One really unusual set of mats had me full of admiration. A 13 piece luncheon set of round Irish Linen mats, a large centre piece and then 6 mats and 6 coasters with the most wonderful scalloped embroidery pattern to the outer edges, almost resembling fish scales.
The cutwork was done with such precision and there was no damage at all, even after all these years. In an inner row to the edge of the linen were tiny works of art. The tiniest of flower heads worked in French Knots in gorgeous shades of blue, purple, yellow and pink, with teeny green leaves to each side.
I really want to bring these right up to date by teaming them with freshly dyed Rainbow Damask napkins - it would make for such a colourful table.
I am often asked how I can bear to part with the linens I find and I have to admit on one or 2 occasions recently I have succumbed and decided not to sell some pieces. The set of Madeira napkins below is one of those! I washed and ironed them, photographed them and even got around to putting them on the website - but the following morning I saw them sitting on the shelf in my office and I knew I couldn't let them go!
Aren't they just fabulous?! So unusual and quite irresistible! I am hoping to set a table mixing cranberry and peridot glasses on a plain cream cloth and then let these beauties speak for themselves!
And finally a quite breathtaking piece of Madeira work - a huge square tablecloth with the most stunning embroidery and cutwork. Quite a masterpiece!
Some say that Madeira work is not fashionable at the moment, but I disagree. With a little clever mixing and matching I think it can be just fabulous. Whether by mixing with brightly coloured accessories or layering a masterpiece such as this over a darker cloth, I believe they can be brought right up to date and be enjoyed and admired.