Not currently on display at the V&A

Handkerchief

Handkerchief
1760s (printed), (printed)
Place Of Origin

Rather large handkerchiefs - that are often seen hanging out of gentlemen’s pockets in 18th-century paintings and which were used mainly in connection with the habit of taking snuff – have been printed using engraved copper plates from 1760s onwards. They were decorated with all sorts of topical subjects and depicting sporting pastimes was especially favoured. In that category falls this example, its design incorporating a wreath with the inscription The SPORTSMAN’S DELIGHT or the Art of Training, Chooseing, Ordering and Breaking of Pointers, Spaniels, Setters & c.Above is the central scene of a huntsman with his hounds, surrounded by seven oval medallions with pictures of dogs (foxhound, pointer, greyhound, setter, tarrier, stag hound and spaniel). Each medallion is accompanied by a scroll with writings about the history and characteristics of the relevant breed. Below the wreath is the signature Mary Ware Execudit (Mary Ware printed) / Crayford Kent.
Little research has been done so far on the life and work of Mary Ware. Nevertheless, she has been recognized as a literate entrepreneur and as such considered an inspiring figure. Her name is primarily known because of the notebook that is today in the Collection of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, the part of the Bradford Textile Archive (Yorkshire). The notebook, containing handwritten texts and numerous patterns pasted in, on its inside front cover bears the inscription 'Mary Ware, Calico printer, Crayford, Kent' and the date 25 September 1773.
She was baptised Mary Linton at St Paulinus church in Crayford on 22 June 1729 and married Joseph Ware of Crayford (1733 - ?) on 29 July 1755 with whom – apart of having five children – she ran a cotton-printing manufacture.
While only one other handkerchief signed by Mary has been published so far (its location today unknown), those that can be brought to connection with her husband Joseph are more numerous. One handkerchief is in the V&A’s Textile Collection (T.51-1933). Its playful trompe l’oeil design features scattered portraits, genre subjects, maps, songs etc. superimposed on one another at various angles. Also, there is an envelope inscribed ‘To Mr. Joseph Ware Callico Printer Crayford Kent’ and franked with the name of Glyn. Traces of the signature ‘…Ware Invt & Excudit’ (Joseph Ware designed and printed) are visible in one corner.
Joseph most probably died between 1770 and 1780, since their last child was born in 1770, and (widowed) Mary tried to keep the manufacture alive with the assistance of Joseph’s older brother, John (born 1731). The partnership was dissolved in 1781 and their bankruptcy declared in 1782.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Copperplate-printed cotton handkerchief, signed by Mary Ware, Crayford (Kent), 1760s
Physical Description
Rather large handkerchiefs - that are often seen hanging out of gentlemen’s pockets in 18th-century paintings and which were used mainly in connection with the habit of taking snuff – have been printed using engraved copper plates from 1760s onwards. They were decorated with all sorts of topical subjects and depicting sporting pastimes was especially favoured. In that category falls this example, its design incorporating a wreath with the inscription The SPORTSMAN’S DELIGHT or the Art of Training, Chooseing, Ordering and Breaking of Pointers, Spaniels, Setters & c.Above is the central scene of a huntsman with his hounds, surrounded by seven oval medallions with pictures of dogs (foxhound, pointer, greyhound, setter, tarrier, stag hound and spaniel). Each medallion is accompanied by a scroll with writings about the history and characteristics of the relevant breed. Below the wreath is the signature Mary Ware Execudit (Mary Ware printed) / Crayford Kent.

Little research has been done so far on the life and work of Mary Ware. Nevertheless, she has been recognized as a literate entrepreneur and as such considered an inspiring figure. Her name is primarily known because of the notebook that is today in the Collection of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, the part of the Bradford Textile Archive (Yorkshire). The notebook, containing handwritten texts and numerous patterns pasted in, on its inside front cover bears the inscription 'Mary Ware, Calico printer, Crayford, Kent' and the date 25 September 1773.

She was baptised Mary Linton at St Paulinus church in Crayford on 22 June 1729 and married Joseph Ware of Crayford (1733 - ?) on 29 July 1755 with whom – apart of having five children – she ran a cotton-printing manufacture.

While only one other handkerchief signed by Mary has been published so far (its location today unknown), those that can be brought to connection with her husband Joseph are more numerous. One handkerchief is in the V&A’s Textile Collection (T.51-1933). Its playful trompe l’oeil design features scattered portraits, genre subjects, maps, songs etc. superimposed on one another at various angles. Also, there is an envelope inscribed ‘To Mr. Joseph Ware Callico Printer Crayford Kent’ and franked with the name of Glyn. Traces of the signature ‘…Ware Invt & Excudit’ (Joseph Ware designed and printed) are visible in one corner.

Joseph most probably died between 1770 and 1780, since their last child was born in 1770, and (widowed) Mary tried to keep the manufacture alive with the assistance of Joseph’s older brother, John (born 1731). The partnership was dissolved in 1781 and their bankruptcy declared in 1782.

Dimensions
  • Height: 67.8cm
  • Width: 69.7cm
Marks and Inscriptions
The SPORTSMAN’S DELIGHT or the Art of Training, Chooseing, Ordering and Breaking of Pointers, Spaniels, Setters & c.
Subjects depicted
Associated Object
Collection
Accession Number
T.42-2021

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record createdAugust 9, 2019
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