We recently helped Leeds Museums to purchase, at auction, a collection of clothes worn my Mary Holden Illingworth.
Mary Holden Illingworth (1838 – 1908) was part of an important Yorkshire family and the daughter of a self made man, Isaac Holden (1807 – 1897). Her Father Isaac Holden was originally from Glasgow and came to Yorkshire where he made his fortune in the weaving industry. He successfully set up mills in Bradford and also in Paris, where the Holden family also resided for some time. Isaac Holden, having come from a humble background wanted the best for his children and this included a good education and also the best that money could buy, including clothes.
Mary had a great interest in fashion and this can be read in the diaries that she kept and also through the clothes that have survived. This can be seen in particular in the one of the dresses that the Friends helped us to purchase. In 1881 Mary’s eldest daughter was due to marry and for this occasion she chose to have a dress made by her favourite designer Charles Frederick Worth. Also know as the father of couture, Charles Frederick Worth was an Englishman who set up an extremely successful design house in Paris. His clients including many European royals and other women of great wealth and influence.
This dress was not Mary’s first Worth dress and later Mary was to recount to her granddaughter, Elsie, how ‘fittings were of dubious delight, as Monsieur Worth was of the habit of taking a cup of warm fresh blood straight from the local abattoir at 11am.’
A £95,000 grant from The National Heritage Memorial Fund has been awarded toward the acquisition of The West Yorkshire Hoard.
The NHMF was set up to save the most outstanding parts of our heritage at risk of loss to the nation, as a memorial to those who have given their lives for the UK.
The West Yorkshire Hoard is of national importance and is at risk of being sold at auction if the money is not raised, so the NHMF deemed it worthy of such a generous grant.
There has been such a positive response to the appeal and supporters have been so generous in their giving and general support, however, there is still a shortfall and all of the stops are being pulled out to reach £170,000 the Hoard has been valued at by experts at the British Museum. The total left to raise for the appeal is just short of £15,000 – we are so close!
Donations are still being accepted to the appeal as with this news, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have agreed to extend the loan of the Hoard until 15th December 2011 while the remaining money is raised. The Hoard will stay on display in Leeds City Museum until then.
We will find out the results of fundraising applications tomorrow. These decisions will determine whether the purchase of the West Yorkshire Hoard is within reach of acquistion for Leeds and West Yorkshire.
Continued thanks to all of those who have and continue to donate to the appeal. Should these grant applications be sucessful, there will still be a small shortfall and we are still actively fundraising – so please continue to donate.
Watch this space for news of decisions and running totals!
In 2008 we funded a conservation project to conserve (mend and protect) a fantastic piece of furniture with roots firmly embedded in Leeds’ history. This chair belonged to Edmund Bogg, former Chief of Leeds Savage Club, having been presented to him in 1904.
Without this vital work, the chair would not be on display today (at Leeds City Museum). The conservation project itself involved;
- Replacing the webbing.
- Refitting the old springs and replacing the Hessian covering.
- Reused old horse hair, bulked up with new, was added to both the seat and back and stitched in. This was then covered with fire resistant calico.
- New cotton wadding was added and the chair was re-covered with a supple leather which was chosen as it would give an antique look that would match with the original covering of the chair.
- Finally the chair was finished with “antiqued” brass nails. (These were used in preference to brass plated iron nails since they would not rust and leave marks on the leather and the antiqued finish, though rather contrived, would blend in better to imitate the original finish than would bright brass nails which the chair would have had originally.)
- Work to the oak frame, which was in a very poor state, was carried out resecuring the inner rail,
All of the materials used in this process were carefully considered to ensure they were in keeping with the original and would be the most enduring over time. With thanks to Edmund Czajkowski & Son, specialist conservators from Lincolnshire.
Before and After…