January 09, 2013

UK paintings database and weaving

Amand Point's "Arab Weaver" shows tablet weaving on a frame very much like Peter Collingwood shows in The Techniques of Tablet Weaving.  The warp has green borders and a white middle.  The weaver works from left to right, beating the weft with his right hand.  The beater is not shown but a raddle is.  The warp stick is shown and enough of the frame is shown to get a good idea of its design and size.  A family sits around the weaver, probably winding bobbins from swifts.

British (English) school, "The Weaving of the Throckmorton Coat, for a Wager in 1811" shows the scene that is the basis for modern sheep to shawl competitions

Jehan Baleschoux's "The Unannounced Return by Night of L. Tarquinnius Collatinus and his Companions to Find His Wife Lucretia Weaving" Baleschoux painted it in 1570, making the piece one of the oldest I looked at in the database.  Funny to see an ancient Roman story done up in sixteenth century clothing.  Not long after, Shakespeare wrote about the same story in Lucrece.  The bard has Lucretia spinning yarn not weaving, but it's much the same idea: Collatinus proves that his wife is a chaste and productive housewife while left alone at home for long stretches of time.  There should be a comma in the painting's title between L. Tarquinnius and Collatinus because they are two different men.  Or more accurately Tarquinnius's name should be omitted: Collatinus is Lucretia's husband.
Note that the artist Hardy includes a spinning wheel in his relatively modern painting about absence and faithfulness in "A Prayer for Those at Sea."  Also, see Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Act 1 scene 3, where Virgilia stitches and refuses to cross the threshold until her husband comes back from the wars.

Francis Sydney Muschamp's "Penelope" shows another scene of a faithful wife, from Greek mythology.  Penelope sits at a tapestry loom at night, undoing her work she can outwit her suitors who are pressuring her to give Odysseus up for dead and remarry.

John William Waterhouse's "Penelope and her suitors" shows her weaving on a horizontal loom (which is historically inaccurate)

Bernardino Pinturiccio's "Penelope with the Suitors" is also old, 1509, and unfortunately shows a horizontal loom.  On the upside, there is a cat in the picture, a plus for me.

I've skipped some of the paintings of Penelope, including one where she prays to Athena, who was thought to be an excellent weaver and patroness of weavers.

Edward Irvine Halliday's "Athena and Arachne" shows the mythic contest and tapestries woven on horizontal looms (a method inaccurate for ancient Greece)

If you search for weave and weaver on the database you will find additional paintings of horizontal looms, which I have left out of my list.  I went looking for one more set of figures from mythology associated with yarn.

Jack Leigh Wardleworth's "The Thread of Life" shows the Fates.  Lachesis is handling greenery and not measuring the thread as I would expect.  Clotho holds a distaff with flax in the crook of her left elbow and her hands are in the spinning position, though the spindle is obscured behind Atropos and her shears.  Clotho is undraped from the waist up, if that sort of thing bothers you; this represents nurture.

Godfrey Sykes' "The Three Fates"

(after) Phillip Gayle, "The Three Fates"  (Has undraped figures.)

Sebastiano Mazzoni's "The Three Fates" shows a peculiarly-dressed distaff whose fibre defies gravity.  Funny looking spindle, too.

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