HNW - Re 1500s Irish Embroidery

Noramunro@aol.com Noramunro at aol.com
Tue Sep 14 17:56:43 PDT 1999


As far as embroidery done by the Irish specifically (as opposed to the 
Anglo-Irish) during the sixteenth century, I don't know much about specific 
stitches and colours used, but I can offer a couple of observations on 
designs.

(1) Knotwork patterns in general were fairly popular throughout Renaissance 
Europe, and applied to various things.  You can see interlace patterns in at 
least one of Henry VIII's portraits; Leonardo (and Durer, too, I think) 
doodled interlaces meant for floors, and so on.  They're easy to find when 
you start looking for them.  :-)

(2) "Celtic knotwork" remained popular in the Hiberno-Scottish Gaidhealtachd 
long after it had fallen out of general usage elsewhere in Europe.  I have a 
postcard from the new Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh of a bell shrine in 
their collection; the bell itself is quite early, but during the 14th or 15th 
c. it was encased in a sort of bell-shaped reliquary.  The provenance is 
given as "West Highlands."  The figures of saints on the reliquary are 
clearly later medieval, but the interlaces used for background ornament look 
like something from 500-600 years earlier.

Stephanie/Alianora
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