Poppies and Wheat – Another of Grandmama’s Pieces (Introduction)

Tray - Poppies And Wheat

Tray – Poppies And Wheat

The design for this tray was embroidered by my Grandmama during the period when she and her sister and all their children were evacuated to Burton in Westmorland during the Second World War.

Signed On The Back

Signed On The Back

We know that because it has been signed on the back!

Besides, my mother remembers it being used on ceremonial occasions. It was always a trial – it’s very heavy (because of the glass), rather slippery (glass again) and doesn’t have much of a rim to keep what’s on it safe. Especially with four children and a dog in the house.

In fact Grandmama, and now my mother, both resorted to propping it up somewhere and using it as a cross between a picture and an ornament. It makes a rather large ornament, too. I’ve seen mirrors over fireplaces that weren’t much bigger!

And of course – again because of that wretched glass – most of the time you can’t really see the embroidery for the reflections. Which is a pity, because it is exquisitely worked, probably one of the pieces overseen by Grandmama’s embroidery teacher, Miss Hunter. Recently my mother decided to take it out of the tray, find some way of cleaning it of some of the discoloration, and mount it properly as an embroidery. Naturally we will find some way to remount the signature from the back as well.

Needless to state, this turned out not to be as easy as we might have hoped.


  1. Janice says:

    It is beautiful. I really like frames that have a front and a back, so that you can read signatures and other labels mounted directly onto the back of the design. And I agree – if it isn’t going to be used as a tray, it might as well not be a tray! Having said that, I think I might have been tempted to try to mount it in a more serviceable tray – one with higher sides and maybe less reflective glass. You can get all sorts these days!

  2. Andy LW says:

    What a beautiful piece of embroidery and doesn’t it show the importance of labelling things on the back!

  3. That’s beautiful! Thumbs up to your dear gran!=)

    Yes, photographing glass can be an utter beast. I find the way that works best for me is to stand the piece up somewhere out of direct light. The glare is reduced quite a lot that way.

    Add plenty of oil with your re-mounting. It’ll be a labour of love, but I’m really looking forward to being able to see the finished piece closer up. 加油!

  4. Jules says:

    Gorgeous work – and another fabulous family heirloom.
    Good tip from Elizabeth re glare. Digitally enhancing the photo should help too – you should be able to take off some of the glare and define the stitching. I use a Freeware programme which is really helpful, and have actually managed to teach myself the basics!

  5. Penny says:

    What a wonderful treasure. I’m glad you and your Mother are attempting to save it.

  6. Carolyn says:

    It is wonderful that members of your family want to preserve your Grandmothers work. When my paternal grandmother died I was the only relative who wanted her work, I was only 19 at the time. Having the record of when the piece was stitch is so important. A special piece.

  7. Lady Fi says:

    What a lovely piece of history!

  8. Terrie says:

    A family treasure, a beautiful memory of the loved ones!

  9. karen says:

    what a precious thing to still have….