Needle case

Object name: Needle case

Object number: CHWJA:JAH123

Category: Object

Description: Painted card needle case, edged in gold paper with a felt insert for the needles. It contains seven needles on one side of the insert and five on the other.  The felt insert is secured with yellow ribbon, tied in a bow, and the same ribbon is used to tie the case shut.  The front cover is decorated with a painted design showing a leaf spray with two flowers, in green, pink and yellow.  The back cover has leaves for edging on three sides and an oval blue paper medallion in the centre, edged with a black scalloped border.  The words “Esteem the Giver” are printed on the oval.

The original tissue wrapper is inscribed ‘with Aunt Jane’s Love’, in Jane Austen’s hand.

Made: Early nineteenth century.

Context: This pretty needle case was a gift from Jane Austen to her niece Louisa (Austen) Knight.

Jane herself was a very fine needlewoman. Another niece, Caroline Austen, wrote ‘She was fond of work, and she was a great adept at overcast and satin stitch, the particular delight of that day.’

The term “work” at this time was used to mean sewing useful things such as clothing; in September 1796 Jane wrote to Cassandra:

we are very busy making Edward’s shirts and I am proud to say that I am the neatest worker of the party’.

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