Sunday, 8 May 2011

Chapter 1 Historical study of flower embroidery

For my study i chose 'complete' embroidered flowers in England in the seventeenth century. In a period when rather a lot happened politically, civil war, beheading, Commonwealth, Restoration and abdication it is surprising such a diverse range of amazing embroidery was produced. I have covered costume and domestic textiles but not furnishings and the later crewelwork. it took a long time to choose my area of study but as i had no knowledge of this period i thought it would be good to learn. The large sheets are A3 in size. i firstly started with inspiration and got carried away! i found the story behind John Tradescant, his cabinet of curiosities, his wife's demise and the start of The Ashmolean Museum quite fascinating but not hugely relevant to the study! anyway bedtime reading!
Costume after a certain date seems to mainly be accessories but some amazing ones.
since undertaking this study i have discovered the large sale of textiles previously owned by Sir Frank Richmond. The sale at Bonhams in March showed exactly how important and valued these textiles are now considered. in the sale there was an identical piece of embroidery to the three ladies in the bottom right corner, showing how designs were copied often more than once. the sale items and how much they went for can be seen at Bonhams in Sale #18761.
one of the stitches often seen in samplers is Rococo stitch. i thought i would work an actual flower to show how 'square' this type of stitch renders flowers etc. sample measures 7.5cm x 6.5cm.
although my Weldon's shows this stitch in the chapter 'Canvas Work' the instances in the 17th century appear to be worked on fine linen and also silk satin!!! Still not sure how!
i also consentrated on Raised work (Stump work). the basket in the top right and the casket (lid shown with mica covering) i actually conserved when i was at the V&A so i remember them quite well!
as part of this study i went to Exeter Cathedral to see Lady Dorothy Dodderidge who is beautifully regailed. unfortunately although she died in 1614 her jacket and petticoat date to an earlier design of flowers within tendrils which did not come into my study. a precursor for anyone else who is doing this study!
i am very lucky working in a museum with a large collection of books on costume/textiles! i was also told about a very useful website on the study of early textiles which could be included in the Module for future reference.
Hours taken: 52

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