Margaret Jourdain.

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ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY




PANEL REPRESENTS
Worked in Petit Point, circa 1635. (*




USTICE AND I 'FACE.

, 6' 9" /w height by 10' 10" / length.)



THE HISTORY OF

ENGLISH SECULAR
EMBROIDERY



BY

M. JOURDAIN

if

AUTHOR OF " OLD LACE, A HANDBOOK FOR COLLECTORS "



NEW YORK
E. P. BUTTON AND COMPANY

31 WEST 23RD STREET
1912







PREFACE

HOUGH the superiority of English
ecclesiastical embroidery is univers-
ally recognized, it seemed to me that
there was considerable interest in
the development of the secular work,
especially during the Tudor and Stuart periods.
With regard to pre-Tudor embroidery I am much
indebted to an interesting article by Mr. Alan S.
Cole, in the "Art Workers Quarterly" of April,
1906. My thanks are due to the owners of the
pieces of embroidery illustrated in this book, who
have kindly given me permission to have them
photographed; to Mr. J. T. Herbert Bailey for
permission to reprint a portion of a chapter
upon Stuart embroidery that appeared in the
" Connoisseur," and for the loan of several blocks;
and to the editor of the " Burlington " for permis-
sion to reprint " Sixteenth Century Embroidery,"
with emblems, and for the use of two blocks ; and
to Messrs. Lenygon for the loan of the colour

block of the frontispiece.

M. JOURDAIN.



364827



CONTENTS

PAGE

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xi

CHAPTER I

ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY FROM SAXON
TIMES TO TUDOR TIMES

Embroidery in Saxon and Norman times. The Bay-
eux " Tapestry." Embroidery in the thirteenth century.
Surcoats of William of Albemarle and the Black Prince.
The Robes of the Knights of the Garter (temp. Edw. III).
Embroidered bed-hangings. " King's embroiderers."
Decadence of embroidery from the middle of the fourteenth
century. Its rivalry with woven fabrics. Importation of
foreign embroideries forbidden in the fifteenth century.
Palls of the City Companies. The chasuble in the posses-
sion of Prince Solms-Braunfels. Embroidery on velvet.
Applied work and patchwork (opus consutum} ... I

CHAPTER II
TUDOR PERIOD

Influx of French embroiderers. Gold embroidery of the
Tudor period. Metal embroideries and passements im-
ported from Florence (temp. Hen. VIII)." Spanish Work "
or " Black Work." Embroidery of linen and lawn. " Tur-
key-work." Cessation of ecclesiastical embroidery towards
the middle of the sixteenth century. Petit-point. In-
creased richness of upholstered furniture in the reign of
Elizabeth. Tendencies of Elizabethan embroidery. In-
ventories of Mary Queen of Scots. Inventory of the effects
of Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton. Emblematic
meaning of certain devices found in embroidery. Em-

vii



viii CONTENTS

PAGE

broidered books. Embroidered gloves. Bed-cushions be-
longing to Lord Fitzhardinge. Relics of Queen Elizabeth
at Ashridge. Elizabethan needlework picture at the Maid-
stone Museum. Hardwick Hall. The incorporation of
the Broderers' Company 21

CHAPTER III

STUART PERIOD

Decadence in design of embroidery during the reign of
James I. Religious subjects in vogue. The influence of
tapestry upon the needlework picture. Royalist influence
upon subjects of the needlework picture. John Taylor's
" The Needle's Excellency." Pattern-book for embroidery,
1632, published by Richard Shorleyker. Peter Stent's cata-
logue. Beadwork. Needlework miniatures. Badges of
Charles I, worked in his own hair. Inventory of Dame
Anne Sherley. The needlework of Lady Betty Paulet.
The importance of needlework in the education of women
during the Stuart Period. The embroideries attributed to
Little Gidding. Descriptive terms for various stitches.
Purl embroidery. Spangles. Embroidered books. Em-
broidered gloves. Crewel hangings of the seventeenth
century 59

CHAPTER IV

ORANGE AND GEORGIAN PERIODS

The work of Queen Mary. Embroidery for the up-
holstery of furniture during the Orange and Georgian
periods. Applique work for upholstery. Carpet-work.
The influence of Chinese art upon English embroidery.
The universal practice of needlework among women in
the eighteenth century. Bed-hangings in the reign of
William and Mary. Increased tendency to naturalism in
design. Bed-hangings worked by Mrs. Pawsey, at Hamp-
ton Court. Mrs. Delany a typical amateur of Embroidery.
Embroidery applied to costume 87



CONTENTS ix



CHAPTER V

LATE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY AND EARLY NINETEENTH-
CENTURY EMBROIDERY

PAGE

Characteristics of embroidery of the late eighteenth
century. Fashionable fancy-work. Cessation of use of
needlework for the upholstery of furniture after 1770.
" Parfilage " or drizzling. Patterns for embroidery pub-
lished in Ladies' magazines. Embroidery upon costume.
Print-style pictures. Darning on net and canvas. Chen-
ille. Eighteenth-century samplers and maps. Needle-
work copies of famous pictures. White embroidery.
Berlin wool work. The influence of William Morris . no



CHAPTER VI

TURKEY-WORK, PETIT-POINT, QUILTING, AND
HOLLIE WORK.

Turkey-work used for carpets and upholstery. Petit-
point. Method of working. Its use for upholstery. Quilt-
ing. Quilts imported in the reign of Charles I. Quilts
mentioned in Terry's Voyage to the East Indies. Hollie
work 132



CHAPTER VII

SPANISH WORK

Spanish work probably introduced by Catherine of
Aragon. Mention of " Spanish " or black work in inven-
tories of the early sixteenth century. Specimens in the
Victoria and Albert Museum; in the possession of Viscount
Falkland. Design in Spanish work 140



x CONTENTS

CHAPTER VIII

SIXTEENTH-CENTURY EMBROIDERY WITH EMBLEMS

PAGE

Portraits of Queen Elizabeth, showing emblem -em-
broidery. Emblem-work in contemporary decoration and
confectionery. Spanish work with emblems in the posses-
sion of Viscount Falkland. Bed worked by Mary Queen of
Scots, described by William Drummond of Hawthornden
(1619) . 146

CHAPTER IX

STUMP-WORK

Stump-work, the early " embosted work." Materials for
working. Stump-work at Penshurst. Foreign origin of
Stump-work. Characteristic subjects of English Stump-
work. Symbolism. Method of working. Period of the
vogue of. Objects ornamented with Stump-work . .156

CHAPTER X

NEEDLEWORK COPIES OF PICTURES AND ENGRAVINGS

Needlework copies of pictures in France in the late
eighteenth century. Miss Lin wood, Miss Morritt of
Rokeby. "Black and whites," and copies of engravings . 169

CHAPTER XI
SAMPLERS

Early date of. The earliest dated sampler 1638.
Pattern -books. Ornamental devices met with in samplers.
" Boxers." Samplers of the beginning of the eighteenth
century. Samplers of the later eighteenth century. Sam-
plers of the nineteenth century. Darning samplers.
Mottoes. Map-samplers 177

INDEX 193



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TO FACE
PAGE

Panel representing Justice and Peace, worked in petit-
point. Circa 1635 Frontispiece

Applique figure of a knight on horseback. Thirteenth
century

Patchwork of blue and red cloth, representing the fight of
a knight with a dragon. Fourteenth century. Of North
German or French origin 20

Biblia. Tiguri, 1543 . . . . 22

Waistcoat embroidered with coloured silks and spangles.

Elizabethan period 3

" The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul." MS. by the

Princess Elizabeth. 1544 40

Bible. London, 1583 44

Velvet panel with appliqiie work and embroidery. The
draped female figure represents " Perspective." Second
half of sixteenth century 46

Hanging of black velvet with applique ornament in coloured
silks consisting of figures under arches. In the centre
is " Lucrecia," on the left " Chastiti," and on the right
" Liberalitas." The oval panel on the left contains a
shield bearing the arms of Hardwick; the one on the
right a stag, the crest of Hardwick. Late sixteenth
century 48

Hanging of black velvet with applique ornament in coloured
silks, representing a lady holding a book entitled
" Faith," and a Turk reclining at her feet. Late six-
teenth century 5

Panel of patchwork velvet, with circular medallions con-
taining designs outlined in black silk thread, and tinted
brown, apparently by singeing. Second half of six-
teenth century 54

Embroidered bag for Psalms. London, 1633 ... 5^

xi



xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TO FACE
PAGE

A page from " Certaine patternes of cut-workes newly

invented and never published before," etc. Circa 1632 60

Stump-work picture. Circa 1630 62

Mirror, with appliques of flat embroidery and stump- work,

set in black lacquer frame. Temp. Charles I 64

Stump-work picture. Circa 1630 66

Bead-work picture . . . . . . . .68

Bacon, Essays. 1625 70

Medallion representing Charles I worked in hair . . 72
Embroidered portrait of Charles I in long and short and

split stitches 74

Needlework picture on satin, representing a lady of the

reign of Charles I 76

Psalms. London, 1646 78

Stump-work picture representing the Judgment of Paris.

Early seventeenth century 80

Needlework picture in silk, in various stitches ... 82
Needlework picture in long and short stitch. Charles II

period 84

Crewel -work hangings. Temp. William III. Probably

worked in Scotland 86

Quilt embroidered in coloured silks, representing a gentle-
man and lady (temp. William III) and an orange tree . 88
Petit-point picture representing William and Mary . . 90
Chair and screen, with needlework in petit-point and cross-
stitch (temp. William III) . . . .92
Chair with upholstery of needlework in petit-point and

cross-stitch (temp. William III) 94

Settee with covering of needlework (cross-stitch and petit-

point} 96

Piece of embroidery on white silk, done in short and long
feather stitches with coloured silks. Early eighteenth

century 98

Needlework picture in petit-point and cushion stitches.

Queen Anne period 100

Needlework picture in petit-point. Early eighteenth century 102
Portion of bed-furniture, with white cord embroidery.

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century . .104



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xiii

TO FACE
PAGE

Portion of bed-furniture, with white cord embroidery.

Late seventeenth century 1 06

Portion of bed-furniture, with white cord embroidery.

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century . .108

Portion of a toilet cover worked in silk upon linen. Early

eighteenth century no

Needlework picture worked in black hair on white silk . 116

The Blind Beggar (after Morland). Painted and em-
broidered in silk 118

Engraving, of which the needlework copy is in the pos-
session of Lady Sackville 1 20

Needlework in the possession of Lady Sackville . . 1 20

Needlework picture of an Alpine landscape. Late eigh-
teenth or early nineteenth century . . . . 1 24

Panel of velvet. Designed by William Morris, and worked

by the Duchess of Wellington, 1898 . . . .130

Oak chair, upholstered upon seat and back with " Turkey-
work " in coloured wools. The back of the chair bears
the date 1649 132

Panel representing the story of Hagar and Ishmael, petit-
point. Seventeenth century 134

Portion of quilted curtains. Early eighteenth century . 136

Portion of quilted curtains. Early eighteenth century . 138

Waistcoat (part of Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe) embroid-
ered in Spanish work 140

Triangular piece of linen, embroidered in Spanish work

'(part of Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe) . . . .142

Jacket of Spanish work (circa 1586), said to have belonged

to Queen Elizabeth 144

Needlework picture. The figure in stump-work. Early

seventeenth century 156

Panel of white satin with appliques of flat embroidery and

stump-work. Temp. Charles I . . . .158

Panel of white satin with appliques of flat embroidery.

Temp. Charles I 160

Panel of white satin, showing a king under a canopy, a
queen advancing towards him. Stump-work. Temp.
Charles I 162



xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TO FACE
PAGE

Stump-work casket (dated 1660) 164

Lid of stump-work casket (dated 1660) . . . .166
Needlework copy of "The Nativity," by Carlo Maratti,

worked by Miss Lin wood 170

Needlework picture in black and white silk. George III

period 174

Portrait of Rubens, worked on white tiffany with human

hair in short and long stitches by Charlotte Elizabeth

Munn (Mrs. Berkeley) 176

Sampler dated 1691 178

Sampler dated 1701 180

Sampler dated 1717 182

Sampler dated 1728 . 184



ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY

CHAPTER I

ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY FROM SAXON
TO TUDOR TIMES

Embroidery in Saxon and Norman times. The Bayeux
" tapestry." Embroidery in the thirteenth century. Surcoats
of William of Albemarle and the Black Prince. The Robes
of the Knights of the Garter (temp. Edw. III). Embroidered
bed-hangings. " King's embroiderers." Decadence of em-
broidery from the middle of the fourteenth century. Its
rivalry with woven fabrics. Importation of foreign em-
broideries forbidden in the fifteenth century. Palls of the
City companies. The chasuble in the possession of Prince
Solms-Braunfels. Embroidery on velvet. Applied work
and patchwork (opus consututn).

JT is impossible to treat of English
secular embroidery in any detail
before the Tudor period, because,
though there are a number of eccle-
siastical embroideries still in exist-
ence, almost nothing remains of the domestic
needlework. There is, however, abundant testi-
mony to the skill of ladies of all ranks until the
Tudor period. Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne
(d. 709), speaks of the skill of English women in

B




2 ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY

needlework in very early times, and embroidery
must have been much taught and practised in
convents until the Reformation.

In the tenth century Margaret, the Anglo-
Saxon queen of Malcolm of Scotland, tried to
encourage the art of needlework at her court;
while among other royal workers may be men-
tioned the daughters of Edward the Elder; and
Edith, the queen of Edward the Confessor,
who, William of Malmesbury states, herself em-
broidered the rich robes worn by the King at
festivals.

Embroidery was equally widespread under the
Norman rule. The so-called Bayeux Tapestry
cannot be treated as strictly English embroidery,
as it is more probable that it was worked by
Norman ladies. Much stress has been laid on
the fact that certain words on the titles bear
towards Anglo-Saxon origin; but Mr. Charles
Dawson thinks that the theory of the work having
been executed in England and not in Bayeux "is
altogether uncalled for, especially as Bayeux was
the site of an early Saxon settlement, and its
inhabitants spoke a Teutonic dialect so late as
the tenth century, the Norse element having been
subsequently grafted upon the stock." 1 The
canvas is 227 feet long and 20 inches wide, and

1 " The Bayeux Tapestry in the hands of ' Restorers ' and how
it has fared," by Charles Dawson, F.S. A. (" The Antiquary,"
August 1907.)



FROM SAXON TO TUDOR TIMES 3

shows the events of English history from the
accession of Edward the Confessor to the defeat
of Harold by the Normans at Hastings. The
work is extremely rough, and no attempt is made
at shading, the figures being worked in flat stitch
in coloured wools on linen canvas. It has been
freely restored: first shortly after its " discovery"
in 1729, while the second grand restoration of the
tapestry took place about the year 1842.

We have a somewhat highly-coloured account
written by Baudri (or Baldric), Abbot of Bour-
gueil, of another contemporary "tapestry " (veluni),
which deals with the same subject, and bears
titles similar to the tapestry of Bayeux, but worked
with much more magnificent materials, stating
that it hung in an alcove around the bed of Adela,
daughter of the Conqueror. The original, in Latin,
\vas written between the years 1079 and HO7. 1
"A wonderful tapestry goes around the lady's
bed, which joins three things in material and
novel skill. For the hand of the craftsman hath
done the work so finely that you would scarcely
believe that to exist which you know does exist.
Threads of gold come first, silver threads come
next, the third set of threads were always of silk.
Skilful care had made the threads of gold and
silver so fine that I believe that nothing could

1 Quoted in " The Bayeux Tapestry in the hands of Re-
storers," by Charles Dawson, F.S.A. (" The Antiquary," August
1907.)



4 ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY

have been thinner. The web was so subtle that
nothing could be more so. ... Jewels with red
marking were shining amidst the work, and pearls
of no small price. In fine so great was the glitter
and beauty of the tapestry (velmri) that you might
say it surpassed the rays of Phoebus. Moreover
by reading the inscriptions you might recognize
upon the tapestry histories true and novel. That
tapestry (velum], if tapestry indeed it were, bears
upon it the ships and the chiefs, and the names
of the chiefs." It is to the small value of the
materials that we, no doubt, owe the preservation
of the Bayeux tapestry. It can be traced as having
been seen in Bayeux Cathedral as far back as
1476. It is a curious fact that the tradition which
would make the " tapestry " the handiwork of
Queen Matilda cannot be traced further back than
1803, when it was sent to Paris for exhibition!
Perhaps similar to this work was the curtain
worked in the tenth century by ./Elfleda, on which
she had wrought the deeds of her husband,
Brithnoth, slain by the Danes.

The Domesday Survey of Buckinghamshire
makes mention of a certain " Aldwid the maiden "
who taught Godric's daughter embroidery, and
was given by him half a hide in payment, though
perhaps only for the term of his shrievalty; 1 and

1 " Habuit ipsa dimidiam hidam quam Godricus Vicecomes ea
concessit quamdiu vicecomes esset, ut doceret filiam ejus auri-



FROM SAXON TO TUDOR TIMES 5

there is record in the survey of Wiltshire of
another embroideress who made embroidery
auriphrisium for the King and Queen. After
the battle of Hastings William, on his return to
Normandy, caused such astonishment among
his countrymen by the splendour of his em-
broidered State robes and those of his chief
nobles, that all they had before beheld of the same
kind seemed mean by comparison, 1 and his secre-
tary, William of Poictiers, states that English
women were eminently skilful with the needle
and in weaving.

The art of embroidery was one of the most
important subjects of instruction in the mediaeval
convents, and not only was its production a business
or profession, but it was the favourite pursuit
almost the only accomplishment of the ladies of
the Saxon and Anglo-Norman laity. There were,
moreover, schools, apart from the nunneries, for
its teaching: one such is known to have existed
in the neighbourhood of the monastery of Ely,
perhaps as early as the seventh century. As an
art, embroidery ranked in dignity with sculpture
and painting. During the early half of the period
it was certainly in advance of either sculpture or
decorative painting, and fully ahead of the con-

phrisium operari " (" Victoria County History of Buckingham-
shire," vol. i).

1 " Catalogue of English Embroidery at the Burlington Fine
Arts Club," A. F. Kendrick.



6 ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY

temporary miniature painting; probably at no
time during the whole epoch did painting attain
anything like the technical perfection reached by
embroidery.

The resemblance in designs in ecclesiastical
embroidery to those of illuminated manuscripts
suggests that the same artists were responsible
for designs for both, or that the embroiderers or
embroideresses were at the same time skilful in
draughtsmanship and illumination. It is recorded
of two thirteenth-century French embroideresses,
Dame Margot and Dame Aales, that they were
both illuminators. Indeed whenever the brush
and the needle are thus interchangeable imple-
ments the result is a remarkable development in
the art of embroidery.

The great period of English church embroidery
was from the twelfth to the fourteenth century;
and English work became so celebrated as to be
known as opus anglicanum. 1 It is significant that

1 Opus anglicanum has been identified by some writers as
chain-stitch, which has been considered a peculiarity of early
English embroidery. However, no authorities clearly show what
the opus anglicanum really was; and the same may be said
of the opus plumarium, opus pulvinarium and opus pectineum,
which occur in old records and inventories. The association of
these titles with the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in this
country shows that embroidery, like many other arts, missal-
painting and architecture for example, was in full practice at
these periods, but beyond this no value in conveying precise or
technical information attaches to them. Opus consutum is cer-
tainly work stitched together, i.e. patch or applied work. Opus



FROM SAXON TO TUDOR TIMES 7

it is at this period that English illuminated
manuscripts reach their highest level. 1 From the
Conquest down to the sixteenth century refer-
ence to costly secular, as well as ecclesiastical,
embroidery is constant in historical documents,
while the inventories and accounts make frequent
mention of embroiderers, and we read of men
practising the craft as well as women. Thomas
Cheiner was paid ^140 for a vest of velvet
embroidered with divers work, purchased by
Edward III for his own chaplain.

The Close Rolls, 1252, record that John de
Somercote and Roger the tailor (scissori\ living
at Lichfield, were commanded to get made richly
embroidered silken robes (tunics and the like), of
which two were for the King and two for the
Queen, in anticipation of the marriage of the
Princess Margaret. Three robes are ordered for
the Queen with "queyntisis" (devices), one of these

plumarium has been described by Lady Marion Alford as a series
of stitches of equal length, taken so as to lie close together,
giving an appearance like the surface of a feather, but for this
there is no authority.

1 " The artistic instinct was not destroyed, but rather strength-
ened, by the incoming Norman influence ; and of the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries there is abundant material to show that
English book-decoration was then at least equal to that of
neighbouring countries. In our art of the fourteenth century
we claim a still higher position, and contend that no other
nation could at that time produce such graceful drawings "
("English Illuminated Manuscripts," by Sir Edward Maunde
Thompson).



8 ENGLISH SECULAR EMBROIDERY

being a robe of the best violet-coloured brocade
they can procure, with three small leopards in the
front and three others behind. 1

A great deal of work was done by the royal
ladies themselves. In a wardrobe account of
Edward I we find a charge of eight shillings for
silk bought for the embroidery work of Margaret,
the King's daughter, and another for four ounces
of silk, and two hundred ounces of gold thread. 2

In a wardrobe account of Edward III, the
sum of 2 js. 2d. is expended in the purchase of
gold thread, silk, etc., for his second daughter,



oanna. 3



A great deal of English thirteenth-century
ecclesiastical embroidery is suggestive of wrought
metal-work in its continuous light scrolls and
spirals with or without foliations. The mention
of "goldsmythes furste and ryche jeweleres, and
by hemself crafty broderes " appears to point to
specializing in crafts, as well perhaps as to co-
operation between the goldsmith, the jeweller, 4
and the embroiderer in the execution of such
commissions, as, for example, one given by
Henry III in 1244, to Edward Fitz Odo, the son
of Odo, a famous goldsmith at Westminster, for
" a dragon in the manner of a standard or ensign

1 Introduction to Close Rolls, Sir T. Hardy.

2 " Liber de Garderobe," 23 Edw. P.R.O.

3 12-16 Edw. III. P.R.O.

4 A. S. Cole, "The Art Workers' Quarterly," April 1906.




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FROM SAXON TO TUDOR TIMES 9

of red samit (silk) to be embroidered with gold,
and his tongue to appear as continually moving,
and his eyes of sapphire and other stones."

A figure of a knight on horseback, at Stony-
hurst College, may be regarded as a detail of
secular embroidery. In it we have flattened gold
thread, intermingled with silver thread, which is
a characteristic of the thirteenth century.

In the possession of the Dean and Chapter of
Worcester is a specimen of the embroidered bor-
ders, usually worked in gold thread, which were
of frequent occurrence in the thirteenth century.
It was found in 1870, with other fragments of
gold thread work, in a stone coffin, which is con-
sidered to be that of William de Blois (1218-1236).
A somewhat later fragment, removed in 1861 from
the stone coffin of Bishop Walter de Cantelupe
(1236-1266) in Worcester Cathedral, has a plain


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