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Jacobean Embroidery Its Forms and Fillings Including Late Tudor   By:

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Its Forms and Fillings Including Late Tudor



Publishers' Note.

Plates 1, l0a, 11, 12 (part of), 20 and 23 have already been published in "Needlecraft Monthly Magazine" and are included in this collection by permission of the Editor.

London Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co. Ltd. Broadway House, Carter Lane, E.C. 1912


Introductory History by A. F. Morris Hands.

Op. I Tudor Work.

Op. II Early 17th Century.

Op. III Details of Blue Crewel Work (the late Lady Maria Ponsonby's).

Op. IV The uses of Stem Stitch and other characteristics.

Op. V Bed Hangings at Hardwicke Hall.

Op. Va Groups of Fillings in which darning plays important part.

Op. VI Bed Hanging from Powis Castle.

Op. VII Characteristic Foliations and Late 17th Century Fillings.

Op. VIII Solid Crewel Work 18th Century including the Terra Firma and different birds and beasts.



1 Strip of Tudor Work.

2 Group of leaves on cushions at Knole Park.

2a Group of light details in early examples.

3 Details from old example, carried out in dark blues, belonged to the late Lady Maria Ponsonby.

4 Ditto.

5 Ditto.

6 Ditto.

7 Detail of Foxglove design.

8 Colour plate Detail from old Bed Hangings, dated 1696.

9 Detail from old Bed Hangings, dated 1696.

10 Large heavy leaf in work dated 1696.

10a Leaf showing seven different stitches.

11 Bed Hanging at Hardwicke.

12 Set of details (in colour) of Hardwicke design.

13 Set of details of Hardwicke design.

14 Group of Fillings.

15 Design of Bed Hangings at Powis Castle.

16 Characteristic leaf of best period.

17 Ditto.

18 Late 17th Century Fillings.

19 Fillings from Georgian copy of old example.

20 Stem of leaf in Solid work (colour plate).

21 Examples of different leaves.

22 Ditto.

23 Colour plate Terra Firma .

24 Birds and Beasts characteristic of Jacobean design.

25 Ditto.

26 Ditto.

27 Ditto.


To redeem the monotony of plain surfaces has ever been the aim of all the arts, but especially that of the needle, which being the oldest expression of decorative intention, has, from the earliest time, been very dependent on its groundwork for its ultimate results. This is particularly the case in embroideries of the type of what is commonly known as Jacobean, where the ground fabric is extensively visible, as it is also in that wondrous achievement, the Bayeux tapestry worked in coarse wools upon homespun linen and therefore quite miscalled "tapestry."

Inaccuracy in nomenclature is one of the stumbling blocks the student encounters, and the tendency of the day to classify "styles" by the restricted formula of monarchical periods is likewise misleading. No style is ever solely distinctive of one reign, or even one century, the law of evolution rules the arts as it does nature, there is always a correlation between styles in art and circumstances of existence that is productive of gradual changes of taste, therefore, pronounced evidences in design are, actually, the culminating point in a course of combined influences which have reached the period of individual expression.

Crewel work of the type of Jacobean, was the outcome of that earlier wool embroidery that even in the zenith of fame of the Ecclesiastical broderers still quietly went on its way.

In the middle ages, furnishing of rooms was scanty, and embroidered hangings, cushion and stool covers provided the necessary notes of colour and comfort; the wall hangings of the 13th century were of coarse canvas decorated with a design executed in wools.

It is curious how in English embroideries there has always been a predilection on the part of the designers for interlacing stems, and for the inconsequent introduction of birds and beasts.

Mons de Farcy, author of La Broderie du Onzième siècle jusqu'à nos jours , remarks that "it seems that the position of England, surrounded by the sea on all sides, has provoked in its inhabitants the passion of travelling over the sea, and they came to know, before continental nations, of the parrots and other birds of brilliant plumage so often reproduced in their needlework... Continue reading book >>

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