Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to woo

photo St Tyl

This is the continued story of "Amour x  4" from my other blog,
Le style et la matière. 
It is a tale of courtship that, though unsuccessful, undoubtably left a lasting, if amused impression on la belle -- and textile traces in the wardrobe that she brought with her to France.

photo St Tyl

Ann Coleman's father met the Mandarin, Mr Woo, on a journey to China in the 19th century. Around 1877, Mr Woo traveled to the United States to study the American postal system in view of modernising the Chinese Imperial Post. As a guest of the Coleman family in Pennsylvania and in keeping with Chinese customs of propriety, he asked for the hand of the last born daughter, Ann, who was two years old at the time. Mr Woo gave many presents to his host as proof of his intentions including his portrait and this embroidered coat.

The coat in question is at the château of Villandry which Ann Coleman later called her home with her husband Joachim Carvallo.


  1. ok that is one i have not heard of! when you are a houseguest, you are obliged to ask to marry the youngest daughter?! (and i'm half chinese!)

    i guess we humans have made just a little progress!

    beautiful coat and teapot of course!

  2. La bienséance se perd de nos jours!
    Truly, Ann Coleman was clearly going to do things her own way, but I think it's interesting that she brought these objects over to France. Maybe she teased her husband about her oldest suitor. (That's an interesting detail about you, too!)