Nearly 100 years old, this book has seen life and life has not been that kind to it. It is one of my rescue purchases
from a bookshop in the Lake District where heating and weather are not the best. And this book has seen a lot of use - so much so that the front cover has divorced the book - though they are still living together. So, I would describe this wonder simply as being in acceptable condition.
However the 87 plates are terrific - there are some colour pages, which is quite a surprise, given the age of the book, but the majority are in black and white.
As this is a very rare find, I am trying to give you as many images as possible, since not everyone will be able to have a copy, but maybe these images will be of use to researchers.
There is only one sampler illustrated - and here it is.
Jackets and coifs come a-plenty
and here is a close up of that rarely seen, fabulous coif above.
I had never before seen the bodice shown here
and here again is some close up detail for you to enjoy.
It's important to say that this is not a book of English embroidery - there are examples of early embroidery from other European countries as well as a few items from Persia, which again fuel my interest as sometimes they recall Stuart dress.
Above you can see one of the colour plates - it is integral to the book an is not mounted separately.
Embroidered gloves are always fabulous to see.
and these Italian embroidered panels are just bellissimi.
The Panel below is not a Stuart panel, but is a contemporary of those pieces. It is Dutch and resembles closely some aspects of the English panels.
I am captivated by the detail of the women's skirts which show wonderful embroidered panels - the décolletées look rather more adventurous, though, than I think would have been deemed respectable by Dutch ladies of the time.... can anyone from the Netherlands help here?
So this is a large soft-back book in two parts - front page separated - in acceptable condition, but a treasure-house of old embroidery.