Sewing And Needlework Boxes
Tunbridge Ware Needlework and Sewing Boxes
‘The devil makes work for idle hands’ is a phrase only too redolent in the Victorian home where hard work and an industrious ethos demanded many hours dedicated to sewing and mending. Consequently the sewing box, needlework box or sewing basket proved to be a central necessity and invariably in constant use. Everything had its place and there was a place for everything, clean and tidy.
Daughters of the family would be instructed by their mother or governess into the arts of needlework and the essential sewing supplies and accessories such as pincushions and tape measures that have often survived in some Tunbridge Ware boxes until the present day.
Such boxes were invariably supplied with internal and removable trays with multiple divisions and compartments. Perhaps
the most enduring of Victorian needlework skills are best witnessed today in
the number of ‘samplers’ with cross stitching, quilting and other techniques that are often named and dated and sometimes include
the alarmingly young ages of those responsible.
The makers of Tunbridge Ware were able to provide the Victorian seamstress with a bewildering variety of sewing supplies including pin boxes, pin trays, bodkins, pin books, bobbins and sewing baskets. Other variations in white wood with hand painted floral or landscapes include baskets, panniers and table clamps.
The use of contrasting dark and white wood slender panel decoration referred to as ‘Stick Ware’ was also offered by the Tunbridge makers on all manner of sewing accessories.