Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Bizarre Embroidered silk fragment c1700-1730

Here is a wonderful fragment of early 18th century emboidery on silk. I found it a while ago in an antiques mall in a cabinet along with some mediocre pieces of Chinese embroidery. This piece both puzzled and amazed me, I hadn't seen anything like it before, so couyldn't resist it despite the fact that the silk had split in a few places.

It is heavily embroidered with the most bizarre, enormous ribbon-like gold thread work motifs and dainty silk flowers in jewel bright colours, I don't have much technical knowledge of embroidery techniques, but there is a lot of couched work and basket-woven work of great beauty. I began to get a feel for the embroidery after looking at it occaissionaly over a few months, and started to conclude from reference books and a helpful email to an experienced collector (thanks Rachael) that it is quite an early piece, possibly from an apron, table covering or altar furnishing, dating to about 1700-1730 when such bizarre pattens were in fashion. The last 2 photos show a vaguely similar piece of embroidery and its caption in the V&A collection from their book 'Embroidery in Britain from 1200-1750' by D King & S. Levey.

1 comment:

  1. What amazing embroidery. Certainly there is not anything that can compare to this that is being done today or even in the last one hundred or more years. I marvel at the skill, patience, and artistic sense that is portrayed in these rare and unique pieces.