[©National Trust Collections. On view at Dunham Massey. Unless otherwise noted, all images are posted here with permission from National Trust. Description follows below.]
After I shared a link to the University of Manchester's current exhibition, Cotton: Global Threads, Emile de Bruijn over at National Trust's Treasure Hunt kindly let me know that Dunham Massey, the grand Georgian house not far from Manchester, has a noteworthy collection of early Lancashire printed cottons. I ended up doing a little virtual exploration of the place on my own, aided by the staggering NT Collection Database (Emile writes about it here). Of course Mr. Pamuk crossed my mind when I came across a Turkish pillow acquired during the Edwardian years. The stylized floral is beautifully embroidered with silk threads -- dark-blue, pale and mid-green, yellow, russet, ivory and black chain stitch -- on plain weave undyed linen.
Ever the helpful researcher, Emile directed me to more Downton Abbey era (and later) pillows. The example above is Turkish in style but was made in England. Like its predecessor, this 1930s pillow is embroidered on plain weave undyed linen; the trim is three-strand twisted cord (original red silk) on a cotton core.
The 1905 cushion above is characterized by a bronze and yellow silk warp with metal thread on a grey cotton core and yellow, blue and green cotton wefts. Its design incorporates plant motifs within a lace ground trellis.
What's great about the database is the dizzying assortment of objects. If you have an area of interest -- Missoni, wedding dresses, Turkish rugs, utilitarian brushes, riding boots -- give the search box a go. I think you'll be surprised by the results. Each item in the collection database may not necessarily be on view at all times, but exploring the pieces online is a terrific way to get better acquainted with various NT houses and their former occupants, upstairs and down.