Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Designing Women: Yellow and Green

[Detail from the 2006 Cora Ginsburg catalog. 18th-century British Crewelwork Bed Curtains made by Elizabeth Newman.]

This month there's been a theme running through a lot of my blog posts: basically a focus on creative women from different centuries and far-flung parts of the globe who made (or currently make) things for the home.  (Two examples include The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal and the women behind Newcomb Pottery.) Keeping that in mind, I thought I'd end April with this detailed view of embroiderer Elizabeth Newman's bed curtains dated 1709.

The crewelwork was seen in Cora Ginsburg's 2006 catalog and Newman is said to have incorporated her own distinctive design choices into the very fashionable Eastern-inspired Tree of Life motif.

While the iconic birds and flowers are definitely there, she also composed hillocks of wide, "fresh and exuberant" yellow and green bands. Newman worked-in three dimensional grapes and added unorthodox horses in different colors -- blue on one bed curtain; white on another.  Finding the inscription still intact on the image at top makes it easier to connect one individual, and her hours of intricate work, with a type of textile we're now accustomed to studying in art history books or seeing reproduced at the fabric center.

Fast forward three hundred years and yellow with green still feels clean and bright.  I asked Angela Clinton, founder of Parlor Textiles, for a sample of Indian Deco Floral, in yellow, that really shows off that terrific border.  Can you picture it used for curtains? That's what I'm doing right now.

[Click to enlarge.]

Here's a globe-trekker inspiration board pairing Indian Deco Floral with Pratt and Lambert's Fennel; Peter Beard books courtesy Christine Bell and Taschen; an architect's table via Emperic; North African circa 1910 lap desk from Jefferson West; and a vintage Turkish copper bowl, for floating camellias cut from the bush just outside the French doors, via The Loaded Trunk.

Read about Beard and the 2010 Elephant Parade, here.

Miniature replicas of other participating artists' sculptures are available here.

As always, I receive no compensation for the posts about Parlor Textitles or the other items; I'm simply a fan. 

Afterthought: 5.3.10.
Shown above, Bennison's Crewelwork, the fabric Julia Reed carried around "like a talisman for almost fifteen years." More on that here. And don't forget her lecture tonight at SCAD Atlanta!


ArchitectDesign™ said...

so completely gorgeous -can you imagine how much work went into those curtains and how proud she must have been of them? Before tv and all of our worthless attractions we have in this day and age, people actually DID things to be proud of. Makes me want to just ditch all electronics (except my computer for blogging of course!)

Style Court said...

Stefan -- and the iPhone. We need the camera and the fun apps :)

Dumbwit Tellher said...

The handiwork in the creative hands of people in those years was unbelievable. I doubt there are many people still out there that posses such talents today. A joy to see and your curtains will be stunning.

Style Court said...

DT -- the curtain idea is actually just an inspiration board thing. A friend of mine was thinking about possible looks for a nursery and I thought the yellow would be great :)

Karena said...

The thing is that no one wants to slow down long enough to create these intensive handcrafted works of art. They are so gorgeous and really priceless!

Art by Karena

Style Court said...

Karena -- yes, great point.

Meant to add we were thinking of a home office too!

Janet said...

What a beautiful way to end the month! I have been thinking of taking a crewel work class...if I can ever slow down enough to take the time.

Emile de Bruijn said...

Elizabeth Newman's crewelwork is wonderfully alive - and it seems to have survived very well. This has inspired me to do a post on the crewel at Montacute - although that is not quite as spectacular as Newman's!