This entry was supposed to be about Cecil Beaton following my perusal of The Strenuous Years, his diaries covering the years 1948-55 (Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1973). Having bought the book merely to check a quote, I thought I might as well read the whole thing. Unsurprisingly I loved it and was particularly struck by Beaton’s descriptions of his contemporaries. As a photographer, and maybe even more as a draughtsman and aspiring painter, Beaton had to have a good eye. However, capturing the essence of a person’s appearance in a photograph or a sketch is quite different from using words to […]
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The story of London Tweed
So this is how the story goes. In 1826 a London merchant decides to buy some cloth from a weaver in Hawick, a town in the Scottish borders famous for its cloth production. Very happy with his order, he decides to get some more but – crucially – misreads the weaver’s dashed handwriting. Instead of ‘twill’ this Londoner reads ‘tweed’, and assumes this new cloth must take after the River Tweed which runs fast and clear through the textile areas of lower Scotland. ‘Tweed’ and not ’twill’ has been the term used ever since.
Rhinestones and Nylon Net
Ever since watching The King and I (1956 version) at a very impressionable age, I have been rather fond of dancing (and crinolines – but that’s another story). My grandmothers and I spent many happy hours marvelling at the clothes, hairstyles and make-up of the participants in the World Championships broadcast on television.
A starring role for the Suffragette collection
As curator of the museum’s wonderful Suffragette collection I often welcome ‘important’ visitors to the archive, captivated by the story of the women who endured imprisonment, hunger-strike and even force-feeding in their battle to win the vote.