Eleanor of Aquitaine

Gay Ann Rogers, Needlework



Eleanor of Aquitaine


'Elegant Eleanor' is a mid-19th century French handkerchief with the monogram 'EE'.


Being approximately 650 years later than Eleanor, it has no link to her other than the one DH and I imagined.


The link is through the Fleur de lis.



From DH: Eleanor and Fleur de Lis


In the beginning of her marriage to Louis VII, Eleanor had identified strongly with her position as Queen of France and occasionally used the fleur-de-lis on her coinage or royal seal.  It is sometimes suggested that the gold fleur-de-lis against an azure background was her royal coat of arms.  In fact, neither she nor Louis VII had an official coat of arms at this time.  Heraldry with its use of symbols to denote status was more popular among the nobility than among royalty until the latter part of the 12th century.  The fleur-de-lis has been associated loosely with royalty since antiquity in Asia and Europe.  But the fleur-de-lis favored by Louis VII was not actually a lily but a French yellow iris which was called a lily until the 19th century. By his third wife, Louis VII had a son and successor, Philippe II Augustus, who made the yellow iris the official coat of arms of the French royal family and put it on both his battle shield and military banners after 1180.  Before that time Eleanor had long departed France.


From Me

Here is a paragraph from DH on Fleur de lis and photos of 'Elegant Eleanor'.

Be sure to scroll down.

From Me:


I found this beautiful handkerchief about six months ago; I was planning Eleanor's arrival at the time, but I didn't link the handerchief to Eleanor,  I just loved the quality of the whitework: the doves, the profusion of fleur de lis and most of all the tiny needlelace fillings and the Valenciennes lace finishing its edges.


When it arrived, I showed it to DH, he looked at the 'EE' monogram and said 'ahh, Elegant Eleanor' and he used its Fleur de lis for a short history.


Photos of 'Elegant Eleanor'. Look carefully and you will see a profusion of embroidered fleur de lis motifs. Notice they are even incorporated into the monogram.


Everything always looks so large in photos. As a point of reference, the 'EE' monograph is just 1 3/4" wide and 3/4" tall.


So often people with interest in the history of embroidery malign the 19th century's contributions by rolling their eyes at Berlinwork.


When I think of 19th century needlework, more often I think of beautiful 19th century whitework.