|ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / book reviews|
reviews - 1996
by Patricia Wardle Griffiths, Amsterdam,
in: Textile History, part I: 25, 29-59, 1994 and part II: 26, 139-184, 1995,
The Kings's Embroiderer: Edmund Harrison (1590-1667),
Edmund Harrison's career spanned the troubled period from the later years of James I's reign to the early part of that of Charles II. He is the best known of English professional embroiderers.
Part I: The man and his milieu, deals
with Harrison's life and his position in the society of
Summary of part II:
The different types of
objects Harrison embroidered were:
Bed hangings: The
accounts show that Harrison did little domestic
embroidery. There are no references to embroidered
table carpets. Harrison seems to have been confined to
repair work in this section.
Covers for Bibles and Prayer Books: a number of bibles and prayerbooks with embroidered covers have survived. They bear the arms of James I, Charles I or Charles II, but they cannot be attributed to Edmund Harrison. They were not only commissioned by the king but also presented to him.
Ecclesiastical Embroidery: a considerable proportion of Harrisons official work comprised embroidery for church use. A good deal involved repairing and restoring of existing pieces. He repaired e.g. embroidered "fronts" which meant in the 17th cent. both, altar frontal and dossal. In 1630 he worked a rich offering cushion.
Private Patrons: The embroidery on some of the altar frontals and dossals is close to that of Harrison's known work for private patrons.
most important works of art are the so called Corby
Three of the six pictures bear inscriptions on the back, stating that they were made by Edmund Harrison in 1637. They show scenes of the life of the Virgin:
the Marriage of the Virgin, the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Shepherds, the Adoration of the Magi, the Circumcision.
of the compositions are almost square, the other three
approximately show the same width, but they are twice as
high. A suggestion is that the 3 larger scenes formed a
triptych with the 3 smaller ones as predella, but this
does not seem very likely.
|Only 4 of the original 6
are now known, a photograph exists of a 5th. In the sale
catalogue of 1922 it is stated that "All the above
pictures came from William Howard, Lord Stafford
(1611-1680), and have been in the posession of the
present owner's family since the middle of the 17th cent.
Family history is cited to show how they came to Corby Castle. They are traditionally said to have been made by Lord Stafford, but they could also have been commissioned by his mother Lady Alethea Talbot (died 1654) wife of Thomas Howard. She was the granddaughter of Bess of Hardwick (1521-1608), and her mother was Mary, Countess of Shrewsbury. Alethea Talbot brought to her husband additional wealth and also shared his love of art collecting and travel. She could have had a reason for commissioning the pictures in 1637. Possibly as a wedding present for her son. In the same year she acquired Tart Hall in London and one of the rooms might well have been an oratory or chapel.
Related by its technique
is an altar-dossal with an applied scene of the Last
Supper. Similarity in style can be seen in some of
the faces. The same unusual composition can be found on
an engraving by Hieronymus Wierix (c. 1553-1629).
The author closes her research work with the question whether Harrison embroidered these pieces himself. And she believes that this was the case, because the Collegues in the Broderer's Company describe him in 1660 as "the ablest worker living". (summary by AW)
by Dr. Leonie von Wilckens, Munich, Germany,
Die Bildfolge von Gawan auf dem gestickten Behang in Braunschweig,
in: Niederdeutsche Beitraege zur Kunstgeschichte, 33. Bd., Berlin 1994, S. 41
The embroidery was formerly called Percival tapestry, since 1979 it is known as picture story of Gawan.
Preserved in Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum. Wool embroidery on linen, around 1350-60.
Fragmentarily preserved, originally 437 cm long. There are 3 rows with pictures and with inscriptions.
In 1877 it was found sewn into a green cloth in the former convent of Heiligkreuz in Braunschweig.
|The work can
be compared with the wool embroideries from 14th c. of
Wienhausen, it is probably the same time, origin,
Gawan was a nephew of King Artus and together with Erec and Iwein he was one of the most famous Cavaliers of the Round Table.
The events are shown on a frontline and there is almost no evidence of space. The program of the picture story tells very detailed what Gawan had to do for his beloved Orgeluse. The embroidery shows rather the outer events and not so much the sense behind, as can be found in the book of Wolfram von Eschenbach about 150 years earlier.
In the first row Orgeluse rejects Gawan's courting. In the second row he has to save the castle of Marveile and one of his tasks is to jump on a bed which rushes on rollers of ruby through the room, then he fights with a lion. He gets wounded, but as the castle is now saved, ladies find him and take care of him. In the lowest row Gawan has to pick a branch from a certain tree.
He then brings the branch to Orgeluse and now the wedding can take place.Representations of the castle of Marveile can also be found in contemporary ivory carvings and also in book illuminations of 14th c. In the latter the same kind of picture story in rows one above the other shows the growing delight in telling stories. But picture rows remained short lived, they can be found above all in Bohemia or in provincial austrian wall-painting.
Gawan tapestry, 1350-1360, wool embroidery, Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum
Griechische, Sizilische, Italienische und andere
Stickereien des 12. und 13. Jhs., von Leonie von Wilckens
- 2 medaillons of a silk
coat in the Cathedral of Speyer, from Philipp of Schwaben
With these embroideries
L.v.Wilckens compares 3 similar pieces:
in: Regensburg im Mittelalter, Beitraege zur Stadtgeschichte vom fruehen Mittelalter bis zum Beginn der Neuzeit, hgg. von Martin Angerer und Heinrich Wanderwitz, Regensburg, 1995, S. 445
|Article by Margaret Swain, Edinburgh
in: Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 124 (1994), 455-466,
The Lochleven and Linlithgow hangings
Panel and 2 valances
Five embroidered panels on red woollen cloth with matching valances, said to have come from Lochleven Castle, and now in the National Museums of Scotland, and in a private collection, are discussed together with three panels in a similar technique belonging to the Museum and to St. Leonards School, St. Andrews. It is suggested that the panels from Lochleven were probably wall hangings for a room and were part of the furnishings of the New House of Lochleven, belonging to the Earls of Morton, rather than the Castle, that was part of the estate bought by Sir William Bruce before he built Kinross House. They were probably made in a professional embroidery workshop in Edinburgh during the first half of the 17th century. The history of the panels from Linlithgow cannot now be traced, but the material and technique show that they derive from the same workshop and must be of the same date.
one of the roses on the Lochleven set
in St Petersburg, reported by Anne Wanner,
Exhibition catalogue in
russian and english, ISBN 5-88654-019-9, printed by
P&CS - Italy,
Historicism as Artistic Phenomena is a general article on historicism.
Historicism in Russia: concentrates on the phenomena in Russia. First it deals with architecture. St Petersburg was a capital of historicism, with architects like Alexandre Briullov, Andrei Stakenschneider, Yuri Bosse, Hyppolite Monighetti and others. Most of the buildings of the extant St Petersburg were put up in the period of Historicism.
The catalogue is
divided into subject matters and among them there are 4
By the end of the 19th century a number of specialized schools and handicraft centres were founded.
kerchief, Russia, second half 19th c., cat. 801
Kerchief, West Europe, second half of the 19th c., cat. 830, Inv.Nr. T-237
St Petersburg 1994, ISBN
Summary by Anne Wanner,
After baron Stieglitzs death the school received another donation for perfecting educational methods and for expanding the museum collections. The construction of the building for the Stieglitz School Museum started in summer 1885 and in 1896 the inauguration took place. In the museum collection preference was given to west-european applied arts. In 1902 the collection exceeded 15000 works. In 1907 the majority of the State Institutions were closed and so was the school museum. World war II created new hardships. In the post revolutionary period museum collections were replenished by nationalized private collections and by those from other museums. By the end of 1923 it was decided that Museums Collections should be conveyed to the Hermitage.
became Leningrad School of Industrial Arts and in 1953 it
was renamed after the sculptor V.I.Mukhina. The life in
the Museum Halls revived and for the collection a new
period started. Although the Hermitage returned 800
items, the former Baron Stieglitz textile collection did
not come back.
In 1947 the Russian Museum bestowed 3200 patterns of cotton cloth produced in 1920s - 30s with propaganda topical and abstract pictures on them. It is of great value for researchers and for the contemporary textile designers. By early 1950s the Museum also possessed a voluminous collection of silk and brocade fabrics form 18th to 20th c. Since 1979 the museum building is protected by the State as an unique architectural monument.
The present Museum has more than 30000 items in its collections, its history is connected with the new school. It does not however try to imitate the formerly famous Baron Stieglitz Museum.
Entrance Hall of Baron Stieglitz, Museum, General View
Summary by Pat Griffiths
This book provides an excellent survey of the history of the two societies founded in the Netherlands in the early 1870s to help impoverished gentlewomen to earn a living by needlework. Arbeit Adelt (Work Enobles) was started in 1871; Tesselschade (named after Maria Tesselschade Roemer Visscher, 1594-1649, a famous poet, glass-engraver and embroiderer) began the following year as a result of a split in Arbeit Adelt.Tesselschade in particular played an important role in the art needlework movement and the effort to improve standards in needlework by publishing two influential books. Pressure from both societies led to the establishment in 1883 of an Art Needlework Class in the National Applied Arts School under Ida Winkler (1861-1950), a teacher brought in from Vienna, and the institution of new needlework exams in schools in 1885.
The societies sold needlework at bazaars, exhibitions and their own shops all over the country, while later helping women to find work in other ways, e.g. by running courses for "mothers helps" and by advertising posts as carers. In 1905 a similar society was set up in the then Dutch East Indies under the name Roemer Visscher for the benefit of European and Indo-European women. This survived until the end of the fifties. In the twenties Arbeit Adelt helped a womens orgnization in Hungary by sending materials to women there and selling their products in the Netherlands.
Both organizations managed to survive the difficult years of the thirties and even the Occupation. Ironically, the situation proved more difficult after the war in some ways, partly because of government restrictions, but also because more opportunities were now open to women and standards in needlework had again fallen. All this eventually led to the societies deciding to amalgamate in 1952. After that their work continued much as before, a commission for cloths and bookmarks embroidered in silk and gold coming to the Rotterdam branch in 1954 from the Dutch church of Austin Friars in London (it would be interesting to know if these pieces are still in existence). Since the seventies they have also given grants to enable women to take courses in a wide range of subjects: the author of this book was enabled to complete her studies at Leiden University, while at the other extreme a girl was helped to learn oxy-acetyline welding!
Although the societies originally led the way in reforming needlework in the Netherlands, the work they produce nowadays is all too traditional: smocked garments for children, samplers or linen objects with sampler motifs of floral embroidery, dressed dolls, soft toys, ets. The standard of the needlework remains a constant concern: in 1993 a Fine Needlework Committee was formed to try to bring back techniques such as drawn thread work, which had almost died out. Enthusiasts can still be found both to do and organize the work: there are now over 11000 members all over the country, while 100000 guilders are given out every year in grants and the turnover of the needlework amounts to around a million guilders. Both societies have always enjoyed royal patronage and their 125th anniversary was celebrated earlier this year by an exhibition at the royal palace Het Loo.
Grieten & J. Bungeneers (eds),
Summary by Pat Griffiths
This splendid publication not only covers all the art objects (movable and immovable) in Antwerp Cathedral, but also lists items now lost, but recorded in inventories. Thus it is a mine of information on the rich textile collections, which have been catalogued by Frieda Sorber.
Embroidery is to be found in abundance in the sections on altar frontals (pp.28-37), liturgical textiles (pp. 273-280, 297-310), ornaments and clothes for images (pp. 352-4) and miscellaneous textiles (p. 495-7). As a result of various terrible events in the 16th century: a great fire in 1533, the iconoclasm in 1566 and the removal of church furniture and art treasures under the Calvinists in 1581, nothing survives from before c. 1600. However some of the rich variety of embroideries after that date are very well documented. A notable example is a set of Tree of Jesse vestments made for the Guild of Our Lady in 1608-10 (No.844), for which the chasuble-maker Joos Geertssens embroidered the orphreys and hood (with the Virgin & Child & St Anne) of the cope and parts of the other vestments, while Hans Gillis embroidered figures from Jesses line on the dalmatics and François Hennekin did the Trees of Jesse on the chasuble orphreys and finished the borders of the sleeves of the dalmatics. In 1779-80 J.F. Melsens was paid for repairing the vestments and embroidering flower motifs in silk, chenille, sequins and gold and silver thread on them.
An interesting piece of secular embroidery given to the cathedral is a dress belonging to Maria Alexandrina Ursula Josepha de Fraula, which was presented by her widower, Philip Louis, Baron van de Werve de Schilde in 1770, a panel from which was made into a tablier for the image of the Virgin (no.920). The Virgins wardrobe also included a veil, tablier and side pieces for the image of the Holy Mother of God and a robe for the Child made by the J.F. Melsens mentioned above.
The book is also valuable for the documentary evidence relating to pieces now no longer extant. This goes back to the 15th century and contains a wealth of fascinating information. For instance, in 1477 the churchwardens paid the embroiderer Heynric de Duytsche for repairing and ornamenting three old orphreys they had bought that year (p.284) and in the same year he accompanied them, no doubt to give advice and moral support, when they went to make an expensive purchase of red cloth of gold for three copes, a chasuble and two tunics (p.300).
Another interesting reference shows an embroiderer supplying a wide range of materials. In 1523 the Guild of Our Lady bought from Lenart Sallet fifteen ells of white damask with gold flowers to make a chasuble. For this the embroiderer Paulus (probably Pauwel von Malsen, see also below) supplied the orphreys, fringes, silk ribbon, gold buttons and lining cloth (p. 274).
Gifts and bequests by private individuals include that made on 25 July 1561 by Cornelis de Vos and his wife Anne Velincx of a chasuble with a cross orphrey in gold relief embroidery, a dalmatic and a tunicle, both with gold orphreys and an altar frontal. These items were made of white damask and bore the embroidered arms of the Velincx family (p. 300).
Most fascinating of all, perhaps, is the chasuble ordered by the Merchants Guild in 1520 (p. 273). This was of cloth of gold embroidered with gold thread, pearls and silk and bearing a rendering of St Nicholas, the guilds patron saint. The embroiderer Pauwel van Malsen made the orphreys with their borders of gold relief embroidery and with large and small English pearls. The Painter Gommaar and another unnamed painter supplied designs for a pattern, while the figure of St Nicholas was designed by none other than Albrecht Duerer, who was in Antwerp at the time. The cloth of gold for the vestments was paid for in 1521, the embroiderers fees in 1522. In 1538 the embroiderer Peeter Bollaert was called in to replace a number of pearls that had fallen off and to do some additional embroidery: two renderings of St Nicholas and four medaillions, probably with a pair of scales, the guilds emblem. Further repairs were carried out in 1602-4, but on 3 July 1730 it was decided to have a new chasuble made and to have the old one, possibly this one, burnt to recover the precious metal. Thus perished a hitherto unknown work by Duerer, alas!
It was presumably the value of the precious metal that caused a red velvet altar frontal - embroidered for the Merchants Guild in 1591 with St Nicolas and two renderings of their emblem and listed in an inventory of 1612 - to be stolen in 1626. It was replaced by a new frontal in 1629, for which the silk merchant Jacques Cornelis presented the red velvet and the embroidery was done by Hieronymus Bernarts (p. 28).
The abundance of material of this kind in this publication makes it an invaluable source for embroidery scholars. Moreover I am informed by Frieda that there is actually a great deal more documentary evidence available, which could not be included here, so she plans to publish some of this in the near future. She also tells me that the cathedral is by no means the most interesting of the Antwerp churches as far as textiles are concerned. One can only wait with bated breath for further Kunstpatrimonium publications!
|home||Last revised January 20, 2001||For further information contact Anne Wanner firstname.lastname@example.org|