Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore

TudorRosesCoverThis is so much more than a knitting book. It encapsulates English history, fashion and photography inspired by members of the Tudor Dynasty and yet it is all knitting by Alice Starmore and her daughter Jade Starmore. Both are famous for their exceptional stranded color work designs. Each Tudor is presented by a model, especially cast for the role, wearing a stunning knitted garment, an elaborate hair style, amazing modern jewelry, and a gorgeous evening gown. Not unlike how a portrait of that time would be planned and staged. The book is naturally cloth bound, hard cover, richly illustrated with a picture quality usually preserved for expensive art books. It is a knitting book in its own league and a lavish vision, so far above all others. Even the pattern layout is rich with large charts and extremely detailed schematics. The amount of white space on each page is nothing short of liberating. Tudor Roses is a book you indulge in, and it is utterly captivating. You can see all the garments on Virtual Yarns as well as the yarns used: Tudor Roses. You will find it for sale online and have a look at the introductory pages at amazon.co.uk and at adlibris.com where I found my copy.

I found these excellent quotes under story on Virtual Yarns: “My daughter Jade and I decided to tell the stories of fourteen women connected with the Tudor dynasty; women who in some way made a stand and chose their own paths – for good or ill. If these renaissance women were not allowed to write their own stories, and their painted portraits were often idealised, how could we know what they were really like? That is the question we sought to answer in creating Tudor Roses. Our approach was to put ourselves in their place; to stand in their shoes; to blend history and imagination; to weave a narrative around the known facts of their lives. We planned to deliver this narrative in a unique manner, using not just writing but photography, art and the only medium through which our subjects could leave a lasting physical record in their world – needlework.”

“Jade undertook fourteen photoshoots, using a different model to play each of our Tudor subjects. The evocation of character was considered when constructing the photographic sets, as each of our dramatis personæ has her own distinct colour scheme, designed to project an aspect of her personality and story. We both took pains to balance the historical with the modern; the garments I created are eminently wearable today, while Jade’s photographs are in the style of renaissance portraits but have a contemporary twist. As a final detail, we enlisted students of silversmithing at City of Glasgow College to produce Tudor-themed jewellery that can be worn by modern women.”

“The result is a unique book that transcends the traditional knitting market. Tudor Roses will appeal to aficionados of art photography, of history, and of fabric and costume. It is also a volume for book-lovers, classically designed on a page size that allows unstinted white space. Jade and I are grateful to Calla Editions for granting such a generous canvas on which to paint our joint vision.” Yes, I agree to all of that, and have been looking at Calla Editions: “This premium imprint features impeccable hardcover reproductions of some of the most beautiful books ever published. Filled with breathtaking artwork and other deluxe features, each Calla Edition recalls a time when bookmaking was considered an art form”. End of story.