One antique guest towel with an elaborate single letter monogram hangs on a vintage towel bar in my bath. It is layered over the Waterworks cream Gotham bath towels. The bath looks naked when it is being laundered.
I was inspired to write this post after seeing Betty Lou Phillips’ new book, French Impressions. She loves words and monograms and has embroidered them on towels, embedded them in mosaic floors and painted them on her grandchildren’s lockers.
Historically, monograms were used as royal signatures. Romans and Greeks used them on coins to identify their rulers. In the middle ages, artists and artisans adapted the monogram as a way to identify and sign their work. And, during the Victorian era “high-class” persons used personal monograms as a symbol of their place in society. Times have changed. Monograms are used by everyone and on everything; handbags, men’s shirts, silver, personal stationary, jewelry, and of course, towels. I can remember when I was in college, the most coveted item in my wardrobe was a “Bermuda” handbag with a cedar handle and madras cloth pouch embroidered with my initials.
There are so many fonts, from traditional with serifs to modern letters without flourishes, to select as your personal statement. There are heavy, intricately intertwined letter monograms often found on silver and lighter, thinner scripts applied in gold leaf on dinner plates. There are fanciful and formal designs of monograms in circles, ovals, squares and free outlines. There is an immense vocabulary of letter styles all of which factor into the visual impact of the monogram.
Letters are an incredible art form and look especially attractive on towels as a decorative element in the bath. By selecting a matching, compatible or contrasting thread color you can embellish a simple white towel with a graphic border, words or ciphers. Your individual preference for simple styles or more decorative ones will help you in your choice from the many options available. Typography is an interesting topic and can be at home in classical or modern spaces depending on your personal style.
Update your bathroom with a new set of towels and bath mat embroidered with your initials or a graphic border. You’ll be surprised at how fresh your space looks.
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