A peek into Spalding Gentlemen’s Society Museum

An example of the textiles in Spalding Gentlemen's Society Museum.
An example of the textiles in Spalding Gentlemen's Society Museum.
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A regular column by the society’s Dr Patricia Buck

If textiles or fine embroidery are among your interests; or if you can admire the patience and skill that has gone into hand stitching something such as these Ayrshire bonnets or this pretty lady’s reticule, then you’d be delighted by the collections of textiles and exhibits of domestic handiwork that you can see at the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society Museum.

Apparently it was in Tudor times that enthusiastic amateurs began to really use embroidery to decorate the materials in their homes and the highly skilled hobby of domestic embroidery spread.

Anything from bed sheets to dress sleeves, handkerchiefs to cushions or book covers, shoes, gloves, aprons and of course children’s clothes and bonnets could all be made the more luxurious.

Prior to this, professional embroiderers had workshops that served ecclesiastic and aristocratic needs rather more than the every-day domestic.

When I look at examples of needle lace, broderie anglaise, smocking and pleating – well, I can only marvel.

I often wonder about who had the eye for design as well as the skilled hands.

Following patterns that are lightly marked on the fabric is all very well but creating those original designs and knowing how to piece together the finished article is all equally impressive to me.

We recognise and enjoy so many forms of art and design, it is good to know that our museum is here to maintain and preserve what we can.