Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Dramatic Dragon & Wyvern panel c1720-50 found in a pile of junk

I was wandering through a street market last weekend after some well needed shopping stocking up on summer shirts when I caught a glimpse of something rather interesting out of the corner of my eye; half-hidden amongst the junk and jumble of a house clearance stall was the scruffiest velvet cushion, literally falling apart, dusty and and a bit moth-holed with what looked like a shabby floral tapestry panel on the front. On closer inspection it turned out to be this incredible woolwork panel worked in petitpoint tent stitch dating to the somewhere around the mid 1700s. The fighting wyvern and dragon are very dramatically worked on either side of a flowering and fruiting tree which I think is symbolic of the tree of life.

The condition of the embroidered panel itself isn't too bad, it has lost some stitches here and there, it has a few small holes and is a little grubby and faded, whereas the velvet, which was Victorian was in a terrible state. I have removed the damaged velvet which virtually fell away from the embroidery, leaving a surprisingly sound panel.

I had thought that it had been cut from a larger piece and applied to the velvet with Victorian trim covering the edges, but now I am not so sure, it looks as if this may have been the intended shape of the panel as the edge of the stitched area is apparent and hasn't been cut. I am assuming that it was originally made to decorate a chair cover or cushion. It cost next to nothing, and just goes to show that it is worth rummaging around in the most unlikely places at markets and sales, you never know what exciting things you will find!


  1. What a fantastic find. I am amazed that it is in such good condition after more than 250 years, especially as it was used as a cushion.
    I always miss these things as my eyesight is not as sharp as it once was! Abby x

  2. What a wonderful find Lois, and thank goodness you spotted it and can now save such an important piece.
    Jo xx

  3. OMG how lovely. And what a find. I love the shape, and to me its so very in keeping with the motif. Well spotted!

  4. I agree about the shape, it fits with the asymmetry of the design. This kind of find always excites me, the thrill of the chase!! Lois xx

    PS Abby, me too, but I always keep my glasses on my head just in case I need them, and I do more and more these days! ;-)