Work box/sewing box

As an accredited museum, we provide great insight into Quaker History.  Alongside the panels of embroidery, our collection of about 600 artefacts help to bring the social history to life.   The collection of associated artefacts includes articles of clothing, embroidery and other domestic items which have been gifted to the Quaker Tapestry Museum by a wide range of donors from Cumbria and further afield. In this series of blogs we will reveal what is inside some of the object storage boxes.

When this ‘box within a box’ was opened at a Members weekend event, everyone leaned forward a little. The exterior of Mahogany, inlaid with sycamore, was just as beautiful as what was revealed inside. With ribbon hinges and small crafted wooden lidded compartments, the work box is beautifully made. The sections inside contain;

Three ivory clamps; a silver pocket case containing scissors, a tiny penknife and spoon; padded pin cushion with pins; wooden container unscrewing to show layered bobbin and small measuring tape (gift from Brighton); a pair of cream fingerless gloves; a pair of cream cotton wrist cuffs; some silk ribbon encased in a lace strip; a variety of silk and cotton thread wound onto cardboard; wooden spools and decorated ivory holders for thread.

Work box and contents

Work box and contents

Vanessa Eaves, Quaker Tapestry Communication Officer, organised and attended the event, she was particularly taken with the workbox…

”Seeing this item evoked fond memories of the sewing boxes that I’ve encountered throughout my lifetime. My granny had many sewing boxes and tins, crammed with all sorts of wonderful things; buttons snipped from outgrown/worn out blouses; lace collars which were reused across my own ‘fancy’ dresses and those of my cousins and different threads for repairing nylons and darning socks (when we used to repair rather than reach for new). I think the familiarity and sense of purpose created by opening up the sewing boxes and tins made them trusty companions to a days work, much like a tool box of domesticity. They represent work done (or half done). We don’t know anything about who the original owner of this box was. We can speculate that from the quality of the box and its contents, that it was a fairly well to do person who was perhaps repairing and stitching out of love, rather than necessity.”

This item was gifted to the collection by Geoffrey Levy following the death of Margery Levy, Quaker Tapestry Member and designer of some of the Quaker Tapestry panels. This is just one of many beautiful items collected by Margery during her life and gifted to the Quaker Tapestry.

Accession number: QTKS2010.01 Workbox, Sewing Box

We couldn’t accept and care for these wonderful artefacts without our dedicated team of Care and Conservation Group volunteers. However we need your help to…

– Create an improved database of the extensive Quaker Tapestry collection of supplementary items

– Develop best practice of the Care and Conservation Group volunteers through further training 

We are very grateful to everyone who helps Quaker Tapestry grow and develop through donations and grants, and in so many other ways. Your donation will help us achieve our goals and ensure the longevity of the exhibition and collection.

Please consider making a donation today

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“We aim to secure sufficient funds to enable future generations to experience the inspiration and pleasure that the Tapestry has given to so many people.”

Bridget Guest, General Manager