The Embroiderer's Story

Oes and Spangs

February 6th, 2009 by Tricia

I have been reading ‘Dressing the Elite’ by Susan Vincent and wanted to share a quote she included in the text with you.  She writes of Francis Bacon’s advice (1561-1626) in his Essays on the costuming of masques with regard to embroidery.

“The Colours, that shew best by Candlelight are: White, Carnation, and a Kinde of Sea-Water-Greene: and Oes, or Spangs, as they are of no great Cost, so they are of most Glory…As for Rich Embroidery, it is lost, and not Discerned.”

I love thinking about that quote when looking at certain areas of our jacket in low light.  I so want a time machine!

We met Susan last week at the Bard Symposium.  A delight she is.  After hearing her speak, I very much wish her book was on tape as her cadence, prose, and pauses make the material dance off the page.  She let us in on her next project, a book on period costume from a very unique perspective of anatomy.  At first I was confused as to how this structure would lend itself to the discourse but after her sneak-peak talk at the symposium on dress accessories – starting with an in depth review of the cod-piece – I can’t wait for the volume!  She brought the mindset of the Tudors alive and at the same time our human frivolity with fashion and function was ever so apparent.


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