Treats to come…..and a little bit of the history of cashmere.
The Empress Josephine of France might not have been great at choosing partners, but her wardrobe was simply marvellous. Amongst many treasures, she possessed over 200 beautiful cashmere shawls so was obviously a woman of sartorial taste and elegance!
Cashmere, and its use in clothing, has a long history. Marco Polo is reputed to have remarked on the fine quality of the woven cloth when he popped into Kashmir on his travels and Kashmiri traders have been sharing their wonderful wares with us for several hundred years.
There are some wonderful images by artists such as William Simpson of the weavers at work. William Simpson – 1823-1899 – was a Scottish journalist and water colour artist working as a war correspondent. In 1859 he was sent by his employers, the Illustrated London News, to cover the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and also to send back sketches. The artist arrived at Calcutta on 29 October 1859 and travelled widely in Northern and Central India and the Himalayas and Kashmir. In February 1862, he returned to England having drawn about 250 sketches which were later published as a book in 1867 and give a wonderful insight into the country and its artisans.
Even Jane Austin was apparently not averse to a fine shawl – very handy when sitting at ones desk writing – I have a cashmere scarf around my neck as I write this, tho that is where the similarity between me and Jane Austen ends, as you might have guessed.
The more traditional designs are simply wonderful, and I have ordered just a few of the very fine large ones which will be winging their way to me shortly. If we are allowed to have picnics, garden operas, outdoor music and the like then a big snuggly cashmere shawl is very handy on a less than balmy British summer evening. Should we get lucky and have a hot summer cashmere is great too, it has very good wicking qualities so there is just no excuse not to add one to your wardrobe. I have also ordered some very fine soft wool pashminas, dyed to order, in the loveliest of pastel shades, plus some modern patterns in silk, silk wool and cotton silk mixes – see the pics below, they are just gorgeous. I will also have some scarves bearing parrots & peonies, how exciting is that!
As soon as I know when I can be out and about again, I will give you dates of where I will be and in the meantime I, like most of us, am dreaming of summer and just a little freedom and I hope that you are all safe and well.
If you want more info, or have a special occasion and want a particular colour match do let me know, I can get shawls, pashminas and scarves dyed to order – there is a little lead time due to delivery from India so do get in touch in good time.