Wednesday 30 June 2010

The Reverse of an Embroidered Stuart Picture of Mid 1600s

I am very grateful to Andrew Turner at Peter Wilson Fine Art Auctioneers Ltd for giving us the opportunity to see the reverse of a Stuart picture from the mid 1600s. I have flipped the reverse image so that you can read it in the same direction as the obverse.
As you can see, like the earlier example we showed you, there is considerable thread congestion on the reverse with opportunistic use of anchors for new threads - though a small number of them do use the hem to bury thread starts and finishes. From the back you can see the original colours - particularly for foliage and grass which uses a palette of mid and dark green and chartreuse which has faded to shades of blue and off-white. From the absence of stitches corresponding to the door behind the seated figure, it seems that the door was designed to open as a flap on the fabric ground. At no point does it appear that there was any inculcated concern for the conservation of thread and one therefore has to assume that if one was stitching a picture such as this then cost of embroidery silk, expensive though it may have been, was not an issue.

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  1. What an interesting peek "behind the scene"--literally! You're right--no conservation of thread at all. How did they avoid huge variations in stitching tension with all those long carries? They must have had great faith the opacity of the ground fabric, too.

  2. it is always nice to see a piece that looks worst than mine on the back. i do try to keep it clean but sometimes i just want to stitch and enjoy the process.