TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Robert J. Charleston letters

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TRC volunteer, Alice Jaspars, studying the Robert Charleston correspondence housed in the TRC library (February 2019).

TRC volunteer, Alice Jaspars, studying the Robert Charleston correspondence housed in the TRC library (February 2019).

On Sunday, 24 February 2019, Alice Jaspars wrote:

Robert J. Charleston (1916-1994) was one of the leading experts on glass in the United Kingdom and was Keeper of Glass and Ceramics at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The current archive of Charleston’s letters stored at the TRC Leiden details his lesser known passion for textiles, with correspondence both to and from him. His letters detail an interest in pursuing a PhD in the subject of the archaeology of textiles, though unfortunately this never came to fruition. 

I have transcribed some thirty letters of Charleston now, most pertaining to his desire to publish a particular article during the Second World War, but facing issues due to paper rationing. The style and content of his letters make the transcription far more of pleasure than a task.

Thanks to the TRC’s director, Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, we are now privileged to have this extensive correspondence between Charleston and other prominent figures, from the early 1940s onwards.

The archive is exceptional as we have both the letters written to, and the letters from Charleston, in almost perfect and precise chronological order. Having transcribed only a fraction of his letters thus far, it is clear that Charleston exhibits a tremendous intellect, ranging from assorted types of fabric, to the way in which he interacts with various well-known academics of textiles of the day.

Whilst I have only been able to transcribe a portion of the letters to date, I hope to use them as a basis for considering the ways in which relevant individuals from the time interacted with one another, and the way in which the knowledge of the time was developed into more personal correspondence such as these.

I will keep the blog up to date with any work of particular interest or of note.


A remarkable woman

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 British postage stamp with embroidery motif of oranges and orange blossom, designed and worked by May Morris (TRC 2018.3365).

British postage stamp with embroidery motif of oranges and orange blossom, designed and worked by May Morris (TRC 2018.3365).

Shelley Anderson writes on Saturday 23 February 2019:

A recent acquisition of the TRC sent me scurrying to the Internet to find out more. The object was a small (3.5 x 3.5 cm) British postal stamp with an image of a beautifully embroidered orange branch with flowers and fruit (TRC 2018.3365). The stamp also has the text “Mary 'May' Morris 1862-1938. Designer and textile artist". May Morris had designed and executed the image, from silks on a linen background, in the 1880s.

Mary ‘May’ Morris was the youngest daughter of Arts and Crafts movement leader and designer William Morris. She had an unconventional childhood and was taught embroidery by her mother and her aunt. She also studied embroidery at art school and at the age of 23 became the Director of the Embroidery Department at her father's business. She was an able manager and designer, in addition to her own considerable skills in needlework, creating both ecclesiastical and household objects.

She researched older styles of embroidery, in particular the famous medieval needlework of England (Opus Anglicanum), in order to develop a more free-style fine technique which came to be known as art needlework. Later in life she taught embroidery at art schools throughout England, including the Royal School of Art Needlework (now the Royal School of Needlework), mentoring many other women who later established their own names in embroidery. In 1907, when guilds such as the Art Workers Guild refused to accept women, she founded a new association, the Women’s Guild of Arts.

As if this were not enough, she also made a name for herself as a designer, creating designs for jewellery, wall paper, textiles and more. Concerned about the status of women and workers, she was an active socialist all her life. In her later years she collected and published 24 volumes of her father’s works, thus securing his name in history, in addition to writing her own books and plays. She lived the last few decades of her life with a woman companion in a home designed in the Arts and Crafts style. “I’m a remarkable woman,” she wrote in 1936 to her ex-lover, playwright George Bernard Shaw, “always was, though none of you seemed to think so.” A remarkable woman indeed, who is finally getting the credit she deserves.


Two Chinese dolls

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Chinese male doll, 1920s or 1930s (TRC 2019.0194).

Chinese male doll, 1920s or 1930s (TRC 2019.0194).

Saturday, 9 February 2019. TRC volunteer Francesco Montuori writes:

Last week, the Textile Research Centre enriched its collection with two interesting pieces: a couple of wooden Chinese dolls.

Normally the TRC does not take dolls but there was something about them that was intriguing. They came with the information that they dated to about 1900 and were intended to be used for funeral purposes.

One of the dolls is male (TRC 2019.0194) and dressed in Chinese style garments, including an embroidered gown in violet silk decorated with an embroiderd vase of flowers and a typical black silk cap (see for example TRC 2004.0087) on his head.

The second doll is female (TRC 2019.0195) and also has an embroidered gown in tangerine orange silk and decorated with flowers and butterflies. She is also wearing a large collar edged with fur. Her face covered in white make-up and she has prominent red lips. Her headdress is quite elaborate.

Chinese female doll, 1920s or 1930s (TRC 2019.0195).

Chinese female doll, 1920s or 1930s (TRC 2019.0195).

This type of doll is usually known in the Western world as a ‘Chinese Opera Doll’, although it would seem that they were not related with opera theatre at all. Instead it would appear that such dolls were associated with the many orphanages opened by various Christian missions in China. In fact, in the 18th and 19th centuries, numerous missionary associations from Northern America and Europe were active in the country to promulgate Christianity.

Among their initiatives was the establishment of many orphanages, in order to host abandoned or orphaned children in major cities of the country, such as Shanghai. The dolls were given to girls in the orphanages who crafted their dresses and embroidered them, in order to raise money for the maintenance of the orphanage itself.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of information about these two dolls, it is difficult to allocate them to a specific city or missionary activity. What is clear is that more research needs to be carried out to understand the economic and social history of this ‘small’ aspect of Chinese material culture.


Scandinavian doll?

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Doll in regional dress, probably mid-19th century, from Scandinavia? (TRC 2019.0196).

Doll in regional dress, probably mid-19th century, from Scandinavia? (TRC 2019.0196).

Friday 8th February, Gillian Vogelsang writes:

Often the TRC is asked if we know what this is or where does that come from, and many times we can help out. We now have a little puzzle for you!

We have recently been given a doll dressed in regional dress. The head and hands are made out of carved wood that has been hand painted, while the body, arms and legs are made out of stuffed cloth. The headdress is elaborately made with various different types of cloth.

The front and back of her dress are embroidered, and she has a large bag with a crucifix hanging from her left waist. Under her dress there is a petticoat and drawers made out of white cotton decorated with bobbin lace. Her shoes are in the style of 18th century slippers with metal buckles.

We think that the doll may date from c. 1860, based on the textiles, and that it may possibly come from Scandinavia. Does anyone know where she comes from? Any suggestions are welcome.


Strong women in fashion

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Mantua, ca. 1760-1765, silk and linen, on display at the exhibition Femmes Fatales, at the Gemeente Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Mantua, ca. 1760-1765, silk and linen, on display at the exhibition Femmes Fatales, at the Gemeente Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Saturday, 2nd February 2019, Shelley Anderson writes:

Femmes Fatales is an exhibition now on at the Gemeente Museum in the Hague (NL). It’s an exhibition with a difference, billed as the first exhibit in fashion history that concentrates on female fashion designers. It is a real must-see for anyone with an interest in fashion and in fashion history.

On display are clothes and sketches, all with excellent background information, from over twenty designers, including Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Mary Quant, Vivienne Westwood, Rei Kawakubo and many others. Nor are Dutch women ignored: clothes designed by Fong Leng, Sheila de Vries and Iris van Herpen are prominently displayed.

The clothes date from 1750 to 2018, opening with over a dozen eighteenth century French dresses (mostly women’s silk gowns, occasionally mixed with cotton and/or linen). At this time in France male tailors belonged to prestigious (and better paid) guilds. Women seamstresses were restricted in both the materials they could work with and the type of clothes they could make. Seamstresses were forbidden to work with silk, and could only make upper garments for women and children’s clothes - but, in the case of boys, only if the boy was under eight years old.

This began to change in 1675 when wool seamstresses in Paris organised a women-only guild. (Interestingly, wool seamstresses in Amsterdam organised their own guild in 1579, but still had to pay dues to the tailors’ guild). As fashions changed, there were fights, sometimes physical, over whether men or women would be allowed to make the new designs.

I found the exhibition of clothes from the 1910s-1920s thrilling. This is when women created some of the great fashion houses of Paris. To see the actual work of pioneers like the Callot Soeurs, Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet, was exciting. These clothes were as innovative then as van Herpen’s 3D printed and laser cut dresses, or Kawakubo’s bizarre mathematical creations are today.

The exhibition is a powerful statement of women’s creativity. “Femmes Fatales: Strong women in Fashion” is on until 24 March 2019.


The Queen Amina embroideries from Nigeria

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Sample of white damask cloth with fourteen embroidery patterns, Queen Amina Embroidery group, Nigeria, 2019 (TRC 2019.0097).

Sample of white damask cloth with fourteen embroidery patterns, Queen Amina Embroidery group, Nigeria, 2019 (TRC 2019.0097).

A few days ago a small package, with numerous Nigerian postage stamps, arrived at the TRC. It contained two samples, which was a great (and wonderful) surprise as only one sample had been ordered! The samples were organised, especially for the TRC, by Hassana Yusuf and made by Fatima Haruna and Ramatu Sani of the Queen Amina Embroidery group from among the Hausa in northern Nigeria.

The samples were made for the Encyclopedia of Sub-Saharan African Embroidery (due in 2020; Bloomsbury Publishers, London). The samples are made on locally available cotton damask cloth using a thick cotton thread. They are hand embroidered in a variety of stitches, including decorative darning stitch, open chain stitch and butttenhole stitch eyelets.

Lees meer: The Queen Amina embroideries from Nigeria


Opening Velvet! exhibition, TRC, Leiden, 22 January

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Leiden council Alderman Ms Yvonne van Delft (left) and Dr Gillian Vogelsang (right) at the opening of the Velvet! exhibition, TRC, 22 January 2019.

Leiden council Alderman Ms Yvonne van Delft (left) and Dr Gillian Vogelsang (right) at the opening of the Velvet! exhibition, TRC, 22 January 2019.

Gillian Vogelsang writes on Tuesday, 23 January: The new TRC exhibition VELVET! was opened yesterday in snow-covered Leiden by Alderman Yvonne van Delft, Leiden Council. Ms. Van Delft is responsible, among other things, for cultural affairs in Leiden.

Before the official opening we spent a while talking about the TRC, what we are doing and how, the collection and future possibilities, before carrying out the official moments.


Lees meer: Opening Velvet! exhibition, TRC, Leiden, 22 January


SOS, preparing two new TRC exhibtions

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A pair of hand knitted Macedonian bridal socks, late 20th century (TRC 2019.0068a-b).

A pair of hand knitted Macedonian bridal socks, late 20th century (TRC 2019.0068a-b).

On Sunday, 20th January 2019, Gillian Vogelsang writes:

SOS: No, I am not asking for life-saving assistance. Instead I want to update the reader on the preparations for two exhibitions, namely one on hand knitted socks and other footwear, and another on men's ties and related neckwear. Perhaps some of you will understand the SOS?

The exhibtion on knitted footwear will open this autumn and will be based on the TRC Silk Stocking project and the recreation of the silk stockings recently found in a shipwreck off the coast of Texel in the north of The Netherlands. The other exhibition, on men's neckwear, is planned for the autumn of 2020, and will focus on men's ties and related garments. We have been publishing various announcements and blogs about the plans for both.

Anyhow, hence the title: SOS, which is the informal Dutch term for Sokken, Overhemd of Stropdas ('Socks, shirt or tie'), and for obvious reasons related to the sometimes awkward question what present to give to a man for his birthday or for St Nicholas.

Not long ago we announced via the TRC Newsletter and on TRC Facebook that we are looking for ties and hand knitted socks for these two forthcoming TRC exhibitions.

There have been numerous reactions and good suggestions about how to get these. One TRC follower in Australia is even asking a dedicated group of local spinners and knitters to make a pair of Australian socks for the hand knitted sock exhibition! A few days ago, someone popped into the TRC and left behind three pairs of socks, including a pair from northern India, one pair knitted by her grandmother, and a third pair that are a bridal form from Macedonia! I suspect that there are various brides to be in the Netherlands who would love to wear such amazing socks at their weddings!

And something completely different: Tuesday 22nd January will see the opening of the TRC’s latest exhibition about the history of velvet and the many different types and ways of using velvet. We put a complete list of all the objects on display onto the web, with direct reference to the online catalogue of the TRC collection, so that people who cannot personally come and see the exhibition will have an idea of what is included. It is a colourful and inspirational exhibition, with some items that are going to get people wanting to make their own velvet garments.


Silk Stockings Project: The Hall of Fame

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The TRC Silk Stockings Project is progressing well. Last year summer, some forty knitters started with their attempt to knit stockings with extremely fine needles and equally fine silk threads. They were going to reconstruct the seventeenth century silk stockings that had been discovered in a ship wreck off the coast of the Dutch island of Texel some years ago. The first stockings have now been completed! The photographs show the proud knitters and their results. 

Lees meer: Silk Stockings Project: The Hall of Fame


The Feestrok revisited, by an American student

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Charlotte Somerville, a student at Hampshire College, MA, USA, visited the TRC on 10 January 2019, and she wrote the following blog:

For my thesis project at Hampshire College, in Massachusetts, I am researching the feestrok (which translates to 'skirt of celebration'), a national initiative that took place in The Netherlands in the years immediately following the Second World War. The initiative consisted of the creation of patchwork skirts – using patches that held special memories for their female creators. These were to be sewn onto an existing backing in any manner that pleased the creator.

Lees meer: The Feestrok revisited, by an American student


The Gilet Jaune (Yellow Jacket)

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A gilet jaune, or yellow jacket, from France, the symbol of anti-government protests (TRC 2019.0005

A gilet jaune, or yellow jacket, from France, the symbol of anti-government protests (TRC 2019.0005

On Saturday, 5th January 2019, TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson writes:

My late father-in-law decided to stop driving his car when he was in his 80s. He lived just outside Paris, and could walk to the nearby train station and grocery store. Inside his car was a yellow high visibility jacket (sometimes called a high-vis jacket, or a traffic safety vest). The French government had made this inexpensive sleeveless, plastic vest with reflective bands obligatory for all motorists to carry in 2008. He gave the jacket to me. I recently donated the jacket to the TRC (TRC 2019.0005).

The mass produced yellow jacket is now famous throughout the world, thanks to protests by hundreds of thousands of French people. On 17 November 2018, to protest a proposed national increase in fuel prices, an estimated three hundred thousand people throughout France blockaded roads and fuel depots. They wore yellow jackets—gilet jaunes in French—as a sign of their opposition to the fuel hike in particular and to the rising costs of living in general. The following Saturdays saw gilet jaunes blockading more roundabouts and roads, and some airport runways, this time in Paris itself.

The yellow jacket was a perfect symbol for making a statement. It’s immediately recognizable, easy to obtain and cheap. It shows that the bearer belongs to a group of like-minded people. The yellow jacket has been quickly adopted by grassroot groups espousing different causes around the world, from Taiwan to Jordan. In Bulgaria, anti-government protesters wear it; in Pakistan, engineers wore it during a one-day strike in Lahore. There have been marches and demonstrations of yellow jackets in The Netherlands, Germany, Canada and Croatia. Early in December, Egyptian authorities severely restricted the sale of yellow safety jackets, afraid of protests that might commemorate the January 2011 uprising that toppled the Mubarak government.

As many have noted, this is not the first time in France that an article of dress has signified mass protest, even revolution. In 1789 the citizens who fuelled the French Revolution were called sans cullotes ('without breeches'). They wore trousers or pantaloons, not the silk breeches of the aristocrats. Dress has always been a sign of status, a symbol of belonging or exclusion—or opposition.

My father-in-law worked in a French trade union movement for his whole life. I wonder what he would have thought of the gilet jaunes? He deplored violence but welcomed ordinary people standing up for themselves. Mercí beaucoup, Robert.


Munich students visit TRC

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Group of students from Munich visiting TRC, Friday, 4th January 2019.

Group of students from Munich visiting TRC, Friday, 4th January 2019.

Friday, 4th January 2019: Gillian Vogelsang writes:

Yesterday we received an email from Laurin Stöckert about a group of students from a student association of Near Eastern Archeology based at Ludwigs-Maximilan-University Munich (Germany). They are visiting Amsterdam and Leiden for a few days and will be visiting some departments of Leiden University as well as various museums.

Laurin asked if it was possible for them to come to the TRC to talk about archaeology, role of textiles and dress, etc. There were students ranging from first-year BA to PhD levels. Fortunately I was at the TRC on Friday morning (adminstration....) and was able to welcome them. The group stayed for two hours and we discussed and described the work of the TRC, the reason for the (active/holding) collection, and the meaning of Dress and Identity, both past and present. It was a really enthousiastic and fun group with lots of good questions and a feel for textiles and dress! If they are representative of the next generation of Middle Eastern archaeologists then there is a lot of hope for textiles. What a wonderful start to 2019!


American Quilts: 200 years of dedicated recycling

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Modern American quilt with scalloped edge. Size: 234 x 204 cm (TRC 2018.3133).

Modern American quilt with scalloped edge. Size: 234 x 204 cm (TRC 2018.3133).

Sunday, 30th December 2018: Gillian Vogelsang, director TRC, announces a new exhibition at the TRC, to be opened in February 2020.

Almost four hundred years ago, in 1620, a group of 102 English Protestant Puritans left the town of Leiden where they had found refuge some ten years before, and sailed via Plymouth in England, on board the Mayflower, to Massachusetts in America. The Pilgrim Fathers, as they were to be called, are traditionally regarded as the founders of the United States. A daughter of two of the Pilgrims, namely Myles and Barbara Standish, has become famous for producing the first extant embroidery sampler in the USA, commonly known as the Loara Standish sampler. For more information on this physical link between Leiden and the Pilgrims, see the entry in TRC Needles.

To mark the 400-year anniversary of the Massachusetts settlement, in 2020, Leiden is organising the Mayflower 400 programme with a series of exhibitions, theatre productions, sports meetings, and many other events. For more information, see

As part of the Mayflower 400 programme, the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden will be setting up an exhibition and series of workshops about two hundred years of American quilt making. This has been made possible by the recent donation of over fifty American quilts and quilt tops by Mrs. Sherry Cook and others. Examples of quilts dating from the 1830’s to the present day will be on display. A series of lectures on (American) quilts and quilt making will accompany the exhibition. There will also be practical workshops, during which various technical aspects of quilting will be explored.

The exhibition is being organised in conjunction with Sherry Cook from Washington state, USA; Susan Cave (New Zealand/The Hague) and Beverley Bennett (UK/The Hague).


Black and gold dissent collar

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Package containing miniature Black and Gold Dissent Collar, USA 2018 (TRC 2018.3367).

Package containing miniature Black and Gold Dissent Collar, USA 2018 (TRC 2018.3367).

TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson tells:

A recent donation to the TRC reflects some very interesting social history. The object is a small gold plated necklace (TRC 2018.3367), sold on the internet by a group called Dissent Pins. It is a stylized version of a black and gold jabot (a detachable collar, usually of lace) worn by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court.

Appointed in 1993 Ginsburg was only the second woman appointed to the US Supreme Court. She joined Sandra Day O’Connor on the nine-member court. Both women realized they had a problem. "I didn't know anybody who made robes for women justices, and I think most of what was available was something like a choir robe or an academic robe," O’Connor said. She decided to wear a black robe that she had worn earlier as a judge.

She was criticized for looking like a “washed-out judge” and for not wearing some sort of judicial collar underneath the robe. "You know, the standard robe is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show, and the tie," Ginsburg said. "So Sandra Day O'Connor and I thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe something typical of a woman. So I have many, many collars."

Justice Ginsburg now owns dozens of jabots that she wears with her robe. She is given them as gifts, such as the French lace jabot gifted by the University of Hawaii, decorated with beads from a beach; or the white tatted jabot made by an admirer, who proudly published Ginsburg’s thank-you on the Internet. Her favourite is a simple white beaded collar from Cape Town, South Africa.

The 83-year-old Justice, known for her strong feminist legal opinions, is also famous because her collars are not just accessories. When she is giving a majority opinion she wears a light yellow collar, given to her by her law clerks. Her ‘dissent collar’, when she takes a stand against the majority opinion, is a black and gold embellished jabot. She wore this to Court the day after Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. This made her even more of a popular icon.

Her ‘dissent’ collar has been made into enamel pins and stickers, like that in the TRC collection; she’s been the subject of films, comedy skits and a rap song. Wearing a version of her black robe and lace collar is popular as a Halloween costume across the US, with its own Instagram account (#notoriousrbg).

Monday, 10 December 2018


Changes in the TRC Board

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Prof. Lammert Leertouwer, painted by Marike Bok.

Prof. Lammert Leertouwer, painted by Marike Bok.

Gillian Vogelsang, director TRC, writes on 15th December 2018:

At the last meeting of the board of the Textile Research Centre, on Friday 14th December 2018, the chairmanship was passed on from Prof. Lammert Leertouwer to Prof. Barend ter Haar Romeny. Lammert Leertouwer, the former Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, has led the board from 2006 onwards and has been an invaluable help in the building up and rapid expansion of the TRC. Our heartfelt thanks to Prof. Leertouwer for all his support over the years. Fortunately, he has not resigned from the Board, and we hope that he will remain involved and keep giving us his advice for many years to come.

The chairmanship has been taken over by Prof. Bas ter Haar Romeny, who already was a board member of the TRC and who is Professsor of Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern History, Free University, Amsterdam.




Drawing of the TRC premises

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Drawing of the TRC premises along the Hogewoerd in Leiden.

Drawing of the TRC premises along the Hogewoerd in Leiden.

The TRC received a lovely ink drawing of the outside of the TRC premises, in the old heart of Leiden. The drawing was made by Matthew Hill, the husband of Heidi Hilliker, who participated in the October Intensive Textile Course.

The TRC can be found along the Hogewoerd in the ancient city of Leiden. The street used to be, many centuries ago, part of the dyke along the Rhine river.

The TRC is housed in a building dated to c. AD 1850, and used to be the stable block for a hotel at the back, along the Rhine river. This hotel, at the Utrechtse Veer ('Utrecht  Ferry') catered for travellers between Leiden and Utrecht, by 'trekschuit' (horse-drawn barge).

Matthew, many thanks !


Lecture about Zilu looms, by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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At the international conference on the history of hand looms and the various types of looms, at the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou (China), on 31st May of this year, dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC, gave a talk on the zilu looms from Iran. She studied these enormous vertical looms beteeen 1998 and 2001 in Iran, and collected various examples of zilu floor coverings. These are characterized by the use of two colours, and designs that appear on both sides of the woven cloth. Technically, they are weft-faced compound tabby weaves, the history of which in Iran and the Midddle East goes back for at least two thousand years, but their origin may be placed in Central Asia or China. The lecture can be viewed here..


A participant from Serbia tells about the TRC Intensive Textile Course of November 2018

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Draginja Maskareli from the Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade, Serbia, attended the TRC Intensive Textile Course in November 2018. She wrote the following blog:

Thanks to generous support of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia and the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, I had the opportunity to attend the five-day Intensive Textile Course at the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden, held in November 2018.

Lees meer: A participant from Serbia tells about the TRC Intensive Textile Course of November 2018


The Feestrok, again

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Photograph showing Mrs. Boissevain and a Feestrok, January 1949 (TRC 2018.3323).

Photograph showing Mrs. Boissevain and a Feestrok, January 1949 (TRC 2018.3323).

The TRC recently received a photograph that was taken in New York in January 1949 and shows Mrs. Adrienne M. (Mies) Boissevain - van Lennep (1896-1965). She was the driving force behind the campaign, set up after the war, for Dutch women to make and wear patchwork skirts that symbolised the liberation of the country from German occupation. In January 1949 she embarked on a lecture tour in the USA. In the photograph she proudly shows an example of a Feestrok.

One of these 'Feestrokken' is housed in the TRC collection (TRC 2011.0001a), and in the past the TRC has paid ample attention to the Feestrok and its symbolic meaning. The British journal Selvedge published an article on the subject in June 2018 (download here). The photograph adds another dimension to the visual story of the Feestrok as presented by the TRC. See also an article in TRC Needles (download here).

The back of the photograph carries the following text:

"Dutch woman to lecture for world peace. New York: Mrs. Adrienne M. Boissevain, founder of the National Skirt, a women's organization in Holland whose members wear patchwork skirts as symbol of unity and world harmony, arrives aboard liner Westerdam, Jan. 17. Her home in Amsterdam served as underground headquarters during German occupation. She is in U.S. for lecture tour, as part of crusade for world peace. She lost her husband at Buchenwald."


Clothes Make the Nation

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National festive women's costume designed mid-19th century by the Icelandic painter, Sigurdur Gudmundsson.

National festive women's costume designed mid-19th century by the Icelandic painter, Sigurdur Gudmundsson.

Shelley Anderson, TRC volunteer, recently visited Iceland. On Sunday, 21st October, she writes:

A visit to the National Museum of Iceland  in Reykjavik is a must for anyone who loves textiles. While there is no specific section devoted to textiles, the museum’s third floor houses the permanent exhibition “Making of a Nation: Heritage and History of Iceland”. Some beautiful examples of costumes, altar frontals, ecclesiastical clothing and domestic textiles are scattered throughout this display.

Two costumes struck me in particular, as they illustrate the close connection between dress and identity. The first is a pre-1860 ensemble that was considered the national festive dress for women. Called faldbuningur, it includes a high white headdress with a multicoloured silk kerchief; another silk neckchief (dated to 1780-1800); a jacket worn over a sleeveless bodice, both of black, woollen broadcloth with embroidered borders; a velvet belt, with a large white handkerchief in drawn thread technique hanging from it; and a blue broadcloth skirt and apron.

Lees meer: Clothes Make the Nation


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