I managed to keep my eyes open long enough the other night to watch a film on TV which started at 23.30 - it was a film I have been longing to see for some time - Alexsandr Sokurov's Russian Ark which is shot in one mesmerising continuous take - taking in 2,000 actors, 300 years and 33 rooms in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. There was no going to bed - it was time to Google the museum - which I now hear as a siren song, calling me...one day!
The Hermitage Museum has a considerable digital collection. A real eye-popper is to type embroidery into the search box. Guess who fell off her chair! Here are just the tinies, most miniscule crumbs of what you will find in the textile collection which boasts suberb examples from most of Europe. The top image is of a German sampler from the late 17th - early 18th century. This second image is of a panel from late 16th century Spain.
This embroidered boot when do you think it was stitched. 16th century? 12th century? Try 5th century and make that BC. It comes from the Altai region in Russia and belongs to the Pazyryk Culture.
This is a sampler for a camisole embroidery from France of the 1780s.
And the final example is an embroidered valence is from 16th century Italy. If I were to show you my favourites from this collection, there would be no end. So, take a look for yourself - what are your favourites?