History off the cuff …

A couple of days have been spent delving into large cardboard boxes piled all over the place in an attempt to rationalise some of the contents.  In the process, we came across a small item which my late father gave to Much Better Half, not even knowing that she would develop a fascination with family history.  Anyway, he didn’t actually bother to explain who they had belonged to or why they had been kept.  The name Rosetta Brannan inscribed on one sleeve meant nothing to us, although the date did impress us – that linen was made to last.  I wonder if she, or someone else, wrote those?

Engageantes undersleeve and cuff.

Engageantes undersleeve and cuff.

However, during the years that have followed she has traced back that Rosetta Catford (who married Walter Chorley* Brannan) was my 2 X Great Grandmother.  That makes her a 4 X GG to the kids!  Very much in Victorian times.  I wonder if she personally did that fine embroidery?  Very likely.

Inscription and fine needlework.

Inscription and fine needlework – those stitches are tiny!.

The pair are, I have found out, engageantes (pronounced ‘ohn-ge-jhont’ with no ‘s’ sound at the end) undersleeves with embroidered cuffs.

A fascinating insight into what GG Granny had up her sleeve!

The Catford family, by the way, has a strong presence in Australia.

*Not Charley, apparently.
© June 2016 Colonialist (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Ancestry, History, Personal Journal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to History off the cuff …

  1. Tokeloshe says:

    What a beautiful heirloom.


  2. I, a keen knitter, have tried my hand at embroidery and it requires a lot of patience which I don’t have….yet.


  3. I would get it put in a box frame. It’s such a wonderful example of Victorian needlework. Very precious!


  4. Tom Merriman says:

    Interesting, Col. Finding out about the past is always fascinating, but having a direct link is even more so!


  5. granny1947 says:

    How very interesting.
    I would definitely try to display it.


  6. Pingback: Vintage Stuff. – A Tale Unfolds

  7. Arkenaten says:

    I love stuff like this. I was terribly sad that I was not in the UK when my grandmother passed. Aside from the loss a grand old girl – she was 99 and just missed out on the Royal Telegram – all her stuff was sold off to goodness knows whom or where. I think she was largely responsible for getting rid of most of it unbeknownst to the family, just before she went to live in a nursing home, – she was going a bit gagga toward the end.
    But we do have a beautiful set of silver victorian spoons she gave to The Wife when we visited not too long after we were married..

    That lacework is definitely something to treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Going through boxes “in an attempt to rationalise some of the contents” – that is really well put! In my case, I would just have to add one more word: “…in a vain attempt”…


  9. Prior-2001 says:

    I have never seen undersleeves before – and very cool play on words at the end – but what a special family heirloom – and that is tiny stitching !
    When I first got married – two decade ago now! Wow – well target (the department store chain) had this “battenburg lace” collection and I did a guest room with many of the pieces – it was bright white and made with Ok quality – but I bet this heirloom piece is much sturdier – and as you note – made to last!
    The writing is also beautiful – back when penmanship had the calligraphy flair!

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      They were certainly an education to me, too. Even though I have been on the scene for some time, my era is certainly well after even the most elderly relations wore such things!
      There is something irresistibly attractive about delicate lacework – and when I compare my scrawl with hers I hide my head in shame.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Grannymar says:

    I just found a similar nineteenth- century false sleeve in one of my embroidery books. Like yours, it was decorated with ‘broderie anglaise’ and lace fillings. The scalloped edges and simple repeated design are very characteristic of this type of work. Sometimes there were collars to match. I have tried the technique… once mastered I found it a very relaxing form of needlework..

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Those of this time may not have had extensive wardrobes, but they certainly ahd many interchangeable pieces for variety. What a delightful find. Are you going to have this framed?
    (We’re going through boxes, too – found my dad’s toddler dress. How that managed to survive a frugal farm life, I don’t know. and some antiques laces from about the same period as yours.)
    Everyday things tell real history

    Liked by 2 people

    • colonialist says:

      We are certainly going to preserve them – whether in sight depends on space and avoiding anything that might cause damage.
      Toddler dress can be dated pretty accurately, of course. In our case we were lucky these had the date on one of them. Otherwise we would have had to be guided by the period they were popular – and that can be inaccurate because many people maintain fashions when they have gone out of fashion!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I actually found an old family portrait with him wearing the dress. (He was the youngest of 6 children. He died at 98 but had identified/dated much of what we had).
        Right now our vintage lace/garments are wrapped in acid free tissue in a box like they use for keeping wedding dresses.
        Am considering shadow boxes with special glass to avoid sun/light damage.
        Was thrilled to see the date in the original owner’s hand on that sleeve.


        • colonialist says:

          The portrait provides wonderful extra value. And, it is great that he bothered to date and identify items. My father was incredibly casual about such things.
          Shadow boxes seem a good idea.
          Yes, the date is a cherry on top, and enabled me to identify the items pretty easily with a spot of googling!

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Desdi says:

    Laced with family history and textile insights.
    Not bad for an off-the-cuff post…

    Liked by 2 people

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