The Linen Museum in Lisburn is home to a terrific collection of linens, both garments and household linen. I took an hour or so to visit it back in the Autumn and it was really fascinating with lots of samples to touch, from the raw flax to finished cloth.
One of the most interesting exhibits was a set of linens made for Queen Mary's Dolls' House in 1912. The house was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and was furnished with miniature replicas of the finest furniture, fabrics, paintings and books.
No detail was ignored and even a tablecloth from Buckingham Palace was sent to Ireland to be copied. The Old Bleach Linen Company in Randalstown was commissioned to make a complete set of household linen for the dolls’ house. Damask napkins and tablecloths were woven in 1/12th scale and even packed and presented in a box!
Towels carried the royal monogram and even kitchen linens were represented.
The tiny details were so perfect. They are kept in a specially airconditioned space with low lighting, and it wasn't possible to take photos, but the actual cloth sent to London is on display in the dining room of the Dolls’ House, which can be seen at Windsor Castle today.This is how it looks.
I also got to see the proof cloth I mentioned in an earlier post. Good to see it first hand and admire the skill taken to produce it.
If you ever have the chance to visit Northern Ireland and are a fan of textiles, then this museum is well worth the visit, and the Folk Museum at Cultra too.