Rare & outstanding 18th Century embroidery from bed hangings
Reserved: This large scale embroidered segment is difficult to describe, so please read carefully.
First of all, my camera cannot capture the brightness and vibrancy of the colours, which are mostly very strong - magnificent workmanship!
The embroidery came from a four poster bed in a Derbyshire country home, where it had apparently remained since circa 1770-1800. I should say that the design appears earlier to me, which it could be because the embroidery was made on sturdy linen before it was applied to the fabric of the bed hanging.
The entire embroidery is large scale and very long, and would almost certainly have been made in a professional embroidery workshop, all ready for customers to buy and choose how to use it. The best place to read about these workshops is in '18th Century Embroidery Techniques' [Guild of Master Craftsmen 2006] where the author, Gail Marsh, goes into depth to describe the 'Master Embroiderer' and the workers, the layout of the workshop and the tools they would have used.
Marsh also describes all the superb techniques involved in the embroidery here. There is gold/silver thread work of minute complexity, silk thread embroidery and most delightfully, the generous use of chenille thread which adds an extra dimension to the raised work design.
The segment offered here is a corner piece, measuring approx 20" from the highest motif to corner point, and 16" from the centre front to corner point. The width is approx 23". A large segment of fabulous embroidery!
I have one piece currently on Ebay and there will be a few more to come, in varied condition. If you have a large project, do contact me for a price for more than one section.
Please be sure to read the condition and further details below.
CONDITION & DETAILS
Given that the embroidery was first worked onto linen [see last photo in the group above], it remains very attractive and usable today.
It will come to you with some of the bed hanging and the lining of linen still attached. I kept the linen with it because it is very good quality and can provide support for the embroidery as it is stored. The linen is mostly loose.
The damaged section is the silk satin onto which the embroidery has been loosely sewn. This is disintegrating and will be why the bed hanging had to be removed eventually. I can see on examination that several attempts were made to preserve the satin over time. The weight of the large & heavy embroidery has put too much strain on the silk.
However, if you want to removed the silk fabric, it is an easy job [indeed I have kept one section which has all fabric removed from the back]. Do look again at the back of the work photo and you can see which stitching needs unpicking. These are large stitches, very easy to remove.
The embroidery can then be applied to any fabric of your choice!
The actual embroidery is in very good condition for it's great age. Mostly bright colours, mostly all intact, there is just a little wear and loose threads as one would expect. However, please note that it is cut to each side, leaving raw edges through the embroidery.