Friday, November 27, 2015

US Casket Tour - Day 6, Lady Lever Gallery

It was sad to leave York as the town is just so lovely.  It was my third trip there but the first time I had seen a small amount of it.  Sometimes when I am doing a working travel trip, I have so many place and appointments that there isn't any time to wander past the parking lot.  This tour was no exception as I was spending my time in the storage vs wandering.

Our Day 6 was a very long travel day.  We would start out in the North of the country and end up in Oxford by the end of the day with a stop at the Lady Lever Gallery in between.  The Lady Lever Gallery is really lovely and has a very large collection of 17th century embroidery.  There are six pieces always on display in a very dark corner of a gallery, including two outstanding pieces of stumpwork.

The 'before' picture of this gallery corner with the 17th century embroidery on display.  A typical day in the gallery
What it looks like when we are there!  And this is 'not crowded'.
We spent quite a bit of time trying to behave and rotate through that corner.  Hard to take pictures because of the low light but we managed to come up with a system.  Two iPhones in flashlight mode providing raking light and a flashlight pointed up gave enough ambient light to take photos and eliminate shadows.  So it could take a group to take pictures.

The lighting system
Our host for the day, Pauline Rushton, brought an amazing assembly of pieces for us to see in their multi-function room (which really had kiddy chairs).  The quality of the stumpwork that they have is so high that when you see each piece, you immediately know you could spend the better part of a day staring at it.  Then to see 10 just like it on a table - well - that sends you into a panic because you know you have an hour.  So the first group came in the room and the panic was palatable.  Cameras started clicking and the frenzy started.  All of a sudden, I looked at my watch and I had thought that 30 minutes had gone by with the feeling and din of shutters, but only 8 minutes had passed.  I then announced to everyone that we could all calm down and start to enjoy.  

It was total visual overload.  Three caskets, a book binding, a trinket box in purls and then heavy stumpwork.  I had two mirrors that had never been made up pulled so we could see how these were laid out on silk.  Then a very interesting piece of continental European Catholic stumpwork.  That was the surprise piece of the day and it did not disappoint.  Everyone was totally enamored with it.  Just like the piece at the Bowes, we were desperate to see the back or out of the frame to try to figure out if it was moulded over wood or hollow or what!   

Enjoying the stumpwork at the Lady Lever Gallery
We ended up leaving, exhausted from the embroidery.  A long ride to Oxford for our next hotel and meeting up with some Casketeers living in the area was next.


  1. If I'd known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake! I live five minutes walk from the Lady Lever and it would have been wonderful to see you all!

  2. Loving these posts about the Tour! Thank you, Trish!

  3. Thank you so much for blogging this trip! I am fascinated!