top of page

Slip-ping back into the 17th Century again!

The image above is taken from 'English Embroideries', by Mary M Brooks. Ashmolean Handbooks/Jonathan Home Publications 2004. Example 15: 'A Pastoral Scene' Pages 64-65. [This book is simply essential if you are interested in the study of 17th Century embroidery.]

It shows a panel of the mid to late 17th Century, measuring approximately 33 x 45 cm and held in the Ashmolean Museum.

For the purpose of this blog, we need to focus on the border, rather than the central countryside scene. Hard to take one's eyes away!

As Brooks explains, the border is made up by attaching four large sized 'slips' onto the cream satin base fabric, one to each centre corner area, then attaching smaller 'slips' to build up interest in the design.

I am delighted to tell you that for the first time, Poppies Cottage has acquired a number of such 17th Century 'slips' and they will be offered for sale soon.

As explained by Brooks, slips were worked individually, and then applied to a ground fabric to create a pictorial design throughout the 17th Century. She tell us that the most often used stitches were Tent or Rococo stitch, and that linen was used as the base of each slip, which, once the embroidered motif was complete, would be stable and firm enough to cut around the edge.

NB: The base of my 'slips' is black in colour and has had glue lightly applied to the back at some point in time. It is very difficult to tell what the fabric identity is, but it appears to be wool, and could therefore also be the final fabric the slips were applied to.

I will use Brooks' definition of a slip:

'Slip - A term derived from gardening, this refers to separate embroidered or fabric motifs which are cut out and then applied to the main ground of an embroidery or a larger textile.' Page 94.

Slips are known most widely as used on large bed hangings and furnishings, but as we see from the size of this panel, they could also be wonderfully effective on the sides of smaller boxes and personal accessories. I think that the sizes of the slips I have to offer would be for smaller decorative textiles of the Century.

In addition to Brooks, I highly recommend the article published by the superb expert on costume and textiles; Meg Andrews. It is the best article I can find on slips specifically. Go to and scroll to the bottom of the Home Page, where you will find 'Articles'. Click on this, and you will find it. 'Elizabethan & Stuart 'Slips'', published 2006, Meg Andrews.

Examples of 17th Century embroideries including slips, can also be found at the following museums [I have given a small selection and Brooks/Andrews give more.] Please contact each organisation to confirm access.

The V & A Museum, London, England

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, USA

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page