Well, they say that all that glitters isn’t always gold, but in the case of goldwork, it often is. Technically, goldwork refers to embroidery worked with any kind of real metal (be they silver, copper or gold) of various forms, such as bullion (metal wire twisted into a long spring, usually couched down) or spangles (AKA sequins). Various types are shown (and for sale) at Golden Hinde.
And it’s bloody gorgeous.
I’m not big on bling or gold, but there’s something about goldwork, particularly of the 18th century, that is just sublime. Don’t believe me? Well, check these beauties out:
And goldwork wasn’t just for the ladies – the gents could also get in on the action:
The V&A description of the last waistcoat mentions that blue and silver was a colour often worn by the groom at his wedding, so that might explain the popularity of that combination. That’s fine by me – I love blue and silver (moreso when the silver has tarnished down a bit like this, too).
More of a regency lady than a rococo rake? Well, they still loved their goldwork in the 1900s, too:
There are lots more details of this gown, so do have a look at the page for it.
Oh, and of course, my second favourite century knew how to give good gloves and gorgeous goldwork gauntlets:
And some of you may remember this pretty that I’ve been lusting after for quite some time:
What’s not to love about it (and the pink one I found at the same time)? I have definite plans to make my own little reproductions of both (one of which will be a needlebook – practical and pretty!). Unfortunately, I doubt I’m going to be able to afford real gold or silver, so I suspect it’s going to have to be regular embroidery thread and spangles, but a girl can dream that it’s real goldwork.
The wonderful thing about real silver goldwork is that it tarnishes to a non-bling colour! The good Duchess has been having her own problems with excessively bling-y non-real silver trim over on her blog, but she’s also found a rather handy solution – go have a looksee! I’ll try the Duchess’s technique of staining to dull down fake silver embroidery thread when I come to try out the pocket books.
But, of course, there’s lots more for me to be getting on with for now … (And I am working on the Butterick B4790 – more on that soon!)
(Oh, and this isn’t goldwork, but it is glorious and 17th century and I found it while I was checking some of these links, so I really just had to share it:
It’s a little worse for wear, but just imagine how fabulous those feathers were when new – droolworthy to the extreme. Oh yes!)