I’m delighted to say that the exhibition by the ten artists of the QuayCrafts group, with contemporary craft work to be found throughout the house and grounds of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, is open now and until November 1st. Huge thanks to the amazing team at Osborne who have been so supportive of our research and installed the work so brilliantly.
Osborne House is open daily 10am-5pm
My work is based on sharing the stories I have heard from the passionate and knowledgeable staff who steward the house. When you chat to them they all have a favourite object, area or room – often one that I had not noticed, or knew little about. The first shown above is the story surrounding a little painting in the corridor outside the nursery which is a favourite of Sheila: “Sketch of Indian Attendant Mohammed with Prince Alexander”
The baby is Prince Alexander of Battenberg (1886-1960), Princess Beatrice’s eldest son. Holding him is the Indian servant Mohammed Buksh who came to work at Osborne House on 23rd June 1887 together with the man who was to become Queen Victoria’s personal attendant and teacher, Abdul Karim. Mohammed and Abdul came from India when the Queen requested an Indian escort for the Jubilee celebrations, demonstrating her position as Empress of India.
Sheila loves this little painting because they both look so happy and serene and content. Queen Victoria loved it too commenting about her Grandson, “…darling little Drino sitting quite comfortably and happily in Mohammed’s arms. It will be a dear little picture.”
The artist, Tuxen, was paid £35 on 13th January 1888 for this work. In 1889 Mohammed Buksh was awarded the Victoria Faithful Service Medal.
The image is composed of my sketch of the painting, printed onto fabric and appliqued. The background is my photo of the lining of a turban which I found in the basement at Osborne – this has been printed onto fabric and stitched into. Along the bottom is my recreated image of some hand embroidered Indian silk curtains, again photographed in the basement. I was able to see the child’s gown in the collection behind the scenes at Osborne and particularly loved the whitework – which was a favourite of Queen Victoria. When the Ayrshire whitework industry in Scotland was ailing due to the shortage of raw cotton from America during the Civil War in 1861, Queen Victoria ordered miles of their trimmings, caps and handkerchiefs for her and her daughters. Unfortunately her efforts to stimulate fashion were in vain, and by 1870 the majority of Ayrshire makers had ceased to trade. The heading is based on a piece of whitework scanned and printed onto cotton and stitched into. Other fabrics are found pieces in the Victorian style.
Worked onto linen, both pieces are framed in an embroidery frame – linking them to the Victorian stitched samplers which inspired the work.
The second image was inspired by Helen’s love of the wild flower meadow behind Swiss Cottage. Designated by Prince Charles in 2012 as one of the Coronation Meadows in an attempt to highlight the loss of a staggering 97% of meadows in the last 75 years. Beautiful in the Spring with masses of primroses and glorious in the summer with an amazing array of wild flowers such as Dyer’s Greenwood, Devil’s-bit scabious and Common Spotted orchids, together with the marbled white butterfly. The meadow is alive with grasshoppers – just pop your foot in the long grass and watch them leap up!
This piece is based around my photographs of the meadow in early July, and includes a 3D butterfly and embroidered flowers. Densely stitched and appliqued, it is rich in texture and hanging threads.
I hope you like!