Victoria’s Stitches?

Is this a portrait of who I think it is?

Is this a portrait of who I think it is?

While on a break, Mum, Papa and I visited the antique stores. In a dim corner, hung low on a wall in a frame that was almost in pieces, I spotted this photographic print. The print was marked by the dealer: “Queen Victoria and ?” I squinted at it and thought, “I’m pretty sure that is Queen Victoria and that looks like the then Princess Alexandra.” I hadn’t seen a lot of photographs of Queen Victoria at that age, so I wasn’t 100% sure and to be honest, I’m still shy of calling it (I’m chicken like that!). I noticed the ball of yarn, though, and the dog, and showed it to Papa. He offered to buy it for me, since it wasn’t horribly expensive, but I demurred. I’d just made another purchase and I didn’t want to be greedy. So I walked away.

Thankfully, Mum and Papa returned a week later and Papa surprised me! And what a surprise. In the light, I could make out that both the women had knitting in their hands!!! I ran online to see if I could trace the image, but I can’t find it. I can find an older Queen Victoria knitting, but no younger images.

So, what is “I’m-pretty-sure-this-is-Queen-Victoria” knitting? I think she’s knitting a stocking! I could be wrong, but she has a very find needle in her hand and the work looks quite small.

Is that a stocking?

Is that a stocking?

And “I’m-pretty-sure-this-is-the-then-Princess Alexandra” appears to be knitting a sweater or cardigan with an openwork design.

Sweater knitting

Sweater knitting

Queen Victoria did love to knit (there’s a piece about it here) and around that time, knitting became increasingly popular as a past time. I laughed at this little poem about it! So, irrespective of royal status, I love my little glimpse into knitting history.

In fact, of late, I’ve gone a little Victorian.

Friends have been rather bemused by my insistence on kitchen gadgets and tools from the 40s, 50s and 60s… well…

Back to the Victorian kitchen

Back to the Victorian kitchen

Ummm… yes, I decided that, really, the Victorian kitchen is the place to be!!! Mum and I developed a slight jelly mania over Christmas as earlier indicated. Add to that a copper kettle. Happily, we found a very old household hints book that advised cleaning copper with buttermilk (you pour it on quite thickly and let it stand for just a few minutes and then rub). See the difference between the kettle and moulds? Buttermilk. I know some will throw up their hands in horror and talk about patinas etc, but I’m afraid I like using my Victorian kitchenware, so I’d rather it be clean. It’s all tin-lined and safe. And I like the look of shiny copper.

We were in part inspired by an episode of Royal Upstairs Downstairs. Trust me, you’ll never think about jelly the same way!

Although… we did have a slight failure on our hands yesterday.

An extreme wibbley-wobbley jelly

An extreme wibbley-wobbley jelly

That’s pink champagne and rosewater blancmange with flower petals… alas, the titanium strength gelatin wasn’t quite strong enough. Still, it tastes divine! And next time I know… more gelatin. After all, I can’t always be showing off the successes. Sometimes I think it’s good to celebrate the mistakes along the way!

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3 responses to “Victoria’s Stitches?

  1. Nice find and excellent gift purchasing by Papa! I do believe you are right!

  2. I love your post, but I must disagree – I’m quite certain the younger lady in the photo is Princess Mary of Teck (who would later become Queen Mary) and her mother, Mary, Duchess of Teck. If you look up some other photos of them, I think you’ll agree. It’s a lovely photo!

    • Oh yes! I didn’t think of the Duchess of Teck! It does look like her and Mary and Alexandra always look so alike to me. I did look at some middle aged photographs of Queen Victoria that led me in that direction, but the Duchess of Teck… yes, I can see that!

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