>
Greetings! This  is the second time I am sending this missive. I had the

privilege of  being able to visit your wonderful museum in March of
2004. While   
there I took particular interest in the embroideries done by Mary  Queen
of Scots 
due to my love for the pieces. While studying them up  close,  I have 

noticed that they are done in cross stitch, not in  tent stitch as your
lists and thought it might be important  to point out to you in hopes
that the  
pieces can be labeled with  their correct stitches.    
I also bought a postcard in the museum  shop of the elephant  panel. The

description reads "Oxburgh Hanging  (detail), c. 1570 Linen  canvas
embroidered with 
silk in tent  stitch." I examined the postcard with a  magnifying
glass and it 
can  be clearly seen that the piece was definitely done  in
cross-stitch. I  
ask you to please look at the postcard to verify my   statements.
I had come to the conclusion that all the pieces  were  done in 
cross-stitch from my independent research on the pieces.  I took 
particular interest in 
these pieces while I was in England to  verify  my belief on this. I
have seen 
the embroideries as being  listed as  tent stitch in many of the books I
but in recreating  one of Mary's  embroideries I noticed that the
stitches were  
cross-stitch from a photo I have  in the book pictured in  The
Needlework of 
Mary Queen of Scots by Margaret  Swain. The  embroidery is also listed
as being 
done in cross-stitch in the   book.(as a hobby I recreate historical 
embroideries and belong to a  historically  based needlework guild) 
>From my research on these   embroideries, I believe this "bad
originated with Bess  Shrewsbury's  inventory of Hardwick Hall in
1601. She 
listed the  embroideries as being done in  "petit point." In period
"petit point"  
meant small stitches. In modern  needlework language "petit  point"
is a term 
describing tent stitch. Somewhere  along the line  these embroideries
mislabeled as being done in tent stitch  and  it has stuck.
Another reason why they may have been so  commonly  mislabeled probably
had to 
do with the silk used to embroider them.   When I examined the panels
I could see that the silk used was  smooth  filament silk and not
twisted like 
modern silk. The threads  lay so flat that the  top stitch of the cross

spreads more and  covers most of the bottom stitches.  This makes it
harder to notice  
that these embroideries were done in  cross-stitch. I am positive  in
what I 
saw though and would ask you to please  take a closer look  at these
pieces and 
re-label them. 
I must end with saying my  trip to your museum was the highlight of 
trip to England. I went  with 17 other embroiderers and to be able to
spend  all 
day in the  textile study room was fascinating! I learned more in a day
than  I  
have in years of reading books. I so wish we had a museum like yours
here  in  
the States. I will look forward to coming back in the year  2006.
Catherine Bent
306 S. Penn St. 
Clifton Heights PA  19018  USA


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