Collection: The Regency Wardrobe
Garment: Woman's handkerchief
Materials: Aster Lace Paper, Bib Tengujo hemp fibre paper, dried flowers including Hawthorn the (reeking) May tree, embroidery thread
This piece is inspired by the history of the handkerchief and handkerchief flirtation. A Regency era handkerchief might be decorated in the center with, for example, images of flowers created in raised work embroidery. In the Victorian era lace edging became more popular and ornate.
Atishoo reflects the reliance on herbs and flowers at the heart of Regency medicine - a Pocket Companion to Culpeper’s Herbal, or English physician was published in 1820 - in particular the traditional uses of May Blossom otherwise known as Hawthorn.
Primarily however Atishoo is inspired by the rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie,” or “Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses,” as it is more commonly known.
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down’
It is widely believed that this rhyme arose from, and relates to, the Great Plague, an outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague that affected London in the year 1665. However this interpretation emerged in the mid 20th century, and is not accepted by many folklorists. There are many variants and versions of this rhyme, some without any suggestion of death, but the imagery of Posies is consistent. When linked to plague and disease flowers have tended to be thought of in relation to nosegays, pomanders, potpourri, scented waters and the posies used for centuries to ward off miasma - which was believed associated with the spread of airborne diseases. Yet it is also possible that the roses and posies in this rhyme simply signify joy and love as flowers otherwise traditionally do in European culture. In some parts of the world this rhyme is seen as a playful courtship game.
Atishoo is beautifully presented in an acrylic display case with a clear base: H 52cms, L 52cms, W 18cms.