This is my progress on Margaret Gibson. I really haven't got that far along over the last week or so as I have been trying to finish hand quilting a quilt that I started early last year. Hopefully I will finish it in about 2 weeks. Please God, I hope.
I thought I'd share with you some pictures from one of my favourite books from when I was a little girl. This book belonged to one of my Great Grandmothers and when she passed away I was given this book. I used to love to sit and go through it on rainy days. I think it has given me along with another similar book that was also given to me by another Great Grandmother the love of English and European Royalty and their history.
The very regal lady sitting below is Queen Mary. She was the wife of King George V and is the current Queen's Grandmother. A lot of people don't realise that she along with Mary Queen of Scots and Catherine of Aragon was also a great needleworker.
There were a few things in this beloved book that I always loved to check e.g. Queen Mary's Dollshouse (I will tell you about her dolls house in another blog)and Kensington Palace and also this incredible rug that she made. What is quite amazing about this rug is that she was 74 when she started it. She was born on the 26th May 1867. For history buffs her mother was the daughter of the Duke of Cambridge, the youngest son of George the Third. Her father was Prince Francis of Teck, son of the Duke Alexander of the kingdom of Wurttemberg.
Apparently Queen Mary was always a skilled and enthusiastic needlewoman and in 1941 she started work on a twelve panel needlepoint carpet when she was staying with her niece and her husband the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort at Badminton in Gloucester (it is apparently where she spent most of the war years).
The design was inspired by some eighteen-century tapestries in the V & A Museum and they were brought to her at Badminton. She did not follow the original colour scheme but made her own selection. Slowly the first panel began to take form and was finished in 1941 and put away in a drawer. In 1942 three more panels were worked. By 1944 ten panels had come from her needle.
She liked to work sitting in the sunshine on the lawn while one of the members of the household read her the newspapers. When the war came to an end the carpet had still to be finished. It was finished in the 1950.
In 1949 there was much excitement when it was announced that the Queen proposed to sell it to the highest dollar bidder, being her own personal contribution to the nation's export drive.
First of all it created long queues at the V&A where it was on display. It then went on a tour around the U.S.A. and Canada. In 1950 it was announced that a bid of 100,000 Canadian dollars had been accepted. The purchasers were the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire.
One of the requests from Queen Mary regarding where her rug should go was to a National Gallery and I believe it is hanging in the National Gallery in Ottawa, Canada. It is one of those things that I would love to see. I would love to see what colour choices she made.
This picture shows Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret insplecting the carpet while it was on display.
This one shows Mrs. Elanor Roosevelt admiring the carpet on its arrival in New York. It was sent to America in a specially designed stainless steel lined wooden chest.
The Royal cipher was embroidered on each panel.
Apparently she was quite an amazing woman. There was no public mention of where she was staying during the war, but there were alot of tales of her giving lifts to American soldiers around Badminton and of her attending a few baseball matches at their invitation. She was friendly will all the soldiers in the neighbourhood, unbending in a way perhaps that she had never done in her life before, and was always amused when they were incredulous at her identity. Apparently one U.S. soldier wrote to his parents in Massachusetts that he told her that he recognised her because he was a stamp collector, and she asked whether he thought it was a good likeness that used to be on the British stamps.