Their Darkest Materials, a compelling history of the dark side of material culture by Penelope Hemingway is now available to pre-order ahead of it’s release on Monday 2nd March 2020. A PDF version of the book will also be available on this date.
‘Their Darkest Materials’ is about the seamy, dark, sometimes creepy underside of material culture and textile history. A sort of ‘Horrible History’ for grown-ups.Penelope Hemingway
In ‘Their Darkest Materials’, we creep through nineteenth century asylums, debtors’ prisons, charity schools, pubs and marketplaces; the ‘stews’ (brothels) of the city, school-rooms, collapsing London houses, workhouse toilets, small-town waxwork exhibitions in back rooms and see ladies knitting in grand Georgian drawing rooms; following the unravelling thread of history’s textiles.
We’ll find out which Victorian novelist’s mauve ribbon was trapped in her coffin lid and discover clothing-as-evidence in an infamous London burking case (“Burking” as in “Burke and Hare”).
And we’ll watch a Yorkshire farmer’s wife knit a blue stocking on the morning of her murder and a caddish, handsome soldier murdering his stocking-knitting new wife. And we’ll spend time in the county asylum with a world famous dyer’s incendiarist wife and an embroiderer who used her art to say the unsayable.