Monday, 16 February 2015

Buried Treasure ~

Last week I had the most unexpected find! Whilst quickly checking something on my ebay a splendid piece of needle work popped up on the first screen where all the 'suggestions' are relating to what you might like ~ this I did like ~
Normally I just click right on by but this time an amazing buried treasure caught my eye ~ and it had a 'buy now' a 'buy now' that I couldn't believe and could afford ~ one quick click and she was mine ~ woo hoo ~ quick as a flash she came all the way from the UK  to New Zealand in just a few days ~ I could hardly contain myself upon opening this beauty ~ and even if the provenance is not as was researched and advertised she's still drop dead gorgeous and the closest I will get, unless I travel long and far, to seeing a piece of this age and integrity in my studio or my country ~ take a look at this beauty ~

Now the provenance suggested for this gem by the seller is 18th century after consultation with the V & A. It is certainly in the 17th & 18th century style with the animals depicted very similar to those found on other antique pieces from that era. But there are two pieces of linen here, both of some age ~ this piece certainly has a story to tell ~

~ Despite the obvious age of the linen the stitching on the centre piece is still so vibrant ~

~ You can see where the centre piece has been joined to the bigger background piece ~

~ Someone has taken the original and incorporated it into a larger border drawn
onto the background ~

~ The pattern has been drawn on and then someone has started to stitch the outline ~

~ Just look how that border blends into the original piece ~

~ The drawn border is an artwork in itself ~

~ I LOVE that each side of the border cartouche is different ~

~ The leopard has the very distinctive style of 17th & 18th century needlework ~

~ The flowers are gorgeous but not so familiar to me in this style ~

~ The lion is just splendid and those lips are so 17th and 18th ~

~ The seamless joining with the background is so well done ~

~ It looks like there were original drawings not stitched on the centre piece ~

~ I would just love to know what the entirety of the original was ~

~ On the back it looks almost like a slip, there is linen covering the back of the original stitched onto the
background piece ~

~ You can see the original piece under the backing and the stitching around the form of the lion ~

~ And here around the form of the leopard ~

~ The back of the centre flower ~

~ Someone has started to fill in the background below the leopard once the two pieces were joined ~

~ And here under the lion ~

~ On the far right edge some of the drawing is in red marker ~

~ A close up of the tent stitching under the leopard ~

~ And under the lion ~

~ The mound has been stitched with two threads of differing colours that look to be fine wool ~

~ The same is done under the leopard with two different colours, I like that effect,
it's giving me ideas for my casket ~

~ A close up of the stitching on the flower ~

~ And the birds ~

~ Those eyes are very like those of the  17th century ~

~ On both the leopard and the lion the eyes are black in the middle and  what looks to be a
strand of white and red at the corners, it's very effective ~

~ This is as much of the thread used as I can see through the original backing but it looks to be
a mixture os fine wool thread and silk as some threads are matt and some more shiny ~

~ I want to get into the backing of the original and take a closer look, but then I don't
because I am loving the drawn border too ~

~ You can see the mottled mounds from the reverse side and the excellent use of two
different threads in the needle ~

I am still reeling that I managed to procure such an interesting piece and studying it has already taught me a few things. Is it 18th century, I'm not sure, could it be a 19th century reproduction? I do not recollect work like this being done in wool threads in the 17th and 18th century needlework of this type ~ maybe someone more knowledgeable can shed some light?

I'm in LOVE with it no matter what ~

~ May Your Days Be Filled With Salubrious Stitching ~


  1. Oh my goodness - what a find!! And wonderful that you recognised a beauty and were able to get it!! DO you think you will carry on with the embroidery - do people do that? - were there any threads with it - or will you leave it as is for your pleasureable pleasure?

  2. Oh My Goodness!!! Lucky, lucky you to see it - and smart, smart you to snap it up. There is something about the way the coloring is done on the lion that reminds me of 19th c. woolwork - it's that 'stripey shading' of the golds and browns - then again, that sort of shading was also practiced in the 18th c, and the central layout is very 17th certainly is a chimera whatever the provenance and it is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!!! As to the brightness of the threads, absent doing a chemical analysis, being packed away from light etc. does, in many cases, preserve natural dyes very well. Are you going to continue its finish? This piece is already the work of many hands, which implies a sort of 'permission' to the possessor. Anyway, I hope you will one day be able to take it to 'the experts' at some museum or antiques roadshow type event to learn more. Thanks for sharing it with us!


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