Ever notice stumpwork in an antiques auction or shop? It is a type of early embroidery that makes raised designs on a flat textile to make a three-dimensional design.
It uses wire or padding to stuff the figure made of thread. This difficult type of embroidery was popular in England from about 1650 to 1700, but it was called “raised” or “embossed” work until the 1890s.
Stumpwork was used on clothing, decorative boxes and pictures. Girls learned to embroider as young as 8 years old, and the training culminated with the production of a box, often with the name and date of the embroiderer.
Today, these boxes sell for thousands of dollars. An example made in 17th-century England on silk fabric with flowers, insects and birds, two well-dressed women framed in wreaths, and many other figures and bits of flora and fauna was auctioned in Massachusetts.
It was estimated at $2,500 to $5,000, but sold for $9,225. The box had doors and small drawers for storage of writing supplies.
My 39-year-old toy lead soldiers are turning grey and then white, and are covered with a white dust when kept in a box for a long time. How can I store them safely?
Your toy soldiers have “tin pest.” Years ago, all tin was made with some impurities, like lead or other metals. This tin alloy was more stable than the nearly pure tin used in many electronic devices and in some tin soldiers.
Cold weather makes the tin become “white tin” that is brittle, and then it becomes “grey tin.” And when stored in very cold temperatures, it turns into a powder called “powder pest” or “tin pest.” There is no cure if it is very cold.
What can you tell me about Briglin Pottery? I bought a pin dish marked “Briglin” at a house sale and would like to know when it was made. What can you tell me about the company?
Briglin Pottery was a studio pottery founded in London in 1948 by Brigitte Goldschmidt and Eileen Lewenstein. Earthenware mugs, jugs, plates and other items were made. Lewenstein left the pottery in 1959. It closed in 1990.
Pieces are very low-priced. A pin dish would cost under $10.
Sports sign, Little Leaguers, baseball player at bat, ball stitch design, crescent shape, wooden with white and red paint, 1950s, 10 x 20 inches, $55.
Sewing, spool holder, brass, alternating soldier, woman, children, pedestal, fitted slots, wooden, 12 3/4 inches, $240.
Mustard ladle, monogram, coin silver, Witherspoon family of York, 5 3/8 inches, $540.
Louis Vuitton, train case, stamped LV, latch, cream linen shade, 8 1/4 x 15 3/4 inches, $890.
Tip: Never wash cast iron or enamelware in the dishwasher. The iron may rust and the enamelware may chip.