Saturday, 23 May 2015

A practical wee thing

What shall one do if after a bigger project, as sewing several dresses for a ball, one isn't in a mood for sewing? Start with a small and practical project.

In my reticule, I need to carry some modern things around, as would anyone else. And I don't really like to rummage in a mixture of historical looking pocket detritus and modern convenience.
Some silk scraps, silk thread, some wool to pad the project, and some fine cardboard for shape, and we have a practical little pocketbook :-)

For the "How authentic measure" - I have to admit, in my opinion it's not matching with any "Authenticy Measure" - at all. ¨

I didn't work after any particular example, the size has been defined by a Reclam paperback book what was handy for the shape and the size of the silk scraps. Also it lacks ties. And for the herringbone stitching - If one is too daft to verify the size while stitching.. well - let's call it - A Practical Artistic Anachronistic Pocketbook :-)
Still, I like the way it looks, it will be very practical for future outings.

Folded up

The inside, with the herringbone stitch to connect the pieces

With some proper correspondence inside

The outside. The embroidery is executed mostly in stemstich, some french knots and some leafy bits.

And it's raison d'être inside my reticule - the modern correspondence tool...

Saturday, 2 May 2015

La dame avec schall bleue

A bit over three months ago, I was happily perusing the webstore of the renounced "Emporium of Ephraim Bay", and pinning onto my latest Pinterest spleen - the shawl colour boards (see e.g. here - Blue shawl) when I stumbled over this lovely lady.

Her graceful expression and clever use of accessories (blue ribbon belt, blue shawl, blue earrings) had me in a "What an elegant lady! Who must she have been?" happy dance. I pinned her, and went sometimes back checking on the auction, silently counting my centimes and hoping against all reason that the lady would still be there when I managed to save the sum to buy her miniature. A couple of days later, she was gone. I was sad, but shrugged it off, there are so many beautiful things at Mr Bays Emporium, one day I might find something what captures me equally.

About 2 weeks later, a Saturday morning when the mailman called my husband to sign for a parcel. When he returned, he handed me the package, and said "I believe, this is for you".
Lo and behold:

It's her! The Lady with the Blue Shawl!

Thanks to the sweetest husband of all, there was this lovely painting in our home.
You may notice, that the upper right corner is clouded. So did I: for the last couple of months I tried to figure out, if it's but the glass, or the wafer. And if it's just the glass, is it scratches or dirt? Would I damage the wafer?

Today I took up all my courage, and started loosening the already torn paper on the back.
Backside, before carefully cutting
 away the paper
The paper was already so frail,
that it tore away without much help.
It's the glass! It's just the glass. And the grime was easily giving way to gentle cleaning with cotton wool and water!

And while I was cleaning the glass, I took the chance to take some pictures of Madame Ne m'oubliez Pas (Mrs Forget-me-Not, due to the shade of blue) without the glass.

She's undamaged, it was just the glass!

The wafer has been damaged a little bit, you see the missing sliver on the left
side, and the piece of painted ivory below it, on the newspaper. 

The glass was surprisingly easy to clean, first I tried when it was still in the frame, then I was able to remove it and gave it a good wash.

The cleaned glass on a newspaper reprint of March 1814

Apart from the little bubbles and imperfection from it's making, it's clean and flawless. Fitting the well dried glass back into it's frame was a tad fiddlier, it's not quite symmetrical, and only fits in one way.

I finished the repair by glueing some replica printed paper from the Basel Historical Museum onto the back. When all is dry, Mme Ne m'oubliez-pas will find a place among some 1792 prints by Angelika Kauffman and some gravures of Journal des Dames.
I am still insanely happy that it was just a dirty glass, and not a damaged painting!

The new backing, and the penknife I used to loosen the old paper.

In the cleaned frame

Modern helpers: paper tissues, Q-tips, clean water, scissors to cut the new backing.

Many thanks again to my most generous and sweet husband. And also to Sabine for the newspaper, what gave me a nice surface to see if the cleaning is effective. (One could also use a modern paper, but it was more fun and inspirational to use a 1814 reprin