‘‘The work of masculine fingers’: the Disabled Soldiers’ Embroidery Industry, 1918-1955'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Operating between 1918 and 1955 the Disabled Soldiers’ Embroidery Industry was perhaps the most successful and high-profile scheme that aimed to help disabled combatants, returning from the First World War, back to employment through the small-scale production of domestic and luxury textiles marketed to middle class and aristocratic consumers. Its contribution to the modern revival of interest in embroidery is clear from its widespread promotion in newspapers and women’s magazines, its relationship with manufacturers such as Pearsall’s sewing threads and Weldon’s mail-order sewing patterns, its inclusion in major exhibitions of embroidery in the period and the several major commissions it garnered until after the Second World War. This brief analysis of its history, made possible by the recent discovery of a small archive of its papers and a number of surviving embroideries, affords some insight into how masculine identity and the disabled body have operated as active rather than passive agents in design history. This article, although providing a basic overview of this business, also offers an interrogation of the interrelationship of masculinity, disability, craft and interwar modernity in Britain that draws upon design history, gender and sexuality theory and disability studies.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Design History
Volume31
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Fingerprint

Soldiers
Industry
Embroidery
Masculine
Design History
Interrelationship
History
World War I
Luxury
Masculinity
Interrogation
Sewing Thread
Disability Studies
Modernity
Embroideries
Inclusion
Sexuality
Second World War
Middle Class
Revival

Keywords

  • Disability
  • Masculinity
  • Embroidery
  • Design History
  • First World War

Cite this

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‘‘The work of masculine fingers’: the Disabled Soldiers’ Embroidery Industry, 1918-1955'. / McBrinn, Joseph.

In: Journal of Design History, Vol. 31, No. 1, 01.02.2018, p. 1-23.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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