Sunday 23 February 2020

Such a beautiful dancer and I haven't seen her dance since she left the Royal Ballet. I'm not sure that yesterday's bitty mixed programme at Sadler's Wells was wholly successful - but Alina Cojocaru would be lovely to watch, even if she were running round with the hoover. And a Saturday afternoon at Sadler's Wells surely beats a Saturday afternoon at Waitrose! She made a heartbreaking Marguerite but Armand couldn't measure up to her. Nice to see the film tribute to her old teachers at Kiev.

Thursday 13 February 2020

What with rain and storms and waiting for plumbers and waiting for deliveries, I've only been as far as the dustbin for what feels like days and days - so by 6pm tonight I was feeling cabin fever and fortunately it was late opening at Two Temple Place. Bliss, there was hardly anyone there ...
And this exhibition of women textile collectors turned up one lovely thing after another. Including this silk taffeta spencer that looked as if it should have been worn by Emma. Or maybe, given the military-style epaulettes, by Lydia Bennet.
Of seven collectors featured, five were unmarried ... no surprises there, with time and money to do their own thing.

I'd never heard of Edith Durham who travelled to the Balkans in 1900, when she was 37, to recuperate after years of nursing her invalid mother. She returned year after year, travelling on horseback with local guides, 'wearing a waterproof burberry skirt and a Scotch plaid cape,' collecting textiles and nursing wounded soldiers - and generally being an indomitable spinster! 

These are her peasant shoes, made of twine and oil-soaked hide, in which she walked many miles.

Olive Matthews (1887-1979) became interested when, as a child she inherited this huge linen handkerchief from her great-great-grandmother Susanna Pearce - commemorating a visit to Drury Lane Theatre on July 9, 1774 - along with Susanna's shoe buckles, black silk shoes and prayer book.
She began collecting at the age of 12, with her 2s6d weekly allowance from her father; which struck me as tremendously generous as 2s6d was still the going rate for pocket money when I was 12 in the 1960s. Olive was initially interested in collecting furniture but that was discouraged for reasons of space. Probably just as well, as her textile collection eventually numbered 3,000 items. Her treasures were found mostly on London markets and she prided herself on never paying more than £5. It did make me wonder what the person with an eye and a limited budget should be collecting today.
Lovely little exhibition - and it's free to get in. Cabin fever assuaged - though tomorrow I'm back to waiting for the plumber!