Elizabeth Bradley started in 1986, in Beaumaris, North Wales. The Victorian Animals Collection were among the first designs Elizabeth Bradley created, this started with the King Charles Spaniel and Cream Cat from the Victorian Animals Collection, since then over 300 designs have been created but we're looking back at the collection that started it all.
Elizabeth Bradley, a talented artist and needlework enthusiast became inspired by the fashion for collecting Victorian wool-work animals in the early 1980's she began work on the King Charles Spaniel and Cream Cat as her first creations.
"I had just sold yet another wool-work inspired spaniel when a collector idly suggested that I start making some kits of these Victorian Animals. Her comment made possible an ambition I had been mulling over for some years"
The comment was made in March 1986 and the first kit, The King Charles Spaniel was launched in October of the same year.
Since then, Elizabeth Bradley was able to preserve many patterns and designs which have become increasingly rare, some of the rarer pieces of Victorian animal needlework were probably designed by the ladies who created them, most were done at the beginning of the nineteenth century when Berlin patterns were still scarce, it is thought needlewomen had probably seen the new embroidery but had not yet been able to find a pattern they wanted to work. Impatient to begin, they made their own, taking inspiration from prints and engravings of the time.
These early pieces have a fresh, slightly primitive feel, and were worked in hard, vegetable dyed wool on corse but good quality hessian.
These first designs - a set of twelve - were based on some of the favourite animal subjects that appear in Victorian needleworks, these design make it possible for anyone to own a 'Victorian' piece of needlework, even if you do have to make it yourself.
Jane Hunter created a wall hanging with the original 12 designs, she proudly displays her work of art as a wall hanging, surrounded by the red ribbon and bow border.