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Large Crewel Work Tapestry by the Ladies Work Society

By The Ladies' Work Society, read more.

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About this piece

England, Mid 20th Century

Partly-worked embroidered panel with unfinished, inked design in Appleton crewel wool on linen, with a pattern of interlacing flora & fauna, incorporating exotic birds, above a border of undulating ground, with a Chinese pavilion and running hound

There is a 17th Century Crewelwork Hanging in the Victoria & Albert Museum from which the Ladies' Work Society may have copied the design for this piece. Museum number: 1390-1904 (image 2)

Clearly a creative interpretation of the aforementioned work, the main compositional elements are all used but technically there is evidence of skilled, flamboyant stitching with traditional counted stitched techniques and a deliberate yarn contrast to the background. Exceptional needlework skill can also be seen in the use of shading and the delicate naturalistic modelling

One of more interesting compositional differences involves the hound who is depicted with the same dragon-like tail but without the spots of the cheetah who can be seen hunting a stag beyond the pavilion in the 17th Century work (image 3). This only adds to the intriguing visual story, where preparatory sketching drops into a section of semi-completion then solidifies into a fully finished lower section, making for a stunning display of skilled embroidery and technical process (please see image 4)

"One of the earliest forms of surface stitching, crewelwork uses a range of stitches and elements of shading using crewel wool on linen. Jacobean-style designs, developed in the 17th Century, were influenced by exotic flora and fauna found on imported Indian chintzes. English embroiderers added insects and quirky animals to the traditional Tree of Life foliage designs. Using two main colours in tonal shades Jacobean embroidery has been popular for centuries but crewelwork stitches also work well with contemporary designs" - Royal School of Needlework


H 174cm x W 147cm
H 68¾" x W 58"

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