Monday, 1 August 2011

Antique Table Covering

Last year on holiday in Wales I bought a very large lacey cloth from a car boot sale in the middle of nowhere. I bought it because it was interesting and very beautiful and of course I just couldn't resist it !!! I paid £25 - quite alot really - my poor husband was aghast, but knows when I spot a a bargain.
Anyway when we got home I left it in the bag and tucked it away under the stairs and completely forgot about it . Until Today !
It was a bit grubby so I bunged it in the washing machine and then the tumble dryer and ironed it whislt still damp.
Well - look what I have got !

Amazing - this wonderful cloth is shown on our 5ft bed. So it is about 12 feet long by about 6 feet wide. It must be a table covering. I assume for a banquet table in a Baronial Hall. It is not your normal table cloth, in size or in decoration.
There are many techiques used to make the cloth. Needle made lace, darning, cutwork.
The linen appears to be handwoven. All stitchery is hand done.
There is very little damage , just some of the insertion stitches that have come away. Very easily repairable.

At first I though that no one would want to buy a cloth this size today - who has a banquet table? And thought of cutting it into two to make two bed covers or even a pair of curtains. I initially thought it might be Victorian. But as the day has gone on and I have looked more closely at the stitchery I am beginning to wonder if it is much much older than I originally thought.
Upon looking in some of my many books on textiles and with my experience I am getting the feeling that it could be 16th or 17th century.
SCARY - really really scary - especially as I put it in the washing machine.
Any thoughts on its origins or age. Please any advice would be most gratefully recieved.

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