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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Culture:English (probably)
Date Made:1721
Materials:textile: polychrome wool (crewel) embroidery; bleached (white) plain weave linen and cotton (fustian)
Place Made:United Kingdom; England (probably)
Measurements:overall: 35 1/2 in x 100 1/2 in; 90.17 cm x 255.27 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2007.5
Credit Line:Museum Collections Fund

Linen petticoat crewel embroidered with "EB / 1721" on the center front waist and with wool-embroidered, stylized flowers or slips, each of which is unique and often each individual leaf is a different pattern both in colors and stitches used. A 'slip' is an embroidered motif, usually a plant or flower with the heel or base showing; embroidered slips acquired their name from gardeners' slips or cuttings used to propogate plants. Popular from the mid 16th to the mid 17th century, the designs were probably taken from one of the many natural history, botanical or herbal books available at the time. The word 'crewel,' defined as thin worsted yarn, first appeared in literature in 1494. Color-fast, intensely colored wools were used in embroidery to imitate the brilliant painted cottons imported into Europe after the founding of the East India Company (January 1, 1600) by Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). Prohibitions against crewel ribbons in the 1640s were probably the result of pressure from the silk ribbon makers. The most impressive use of crewel embroidery was seen in elaborate sets of bed hangings, which often imitated the tree-of-life design found on Indian imported palampores (bed covers). This work reached its heights of perfection from about 1725-1750 with inventive and diverse stitches combined with extremely fine and brightly colored wools. See also F.431, F.153.

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