[HNW] Question

amreid@qbe.com.au amreid at qbe.com.au
Wed Feb 6 14:03:14 PST 2002

Hi guys,
Cross stitch is most certainly 'period' (pre 1600) and was sometimes worked from
charted patterns, the sort of patterns that were in pattern books by chaps like
Nicholas Bassee and Federico Vinciolo.  The best proof of this is in Abegg's
book "Apropos Patterns" where you can see a copy of the page from the pattern
book right up against a photo of worked piece from before 1600.  Having said
that, we are talking about the 16 th c, or at least that's when most of the
surviving pieces come from.  Also some (not all) of the 'slips' done in England
in the 16th c were actually cross stitch.  (Linn Skinner, I think you also
reported this from some of the actual pieces you had looked at in the V&A if I
remember rightly?)

Pictorial cross stitch with subtle colour gradations and outlining stitch is
very modern however.  As is Aida cloth.  The most frequent uses of cross stitch
seem to be repeating border designs used on linen and that sort of things.  When
emblems are done (like a beautiful hand towel depicting a repeating broder of St
George and the Dragon which is shown in Apropos Patterns) only one or a few
colours appear to have been used most times.

Marsaili, if you can get your hands on a book like "Apropos Patterns" by
Margaret Abegg from your library it will give you a lot of information about the
sorts of patterns, stitches and uses that domestic and professional embroiderers
were using before 1600.  References to Punto Crocce (sp?) mean cross stitch in

As with many things, the moment you make a definitive statement about what was
and wasn't done before 1600 someone will unearth an example that blows the
theory to smithereens.  That's why I like research!

Sydney, Australia
(SCA - Bartolomeo Agazzari)

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