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Needlework As Art   By: (1817-1888)

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Transcriber's Note

Dagger symbols are shown as a sign. A female/Venus symbol occurs once ( sign with a circle on top), and is noted as such. A carat (^) is used to indicate superscripted characters. The word Shush has a breve (u shaped symbol) above the letter u. A circumflex has been used in this version of this e text instead Shûsh.

The original text contained an errata list. The corrections have been made to this text, and the list moved to the end of the book for reference purposes only.

Other notes may be found at the end of the book.

NEEDLEWORK AS ART

BY

LADY M. ALFORD

[Illustration]

London: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, AND RIVINGTON, CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET. 1886.

[ All rights reserved. ]

LONDON: PRINTED BY GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, LIMITED, ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.

[Illustration: TELEMACHUS PENELOPE]

DEDICATED BY PERMISSION

TO

THE QUEEN.

TO

THE QUEEN.

Your Majesty's most gracious acceptance of the Dedication of my book on "Needlework as Art" casts a light upon the subject that shows its worthiness, and my inability to do it justice. Still, I hope I may fill a gap in the artistic literature of our day, and I venture to lay my work at your Majesty's feet with loyal devotion.

MARIAN M. ALFORD.

PREFACE.

In the Preface to the "Handbook of Art Needlework," which I edited for the Royal School at South Kensington in 1880, I undertook to write a second part, to be devoted to design, colour, and the common sense modes of treating decorative art, as applied especially to embroidered hangings, furniture, dress, and the smaller objects of luxury.

Circumstances have, since then, obliged me to reconsider this intention; and I have found it more practicable to cast the information which I have collected from Eastern and Western sources into the form of a separate work, which in no way supersedes or interferes with the technical instruction supposed to be conveyed in a handbook. I have found so much amusement in learning for myself the history of the art of embroidery, and in tracing the beginnings and the interchanges of national schools, that I cannot but hope that I may excite a similar interest in some of my readers, and so induce those who are capable, to help and lift it to a higher place than it has been allowed in these latter days to occupy. If I have given too important a position to the art of needlework, I would observe that while I have been writing, decorative embroidery has come to the front, and is at this moment one of the hobbies of the day; and I would point out that it contains in itself all the necessary elements of art; it may exercise the imagination and the fancy; it needs education in form, colour, and composition, as well as the craft of a practised hand, to express its language and perfect its beauty.

I confess that when I undertook this task, I did not anticipate the time I have had to spend in collecting and epitomizing the many notices to be found in German, French, and English authors, on what has been considered among us, at least in this century, as merely a secondary art, and therefore, as such, of little importance. Cursory notices of needlework are scattered through almost every book on art; and under the head of textiles it is usual to find embroidery acknowledged as being worthy of notice, though not to be named in company with sculpture, architecture, or painting, however beautifully or thoughtfully its works may be carried out. I have tried to show that it deserves higher estimation.

My first intention was simply to consider STYLE, good or bad, as it influences our embroidery of to day, and to find some rules by which to guide that of the future in its next phase. But when we search into the fluctuations of style, and their causes, we find they have an historical succession, and that we must begin at the beginning and trace them through the life of mankind... Continue reading book >>




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