The Ladies Work Society was established by Princess Louise in 1875, and was intended to assist gentlewomen who found themselves in financial hardship in an era when there was little choice of a working profession. Taking on paid work, even in more acceptable positions such as governess or companion, meant a serious loss of social standing. The society therefore gave these women suitable ‘Art work’, which built upon the standard needlework skills inherent in all female education, and raised their standards to a professional level. The Society was based at 31 Sloane Street in London and would take in orders for embroidery and clothes, which would then be sent out to the society members who would work from home.
The Society became known for its excellent standards, and they also exhibited their work in many exhibitions, including the Arts and Crafts Exhibition in 1890 and World Trade Exhibitions in Paris and Canada.
Dominic Winter Auctioneers are holding an AUCTION on Thursday 6 October at 10 am and the sale includes a variety of textile & embroidery lots and the Archive of the Ladies’ Work Society. There are some interesting needlework related items summarised below.
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