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A Remedy for Rents

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Showcasing a rare collection of exceptionally fine needlework by working-class women in the last quarter of the 19th century A Remedy or Rents offers a rare opportunity; to see needlework by non-elite Victorian women. rverve "As students at Whitelands College, the first all-female teacher training college, now part of the University of Roehampton, the women were training to teach in elementary schools for working-class children and their needlework focused on the production and repair of simple garments and household textiles. Yet such everyday purpose belies the creativity and skill displayed in their work and the exhibition takes its title from a quotation by John Ruskin, a patron of the College, who marvelled that ‘work of so utilitarian character’ could be so beautiful." evve Holding the whole exhibition together is an album compiled by Kate Stanley, the head governess of Whitelands College 1876-1902. The album contains exquisite 26 darning and 17 plain needlework samplers worked by students. Alongside these samples, a number of loose samplers are displayed together with a variety of small-scale practice garments, also of a high standard, made as an economical and time-saving way to learn techniques.   Untitled 2 Whitelands College students went on to teach at schools and training colleges across the British Empire and so the ideologies, techniques and style of garments they learned at Whitelands entered the minds and homes of millions of poor and working-class girls. The exhibition, therefore, not only offers a rare opportunity to see needlework by non-elite Victorian women, but illuminates also the history of working-class dress, female education and gendered roles, experiences and expectations in 19th-century Britain and beyond. ee The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated booklet which will be available for download from the Constance Howard Gallery website. A Remedy for Rents:Darning Samplers and Other Needlework from the Whitelands College Collection Constance Howard Gallery www.gold.ac.uk Until March 10 2016 ewev


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