Housses de coussin and antimaccassars

Ok, what is an antimaccassar?  for those of you who may be less obsessed with the minutiae of textiles than I am. they are small fabric mats placed over the back of chairs to protect them. Mainly, in the Victorian period, to prevent men’s hair products (macassar oil!) from marking the furniture.

These are often neglected by vintage collectors as any decorative design will usually be at the front only. I love them and they make perfect small, rectangular cushions.

This beautiful linen pair with Jacobean tree of life embroidery have been made up super-simple. Just sewn up on three sides and tape  attached on the open end to tie up with a  bow. They are in my French salon now  and look great.

The tree of life motif is a big love of mine and echoes of it will appear all over this house. It influenced French textiles via the “indienne” fabrics imported (initially via Marseille)  from the 17thc onward. Enterprising French  cloth manufacturers started developing printing processes to create their own versions of these ancient   images.

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About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
This entry was posted in Antique and Vintage finds, Art, design and inspiration blog and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Housses de coussin and antimaccassars

  1. Wow, I’m properly impressed with those cushions, they are lovely. I really like the folkloric style of them. Like other commenters have said – they have held their colour brilliantly. Funnily enough and slightly randomly I have a short tweed skirt I don’t wear anymore which I think would make a nice cushion – you’ve inspired me to crack on!! X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynda says:

    I love the embroidery on these and your talent for re imagining them into pillows. I must admit that I knew what antimacassars were, but not how they got their name. Glad you shared; fun to know!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Osyth says:

    These are beautiful and show case that fabulous embroidery wonderfully well. I particularly love the simple side tie. They are covetable indeed. I, too have quite a collection of antimaccassars which my girls refer to as my Aunties and suggest they hail from Clan McCassar … harmless fun and part of my family tapestry x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Piddlewick says:

    What an interesting post. I am actually geeky enough re textiles to have heard of antimaccassars (though did not know it was because of ‘macassar’ oil). I had thought they were mostly lace style and had not realised they could be so colourful. I love learning new things! Merci.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gabriele says:

    I love the idea of tying the cases closed. Adds an extra –I’d say touch, but it’s more than that. They’re decorative but they also state quite clearly: Yes, we have no zippers. We are above zippers. Is this something you’ve long done, or have you been waiting for the right place & right pillows? And yes, the colors, the colors!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Side ties a new thing for me. It just came to me in a flash of inspiration as the origins of these cushions meant that I could not manipulate them under the sewing machine to insert a zip!
      They look more honest this way somehow and suit this house and I will most certainly use the side tie thing again

      I do love those colours which is why I bought my kilim rug

      Like

  6. zipfslaw1 says:

    Now THAT is a fun word–thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. francetaste says:

    Those rich colors! Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

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