Friday, March 2, 2012

Angel embroidery design

Angel

British Museum, the, report on the
Historical Exhibition at Madrid,
1892, note, 37 ; remarkable em-
broidered panel in, 41 ; two four-
teenth-century panels in the bind-
ing of a Psalter at, 48 ; unusual
example of embroidery in the
book known as Queen Mary's
Psalter, at, 65 ; manuscript in
embroidered binding, supposed
to have been written and worked
by Queen Elizabeth

Clint Eastwood sketch

Clint Eastwood sketch

" Black work," or " Spanish work,"
a style of embroidery said to
have been introduced by Cathe-
rine of Aragon, 70 ; very popular
during the reign of Queen Eliza,
beth, 71, 73 ; jacket or tunic of,
given to Viscountess Falkland by
William IV., Plate xxxv, 70, 78,
79 ; pillow-cover in the posses-
sion of Viscount Falkland, Plate
xxxvii, 74, 79 ; sleeves for a tunic,
Plate xxxviii, 76, 79 ; coverlet
belonging to Viscount Falkland,
79; a portrait of the Earl of
Surrey at Hampton Court, illus-
trating, 80 ; specimens anterior
to Henry VIII. period in several
private collections, ib. \ caps and
head-dresses, ib.

Bono sketch embroidery design

Bono

Copies of oil-paintings in wool-work, such
as were produced by Miss Mary Linwood
(b. 1755, d. 1845) an d Miss Knowles (b. 1733,
d. 1807), "the Quaker, that works the sutile
pictures," * represent the climax of this mis-
taken art.

A single illustration (Plate 60) exemplifies
the extent to which embroidery was used for
the decoration of costume in the eighteenth
century. It is a gentleman's coat, of the
latter half of the century, worked in floss
silks of several colours.

Of the nineteenth century we must say
very little. Taste during the earlier part of
the century was not good. Since then a
revival has set in. Excellent results have
already been attained, and there is good
promise for the future.

The Beatles embroidery designs

The Beatles

Maps of the world, of conti-
nents, or of our own country, often bear
dates as far back as the later years of the
eighteenth century.

The popularity of the sampler appears
to have greatly declined after the first two
or three decades of the nineteenth century.
One sampler* of the earlier part of that
century may be described. Besides the
customary house, with trees, animals, and
birds, it has the quaintly designed figure of
a man in a red coat perhaps an army pen-
sioner. The little embroideress has supplied
the means of identification by working the
following inscription above the figure : " This
is my Dear father."

Roses Bouquet embroidery design

Roses Bouquet

Mary Wakeling's sampler, dated 1742,
bears some doggerel lines, the theme being
that "poor wretched life's short portion flies
away." Ann Woodgate, in 1794, after de-
scribing the inevitable withering of flowers,
concludes that

" Such and so withering are our early joys,
Which time or sickness speedily destroys."

The quotations are sometimes more hap-
pily chosen. Extracts from hymns and from
metrical versions of the Psalms are met with,
besides the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Com-
mandments, the Creed, and quotations from
different books of the Bible.

Bush embroidery

Bush 11

The panels are generally made in shapes to fit
the backs, seats, and sides of settees and chairs,
and there are sometimes also square pieces
for cushions. The work is usually in wools,
with silks for the high lights, on coarse linen
or canvas. The favourite designs are land-
scapes, with shepherds and shepherdesses or
other figures. Sometimes the armorial bear-
ings of the family are represented, and occa-
sionally a vase of flowers or some such
ornament takes the principal place. It is
not unusual to find on these panels the name
of the worker and the date. An embroidery
in the Victoria and Albert Museum (No. 269,
1893, see Plate 59) represents a vase of
flowers in colours, the ground being covered
all over with a diaper pattern in cream-
white silk. Underneath the basket is worked
the name ELIZABETH RVSSELL, with
the date 1730. This panel may have been
intended for a cushion-cover.

Bush embroidery design

Bush 13

It is a linen coverlet, quilted with white
thread and embroidered with coloured silks.
One of the border compartments contains a
shield of arms with the initials E S and the
date 1703; in the others are such designs as
the following : a griffin, a lion, a horse, a
standing figure, a mermaid, a merman, a
castle, a three-masted ship, a camel, a hound,
rabbits, a duck and other birds, and fishes.

Worsted work for large coverlets and
hangings survives the seventeenth century,
but the designs are of a different character.
The cover partly reproduced in colour
(Plate D) belongs to the best type of the
earlier half of the century. In other
examples the stems are arranged in a less
ordered manner, and run over the whole field.

The use of silk for embroidery gradually
replaced that of worsteds, in the eighteenth
century, for these large pieces. There still
exist a great number worked in the former
material, sometimes on a linen ground, and at
other times on silk. The coverlet illustrated
in Plate 57 is on linen, the embroidery being
entirely in red and green silk. The honey-
suckle border is particularly effective. Some-
times gold thread was also used

Lotus Flowers embroidery design

Lotus Flowers

Even embroideries did not
escape the influence of the Celestial empire.
Gay birds, with tails resembling flames, like
the mythical Chinese phoenix, fly amid flowers
designed on Chinese models. This influence
gradually died out as the eighteenth century
advanced. The most noticeable change is
the increasing tendency to produce a de-
ceptive resemblance to nature there is less
of design and more of direct imitation.
Flowers are shaded to have the appearance
of relief, and embroidery encroaches on the
province of the painted picture.

Camelia embroidry design

Camelia 4

From this ground at regu-
lar intervals rise large trees whose trunks
generally assume a serpentine form. The
flowers of various kinds and large leaves
growing from the trunks are designed with
great boldness. Birds are frequently scat-
tered among the branches, which intertwine
so as to cover the whole upper part of the
hanging. It is probable that none of these
hangings are earlier than the middle of the
seventeenth century, and the greater part
belong to the latter half of that century.*
They are sometimes in sombre colours, green
being predominant. Occasionally a piece is
found worked entirely in shades of red.

In the later years of the century, large
numbers of embroideries were produced in
England chiefly small panels and articles
of costume worked only in yellow silk. The
designs are usually floral, the linen ground
being quilted in small diaper patterns. A
ground quilted in this way is sometimes worked
with sprays of flowers in bright colours.

Job by Mucha embroidery design

Job by Mucha

On each is repre-
sented part of an arcade supported by round
columns, with capitals of a foliated type.
Round the columns trail stems with large
flowers and leaves. Birds of gay plumage
are to be seen among the foliage, and on the
ground below are various animals, including
elephants, camels, a lion, a horse, hounds, a
goat, deer, foxes, sheep, rabbits, a squirrel,
a unicorn, and a dragon. The panels are of
great decorative value, and the large scale is
well suited to the purpose for which they
were designed.

Many large embroideries, used as hang-
ings, curtains, and valances, have survived
from the seventeenth century. They are
generally of linen, or a mixed material of
linen and cotton, worked with large patterns
in bright-coloured worsteds. The designs
may be classed in three varieties. Some
have isolated sprays of flowers at intervals
over the whole surface ; others are divided
into narrow upright panels by borders of
flowering stems, with a row of floral sprays
running down the middle of each panel

Vintage Woman embroidery design

Vintage Woman

The development of the sampler in the
following century will be referred to in the
next chapter.

Some embroideries of the seventeenth
century, designed on a far larger scale, remain
to be briefly described.

A few years ago there was discovered,
behind an accumulation of wallpapers in an
old house in Hatton Garden, a series of
hangings, of a remarkable character, probably
embroidered soon after the middle of the
seventeenth century. When the stripping
of the walls brought them to light, they were
so dirty as to be hardly recognizable ; but a
careful process of cleaning led to a very satis-
factory result. The hangings are six in
number, each measuring about 7 feet 9 inches
high by 4 feet wide. The canvas ground is
completely hidden by embroidery of coloured
wools in varied stitches.

Victorian Fashion embroidery design

Victorian Fashion 03

The work is generally in coloured silks, with a
few illustrations of cut and drawn work in
linen thread. Specimens of lettering are
added, as a rule, with perhaps the name of
the worker and the date of the production.

Many of the cut-work patterns resemble
Italian work of the time, giving rise to the
conjecture that some of the ruffs and falling
bands worn in this country may have been
the work of English needlewomen.

Raised work is not altogether wanting in
samplers, but it is usually employed in a
restrained manner. The sampler above men-
tioned, bearing the date 1643, is reproduced
in Plate 52. It illustrates both the floral
embroidery in silks, and the geometrical
openwork in white linen threads. Some-
times the sampler is devoted entirely to the
latter class of work. The name " Margreet
May," with the date 1654, occurs on one such
piece.* In another sampler, f dated 1666,
coloured silks alone are used

Medieval embroidery Pattern

Medieval Pattern

The box illustrated in Plate 50 is from
the collection of Lord Zouche.* The ground
is of cream-white satin, a material almost
invariably used. The figures are in extremely
high relief, and have suffered accordingly.
The subjects include the Visit of the Queen
of Sheba, the Judgment of Solomon, Susanna
surprised by the Elders, and the Sacrifice of
Isaac. The female figures round the slope
of the cover symbolize the five senses. Various
flowers and other designs are worked on the
drawers and compartments inside.

A mirror frame in the Victoria and Albert
Museum (No. 247, 1896) is unfinished, and
is more interesting in this condition as it
illustrates the method of procedure. The
whole design has been first outlined in ink
on the satin ; parts of the flat embroidery
have been then completed, and the relief work
has, in a few instances, been added. There
is at the Guildhall Museum in London, an
embroidered panel also unfinished, the outline
of the whole design having been similarly
traced in black. It is said to have been
rescued from a house in Cheapside at the
time of the great fire of 1666.

Embroidery Pattern in Mucha Style

Pattern in Mucha Style 3

The box illustrated in Plate 50 is from
the collection of Lord Zouche.* The ground
is of cream-white satin, a material almost
invariably used. The figures are in extremely
high relief, and have suffered accordingly.
The subjects include the Visit of the Queen
of Sheba, the Judgment of Solomon, Susanna
surprised by the Elders, and the Sacrifice of
Isaac. The female figures round the slope
of the cover symbolize the five senses. Various
flowers and other designs are worked on the
drawers and compartments inside.

A mirror frame in the Victoria and Albert
Museum (No. 247, 1896) is unfinished, and
is more interesting in this condition as it
illustrates the method of procedure. The
whole design has been first outlined in ink
on the satin ; parts of the flat embroidery
have been then completed, and the relief work
has, in a few instances, been added. There
is at the Guildhall Museum in London, an
embroidered panel also unfinished, the outline
of the whole design having been similarly
traced in black. It is said to have been
rescued from a house in Cheapside at the
time of the great fire of 1666.

Mesopotamia embroidery Pattern

Mesopotamia Pattern

Among animals,
birds and insects are the lion, unicorn,
leopard, stag, camel, hound, sheep, squirrel,
rabbit, peacock, parrot, hoopoe, pheasant,
swan, robin, butterflies, caterpillars, snails,
and moths. It has been thought that special
meanings should be attached to some of the
smaller creatures, but it is probable that their
chief function was to fill small gaps in the
designs. The flowers and fruits are largely
those found in Elizabethan work, and include
roses, columbines, carnations, pansies, tulips,
lilies, daffodils, honeysuckle, apples, pears,
strawberries, nuts, and acorns. The scenes
generally have landscape backgrounds with
castles, houses, tents, mounds, rockeries,
wells, fountains, and fishponds. Clouds and
smoke are in full force; the sun and moon
often shine together, and an angel frequently
hovers over the scene. As regards materials,
silk and metal threads are used ; pearls and
beads often enrich the designs, and pieces
of glass and mica fill subordinate offices.
A picture is occasionally worked entirely in
glass beads of various colours.

Ancient Egyptian Anubis embroidery design

Ancient Egyptian Anubis 4

The favourite subjects are those connected
with the royal house of Stuart. Charles I.
and Henrietta Maria, and Charles II. and
his queen, are frequently pourtrayed. Even
when Biblical, mythical, or allegorical scenes
are represented, the principal figures often
take the likenesses of these royal personages.
The work is aristocratic and royalist through-
out. The shepherd playing the pipes, and
the shepherdess with her crook, are dressed
in the fashionable costume of the time. The
following are the principal among Biblical
subjects : Adam and Eve in the Garden,
Abraham entertaining the Angels, Abraham
and Hagar, the Offering of Isaac, Isaac and
Rebekah, Joseph and Potiphar's wife, Moses
found among the bulrushes, David and
Abigail, David and Bathsheba, the Judgment
of Solomon, the Visit of the Queen of Sheba,
Jehu and Jezebel, Esther and Ahasuerus,
Susanna and the Elders, and the Daughter
of Herodias before Herod. The favourite
classical subjects are the Judgment of Paris
and Orpheus charming the Beasts. Single
figures sometimes symbolize qualities and
virtues, such as Faith, Hope, Justice, Peace,
Time, the Five Senses, etc.

Egypt Pharaon embroidery design

Egypt Pharaon

Its most patent characteristic
is perhaps its grotesque ugliness ; but another,
which more effectually differentiates it, is
the high relief, produced by stuffing and
padding, introduced into many parts of the
design. Tent curtains, draperies, etc., are
so made that they can be pulled aside, the
arms of the figures are modelled in the round,
and rockeries are thrown into deep relief.
The work is, in fact, a mockery of sculpture,
and departs altogether from the legitimate
province of the needle. It is not considered
necessary to enter far into the history of this
branch of our subject. A summary of its
principal characteristics, and a short descrip-
tion of a few examples, is all that will be
attempted.* A large number are in the form
of caskets and work-boxes. Many of these
are fitted with cupboards, sliding drawers,
and secret recesses, and provided with ink-
wells, glass bottles, and other requisites for
toilet and writing purposes. Mirror-frames
are frequently embroidered in this way.

Alien Head embroidery design

Alien Head

The scarf belonged to Charles I., who wore
it at the battle of Edgehill, and gave it after
the battle to Mr. Adam Hill of Spaldwick,
who rallied his troop of horse, and is said to
have thereby preserved the life of the king.*

Souvenirs of this king must have been
carefully treasured by the Royalist party. A
needlework portrait of Charles I.,f in a small
oval medallion, was formerly in the collection
of Lord Zouche. The king wears a white
falling collar, and has the ribbon of the Garter.
The portrait, entirely of silk embroidery, is
a work of great skill. It may be compared
with another representing his favourite, the
Duke of Buckingham, which adorns the cover
of a volume of " Bacon's Essays," given by
the author to the duke, and now in the
Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Bella and Edward (Twilight) embroidery design

Bella and Edward (Twilight)

The larger cushion, of the same style and period, has a pattern of
flowers, fruit, birds, and insects, in coloured
silks, on a canvas ground embroidered with
silver thread. The lady's jacket reproduced
in Plate 49 f belongs to a valuable collection
of costumes, worn by various members of
the Isham family of Lamport Hall. The
costumes range from the time of Elizabeth
to the end of the seventeenth century, and
form a unique collection. The jacket, which
is of pink silk, finds a place in this volume |
on account of the embroidery. The scrolling
pattern is formed by an outline of blue silk !
entwined with silver thread.

An embroidery of some historical interest
belonging to the next reign was presented
to the Victoria and Albert Museum by Sir
Edward Denny, Bart., together with other
things, in 1882 (see p. 77). It is a military
scarf,J such as may be seen in many portraits
of the seventeenth century, worn across the
cuirass and passing over one shoulder.

Thailand Dancer embroidery design

Thailand Dancer 13

A favourite device in the reign of James I.
is the obelisk or pyramid. It frequently
occurs in architecture, wood-carving and
silver-work, and sometimes it is to be seen in
embroideries of the period. A small canvas
panel in the Victoria and Albert Museum t
has a pyramid rising from a crown, with
rows of flowers between. In another piece,
a bag or purse,J the pyramids rest on
pedestals.

Small bags of this nature, generally square
or oblong, are frequently met with. Some
were intended to contain books ; others may
have been used for holding embroidery
materials and such articles. They generally
have a string for drawing the open side to-
gether. The usual ornament is a spray of
flowers. Such a bag is illustrated in Plate