To my mind, historians have to be acquisitive – history is basically curiosity – a getting-hold-of the answers to the questions one has about the past. In my case, these acquisitive tendencies can take a very literal form — I get my teeth into an idea, and if that idea can be relatively cheaply fleshed out with maps, prints, antique knitting paraphernalia or, as of a few weeks ago, early twentieth-century postcards, then I snap up all the examples that I can. From the sheer volume of mass-produced objects that they adorned, it seems that by the turn of the 1900s the Newhaven fishwives had achieved a quite extraordinary ubiquity as icons of Bonnie Scotland. What is written on the back of these cards is often as interesting as the images on the front:
There is so much here that intrigues me. I intend to write about it.
Meanwhile, I find myself in the unnusual position of having finished a pattern before photographing the sample. This weather does not really lend itself to the kind of styling I had in mind. But my fishy design is coming very soon – take a wild guess at what I’ve called it: