It is rare to see early crewel (worsteds) woolwork with huge leaves and in monochrome blue colouring, normally only seen in National Trust properties. This was clearly from a much larger wall curtain or hanging. It may have been a curtain from the foot or lower corner of a four poster bed, which tended to be approximately 8 ft wide. There is no repeat and the leaves are particularly large. I love the way one leaf falls over the branches. Every leaf is drawn and embroidered differently. No two are the same.
Huge curling leaves, some with dentated edges, with a variety of species, including acanthus outlined by concentric lines of dense shaded blue-green thick crewel wools, filled with a variety of designs, some with skeletal veins, others containing small leaves, using satin and long and short stitch, coral and brick stitch, the leaves growing from interconnecting central and side branches, densely embroidered in shades of blue-green on a natural twill weave fustian (cotton and linen) ground.
Loom width 18 in; 46 cm wide. As you look at the hanging from left to right the ground widths measure 13; 18; 17 in or 34; 46; 43 cm wide. The sides are turned under.
6ft 1 in x 4ft 1 in ; 1.85 x 1.25 m
I have had this conserved. If you ask for close up photos you will see areas of wear. We have had similar fabric dyed and have caught down the damaged areas. The actual original backing fabric slightly changes colour at the bottom right, being more stone shade at top and slightly more beige near the bottom. This would have been due to the hanging being exposed to more light near the top. You will see the damage from the close up photos. I would say that half of the hanging has damage. Obviously this could not be used for a bed cover, but as a hanging looks splendid with the huge scale design.
Crewel Embroidered Bed Hangings in Old and New England Ann Pollard Rowe. The Textile Museum, Washington DC. p 109 no 4. example in V & A.
See ARTICLES on my website for Crewel Woolwork.
Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery John L Nevinson p 64 & 66 plate L
Tudor and Stuart Fabrics ed Cyril E Bunt. Fif 55
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