ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews

Book reviews - 1998


Der Schatz des Gnadenbildes im Dom zu Aachen
articles: by Georg Minkenberg, Wibke Huebner, Monica Paredis-Vroon
catalogue of costumes for the statue of Virgin Mary and Child,
Aachen, 1996, booklet, 64 p., some black and white pictures
summary by A.W:
G. Minkenberg writes about the miraculous Maria statue of the cathedral of Aachen, its insignia, jewels and votive gifts.
Wibke Huebner traces the history of clothing of statues and together with Monica Paredis-Vroon she compilated the present catalogue of costumes for Virgin Mary and Child.
The catalogue is small and made in a simple way. It is useful as it describes the costumes, with datation, measurements, Inventary Numbers, technique and condition of the pieces. Only few black and white illustrations are added.
The wooden statue was first sculptured in 1325. A fire of 1676 destroyed it and only the face and the right hand of the Virgin and the face of Christ were saved. These parts were fitted in a new baroque statue. 38 costumes of the statue are preserved in the treasury of the cathedral. The oldest costume was donated in 1629 by Isabella Clara Eugenia (regent of Belgium). Other famous donations were: in 1700 a red gown by Eleonore of Wittelsbach, in 1690 a red velvet gown by emperor Joseph Ist. The newest costumes were made in 1985 by Elisabethinnen Schwestern, Kloster Preussweg, Aachen, in 1987 by Christa Queck, Aachen, in 1992 by Josefa Willms, Aachen.

Johann Hubert Kessel, Das Gnadenbild Unserer Lieben Frau in der Stiftskirche zu Aachen, nach verschiedenen im Wechsel der Zeit vorgenommenen Formen, Aachen, 1878, S. 79.
Georg Minkenberg: Die Stiftungen der Isabella Clara Eugenia fuer die Muensterkirche zu Aachen, Aachen 1986, S. 3ff.
Monica Paredis-Vroon: Een schenking van aartshertogin Isabella. Borduurwerk uit de Zuidelijke Nederlanden uit de 17de eeuw? In: Bulletin 1994 Borduurwerk en merklappen van het VVOHT Vlaamse Vereniging voor Oud en Hedendaags Textiel, Ranst-Oelegem, Belgie.
Petra Hesse, Die Paramentenstickereien der Schwestern vom armen Kinde Jesu 1848-1914. Ein Beitrag zum sakralen Kunsthandwerk des Historismus im Rheinland, Phil.Diss. Mainz 1996 (see catalogue p.44)

Doretta Davanzo Poli, ‘Tessuti Merletti Ricami degli Antichi Ospedali Veneziani’
Vicenza 1997.
Text in Italian, illustrated in colour and black and white.
Each year the Vicenza Antiquaria, the antiques fair in Vicenza presents a selection of the best items from the ‘minor’ museum collections of the Veneto. This year the choice fell on church vestments and lace from the collection of the Istituzioni di Ricovero e di Educazione, the old hospitals, charitable institutions and girl’s schools of Venice. This collection of nearly 1000 objects is scattered over various churches, oratories and institutes.
The selection shown in Vicenza included chasubles from three sets of embroidered vestments. Two with rich embroidery in coloured silks and gold thread are dated to the first half of the 18th century and attributed to Venetian workshops. The third, embroidered in coloured silks, has a design of 18th-century inspriation, but with elements that date it to the second half of the 19th century. Nos 1 and 3 come from the Ospedale dei Derelitti (l’Ospedaletto), no 2 from Pio Luogo delle Penetenti.  

catalogue: Rubenstextiel/Rubens’s Textiles
Antwerp 1997
text in Dutch and English,
illustrated in colour and black and white
This exhibition, held in the splendid setting of the Hessenhuis, a 16th-century warehouse of which the interior was adapted in the 19th century, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Rubens House in Antwerp. The last section of the lavish catalogue, which is devoted to embroidery, begins with an excellent introduction by Frieda Sorber on embroidery in Antwerp in the 17th century. Much documentary evidence is presented on professional embroiderers, whose numbers increased in the first half of the century, but declined sharply thereafter. An interesting aspect here is the evidence of contact between Antwerp embroiderers and their counterparts in Spain. Records reveal that the period of apprenticeship for an embroiderer was three years, after which he could become a master, provided he could afford the enrolment fee. There are no references to women in the registers of the Antwerp Guild of St Luke, the painters’ guild to which the embroiderers also belonged, in the first half of the 17th century and only two in the second half.

The professional embroiderers in the guild mainly did church work, but they probably also embroidered costume items such as gloves, although, to judge from inventories and account books, not much embroidery seems to have been worn by well-to-do people in 17th-century Antwerp. Embroidery was also used only sparsely for furnishing, but many inventories contain references to embroidered pictures, some of which may have been amateur work. Nor have any Antwerp cabinets decorated with embroidery been found in Antwerp inventories as yet, although they are mentioned in trade records from 1621 to at least 1665. Interesting documentary evidence is also given in the discussion of techniques.
The section on white embroidery on linen naturally focusses on the records of the Plantin firm, but other accounts are also quoted, notably those of the De Wael firm from 1648 onwards, which contain several references to whitework designed in Antwerp and combined with Flemish lace, but actually worked in Spain.

By contrast to all this commercial activity, references to amateur work done at school or in the home are almost nonexistent. Nor were any pattern books ever published in Antwerp. The embroideries in the exhibition, all illustrated in colour, have scenes after compositions by Rubens, which continued to be used up to the first quarter of the 18th century. These are worked in or nue and/or needle painting and show varying degrees of refinement. It seems possible to distinguish various hands, but no attributions can be made to a particular workshop.

Altar frontal

Chasuble, with symbols
of Four Evangelists

One piece bears the date 1658: a chalice veil showing the Descent of the Holy Ghost surrounded by beautifully worked symmetrical coiling stem and formal ornament in gold thread of various kinds on a red satin ground.

The most splendid embroidery in the exhibition was a breathtakingly beautiful altar frontal with a central scene of the Baptism of Christ done in subtle needle painting, which is surrounded by cherubs’ heads and a design of scrolling branches with flowers, fruit and leaves worked mainly in gold and some silver thread in relief against a background embroidered in silver thread. The gold embroidery is further enhanced by subtle accents in coloured silks, but the most extraordinary thing about it is that, although it is so rich and extensive, it does not distract attention from the small central medaillion. Unfortunately the catalogue contains only a detail photograph of the latter, which does not do justice to the beauty of the frontal as a whole. It belonged to the Begijnhof church at Lier and probably came from the same workshop as a chasuble orphrey from Antwerp Cathedral showing the Resurrection surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists, the purchase of which was recorded in 1721, though without any mention of the name of the embroiderer, who was certainly a supreme craftsmen, not to say artist. These pieces are, indeed, all the more remarkable for dating from a period when this kind of embroidery was rapidly going out of fashion.

Chalice veil, 1658

Bernice Archer, ‘A Patchwork of Internment’
in: History Today,
July 1997, pp.11-18
An interesting account of three patchwork quilts made by British and Commonwealth women who were interned in Chiangi gaol in Singapore from 1942 to the middle of 1944. The quilts, each composed of 66 six-inch squares of white sacking embroidered and signed by individual women, were made as gifts for the British, Australian and Japanese Red Cross. They were also a way of communicating with the women’s menfolk, who at that time were interned in Chiangi Military Barracks. Many of the squares inevitably reflect the popular floral embroidery of the day and there is even a ‘crinoline lady’ in one of them, but some contain nostalgic or patriotic motifs or reflections of the women’s harsh situation. The quilts given to the Japanese and Australian Red Cross are now at the Canberra War Memorial in Australia, that given to the British Red Cross in the British Red Cross Museum.

Say it with flowers: the whole quilt made for the Japanese Red Cross in which the women were careful to avoid blatantly antagonistic images, but which, bearing the stitched signatures ofits makers, remains nevertheless a poignant testament to their courage and endurance

"It was only a dream":a detail from the British quilt

"Something of herself": a detail from the British quilt which includes Scottish and Welsh national symbols.

Elsi Giauque, 1900-1989, Wegbereiterin der modernen Kunst
Thesis of the University of Zuerich, by Johanna Morel von Schulthess

Berne 1997, ISBN -3-716-1078-5, sFr. 89.-
320 pages, 207 black and white and coloured pictures, in german

Summary by A.W,
The monography of the textile artist is divided into 3 parts. The first part is dedicated to biographical statements, part two deals with the artistic development, part three is a work catalogue.
Elsi Giauque-Kleinpeter studied at Zuerich School of Arts and Crafts and her most important teachers were Sophie Taeuber Arp (1889-1943) and Otto Morach (1887-1973). She was married to her collegue and painter Fernand Giauque. From 1925-1943 they made their living by creating and selling works of art and craft. In 1925 they exhibited in Paris at the international exhibition of decorative art, and in 1928 Elsi took part at the Swiss women’s exhibition SAFFA.

From 1944-1966 she was teaching students at the Zuerich School of Arts and Crafts. In early years she was experimenting with different techniques and there are a few embroideries and also printed textiles. But the period from 1967-1989 was most important for her artistic development.
During her studies in Zuerich she learned how to play with marionettes. Later on from 1930-40 she and her husband had their own puppet show. Here she was fascinated by the movement of the threads. It became the basis of her future work. She was convinced that textile art has its own language an there is no connection with painting.

Elsi Giauque exhibited many times at the Biennials of Lausanne and all Triennials of Milan. Her works are exhibited in museums, churches, theaters, schools and private houses. Here she developed space installations. Her "element spatial" was shown in different exhibitions. With these and other textile space sculptures she became one of the pioneers of free textile art.

An Elizabethan Inheritance, The Hardwick Hall Textiles
by Santina M. Levey, London 1998, ISBN 0 7078 0249 0

112 pages, 100 pictures most of them in colour

Introduction, 1) before the building of the New Hall, 2) Hardwick New Hall and the 1601 inventory, 3) Embroidery, needlework and other techniques, 4) the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 5) the 6th Duke and beyond.
Notes, Bibliography, Appendix, Glossary, Index

In this first lavishly illustrated and authoritative introduction to the collection, Santina Levey places the textiles in their day-to-day context. Using account books and other archival material, she describes the origins of the different types of furnishing, whether bought ready-made or put together and decorated by embroiderers. Inventories, letters, and personal reminiscences are used to chart the later history of the house and the inevitable alterations that four hundred years of use wrought on the original furnishings.

A second volume will be published later in the form of a catalogue of the embroideries with full technical descriptions and information about the sources of their designs and subject-matter. They will also be assessed in relation to other surviving pieces and to relevant descriptions in sixteenth century archival material.

Bess as Lady Cavendish, painted by a follower of Eworth, c. 1557. She wears a quantity of jewellery and her fine clothes include a linen smock worked with red

The New Hall at Hardwick, viewed from the west with the initials E S for Elizabeth Shrewsbury showing silk clearly against the sky

Dorit Koehler, Die Paramentenstiftungen der Kaiserin Maria Theresia von Oesterreich,
Internationale Hochschulschriften, Bd. 261,

Waxmann Verlag 1998 (ISBN 3-89325-581-8), 259 pages, 58 black and white pictures,

Thesis of Dorit Koehler from Muenster, Germany:
art historian, and textile restorer

Main topic of the thesis are the vestments donated by empress Maria Theresia. An important one is the chasuable of 1773, today in the Schnuetgen Museum, Koeln. In an introductory part Dorit Koehler deals intensly with the vestments as a whole, compared to textile art of 18th century in Austria. On the basis of the Maria Theresia vestment-exhibition in Vienna of 1904 Dorit Koehler examins a great number of examples. In a catalogue she groupes all the donations according to embroidery techniques. She distinguishes: Metall embroidery, applications with intertwined cord or applications form shapes of flowers cut from silk ribbons.

Altogether 92 vestments are brought together and this gives a good idea of the dimension of the donations of the empress from 1740 to 1780.

chasuable 1773, Schnuetgenmuseum Cologne

details of chasuable Schnuetgenmuseum Cologne

Doretta Davanzo Poli,
Seta & Oro: la collezione tessile di Mariano Fortuny, Venice, 1997

text in Italian, illustrated in colour, ISBN 88-7743-187-3


part of the collection made by the designer Mariano Fortuny and his parents is on display at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana and the headquarters of the Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia in Venice until 24 th February 1998. The collection, acquired by the Venice Savings Bank in 1965, mostly comprises woven silks, but there are also some embroidered church vestments, Chinese imperial robes and embroidered items from areas like Turkestan and Croatia. The catalogue covers all the items in the colletion.

embroidered cap, 19th c.,
mediterranean country

richly embroidered shirt,
19th c., mediterranean country

M. Coppens
Mode en Belgique au XIX Siecle/Mode in Belgie in de 19de Eeuw, Musees Royaux d’art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 1996

text in French and Dutch, illustrated in colour and black and white, bibliography
Various types of embroidery are illustrated in this account of 19th-century fashions in Belgium. They include embroidered slippers, braces, uniforms and patterns for these, an embroidered linen dress of c. 1825, bags, a satin apron of c. 1845, a finely embroidered ball gown of 1894 and a satin dress of 1907-1909 with machine embroidery.

embroidered linen dress

detail of embroidery

Dilys E. Blum,
The Fine Art of Textiles, The Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art,
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1997

illustrated in colour and black and white, glossary, bibliography

sent by Pat Griffiths:
Embroideries figure in a number of sections in this splendidly illustrated book. Each section begins with a history of the acquisition of the type of textile in question, followed by a representative series of illustrations with full captions. On pp. 47-8 it is explained how the embroidery display by the Royal School of needlework in London at the Piladelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 led to the establishment in 1878 of an Art Needlework Department in what was then called the Pennsylvania Museum’s School of Industrial Design, which became a separate institution the year after. Embroideries were also acquired by the museum, mostly to serve as models for the application of art to industry, but collecting was not done systematically, so there are still many gaps in the collection.

Ecclesiastical embroideries (pp.49-55) include German, Italian and Flemish Medieval orphreys, a Spanish 17th-century chasuble, Tyrolean, German, Italian and French chasubles of the 18th century, including a German one dated 1755, and two Italian copes, one 17th, one 18th century.

Also illustrated (pp.56-612) are an English Elizabethan embroidered coif and 17th-century crewelwork hanging, French and Italian valances, an English herald’s tabard of the early 18th century, an American woman’s pocket and an 18th century stomacher and collar, possibly from Italy, a Swiss wall pocket, Spanish and Mexican work, a Berlin woolwork picture, an ecclesiastical embroidery attributed to Walter Crane, a curtain designed by Alexander Fisher and a handkerchief designed by Hector Guimard.

Borders from bed hangings, Italy, late 17th - early 18th c, 1953-2-9, 10a

A further section covers samplers and embroidered pictures (pp. 76-89), mainly from the large Whitman Sampler Collection donated in 1969. The collection as a whole numbers nearly 700 samplers and embroidered pictures. Illustrated are a Philadelphia school sampler of 1737, a varied selection of British samplers, Spanish and German examples, a dutch darning sampler and various American examples, including a whitework one of 1771, plus embroidered pictures of various dates.

The section on quilts and coverlets, pp. 89-101 comprises a fine array of American work of various kinds.
The collection further includes Persian (pp.116-7), Turkish (pp. 120-123), Algerian (p. 124), Greek Island (p. 125) and Central Asian (pp. 126-7) work; Indian embroidery of many kinds (pp. 130, 131, 133, 136, 137-146); Chinese embroideries including robes and work for the Western market (pp. 165, 168, 169, 172, 173-177) and fine Japanese embroideries, including kimonos (pp. 180-183, 185, 186, 189, 191).

La revue du Louvre et des Musees de France:
Les tentures brodees de l’Arsenal, au Musee National de la Renaissance:

Nouvelles recherches iconographiques

sent by the author Daniele Veron-Denise,
reported by A.W.:

In this article the series of 4 embroidered tapestries is compared with 3 similar and at the same time different designs:
The tapestries show Apollo, Juno, Venus, Saturn and they were identified by M.J.P. Babelon in 1967 as belonging to Sully, the coat of arms are those of the family Bethune Sully. Venus of the tapestries could very well represent Gabrielle d’Estrees maîtresse of Henry 4, and she could have ordered the series between 1594-1599. Nicolas Fleury, valet de chambre and embroiderer of Henry 4, possibly embroidered them.
Gabrielle died on the 10th of April 1599 at the birth of her 4th child. At that time her father Antoine d’Estrees lived as grand maître d’Artillerie in the Arsenal. When he learned about his daughters death he very quickly saved her precious belongings.
The king forced him to quit his position and his predecessor since November 13th 1599 was Sully. He also lived in the Arsenal and probably found the tapestries here. He might have had the idea to complete the series representing himself and his family. In his inventary of 1634 the embroiderer Boudin is named.

Diane, design of the collection de Gagnieres, Paris, Bibl. Nat.

Venus, tenture de l’arsenal. Ecouen

A Schole-House for the Needle
a reprint of Richard Shorleyker in 1632
with an historical background
by Santina M. Levey
A reprint of a rare Lace and Embroidery Pattern book. Over 60 illustrations of lace and embroidery patterns from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
With an Introduction from The Lace Guild and a Foreword from The Embroiderers’ Guild.

Available only from: Elizabeth Mason 44 Beaumaris Road Newport Shropshire TF10 7BN
Price £ 12.50 each plus P&P - UK £1.25,
surface mail: all countries £2.10
Air Mail: Europe £2.45 - USA £4.40 - Australia and Canada £5.15

Rebecca Scott, Witney Antiques
96-100 Corn Street, Witney, Oxon. OX8 7BU.
Tel: 01993 703902, Fax: 01993 779852
Oxford 1997, ISBN 09518186 51
48 pages, 47pictures in colour

reported by A.W.
The 5th sampler exhibition of Whitney Antiques of 1997 the theme of British and Irish place names is chosen. Included is a group of four Quaker samplers from Ackworth School and two Manchester Sunday School samplers. They have not been illustrated previously.
The names of the village or town in which the samplers were worked enabled to trace specific details about the institutions in which the samplers were worked.
Ackworth School was founded by Dr. John Fothergill in 1779 from the Foundling Hospital at Ackworth, Yorkshire. Education was provided for children whose parents were of the Quaker faith. Until 1847 there were no annual holidays and many of the children did not return home until after their education was completed. Education was combined with manual work. Extra money was earned by taking orders for plain sewing from the outside community.
The girls embroidered their samplers in one colour in cross stitch on a woollen ground. The motifs appear in a series of medaillons and octagons with a border of hall shapes. These forms peculiar to Quaker needlework are also to be found in America.

During the early 19th c. the Sunday School movement was the only education available to the poor. It was started by Robert Raikes (1735-1811) around 1780. The growth of the movement was due to Sara Trimmer and Hannah More. Children could be admitted from the age of 5 years and they were taught reading by studying the bible. The girls were also taught sewing and knitting skills.

cat 16 Ann Davis. 1807. Ackworth School.
Ackworth, West Yorkshire

cat. 42 Alice Allcock 1846, Bennett street
Sunday School, Manchester



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