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Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore (1998-09-03) Mass Market Paperback – 1868
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A collection of works in hand knitwear from the Alice Starmore studio inspired by diverse members of the Tudor Dynasty that ruled England: 1485 to 1603.
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I am very fortunate in that I am the owner of both volumes of Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses and am able to do a side by side comparison. I am also up to speed on her on going legal battles over her intellectual/artistic property which is the first volume of Tudor Roses and that to this date it is still nowhere near a resolution. I therefore attribute her current volume as a re-working of some of the patterns from the first volume and a few completely new ones as she still has no control over the designs in the first volume.
I find it sad that she had to alter her old patterns and switch out/up her color schemes to avoid getting in trouble over her own designs. As several have already noted not all of these alterations are an improvement to the original garment and some are just a bit off because of it. The photos are also more sophisticated than the original shoot which was whimsical in their palace ground settings on a clear sunny day. The models here are awkwardly posed and in some cases done up inside studio shots which I suppose is to look more metropolitan but actually gives a starkness that is rather jolting to view. And tho' Ms. Starmore is clearly giving a hand to her jewelry designing friend, the pieces are not attractive and seem anachronistic in there futuristic elements when paired with pieces that are inspired from the past.
I see this volume more as a weapon, a war chest that Ms. Starmore created out of frustration and defiance in an attempt to regain what was lost. The original patterns aren't just beautiful they are truly inspired in their construction and use of color. And her Elizabeth sweater while being all white is one of the most elegant examples of knitwear I have ever seen. In the first Tudor Roses what was astonishingly brilliant in its creation is now dark and has a sense of ferocity about the new and reworked designs.
I think this is sense of foreboding that emanates from this updated volume is what bothers a lot of us when we take it in. I am firmly on Ms. Starmore's side on wanting to have ownership and control over her own designs, so it is actually with a bit of grief that I view Tudor Roses part 2. I can't help but favor the first volume and it's beauty and reading the essays that Ms. Starmore herself wrote is a testament to history and her craft. Volume 2 is a monument to her need to fight and reclaim her passion.
As for both volumes - I would not part with either for anything!
I appreciate that there are differences between the 1998 edition and its 2013 counterpart( The originals may be viewed on the knitting site, ravelry.com). But the narrative for each character, and the sweater dedicated to them is an intriguing presentation. The Margaret Tudor and Anne of Cleves sweaters have a casual modernity to them. Whereas the original Anne Boleyn sweater was a rather appropriate V-neck( given that she was beheaded), we now see a high-collared, verdant, vertical-striped creation serving as a background for bright autumn colors. The Anne of Cleves sweater was originally done in goldenrod, but it now shown in a solemn silvery grey.The Catherine Parr sweater has remained the same-a two-colored, richly textured piece.
The Henry VII and Henry VIII sweaters are excluded altogether. But we do enjoy a view of a new Elizabeth of York sweater vest, with more colors and a richer design than the original, a mere ( but complexly knitted) shawl for the future Mary I, the simplistic design for the button down honoring Elizabeth Woodville, the dour piece created to honor Margaret of Beaufort( portrayed by Starmore's daughter and collaborator, Jade) , the businesslike elegance of the sweater dedicated to Katherine of Aragon, a slightly darker version of the knit created to honor Mary Tudor(Henry VIII's sister), the bright, and elaborate concoction honoring Jane Seymour(which differs from its original), the now darkly elaborate work of the Katherine Howard design, the monochromatic elegance of the Elizabeth I sweater, and finally, the green buttoned-down scoop-neck, trimmed with blue honoring Elizabeth's rival, Mary, Queen of Scots.It has occurred to me that both of the decapitated queens whose children inherited the throne have green sweaters in their honor....Interesting...
This is a fascinating dramatically presented table book, in which a great knitting doyenne, and her daughter Jade use their gift to honor one of the most memorable dynasties in history. --A highly recommended read for any ambitious knitter!
The 'models' (seriously?) range from being absolutely stunning (including the mature Catherine Parr - nice to see a lovely older woman) to vapid teenagers and Olive Oyl with an overbite. Also, they are posed as scowling, angry, depressed or brain-dead, which distracts from the real stars - the knitted patterns. I realize that these Tudor women did not have an easy life, but that's carrying realism too far.
The jewelry - gag me - steampunk horrors that have no place in this supposedly historical context, and it looks both ugly and painful; Margaret Tudor is in serious danger of being garrotted by her necklace.
The hair, with some pleasant exceptions, is mostly Southern Big Hair meets Bride of Frankenstein and reincarnated from a 1960's fashion mag. Not sure whose weird idea that was, but it just doesn't work - Off with their Heads!
I didn't see the original edition of this book, so I have no knowledge of previous patterns that were excluded. I wish I had seen them though. The 14 patterns included are awesome, and simply not enough for a book this size.