HNW - Baltimore Exhibit Details (long)
David & Erin Moody
moody at aimnet.com
Thu Oct 16 21:18:25 PDT 1997
Okay, here it is. It is very long I am afraid. There is no catalogue, and
the descriptions on the cards are not very descriptive. They seemed to be
written by someone who understands needlework (what a change) but I wonder
how much..... I tried to fill in as much as possible since I do not have
the aid of scanning in pictures here. Please let me know if you have
1. "Royal Arms of Great Britain", England 1801. Gold and metal thread on
silk satin ground.
Although this is visually very different from the other works and very
heraldic, for a needleworker it is not very good stitching and in very poor
condition. The silver gilt is very tarnished, and the silk satin ground is
almost completely rotted away. The padded figures of the lion and unicorn
are misshapen, and the couching is uneven. The stitches are basic (mostly
chain, surface couching, applique, padded satin. In the fashion of late
18thC embellishment. I doubt that this was high-quality professional work
and probably not domestic given the materials used and the theme. It has
no provenance coming from a great house, so it might have been commissioned
by a county seat or other more rural yet official office. It is a very
stunning piece just because of the contrast to the other pieces displayed.
However, if you placed net to similar works in other collections, it would
look pretty worn and in of restoration.
2. Crewel Bedcover, England 17thC. Wool thread , linen & cotton ground
fabric. This piece is just lovely. It is a large, intact, well preserved
bedcover in blues and greens. The pattern is a mid 17thC coiling stem with
tulips, oak leaves, honeysuckle, columbines, foxglove, cowslip and other
flowers. The borders have a scalloping swag with a tassel motif at each
swag gather. The scale is rather large, each flower is about 8"x6" and is
seed stitched decoratively inside each flower. Stem, chain, seed, satin
stitches are used.
3. "Map Sampler", 1815. Polychrome silk on silk satin ground. As many of
you know, map samplers became popular in the late 18th and early 19th C for
girls to learn geography. Of course, the areas are not drawn to scale or
proper placement, most places were embroidered to the size that is took to
stitch in the place names. This piece is rather large, and round. The
silk satin is in good condition. The nations are stitched in stem stitch
(from memory, I didnt write that one down) and names in back stitch.
There is a 3" border with a winding vine and flowers, pansies & pinks, in
4. "The Turkey and the Ant" Sampler, English 1777 signed by Ann Stevenson.
Polychrome silk on wool. I am not a fan of cross stitched samplers but
this one was rather nice. A basic pictoral band sampler of the period with
bands of flowers, alphabet, flowers, numbers, etc. There is a fable of
stitched at the bottom on wither side of the obligatory schoolhouse in the
center. The bottom reads "Ann Stevenfon Her work, finifd May the 14, 1777.
5. Band Sampler, England 1684. Silk and linen thread on linen ground.
Again, a nice band sampler in cross stitch. The patterns are early 17thC
of typical Jacobean themes, roses, acorns, geometric borders. The roses
are couched and the acorns are in detached buttonhole stitch. In pale
yellow, green, and blues. Bottom third is all white worked cross stitch.
6. Crewel Bedhanging, England 1692, signed "M.K. Herbert" wool, silk and
cotton thread on linen warp/cotton weft ground. Gift of Irwin Untermeyer.
This piece is simply stunning. It is typical of late Jacobean shaded in 4
tones of color. The colors are incredibly vibrant. It is typical of the
"chinoise" style patterns of late 17thC china with vines, leaves, exotic
flowers and birds scattered throughout. Greens, golds, reds, pinks, and
browns are used in a variety of stitches. The donor, Irwin Untermeyer, was
one of the most savvy textiles collectors of this century, this is simply a
7. Embroidered picture, England 17thC. Polychrome silk on linen. The
title is vague, it is actually a large red carnation in a vase centered on
a white background and a black border set in a picture frame. Almost the
entire picture is in cross stitch, with some sating and couched stitches.
There is no grand fabric showing except in worn spots. It is a mixed
combination of early and mid 17th C styles. Tulips, pansies, marigolds and
butterflies in red, gold, blue and black. Probably domestic work, good
condition but not a very exciting piece.
8. "Peace" Raised work picture, England C 1600. Polychrome silk and metal
thread on silk satin. This is a wonderful example of early Jacobean
domestic embroidery. The central figure of "Peace" is a lady with long
hair and flowing robes (still in 3 color shading) and long hair, holding a
(laurel) branch in one hand and a dove is perched on the other. The rest
of the work has appliqued spots of basic Jacobean motifs in tent stitch and
some rasied work in detached buttonhole stitch. The motifs are wild and
wonderful: doves, hawks, lion, leopard, butterflies, flowers, grapes, etc
straight out of the pattern books of the time. The Silk satin ground is in
good condition and the stitching is somewhat faded from the original blues,
greens, golds, and reds. This is probably a domestic work, with poorly
applied couched cord around each applique. The stitching is very good but
not professional in quality.
9. "Judgment of Solomon" England C 1600 Raised work. Silk and metal
thread on silk satin. This is the best piece in the exhibit, but I seemed
to be the only one who liked it. What a pity, everyone else just glanced
at it and kept going. It is a large, rectangular piece. The center is
Solomon sitting in judgment over the two mothers and their baby. The
figures are displaying some action and are in scale. The stitches range,
and the shading, although still in 3 colors are slightly blended. This
central piece is professional work, no doubt about it. The border (about
5" wide) was worked domestically. Again, we have spot appliqued raised
work in tent and detached buttonhole stitches from the basic Jacobean
pattern books (leopard, carnation, cherries, parrot, etc.) with seeded
bullions throughout. Out of scale, 3 color shaded with no blending. The
stitching is very good domestic but to the trained eye, the contrast
between the professionally worked center and the border is a real treat to
10. "Adam & Eve" Raised work England C 1660. Polychrome silk and metal
thread on silk satin ground. Embellished with seed pearls. This is the
earliest piece in the collection, and mis dated in my opinion. It has a
central figure of the tree and a snake, with Adam and Eve on either side.
The stitching is as awful as the picture is wonderful. Definitely
domestically worked. There are things embroidered all over this picture:
people, animals, flowers, plants, birds, words on top of some of them. It
is just terrible stitching and a glory to see!
11. "Embroidered picture" England 1675. Raised work, silk and metal thread
on silk satin. This picture denotes something, the museum didnt know
what. I know but cant remember, but I have seen it in a pattern book. It
has a fountain in the center, a man sitting alone at the bottom left
corner, and a lady on horseback lead by a man with a staff in front.
Definitely allegorical, perhaps of Mary and Joseph. Anyway, another spot
applique on a silk satin ground. Wildly out of scale, the quality of
stitches varies, shading is basic. Domestic. The date of 1675 is a smidge
late based on the clothes worn, but it could have been worked by someone in
the country not so aware of fashion. Most probably was, the stitching and
materials are not the finest I have examined.
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