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Byng, Cecilia Georgiana, approximately 1802–1881

Embroidery pattern book.

Great Britain, 1824.
Physical Description:
1 volume (33 leaves) : ink drawings ; 25 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NK9243.B9 P38 1815+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Drawings & Watercolors
The compiler of the present pattern book was Cecilia Georgiana Byng (ca. 1802-1881). Her autograph appears on a front endpaper: “Cecilia Byng, Saturday 14th August 1824”; her name also appears on the front cover. Cecilia's father George Byng (1768-1831), Royal Navy, commanded HMS Cumberland, the ship which returned King William III to the Netherlands from his exile in London. He was married twice and had legitimate children with his second wife. The identity of Cecilia's is unknown.
In 1827, in Paris, Cecilia married John Wright (1793-1828), who was born and raised in Nottinghamshire where his father, also named John Wright, was a justice of the peace and ran an iron works. Two years after her first husband died (in 1828, in Naples), Cecilia married Arthur Blackwood (1808-1874), the son of Vice Admiral Hon. Sir Henry Blackwood, 1st Bt. Her second husband held the office of Gentleman Usher to Queen Victoria. Cecilia and her children (one with her first husband and two with her second) are listed in British peerage books from the nineteenth century; though illegitimate, she was openly recognized as George Byng's child.
Bound in contemporary purple half roan and marbled boards; with leather label lettered “Cecelia” in gold on front cover.
The volume includes approximately 160 examples for embroidery (possibly whitework) or eyelet lace, outlined in ink. Most designs embody floral and vegetal motifs. One design has colored ink added (brown and pale blue). There are numerous small notes on potential uses of the patterns. For example, in at least one place she has marked the word “Open” in certain spaces on a design to show how the design would be applied as eyelet. Another shows a design made for a corner of a textile, with the words “For a Veil.” Another contains the note “2 rows of holes besides which are here.” Another: “Cambrick Muslin is to be put underneath Muslin.” Another: “Lace” and “There ought to be one row more of wheels before the [illegible].” The paper is fairly transparent and would have easily served to trace the designs from fashion periodicals. The volume includes many blank leaves at the end. Paper is watermarked: “W Weatherley 1822.”
The volume is accompanied by a handful of items loosely inserted: [1] Two pieces of gridded paper with designs for needlepoint, including keys to colors in French. One appears to be a design for the upper of a slipper or shoe -- [2] A yellow piece of paper taken from the French periodical Petit Courrier des Dames (published from 1822-1868), a popular fashion magazine. According to an entry on the National Portrait Gallery's website, its plates were also imported for Townsend's Monthly Selection of Parisian Costumes (London, 1825-1888), making them the first French plates to be found in Britain. This piece of paper contains embroidery patterns to copy, including floral wreaths and letters of the alphabet -- [3] A piece of tracing paper bearing a shield with the motto “Nisi Dominus Frusti” and a small drawing of a horse's head. It does not appear to match the shield of the Byng family -- [4] A small scrap of a heavier paper with two unevenly drawn, loopy designs.
Subject Terms:
Broderie anglaise.
Byng, Cecilia Georgiana, approximately 1802-1881.
Clothing and dress -- Great Britain.
Embroidery -- Patterns.
Fashion -- Great Britain.
Lace and lace making -- Great Britain.
Needlework -- Patterns.
White work embroidery -- Patterns.
Pattern books.
Ink drawings.

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