Knotting or Tatting?
Is She Knotting or Tatting?
One time while searching for new tatting shuttles to add to my collection I encountered this porcelain doll. It was offered for sale by Ruby Lane Antiques (photos used with permission.) It was listed as:
"An antique Capodimonte sweet Little Girl sitting on a French chair with cabriole legs holding a ribbon bobbin in one hand, wearing a bonnet with bow , lovely hand-painted details, wearing gold earrings and necklace on a reticulated rococo gilded base marked with early Capodimonte mark & other marks on base/socle..very good restored antique condition, please see photos... measures 4 3/4" high x 2 7/8" wide...Research info. Originally designed in 1776 by Michel Victor Acier for Meissen."
It is a lovely piece but, of course, it was not a knotting shuttle as listed the lady was holding. I wrote a gentle note and received a gracious reply and eventually permission to use the photos.
Seen from either side it is clear that the shuttle in her right hand is larger than the normal tatting shuttle and has rounded ends instead of pointed ends.
This confusion between knotting and tatting shuttles has been around for years. In these public domain paintings, the ladies all have shuttles in their hands.
The shuttle is clearly visible in the mother's right hand but it is impossible to determine if it is a knotting or tatting shuttle, except by the time period in which the painting was made. 1775-ish indicates knotting is most likely.
This portrait of the 7-year old girl who later became Marie Antoinette show her with a knotting shuttle in her right hand. However, the actually lace or knotted strand is not visible.
Luckily in this painting from 1743, Marie Elisabeth de Sérè de Rieux clearly holds a knotting shuttle in her right hand plus the knotted strand is also visible with the knots showing against the green cloth of the background before being wound onto the ball.
A tatting shuttle in use encapsulating thread. Petite, pointy and perfect to use.
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