Join me as I explore tatting history. I may trace the development of the craft, translate old patterns into modern notation, or play detective tracking down the earliest appearance of a technique, design, or term.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Old Style Tatting--The French Connection?

excerpt from Manuel des Demoiselles (1830)

In Tatting (1850), Mlle. Riego wrote, "...it was also worked with a shuttle and pin, forming coarse trimmings, &c., consisting of small pieces worked separately, afterwards tacked on a paper pattern and sewn together with a very fine needle and thread,... In this state it has recently been revived in France under the title of 'Frivolitè.'"


In The Ladies Complete Guide to Crochet and Fancy Knitting (1854), Mrs. Stephens wrote: "The exercise of the art of Tatting as known to our grandmothers,...was never more elaborate that a neat, but rather substantial edging for a chld's dress or a lady's frill.... At the late French Exposition of Industry, however, some very beautiful and elaborate specimens having been exhibited, this kind of work became the rage, both in France and England..."

The French Exposition of Industry of 1844 was a grand spectacle, a sort of World's Fair. One conjectures that the tatting exhibited there was Old Style Tatting like that shown in the blog header above, since these comments imply that tatting had evolved from mere edgings to motifs and larger pieces. Did that change originate in France? Who knows? It would seem to have flourished there and spread to England anyway.

There was a book published, Exposition de l’industrie française année 1844, by Jules Burat, with 90 plates illustrating the exhibits. Unfortunately, I don't know if it pictured any of the tatting since I haven't found a copy online. Here is a list of libraries with copies. Field trip! If anyone manages a peek at this, let the rest of us know.

Meanwhile, I wonder, were there patterns for this style of tatting published in France? For that matter, what books were published in France in the 1800's with tatting of any sort? I know of these: Manuel des demoiselles, ou Arts et métiers qui leur conviennent et dont elles peuvent s'occuper avec agrément : tels que la couture, la broderie, le tricot (1830)and Leçons de couture, crochet, tricot, frivolité, guipure sur filet, passementerie et tapisserie (1873). Dillmont published several books beginning around the turn of the century. Can anyone tell me of any more?

-Update- Click HERE for a link to Manuel des Demoiselles (1830). The word "frivolite" appears on pages 53 and 109. And click HERE, HERE and HERE for the illustrations, but be aware the illustrations are from a different edition and numbered differently.

Here is what freetranslation.com has to say about the page at the top of this post:

This embellishment kind, that holds at once festoon and net, appears me to have to be here. To make it, it is necessary to have a sort of big shuttle in ivory: the round party is the one where one enters cotton, that one unwinds around on the part full. When there is enough do cotton unwound, one takes the end between the index and the left thumb: at the same time one seizes the shuttle of the upright hand. The other fingers of the left held remote hands, his surround by cotton, and the tool is passed underneath the thread, so as to form a point of festoon. One squeezes this point, but not so as to prevent the cotton that holds the shuttle to flow freely. One determined in advance the number of necessary points to the larger of which one wants to do frivolité. It is on the held thread of the left hand that form themselves these points: this is the track. The thread be anxious the shuttle, and by consequent of the upright hand, squeezes itself to every point, of which the determined quantity produces a lace more or less big, but similar to a festoon lace to day and cut. That goes a lot more quickly than the frivolité to the needle.

3 comments:

Isdihara said...

My first degree in college was in French Literature, so I will gladly take a stab at your French tatting page. *dusts.off.French.hat*

Toptattyhead said...

I can't help with the French translation, but I sort of get the gist of the translation you have here. In it's round-about way it is explaining making stitches using a shuttle instead of a needle.
I know I am not helping very much, but I really enjoyed reading your post and will look forward to more in the future.

Heather of Tatted Treasures said...

You can probably get those library books delivered to your own library through interl-ibrary loan. It's free and you can get almost any book that any library has.