Our group was treated to 'behind-the-scenes' tours of the textile collections located at the Museum of London, Victoria & Albert Museum, Hampton Court - Royal School of Needlework, Maidstone Museum, Sulgrave Manor, Bath Museum of Fashion, Museum of Costume - Nottingham, Platt Hall and the Burrell Collection and Blair Castle in Scotland. The curators selected items of interest from their collection, with a special emphasis on jackets, coifs, gloves and gauntlets. These items were not currently on display or available to the general public.
The tour group consisted of individuals who had stitched on the Plimoth Jacket, individuals interested in embroidery and costume makers. The members of the group came from the United States, Canada, England and Australia. It was a wonderful mixture of very talented individuals. Getting to know one another and what attracted us to the tour was an added bonus.
I had my first Cream Tea of the trip at The Muffin Man, located steps from our hotel, the Kensington Close.
I can't begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of awe I had when standing next to the Margaret Layton jacket in the storage room of the Victoria and Albert Museum. I couldn't believe my good fortune. It was a privilege to be able to see the jacket up close and the opportunity to study the exquisite embroidery and construction of the jacket.
I also had the opportunity to examine the Jane Bostocke Sampler. It was housed in the Textile Room of the V&A. The samplers were housed in pull-out sliding framed glass cases which could be removed and brought to a table for examination and photos.
I know that those of you readers who have spent time in the Textile Rooms of the V&A will be disappointed, as I was, to hear that the Textile Rooms will be closing in January 2011. The curator, Claire Brown, made the announcement and stated that it was supposed to be a temporary closing. I find it hard to believe that future visitors will not be able to examine the samplers and other embroidered items up close. I truly hope that it will be a temporary closing.
Another highlight of the trip was a visit to Witney Antiques, located in the quaint town of Witney. Our group was treated to a preview of the 'Wrought with the Needle' exhibit. Our gift for the day was the catalog of the exhibit.
We were surprised to find Marsha Parker (The Scarlet Letter) and her fiance at the Witney. Marsha helped one of the tour members, Cindy, purchase an Adam & Eve sampler from 1839. Adam was in a reclining position According to Marsha Adam's position was one of "worshiping Eve, as it should be."
No trip to Bath would be complete without a visit to the Roman Baths. Cindy, Aimme and I also paid a visit to the Jane Austen Centre.Our coach left Bath via the Circus area where scenes from the film Persuasion were filmed.
A few snaps of Nottingham Castle. Wouldn't the motif in the stone work path make a beautiful stitched motif?
I'd love to stay in this home located half way up the hill to Nottingham Castle.
We also visited the Museum of Costume in Nottingham, which has been closed to the public for the past five years. I don't know how Tricia did it, but she tracked down the curator, who is currently moving the textile collection to a new facility, and made arrangements for our group to see some of the stored items. We were told that the fire marshal had to give his approval before we were permitted to enter the closed building.
We spent a couple of nights at Stratford-Upon-Avon and I stayed in a lovely hotel room. The bathroom was larger than my entire hotel room in London.
After eight glorious days exploring textile collections in England we headed for Scotland. We spent two days examining the Burrell Collection of textiles and taking a half day working with Chris Berry. We learned how to make 3 dimensional worms with the aid of a drinking straw.
The Highland Cattle Fair was taking place on the Burrell grounds while we where there....
I would have loved to bring this cute little fella home with me. It was an added bonus visiting a typical fair in Scotland, which is not at all different from the cattle fairs we have in Iowa.
The following snaps were taken from Edinburgh Castle. A wonderful spot to get an overview of the city of Edinburgh. I was touched to find a Dog Cemetary of the Edinburgh Castle grounds.
My trip to England and Scotland was awesome. I can't begin to imagine the work that was involved in setting up a tour as comprehensive as our tour of the textile collections in the finest museums of England and Scotland. Tricia and Susan had every detail of our trip planned. We went non-stop 12 hours a day. Not even the 24 hour stomach virus that struck half the members of the group disrupted our plans.
I can not thank Tricia and Susan enough for giving me the opportunity to take an embroidery trip-of-a-lifetime.
I'm sure some of you may be wondering why there are no embroidery snaps included in this posting. We were required to sign Photo Permissions forms for each of the museums we visited. We are prohibited from sharing the photos we took via blogs, on-line photo albums or an other electronic device. It's a small price to pay for the privilege of seeing so many outstanding examples of 17th century embroidered jackets, coifs, night caps, gloves, gauntlets and samplers.
Emma and Owen have forgiven me for leaving them at the kennel for over two weeks and have been my constant shadows since arriving back home.