There was money to spend on highly decorative clothing and accessories. The court was full of examples of embroidered items — not only clothes, but also bags, shoes and household items. Some items have survived, other details come from portraits such as the one below of Bess of Hardwick. Bess of Hardwick The bodice, sleeves and collar are embroidered with a geometric pattern of interlaced circles. Bess married four times, each time she accumulated wealth from her deceased husbands and eventually became Countess of Shrewsbury and one of the richest women in England.
Bess was a renowned needlewoman and, as wife to the jailer of Mary Queen of Scots, spent much time in the Scottish Queens company. Mary Queen of Scots was also an excellent and prolific needlewoman. Tudor and Elizabethan portraits show magnificent embroidery. Intricate patterns were embroidered on every available space, frequently highlighted with jewels.
A "sweetbag" - purple velvet embroidered with gold and silver threads and pearls. Shoes worn indoors slippers were often made from velvet and decorated with embroidery and trimmed with lace and spangles. During the Renaissance a new class of affluent merchants arose. They emulated the nobility with fine furnishing and costumes creating a new demand for embroidery. In the East India Trading Company began to import from India and Asia and designs were inevitably influenced by this more on this in the crewelwork section. Flowers were a familiar recurring theme. By several pattern books for embroidery were available throughout Europe.
A red satin cushion c. Simple stitches double running and back stitch are used to create complex scrolling or geometric patterns. Because it is a counted method it requires even weave fabric same number of warp and weft fibres per inch so it suited linen which was the main fabric for those that could afford it. For the nobility the delicate Blackwork was sometimes embellished with jewels. Work on cuffs and ruffs was particularly fine as the work could be seen from both the back and front.
Blackwork has also been found on caps, purses and pillow covers. Black thread was most commonly used but examples of red and blue thread are found. Later in the sixteenth century fruits and flower designs were introduced.
Segments were outlined and filled with patterns. This type of blackwork is not often reversible and was used on the main clothing rather than collars and cuffs. Shading was achieved with very small stitches. Often gold and silver threads and metal spangles were added as highlights.
Embellished with gilt spangles.
On larger Blackwork pieces the infilling patterns were varied with contrasting textures that were probably influenced by needlepoint lace. Countess of Bath Although there are a number of references to samplers in 16th-century literature, surviving examples are exceptionally rare. The central motif on the Italian sampler, with a design in reserve on a red embroidered ground, was first published in the Esemplario di lavori of Giovanni Andrea Vavassore in and it is surrounded with border patterns typical of those used in the 16th century for personal and household linen.
English Domestic Embroidery - Elizabeth to Anne [A. J. Wace] on moreas.info * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Digital Archive on Weaving, Textiles, Lace, and Related Topics. Article: English Domestic Embroidery, Elizabeth to Anne. Wace, A. J. B., Pub: Vol. 17 () The .
Its inscription commemorates the birth of a child, Alice Lee, two years earlier. It has elements of two different sorts of needlework exercise, which developed in the following decades: The one illustrated on the right shows a typical range of motifs, with areas of repeating pattern, some suitable for the decoration of linen or such costume accessories as purses. Part-worked areas and evidence of unpicking in some of these samplers underline their use in trying out new effects, and they frequently display a wide range of stitches, as well as many colours of silk and different metal threads.
Some contain initials, but rarely names or dates. The small range of dated examples, covering a wide span of years, indicate that they were made through most of the 17th century. Linen sampler embroidered with silk and linen, by unknown maker, England, mid 17th century. Linen sampler embroidered with silk and metal thread, by unknown maker, England, By about , a characteristic shape and size of sampler was becoming recognisable, with the ground cut from a loom-width of linen to form its length, and a much narrower width.
The selvedges of the linen thus formed the top and bottom edges of the sampler.
It would typically be filled with rows of repeating patterns worked in coloured silks, sometimes interspersed with figures or floral motifs. Some band samplers are entirely of whitework, cutwork and needle lace stitches, and others combine white and coloured decoration in the same piece, sometimes working from either end towards the middle, as in the unfinished example on the left. With the composition of band samplers comes the first clear indication in England of the form being used as a method of instruction and practice for girls learning needlework.
The first is a lively band sampler in multi-coloured silks, embroidered when she was eight, the second, more subtly patterned and technically sophisticated, with bands of cutwork and needle lace stitches, and whitework, when she was a year older. The physical dating of all of these pieces suggests the desire to mark them as significant achievements in the stages of her girlhood learning. While many of the girls who embroidered these samplers would not have expected to have to work for their living, the needlework skills they were learning were still important attributes in the future management of their households and the personal adornment of their families and themselves.
Alphabets gave practice for the marking of linen, and the spot motifs and border patterns could be put to use in the decoration of clothes and domestic furnishings.
Some of the patterns that appear on later 17th-century samplers, however, displaying origins in 16th-century pattern books modified by repeated copying and adaptation, would have been very outdated for fashionable use by then. These can only have earned their place as part of the tradition of patterns handed on through generations. Elizabeth Mackett worked a fine sampler in , technically accomplished, but using needle lace stitches and patterns which were part of the repertoire fifty years earlier.
The anonymous maker of the beautifully executed midth-century sampler below far right worked an alphabet whose design came originally from La vera perfettione del disegno by Giovanni Ostaus, , and was reprinted in England by Poyntz, in New and singular patternes and works of linnen in He appears, repeating across a row, in samplers from the mid 17th until well into the 18th century. The figure of the boxer is ultimately derived from the motif of a lover offering a flower to his lady, found in a number of versions in 16th-century pattern books.
He is sometimes naked and sometimes dressed, giving his creator an opportunity to express some individuality in colour choice and stitch. A similarity of composition and motifs, seen in another group of samplers dating from the late 17th and the beginning of the 18th centuries, provides helpful evidence of the continuity brought to sampler making by the influence of a teacher on her pupils over a number of years.
The sampler shown here centre was worked by Mary Groome in It is one of a group of 12 now known, in public and private collections, which were apparently worked by pupils of a teacher called Judeth or Juda Hayle in the Ipswich area, according to research being carried out by Edwina Ehrman of the Museum of London. The earlier examples may well be the practice or reference pieces of experienced embroiderers.
One, signed Lucke Boten and dated , is the earliest dated German sampler so far known.
The format of English samplers evolved in the early 18th century typically into a squarer shape, reflecting the further changing perception of their purpose. It combined in a single exercise the different stages that a girl would previously have gone through in the acquisition of needlework skills, when her task was to embroider one or two samplers followed by a panel or picture. The result was not a long, narrow piece to be rolled up for future reference, but something that could be displayed like a painting or print.
The bands of repeating patterns and alphabets did still sometimes occasionally appear with traditional pattern book motifs. However, samplers increasingly had a pictorial focus, like the figure of Queen Anne in the lower sampler 2 , or included lengthy inscriptions of moral or religious verse. Signifying their fitness for display, they would in effect be framed with embroidered border patterns, naturalistic in accordance with contemporary taste in textile design, or stylised with flower heads alternating regularly to either side of a stem, in a form that was to change very little over the next years.
By the mid 18th century the motif of house and garden, personalised with added local detail, such as a windmill or dovecot, had become and was to remain a favourite choice of subject. Linen ground was retained, however, for a particular type of sampler worked in a needle lace stitch called hollie point, most examples of which date from the second quarter of the 18th century.
Hollie point was a practical stitch to learn, used particularly for decorative insertions into baby clothes and occasionally adult garments, and exact counterparts of the patterns worked in hollie point samplers can be found in surviving clothing. The maker of the large sampler shown in the middle 4 also had a practical purpose in mind. In her experimentation with a flame effect in different stitches, this was probably practice for upholstered chair seat covers. From its colouring and lettering, this sampler is almost certainly Scottish.
Samplers in which the maker demonstrated her darning skills provide evidence of the continuing thread of utility still to be found in sampler-making in the later 18th century. The anonymous embroiderer of the sampler on the right 5 chose a variety of pastel-coloured silks for her work, and filled the centre of the sampler with a delicate ribbon-tied spray of flowers.
Elaborate darning samplers were also worked in the Netherlands and are possibly the source from which English versions derived. They are, however, more usually signed and dated than their English counterparts. Its careful layout, mathematical precision, Latin tag and naming of the school where she was a pupil suggest her desire to show off other attainments as much as her embroidery, which is worked unambitiously in cross stitch throughout. Geography was also considered a suitable vehicle for the combined demonstration of academic and needlework skills. Samplers depicting maps, at first drawn onto the canvas by the pupil or her teacher, became so popular that printed satin versions could be purchased ready to embroider.
The earlier map samplers have hand-drawn or traced outlines. They were prepared by the teacher or governess in many cases, and that may have happened in the sampler below left 8. We do not know how old Elizabeth Hawkins was when she embroidered the map, but the slightly haphazard spacing of its place names suggests an inexperienced hand, and she probably located these herself.