The collection of beautiful embroidered silk postcards were not very well displayed, I thought, in the passage way leading to the public toilets at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. As I dashed off with Robin into the gallery to view Sir Peter Jackson’s WW1 aircraft collection displayed in imaginative sets designed by Weta Workshop, I looked forward to popping back later on to see these lovely embroideries.
Produced in France and Belgium, these were particularly popular with British and Allied servicemen during the Great War, who brought them to send back home to their families.
Early designs were usually sentimental and based on flowers, but the war produced patriotic cards showing the flags of the Allied countries. As the war progressed, many more designs eventuated, utilising place names, and the names of different ships and regiments. Imagine how delighted the Kiwi servicemen would have been to find an embroidered postcard depicting New Zealand.
The peacock tail feathers incorporate roundels of the Allies, Japan, Belgium, USA, Italy, Britain, France, Belgium (for a second time), Portugal and Russia.
It is wonderful that some of these colourful little silk embroideries still survive after all these years. An estimated 10 million of these beauties were produced, no doubt many of them bought by soldiers far from home for their wives, sweethearts and mothers.
We really enjoyed our visit to this “not to be missed” museum. If you would like to see some of the planes and imaginative settings we enjoyed, please pop over to our Travel Blog on: www.romanyrambler.blogspot.com