A visit to Bath (and not for the spa)August 6, 2008 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Embroidery, Museums and Exhibitions, Patchwork, quilt | 1 Comment
Bath was one of the places on my must-see list. Due to the price of accommodation I only stayed one night and thus had to fit both museums into one day, which isn’t easy since the opening times are skewed towards the afternoon.
The Fashion Museum was said to open at 11am on the guide I got at the hotel, but luckily when I found it after having a walk around town at shortly before 10:30, it said on the door that it would be open by 10:30. That’s half an hour saved already! The museum concentrates on fashion in different contexts, thus not giving a strictly historical account but mixing things up, setting i.e. evening dresses or swim-wear from different periods next to each other. I had the feeling that the older exhibits got lost on occasion in the middle of the 20th century stuff. But there was a big room showing dresses from the Elizabethan, Regency, and Victorian periods sorted by period as well, which I really enjoyed.
But the grand prize definitely goes to a rather small exhibition of 17th century gloves currently on display. The gloves on display have richly embroidered gauntlets and were surely not worn in everyday life. They were used as representative presents, and for example worn when getting one’s portrait painted. The embroidery is exquisite, and one of the souvenirs I brought home is a set of postcards from this exhibition.
It was lunchtime when I finished there, and then I was off to go find my way to the American Museum. I enjoyed the whole museum very much, there were a few highlights for textile lovers. The American Heritage Exhibition on the lower level has quite a few craft objects made by the native peoples. The Period Rooms are of course having quilts in all the places where they would have been in the real houses. And the Textile Room is ingeniously set up in a way that allows as many quilts as possible to be shown in a rather small space. Let me see if I can explain this: There are two half-round columns installed at opposite walls, and on each of those are numerous wooden frames fixed like book pages, each with a quilt or rug mounted under a protective cover on both sides. So you can just flip through the quilts like book pages, and have a close look at a lot of them. Just great!
So, the day was a big success in terms of the museums. Time to move on. My next stop was to meet a friend in Cardiff, and then it was off to London! Lots of things to see there, and I’ll probably need more than one post to cover it all.