|ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / book reviews, articles|
Shepley (1575-1631), Embroiderer to the
High and Mighty Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
in: Textile History, 32 (2), p. 133-155, 2001
by: Patricia Wardle
in english, p. 133 - 155,
|In the 17th c. all
professional embroiderers were men. A good deal of their
work to three Stuart kings James I, Charles I and Charles
II is known, but very little actually survives.
The article deals with the embroidery and the conditions under which it was carried out, to be found in the accounts of Charles I as Prince of Wales.
The Prince of Wales position required a grand setting, a portrait shows him in an ermine-lined cloak with the insigna of the Order of the Garter, seated on a throne under a cloth of state embroidered with coats of arms. A table is covered with a border of gold embroidery and gold fringe.
When Charles was Prince of Wales, embroidered clothes
for men were no longer fashionable. The Princes
requirements in respect of hunting and tilting at the
ring were more significant. Accounts contain the expenses
for a Tilt in May 1621. Charles ordered
new outfits for himself and his entourage.
Prince of Wales,
|3 expensive embroidered
suits were sent to Spain. The first involved 83
embroiderers working for 6 days and 74 for 5 nights. The
second and the third had 84 for 6 days and 48 for 6
nights, they cost around £ 300 a piece. Moreover the
Prince sent for tilting furnitures. This huge job had to
be worked in haste. He wanted a pavilion to rest after
running, which had to match with his new tilting set. The
cost amounted to £881.16.1.
From the accounts of
Charles, the embroiderer John Shepley emerges
as a supremely practical man, who knew how to command a
huge company of embroiderers to carry out large or urgent
orders. His detailed accounts provide a unique glimpse of
life in a 17th c. royal workshop.
Broderick, by an unknown artist, dated 1614,
|Shepley, as embroiderer to
the Prince of Wales first worked together with Edmund
Harrison. In 1625 Charles I appears to have granted the
post of embroiderer to Edmund Harrison alone.
Appendices are published
I - Accounts for masque costumes
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, by Nicolas Hilliard, c. 1595, National Portrait Gallery, London
|home content||Last revised January 25, 2002||
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