Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Two questions for you

Once again I'm featuring some pages from my 1940s homemaking book and I have a couple of questions which I'm hoping someone can answer.

The first question is about fabric. Featured in the book is this pretty bedroom which has floral fabric used for the bedspread and dressing table frill.

Also included are instructions for making a matching compendium to hold writing paper and envelopes.

The reader is told that the fabric used in this room is 'Sparva Spun' (much sought after but in short supply during the war years).

Sadly I'm no longer able to ask my mum about these wartime items and I wondered if anyone out there knew what 'Sparva Spun' fabric looked like. It was apparently made in Manchester, England and exported overseas, especially to Australia and New Zealand.

Here are a couple of links I found on the subject. The first is a British wartime advertisement and the second a picture from the NSW State Library (Australia) showing a great photo of the sales ladies. I'm presuming they are all wearing dresses made from Sparva Spun fabric.

These pretty fabrics that mum passed on to me both date from those times. Are they 'Sparva Spun' I wonder?

Here is another bedroom featured in the book. The Art Deco dressing table is very similar to one my mum had. She kept scent bottles and talc on one side. Her jewelry box on the other and on the glass shelf  in the centre were her hairbrush, comb and matching clothes brush.

All the items stood on pretty pale blue mats that had been crocheted by my granny. Although laundered many times over the years I'm happy to say they are still in perfect condition

A set of three matching mats were typically found on dressing tables. One large round, oval or oblong one in the centre and smaller round, oval or square ones on each side. 

Granny must have loved making mats as she presented us with quite a few over the years. All now highly prized by yours truly.

My question to you dear bloggers is ...Can you tell me why a set of three mats (one large and 2 small) is often referred to as a 'Duchess Set'? I've tried Googling for the answer but, although I've found plenty of 'Duchess Set' mats for sale, I've been unable to discover why they are given this name.

I'm hoping someone out there will have the answer!