White-on-White Needlework Fragment,

White-on-White Needlework Fragment,

Continental Europe, circa 1830

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sight size: 21¾” x 8” • framed size: 24” x 10¼” • sold

This outstanding display of needlework showcases excellent composition and extraordinary technique. The needleworker used extremely precise stitches and very tight and neatly worked raised work all while working white onto white, a very significant accomplishment. A dog and a ram comprised of many small and densely worked French knots, each on their own tufts of land with trees, a long-tailed bird perched on a branch, a leafy oak sprig with acorns, and an elaborate flower arrangement in an urn with incredibly fine eyelets are the motifs that span the top half of this cotton ground. Five different decorative flowering bands reminiscent of Johann Friedrich Netto’s patterns comprise the rest of the composition. In the late eighteenth century, Netto, of Leipzig, Germany, published a series of books including needlework designs, which were widely used and done so for many years. It is likely that these patterns were from his books, or an evolution of his designs. The initials L. Y. Y., stitched on either side of the bird, are the only clue into the highly adept needleworker, whose exacting skill is further evidenced by the photo of the reverse of this piece (image below).

In fact, this is the bottom register fragment of a piece of exceptional needlework - a larger sampler that had unfortunate condition issues and this is all that remains. It has been conservation mounted and is now in a modern frame.

(image of the reverse)

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