Thomas Wardle of Leek, Staffordshire was a skilful, creative visionary. He was more than a silk dyer and manufacturer who produced beautiful things; .....From a family of silk dyers from Macclesfield, Cheshire. From 1875 he printed cloth using his own natural dyes for William Morris. Thomas was the brother of Morris' manager, George. From 1878 Thomas also printed designs for Liberty's introducing 'Art Colours', produced from natural dyes.
Wardle produced this striking Italian Renaissance design, heavily influenced by the Ottoman empire, for Watts & Company, the well known ecclesiastical furnishing company, still manufacturing today. The pears are Wardle's interuptation. Wardle loved Genoese velvets of the Renaissance period and almost certainly sourced this design from Ornamente der Gewerbe by Friedrich Fischbach (1874). The original would have been crimson silk and gold metal thread.* From a distance the block printing would have resembled voided velvet.
These would look splendid as individual hangings. It is rare to find Wardle's prints.
Wardle's wife Elizabeth ran the Leek Embroidery Society.
Royal Burgundy, designed by Thomas Wardle, two red lengths of block printed cotton velveteen, with large ogival shapes, a repeat of pears round the largest.
Repeat 33 1/2 in; 65 cm.
Left hand curtain 6ft long x 31 in; 1.85 x 80 cm wide. Two part widths with a verical join.
Right hand curtain 6 ft long x 36 in; 1.85 x 91 cm wide. Two part widths with a vertical join.
I am prepared to sell these seperately.
Some fading to each side of the individual lengths. You should be able to see from photos, but ask for more. They are not selvedge to selvedge.
The left hand curtain could have the faded edge remove and make a wonderful hanging with a symmetrical design. Ask for photo.
The right hand curtain is not symmetrical so turning under the damaged edges would not give a balanced design.
* Brenda King Dye Print, Stitch. Textiles by Thomas and Elizabeth Wardle, p 49
A similar red length is in the V & A MuseumT.664-1996.
See: Leek Embroidery Society in ARTICLES
All images and text © meg-andrews.com 2021