Friday, September 19, 2014

Beautiful Linens

 "Isabelle of France received her trousseau at the age of seven, when she was promised in marriage to Richard II of England.  It contained fourteen pairs of sheets, a dozen large cloths, two dozen smaller cloths, and several colored bedspreads in Velvet and Satin." This exquisite bit of French history comes from a beautiful book, THE BOOK OF FINE LINEN by Francoise de Bonneville.  French history assures us that linens have always been a part 
of life in France!  Even today, if you visit, antique linens are available at a price affordable if you are lucky enough to happen upon a brocantes!  We think of linens perhaps as a must in our dining rooms like mine above but truly linens are a treasure in the French home in the kitchen, bath, and bedroom.  Linens are a must.  Tradition in the world has changed for many but my own tradition of bedding and household linen was passed on to my four daughters.  I hope they continue this tradition with their daughter's of passing on linens and silver settings in chests and cupboards!  
Monograms are a long mark of distinction and antique monograms are not only beautiful, 
they are very much in demand.  I found both of these in London.  The smaller one I purchased for a mere pound!  The cut work is gorgeous!  The larger cloth, I purchased at Josephine Ryan's antique shop in Chelsea but she had purchased it in France so, it made the slightly higher price worth it for my collection.  Linen's like these were typically part of a woman's trousseau and thus marked her maiden initial.  I am hoping to present each of my three granddaughter's a collection of antique linens for their own engagements one day!  They are still young so I have time to search for them.  I hope to make more also for making linens is an age old tradition in my family as it was in 19th century Europe! 

My maternal grandmother graciously gave me linen tablecloths, napkins, and other pieces I now treasure.  She traveled to Europe during the summer as she was a teacher and found these visits an opportunity to collect gifts for her family.  She also bought a beautiful monogrammed tablecloth and twelve linen napkins for me at an estate sale.  These are among my most treasured linens! Today, these antique examples are desired for their intricate handiwork! 

Today in France, part of the experience is the beautiful table settings when dining.  Many cafés cover the tables with a white cloth as soon as you are seated!  Even a sidewalk cafe, where you are allowed to sit forever, seems to remind me of this lovely French tradition!  The French seem to get so much right!  My own table setting above is a small reminder of my love and admiration for all things French....especially the linens! 

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story! That linen clothing really gave your table setting a great look. Anyway, I love the way you value things. Thank you for sharing their amazing history, and ideas about French culture and traditions. All the best to you!

    Jeremy Barker @ Chiavarich Airs Of Michigan