Sunday, April 4, 2010

Adele della Porta

Many books on Italian needlework were written by Adele della Porta in the early part of the 20th century.

I thought it might be interesting to find out a bit about this woman who wrote so much. Initial searches on the internet turned up nothing but every now and then I check out all the links I can which quote her name. I wish I could search genealogy records in Italy in person, but that is not possible at this time so lets just say that for now, this in an incomplete biography.

Adele Colombini was born in 1859. She married Augusto Mazzucchetti, a journalist and writer, and had two children: Mario and Lavinia. Mario died at 23 in 1910 from typhus. Both her family and her husband's family were Milanese but I can find no data as to whether that means the city of Milan proper or it's surrounding area. I cannot find a marriage date either.

Due to the political connections of her husband and his involvement in the emancipation of women, she was able to publish her writings with the Sonzogno publishing house of Milan. She assumed the pseudonym of Adele della Porta and compiled and edited books and magazines on women's fashion. She gradually became the director and managing editor of the magazines: La Novità, Il Ricamo, La Moda Illustrata, La Moda Illustrata per Bambini, La Biancheria Elegante and Parisienne Grande Mode. It seems her daughter Lavinia, then a high school student, helped her mother with both the compilation and translation of foreign texts especially those in French and German. Lavinia would go on to become an important literary scholar, critic and translator.

Adele died in Milan in 1948, she was predeceased by her husband who died in 1914.

I have been able to compile a list of the books that she wrote, edited or illustrated for the Sonzogno publishing house. Please leave a comment if you know of errors or other publications that I may have missed. Some of these are available for download at Tuttoricamo, as they are no longer covered by copyright laws. Some can be found occasionally on Ebay or its sister site Italian Ebay. There are a couple of digital copies for sale here.

One day I hope to have them all in one form or another as they are valuable resources in the research and understanding of Italian Needlework. One day I hope to know more about this incredible lady who assembled all this information.

Il Grosso richelieu, 1915 [Large Richelieu Cutwork]
Il punto di Palestrina, 1919 [Palestrina Embroidery]
Il punto filet. Album 1, 1915 [Filet or Lacis]
Il punto filet. Album 2, 1915
Il punto filet. Album 3, 1919
Il punto filet. Album 4, 1919
Il punto filet. Album 5, 1919
Il punto filet. Album 6, 1920
Il punto filet. Album 7, 1920
Il punto filet. Album 8, 1928
Il punto filet a maglie larghe, 1922 [Filet or Lacis on large grids]
Il punto Milano, 1916
Il punto norvegese, 1917 [Hardanger]
Il punto norvegese a colori, 1917 [Hardanger in colour]
La sarta, 1926 [Sewing manual]
Nuovi pizzi rinascimento. Album 1, 1924 [New Renaissance Laces]
Nuovi pizzi rinascimento. Album 2, 1924
Nuovi pizzi rinascimento. Album 3, 1924
Pizzo ad uncinetto, 1917 [Crochet Lace]
Pizzo Irlanda, 1915 [Irish Crochet Lace]
Pizzo Irlanda fine, 1915 [Fine Irish Crochet Lace]
Punto a Giorno, 1923 [Drawn Thread work, hemstitching]
Punto d'Assisi. Album 1, 1916 [Assisi Embroidery]
Punto d'Assisi. Album 2, 1916
Punto di Rodi e Punto Barro, 1919 [Pulled Thread work and Cutwork]
Punto di Venezia. Fasc. 1, 1919 [Venetian Lace]
Punto di Venezia. Fasc. 2, 1919
Punto di Venezia. Fasc. 3, 1919
Punto in Croce moderno. Album 1, 1915 [Modern Cross Stitch]
Punto in Croce moderno. Album 2, 1915
Punto in Croce moderno. Album 3, 1915
Punto in Croce moderno. Album 4, 1915
Punto in Croce moderno. Album 5, 1915
Ricamo con nastrino Graziella, 19??
Ricamo di Casal Guidi, 1915 [Casalguidi Embroidery]


  1. Cara Jeanine -
    I don't know where to start!! This is just too much fun and the information is wonderful! If only we lived closer so that we might work together on research. Yet this blog will make me feel like you in the room. You are a wealth of information. Thank you for this excellent opportunity to explore other sites and to read your postings. A presto! Armida

  2. The link to Tuttoricamo doesn't work. It keeps coming up as removed or faulty. I would love t be able to look at some of her books online. Thank you for the list.

  3. Hi Kate!
    Unfortunately after I wrote this post, TuttoRicamo closed for re-structuring and have not yet re-opened. They did not want me to remove the link as they do intend to re-open the website.
    I will post a note as soon as they are back up and running - it is an excellent website full of valuable information and definitely worth a look.
    Please stay tuned!

  4. Dear Jeanine,

    On the last page of Del Grosso Richelieu by Adele Della Porta, there is also listed: Il Pizzo di Verona, Nuovo Ricamo Doppio Intaglio, Alfabeto a Punto Pisano, Tavole de Monogrammi e Bordure a punto in croce album 1 & a punto passato e cordoncino album 2, Album di Monogrammi a punto festone su fondo Medici album 1 & a punto filet o punto in croce album 2, Album de Cifre a punto in croce album 1 & a punto Pisano e Passato album 2, and lastly Alfabeto a Doppio Intaglio.

    I must say that I simply adore your blog.

    B de L

  5. B de L,

    Thank you for the info and your compliment!!

  6. Dear Jeanine,

    I found this on the follwing site. I thought you might be interested.

    Kathryn Goodwyn

    I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts and had the advantage of using their wonderful libraries, including Harvard's. Digging and burrowing during my lunch hours at the Fine Arts Library turned up one (count it, one!) book on Assisi book. It was called Punto D'Assissi, Insegnamento Pratico Illustrato, by Adele Della Porta (Milan, Italy,1919 -- Fogg Library call Number 1098.P84). Mrs. Della Porta's patterns and photos show all sorts of basic household uses for Assisi work. Ten years later an Italian acquaintance skimmed the text for me and gave me a rough translation. Her text extols the virtues of using the patterns to beautify your home, but there was no historical information.

    The patterns in Della Porta show an interesting variant on what I had come to regard as Assisi work -- the figures are drawn freehand (not counted), outlined in stem or outline stitch. The background in most of the photos appears to be regular cross stitch done on a design which is stamped on the fabric - no countwork. I have never seen Assisi work done this way other than in Mrs. Della Porte's book, and cannot judge how wide-spread it was.

  7. The best book with historical info on Assisi Embroidery that I know is: Il Punto Assisi - Storia di un Ricamo Antico - Raffaella Bartolucci Cesaretti, 2005. Of course it is in Italian but it is a treasure trove of info.