HNW - Bargello questions

Jacquie Samples jacquie-samples at
Tue Aug 4 11:29:04 PDT 1998

I looked up Bargello in "Mary Gostelow's Embroidery Book" (New York: E.P.
Dutton, c1978. ISBN 0876903448. pp. 27 ff.) and here is what I found:

"Bargello, also known as Florentine embroidery, ... Byzantine, flame,
Hungarian point or Irish work ... Some of the earliest surviving examples
of English Bargello are early seventeenth century wall-hangings and bed
curtains, sometimes worked on narrow strips of canvas embroidered and them
joined selvedge to selvedge.  Other popular uses for Bargello in the past,
especially in eighteenth century America, included decoration for
pocket-books, handy envelopes with or without end gussets. ...

Gostelow also gives some theories as to where and why the variations in the
name for the techniqies arose.  These theories do not really seem to date
the technique (at least to me), but to identify where it may have
originated, perhaps simultaneously in several areas?  

I believe, having read this chapter, that Bargello was originally always
worked in wool, but Gostelow states that cotton or silk threads are
acceptable.  She also states that "Bargello is generally worked on
single-weave, mono, canvas with a thread count of [10 - 18 per in.] with
[14] a good compromise for beginners." )p. 28)

According to the info in this book, I don't think that I'd use Bargello for
anything pre-17th century, but I don't know if that's a definitive date or
not.  No mention of Italy as a place where this technique was popular, of
course that means very little.  I believe that Gostelow's main emphasis in
this book is on the work and how to do it, rather than on the history of
the technique, unlike in some of her other writings.

Hope this at least gets you a starting point to continue your research.

Jacquie Samples

At 12:52 PM 8/4/98 EDT, Cynthia J Ley wrote:
>1. When did bargello start to be used and where?
>2. What was it used for? I assume that it made really neat upholsteries;
>was wondering if it was ever used for accessories.
>3. Was it always done in wool? Being allergic to wool, I'm doing mine in
>multi-ply silk, which has a lovely result if you've never tried it. 
>4. What was the ground? I'm using canvas.
>I'm looking at putting together an early 1500's Italian Renaissance gown
>and was curious as to whether a bargello piece would be appropriate for a
>Thank you for your help.
>					Arlys


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