Thursday, October 07, 2010

Margaret Layton & my inked c1630 jacket

I have of late been absolutely engrossed with research for my 17th c wardrobe I am making for Marguarite. I intend to make her an embroidered jacket, like the one above, worn by Margaret Layton c1620. This is a painting of her currently on display at the v&A, along with the extant jacket. You can see it here ... and then search by its accession number T.228-1994 . I am taking the Tudor & Stuart Gold Master Class to perfect my stitches, and help me decide which one I want to do for the scrolls...but while I am gathering my threads, and making up Marguerite's smock and bodies, I also decided that I would make her a mock up jacket, to be sure to get her fit perfect before spending a year on the embroidery....

I started out with something simple, but then thought if I am going to make up something, I am going to totally make it up right, period correct, well, as close as I can come to period correct. In my research, I came across a c1630 coif, also at the V& A, and the second I saw it, that was what I wanted my jacket to look like. What makes it so absolutely fabulous, is that it is printed...yes~ printed!!! Just the outlines have been embroidered in a gold wrapped silk. I have been totally transfixed by this little bit of cloth...I can barely think of nothing else. Here is a closeup

I had planed on taking what pattern was on the coif (a small cap that covers the back of the head), and then tiling the pattern and repeating it to fill in my jacket pieces....I didn't like the idea at all...cause I want to know what lies beyond the cut edges. I want to see the entire pattern! Being from the 17th century, and knowing that so terrifically little extant textiles from this era still exist, I figured I would never know the entire pattern (If there is anyone out there who knows of ANOTHER example of it, let me know!!)

Early last week, I was talking to Wendy Lewis, and ended up sending her the picture above, and come to find out, she knew that fabric too, but from a different piece! She sent me the photo below she took of it~ This one is also at the V&A, and is labeled as a cushion cover....but if you look close, that is a neckline center top, I KNOW it~ this is a cutting from what should have been a jacket made from this awesome bit of H*e*a*v*e*n on Earth. It is clearly the exact....exact same fabric~ WOO HOO! (click on pic to enlarge)

Now is this providence or what???? I was born to make this jacket, and there isn't a person around that could ever tell me otherwise. But the plot thickens... Wendy also told me she had a modern copy of this, called 'Animal Toile' printed by Cowton & Tout about 10 years ago or so. So she sent it to me to look at. I couldn't wait for it to get here...I thought, perfect, I can just trace it off and be on my way.....but of coarse, nothing is ever that easy.

This is the Cowton & Tout~ marvelous isn't it? At first glance, it looks to be pretty darn close...besides the scale greatly enlarged. I sat and began to try and count the repeat...but the more I looked at it, the more wicked confused I got. The design is 4 blocks of florals, each with an animal in them, and these are stacked on top of each other, and shifted over two. The first thing I looked for were the bunch of grapes, and the monkey...but hey, where are they? Nope~ no grapes, no monkey....and as I kept looking, no death and destruction that is in the original coif. Of the 4 floral designs, only 2 of them are in the coif as printed, the other two are a smathering of this and that, of things taken from different areas of the design, and just stuck there. Interesting. What I want to know, is where did Cowton & Tout copy their fabric from??? Is there another piece of this somewhere??? There must be, as the elements are nearly exact in copy, but just all messed up in design. and NO grapes!!! grrrrrr

Here is some of what I m talking about~ in this close view of the coif, see the hawk there has killed that bird, and is chomping on its lifeless neck and holding it up with one of its talons.....but in the reproduction...

as I was tracing it off, there is no lifeless bird here. It has been extracted from the view, and replaced with a pathetic little bug. As I kept looking, all sorts of neat details like this, that makes this design so 'going~on', have been removed, and replaced with a bunch of grass, or a bug.

All of that aside, it is still an interesting design, and I traced it off anyways, just to keep for reference. It totally reminds me of the game we used to play in Girl Scouts, where you whisper into ones ear, then she whispers into another's, and when the message gets back around, its no where near the same? I think that is what happened with this fabric.


Tina Eudora said...

My full name is Marguerite and I can hardly wait to see your doll...
you definitely have patience to make such beautiful little outfits for them to wear....
Have a grand weekend...
Tina (Marguerite) xo

Sally StitchyWooWoo said...

I love this jacket too and always have to look at it in the V&A. The V & A book Historical Fashion in Detail gives good inamages ( photos and drawings of the the jacket and of others )and is very good for using to capture details in the correct way. I intend (one day )to make a proper grown up version of the jacket using machine embroidery techniques .
Best wishes

Sally StitchyWooWoo said...

Another book you might want to investigate is
richard shorleykers
a scholehouse for the needle
It is a small book published in the 1600s ( only full copy in the V& A library) and shows a variety of patterns used at that time. You may be able to get hold of a fasimile copy which I know is published - sorry can't find mine at the moment.
email me if you want to know more.

Sandra said...

It looks like the repro. fabric was sanitized, removing images like the bird kill.
Love the rabbit next the falcon in both versions. Thanks for sharing.