Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Weekly Wash - 1556

This needlework piece appears almost contemporary in its bold narrative design. It is astonishing to discover that it was worked in 1556 - some 450 years ago! It is Swiss and what interests me apart from its depiction of all the activities associated with laundry in the 16th century, are those town walls, towers and cloud formations which recall similar depictions in Stuart embroidered pictures of the mid 1600s. Embroideries such as this were made to replace tapestries when tapestry weaving had fallen into decline. In England tent-stitch was used for such hangings, but in Switzerland the stitch employed was Kloster or Convent stitch - a form of couching.

You can read more about this piece and other needlework masterpeices in Pamela Clabburn's book - Masterpeices of Embroidery. And you can purchase this book for just a few pounds at the moment - click here for more details.

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