Feltwork Picture of Charlotte Mourning Werter,

Feltwork Picture of Charlotte Mourning Werter,

English, circa 1840

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sight size: 11¾” diameter • framed size: 14¼” diameter • price: $1800

This handsome rondel is a lovely needlework depiction of Charlotte mourning Werter from The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). The 1774 novella is the romantic tragedy of a young, artistic man who falls deeply in love with a beautiful young lady, Charlotte. It was, however, an unrequited love and led Werter to take his own life. It was an extremely popular story and became a widely used pictorial subject matter for embroideries of the period - a highly emotional scene that tugged at the hearts of many a young lady.

The needlework displays Charlotte cloaked, holding a book as her brown eyes gaze on the ornate tomb of Werter, while the setting of trees and lawn create a beautifully textured backdrop. The work itself is an appealing combination of techniques including long silk and wool stitches, appliqued and embroidered areas of felted wool, and finely painted and inked paper for Charlotte’s face and hands holding the book. A nice neutral palette of color against the lovely blue felt ground is notably pleasing, as well. We have known of other, similar examples of this tradition of English embroideries worked on a blue wool ground.

This picture remains in excellent condition and in its excellent, original gold leaf frame.

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