Arthur Lee of Birkenhead established his company in the mid-1880s in Bolton, moving to Warrington in 1888, and then to Birkenhead in 1908. Lee's produced woven tapestires as well as crewel wool works, based on 18th century examples. Though the UK company closed in 1970, an American branch continues as Lee Jofa in New York.
This design and Full Partee and Partee Minor were amongst the first group of crewel patterns (No. 6) that Lee's produced.*
The Lee pricing code is based on the Luxembourgeois word utvorsich (advanced) adding X for zero. That is: U for 1, T for 2, V for 3, etc. So £VX/X/X PR would be £30/0/0 per pair.*
The bold design and colours are really wonderful. These would make a room either as curtains or hangings.
Each length embroidered with a similar vertical double repeat of bunches of mixed flowers caught by a band, with stalks, leaves and flowers flowing in all directions, in bright clear crewel wools in a polychrome palette, including soft red, terracotta and deep pink shading to palest pink, eau de nil shading to sea green, four shades of blue, grey, mauves, with a few French knots but mainly in long stitch, all on a natural linen twill weave ground, the fringing hand made wool in green, taupe and yellow.
Attached to the backs of both curtains are Arthur Lee's cardboard cards with his logo and Crewel-Craft Embroidery, Piece No. 11336 Floral...Partree curtains. £VX/X/XPR. On the back April 1959 Emb. RV/R/X and Emb per yd VIS/X
Length of whole piece 10ft 5 in; 3.2 m
Length of embroidery 9ft ; 2.75
Width 4ft 7 in; 1.4 m
Excellent. These have no headings so never been made into curtains and must have been put away and stored. The first length is in very very good condition. The second has a few markings. At the very bottom is a small hole, size of a pencil head and a little brown line, 1.5 cm long. Further up the panel at the first spray of flowers there are what are probably water marks to the righrt of the circle and slightly above. They are very difficult to see and at first I did'nt. It is only in certain lights.
*My thanks to Philip Sykas, who catalogued the archive of Arthur Lee and curated an extensive exhibition at the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead in 2008. Philip kindly gave me the information about the
The Period Guide to fabrics in relation to furniture
The One Eyed weaver being an informaton concerning the versatility of the Needle Published by the makers of Lee Fabrics.
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