Dishy Vintage Dog Towels
A RECENT PICNIC TEA with an old dog breeding friend brought back some childhood memories of standing at the sink bench with my mother, carefully drying dishes.
On this occasion my friend had brought along delicious scones, plump with fruit sitting in a basket draped in a cleverly cross-stitched tea towel. Depicted on the towel was an irresistibly handsome Scottish terrier complete with chef’s hat, carrying a tray of baking.
It reminded me of the dog dish towels we had in our house as a child. A playful puppy for each day of the week (and the wrath of siblings would come down upon you if you used a Monday towel on a Thursday!).
The advent of the dishwasher, fast food in plastic containers and the demise of home cooking has somewhat seen the tea towel relegated to the box with grandma’s knickers and napkins. Most housekeepers today would no sooner settle down in a quiet moment to embroider a plain towel as fly to the moon!
The humble tea towel (or dish towel as it is often known) has a colorful history (in a literal sense) with examples ranging from subdued and sensible plain linen towels to the wonderful florid designs so popular in the souvenir shops and tourist gift bags.
Thankfully there is a quiet but eager little niche of collectors out there who are snapping up the vintage dog tea towels and dish towels and along the way doing their part to preserve the handiwork of previous generations of housewives, along with the designers who brought us the printed towels.
Cross stitched or embroidered vintage dog towels are desirable not only for their originality but for the “hand” that went in to making them. As the 20th century progressed time became a valuable commodity and mass production techniques meant fewer housewives being crafty with their own linen to cheer up the kitchen.
It wasn’t just the housewife putting dog designs on tea towels 60 years ago. The 1950s saw the entrance of wonderful Tammis Keefe designed kitchen towels. Although known for her handkerchiefs and as a designer for Kimbal Scarves her designs worked equally well in the kitchen. Born in 1920 (she died at the age of 40), Keefe’s work in the 1950s is typical of the era, being both whimsical and chic. Her signature on an item guarantees a design from her drawing board.
Many vintage dog dish and tea towels like those mentioned in this article come up for sale here!
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