A very rare monochrome early piece of crewel work with a sophisticated Baroque design and a large symmetrical pattern repeat.
the natural twill weave cotton embroidered in indigo wool with a repeating arabesque pattern of large exotic Indian inspired palmette above an acanthus vase form filled with stylised foliage, the largest design 2 ft; 60 cm h, the whole piece 4 ft x 34 in or 1.22m x 87 cm wide
Very good. This piece has been washed by a conservator and conserved. There were quite a few holes, which we have conserved by backing with similar twill weave linen. You will see that some of the wool has come away. As for detailed photos. Once mounted onto a stretcher and hung this piece would look stunning.
The design is reminiscent of Italian silk damasks or velvets of the 1670's with their huge formal symmetrical design repeats.
The V & A has a similar designed piece but using red and yellow wools.
The third photo we have used is from Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery by John Nevinson V & A Museum, plate XLVI p 63. The bed curtain detail was embroidered in yellow, vermilion wools.
For similar design but in silk see: Baroque and Rococo Silks Peter Thornton, plate 18B.
Crewel wool was an inexpensive worsted yarn or yarn of sheep's wool, where long-stapled fibres are combed parallel and closely twisted. It was quick to cover the linen backing, the finished effect bold and attractive. I am afraid I do not know what the stitches are, but they are beautiful and intricate.
All images and text © meg-andrews.com 2021