Sudan, Poland, and the TRC

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Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director of the TRC, writes about special attention being paid to the Sudanese /Nubian collection at the TRC:

This week we have been very busy with a special section of the TRC Collection. It all started with a visit for four days by Magdalena Woźniak, a Marie Curie Fellow from the Polish Academy of Sciences. She is an archaeologist working on Nubian textiles and dress, from the north of Sudan, Africa (and also someone who came on the TRC 5-day textile course in 2015).

Nubian spindle shaft, 1920s, collected by Grace Crowfoot, with label with her handwriting (TRC 2014.0780).

Nubian spindle shaft, 1920s, collected by Grace Crowfoot, with label with her handwriting (TRC 2014.0780).

She came to examine the TRC’s collection of Sudanese textiles, as well as raw fibres, spinning and weaving equipment that was made by the grande dame of British textile archaeology, Grace Crowfoot (1879-1957). The TRC houses over 330 items relating to Crowfoot’s career and research, including experimental pieces, all of which date from the 1920’s to 1950’s.

Magdalena’s visit was the motivation to re-examine the Crowfoot items and to make sure that within a few weeks everything will be online with photographs, details and so forth. More specifically, the Sudanese items were acquired by her in the early 1920s. At that time her husband, John Crowfoot, was in the Sudanese Ministry of Education (part of the then British-run Sudanese government). Grace Crowfoot collected a wide range of raw cotton, spun cotton, as well as spindles, beaters, heddle equipment and so forth. Most of these items are labelled as to what it is and in some cases where it came from. There are some beautifully woven camel girths made out of goat hair, as well as a couple of cotton textiles.

One of the cotton pieces made Magdalena especially happy as it had a label attached noting it was a piece of dammar. The label is in the handwriting of Grace Crowfoot. Magdalena has written a short piece about this textile and why it is so special (click here).

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Saturday 19th May 2018

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