We love linen

The linen cupboard at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Selvedge, the textile magazine, is hosting an event entitled We Love Linen at historic Fenton House in Hampstead, London, on Tuesday 28 June.

The Laundry at Castle Ward, County Down. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Professor Amanda Vickery, historian and author of Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England (which was recently turned into the BBC series At Home with the Georgians) will speak about the role of household linens in Georgian England.

An eighteenth-century glass linen smoother, found in the ruins of West Mill, near Corfe Castle, Dorset. ©NTPL/Cristian Barnett

She will be followed by collector Elizabeth Baer, who will be showing a selection of antique linen, some of which will be available to purchase.

A goffering machine in the laundry at Castle Ward, County Down. This was a miniature mangle with ribbed surfaces to give linen a frilled finish. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Before the talks begin attendees will be able to enjoy a glass of wine with strawberries and cream and to explore the charming garden at Fenton House, weather permitting.

Detail of a linen damask napkin at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, woven with a ducal coronet and the Cavendish snake crest and embroidered with 'H' for Hardwick and the date 1827. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Tickets at £35 (concessions £30) can be booked via freephone +44 (0)208 341 9721 or via the event website.

10 Responses to “We love linen”

  1. pigtown*design Says:

    Hi… I LOVE linen! I used to have a friend who was a caterer, and his quote was “Linen Makes the Party!”. We all adopted that as our catch-phrase!

  2. little augury Says:

    How interesting that would be- and I’ve never seen a glass linen smoother, the linen closets and presses- and the laundry rooms always looks so perfect and charming- can you imagine the toil and drudge of working in one such room! I hope that series comes the way of the States soon. pgt

  3. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Pigtown, what a good catchphrase.

    Gaye, yes: the beauty of work rather than the beauty of leasure.

  4. Blue Says:

    Was the glass linen smoother used with damp linen in place of what we now think of as an iron, or to give it a polish after ironing? My grandmother, by the way, used a non-electric iron for most of my childhood and into my early teens. Not sure if that makes me sound totally 19th-century so maybe had better say no more.

    The event, which to me sounds wonderful, crosses with another we’ve arranged in London that day.

    It now occurs to me – somewhere I have a piece of gauffraged linen.

  5. Janet Says:

    Would adore to attend this event–Amanda Vickery, Fenton House, linens, wine, what’s not to love? BTW, the laundry at Castle Ward reminds me of the one at Duivenvoorde–at first glance I thought it was! Husband thinks that the linen smoother may have been used once things were on the table, to take out small creases, etc.

  6. Evening of Linen at Fenton House « Enfilade Says:

    […] noted at Treasure Hunt (with lovely photos), Selvedge Magazine, in association with the National Trust, is hosting an […]

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Barry, I will try to find out about how the glass smoother was actually used, but Janet’s husband’s suggestion above sounds plausible.

    How wonderful to have memories of pre-electric ironing. Ho did it work? Was the iron put on the stove to heat up?

    Janet, indeed (and don’t forget the strawberries!). How interesting about the similarity with the Duivenvoorde laundry (the house’s website is here: http://bit.ly/mDlvut).

  8. Sofia Says:

    Such a wonderful peek into another lifestyle, another time.
    Thank you!

  9. Lilian Says:

    Whilst sorting out my Mother-in-law’s possessions I found a bag full of antique bedlinen which had belonged to her mother who had a guest house in the late 1890s. Some linen is dated as such. Do you know where I could dispose of them – I live in Dorset.

  10. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Lilian, what an interesting find. We tend to have sufficient quantities of bed linnen at National Trust properties, but you could try to contact auctioneers who include such things in their sales or have specialised in that area. For instance if you search for ‘vintage costume and textile auctions’ you may find an auction house that could help.

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