Ernest Thesiger’s



In addition to embroidery and costumery, Ernest engaged in a diversity of other crafts, including knitting, crochet, lace-making, millinery, beadwork, jewelry design, upholstery, and papercraft.

Ernest at home working on his “tinsel pictures,” reverse paintings on glass backed with metallic foil, September 3, 1926.  Photo: Associated Newspapers/Rex/REX USA

In 1923 Ernest was commissioned to paint two miniature landscapes for the library of Queen Mary’s Dolls House:

Frascati:  Gateway with large stone square pillar, vase on top, with vase on wall to L, trees beyond.

Torcello: 2 boats on calm water with the towers of a church to L, and land in far distance on horizon beyond.  

In addition he painted the carpet in the Dining Room of the Dolls House in imitation of a French Aubusson carpet.

The Dining Room of Queen Mary’s Dolls House with Ernest’s carpet on the floor.  On the wall above the sideboard is a painting of parrots by William Ranken.

“An amusing story is being told of Mr. Ernest Thesiger, the actor, who recently went to a shooting party in Scotland.  Mr. Thesiger abhors the sound of a gun, and was delighted when he found he could stay at home and indulge in his favorite pastime of knitting.  On his way home he met a friend. ‘Hello, Thesiger’ said he. ‘How were the birds?’  Mr. Thesiger regarded his acquaintance with a reproving eye. Then, ‘Very tough,’ he said.”

The Daily Express, November 16, 1928

“The modern craze for Victorian tinsel pictures is so great that there are not nearly enough original ones left to supply the demand.  Realising this, Mr. Ernest Thesiger, the well-known actor, is making extremely clever copies that are in many cases an improvement on the original.  Not everyone realises that Mr. Thesiger is as much an expert at interior decoration as at acting.  Most of his spare time is filled up, not only with making these amusing tinsel pictures, but also doing the most attractive painted screens and lampshades.  He works with Lady Playfair, the wife of Sir Nigel Playfair, who has her own decorating business and much of Mr. Thesiger’s work is to be seen in houses that she has decorated.”

Dundee Courier, August 23, 1929

“Mr. Ernest Thesiger, who is playing the leading role in Mr. James Bridie’s ‘A Sleeping Clergyman’ at the Piccadilly Theatre, is an actor with numerous hobbies.  Some very beautiful examples of his inspired versatility can be seen at an exhibition of applied arts and handicrafts which he has opened at the Horticultural Hall.  Mr. Thesiger paints in watercolours, renovates furniture, ornaments net curtains with chintz designs, makes tinsel pictures, specializes in fine embroidery and tapestry, and is an acclaimed authority on interior decoration generally.”

Portsmouth Evening News, December 7, 1933

“Dr. Burnett, one of the most skilled ‘needlemen’ in London, has won a first prize in the annual exhibition of the Royal Amateur Art Society that has just been opened.  His prize-winning effort is a picture beautifully stitched in coloured thread.  Embroidered work done by other men members of the society is also remarkable for the delicacy and the subtle choice of colours.  Mr. Ernest Thesiger, though a ‘needleman,’ is represented in another part of the exhibition with a novel kind of peep-show which gives a realistic glimpse of Venice.”

Hull Daily Mail, March 24, 1931

“An acknowledgment which really should be printed in the programme of ‘Dear Brutus’ at the Playhouse is ‘Earrings worn by Miss Dorothy Black, designed by Mr. Ernest Thesiger.’  Mr. Thesiger is playing at Folkestone next week with Miss Mabel Russell in a new play, ‘Fast and Loose.’  These earrings are long drooping ones of very uncommon design.  They are composed of bunches of tiny amber-coloured grapes with scarlet leaves, and were designed by Thesiger for Gladys Cooper, who has loaned them to Dorothy Black. They exactly suit the latter’s dark tragically-beautiful ‘Mrs. Dearth.’”

Folkestone Herald, October 19, 1929