ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /   CIETA Embroidery Newsletters

Newsletter - of the CIETA Embroidery Group
Bulletin d’Information de Groupe Broderie de CIETA

No 5
May 1997

Dear members, St Gallen, 20 May 1997
Thank you again for your interest and your contributions.

In this letter you will find the description of some interesting exhibitions, for example the exhibition in the Jewish Museum in Amsterdam and the informative introduction of Pat Griffiths. Pat also corrected my summaries, I want to thank her very much for these contributions. I am also grateful to Rosalia Bonito Fanelli, she sent her lecture of 20th century embroideries.
You will probabliy be as surprised as I was when I read about the burse for the Great Seal of Elizabeth I. Santina Levey sent a first description of it. Thank you for this news.
I am looking forward to see many of you at the conference in Cambridge in September, best wishes to all of you, yours

Anne Wanner-JeanRichard
Textilmuseum / Vadianstrasse 2
CH-9000 St Gallen / Switzerland

General information:
No 5 /May 1997/ 2

General information:

Conference in Cambridge, September 1997
Reunion of the Embroidery group will be held
probably Tuesday, 23rd of September 1997

subject: church embroideries of the 17th and 18th centuries

a special room will be reserved, there is no slide projector

please bring with you
photographs of church embroideries
- of your collection
- my proposition is that members prepare a short presentation and point out
special problems and unsolved questions

Three Ladies, all of them members of CIETA, ask to get the Embroidery News Letter:
- Dr Gudrun Sporbeck, Schnuetgen Museum,
- Mme Sylvette Lemagnen, Conservateur de la Bibliotheque municipale et de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, Rue aux Coqs, 14402 Bayeux Cedex
- Mme Jacqueline Guilloit, 19 Ave Charles de Gaulle, 76530 Gd Couronne

Embroidery lecture in Milano, Italy
Embroidery around 1900
No 5 / May 1997/ 3,4

Rosalia Bonito Fanelli
Fortune Del Ricamo: from a serie of Lectures
Centro Italiano Per Lo Studio Della Storia Del Tessuto
lecture: Renewal in Embroidery at the turn of the century
27 November 1996

During the period covering from the late nineteenth century up until the 1930s three tendencies in embroidery can be noted: 1) hand embroidery based on designs from antique model books and from traditional folk patterns, 2) mechanical embroidery strongly promoted because of the needs of contemporary female fashions, 3)embroidery as a pictorial and artistic medium.
In the first tendency the embroidery produced followed the patterns and techniques of the historical past, in particular, of the Renaissance.

"Aemilia Ars" style-Renaissance motif

This historical revival arose first of all in England due to the cultural ideas of the Preraphaelites and then was fully developed through the efforts of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and of Morris’s daughter, May, who was a teacher at the Royal School of Embroidery in South Kensington. But the historic revival in embroidery in Italy, rather, came about through the humanitarian and historic and artistic orientations of the "Industrie Femminili Italiene" (The Italian Feminine Industries), an organization of female cooperatives grouped together in 1903. Notable in these regional associations was the Bolognese cooperative, "Aemilia Ars". According to statistics in 1908 the organization comprised 32 regional committees and 473 associated enterprises which included laboratories and schools. These cooperative groups not only marked the rise in importance of women and their business capacities but also gave poor urban and country women a means to earn their own money. For some time in Protestant Europe and in the United States attempts had already been made to alleviate the feminine condition through embroidery and handicrafts. And it is not by chance that this philanthropic and humanitarian idea behind the Industrie Femminili Italiane was underwritten and sustained by illuminated Italian noblewomen and foreign women resident in Italy: for example, the countesses Cavazza, Adriana Marcello, Maria Pasolini, Antonia Suardi, or the foreignborn Cora Slocomb Brazzà, Esther Lyle Smith, Edith Bronson Rucellai and many others.
The second tendency of embroidery at this time owed it resurgence to the nineteenth-century invention and successive innovations of mechanical embroidery machinery such as Schiffli, Raschel and Cornely. From Belle Epoque fashions with intricate decorations in soutache, cordonet and jets, and from the fluttering, muslin garden-party dresses à la Proust with delicate white-on-white embroidery of 1905-1912, there is a passage to the straight shifts or chemise of the 1920s Charleston era completely covered with beads, sequins and false jewels. There is a passage from an exquisitely laborious and time-consuming, manual embroidery technique for these decorations to a mechanical application, a faster and more functional technique, though not necessarily less effective or more economical. The third tendency considered embroidery as a technical medium like paints or pencils for the execution of art works, above all in the applique technique. Examples of this usage can be found from the English "Arts and Crafts" to Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Expressionism, Fauvism,

Blouse - Art Nouveau motif

Futurism and Surrealism. Here, too, there is a significant participation of women not only executing the embroidery of art works designed by men - oftentimes husbands, sons or brothers - but also creating the very desings themselves.
While in England is found a renewed interest in the embroidered tapestry - a tradition which began in the Middle Ages with the Bayeux tapestry, in France occurs new artistic experimentation with applique and other embroidery stitches. Artists of the Symbolist movement such as Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson and Emile Bernard contributed important works.

In Italy the Futurist artists worked largely in the applique technique. In particular Fortunato Depero and Giacomo Balla utilized applique for wallhangings and clothing to create special "dynamic" effects throuth combinations and juxtapositions of cloth-segments of various forms and colors.
In fashion design, Sonia Delaunay created an inimitable style and Elsa Schiaparelli with the collaboration of Surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalì introduced a new vista in the field of embroidery.

New acquisition by the British Museum 1997
Elizabethan Burse
No 5 / May 1997/ 5

Embroidered Elizabethan Burse
which once held the Great Seal of England
(Note in: The Guardian, Thursday March 13, 1997)

contribution of Santina Levey
One of the most exciting embroideries to be acquired by an English museum in recent years is the superb panel from the front of a ceremonial burse (flat purse) whih had once held the Great Seal of England.
It is decorated with the Royal Coat of Arms beneath an Imperial Crown and supported by the English lion and the Welsh dragon. Below is a Tudor rose and the initials E R for Elizabeth Regina. Elizabeth I reigned from 1558 to 1603.
Before the panel appeared in a Sotheby’s sale catalogue in March 1997, it was believed that only one Tudor burse had survived (now in the Victoria & Albert Museum). The new panel , which is slightly larger (43 x 48 cm), is in better condition and has a history linking it with Sir Thomas Egerton, the last of the Queen’s five Lord Keepers. He was appointed in May 1596 and, after Elizabeth’s death in 1603, was also made Lord Chancellor by her successor, James I. The burse seems to have passed to a Welshman, Henry Jones, who was a member of Sir Thomas’s entourage and whose widow, Elizabeth, bequeathed in her will of 1632 ‘a cushion of velvet embrodered with gould which was a seale bag’. This

story is supported by the presence of two strips of velvet embroidered with wheat ears that are still attached to the sides of the burse. The history of the panel is being checked by the staff of the British Museum but they confident that the link with Thomas Egerton will be proved correct.

The burse is a wonderful example of English professional embroidery; on a panel of crimson velvet, with blue and crimson satin applied behind the Coat of Arms, gold and silver wire, thread, purl, strip and spangels have been skilfully worked over a padding to create a variety of patterns and textural effects. It is almost certainly the work of the Queen’s embroiderer, John Parr, who was appointed in 1581 and died in 1607.

Sent by Pat Grifiths
The embroidered purse which once held the great seal of Elizabeth I has been withdrawn from auction and acquired by the British Museum, after last-minute negotiations with the auctioneers, the National Art Collections Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The purse, in crimson velvet worked with gold and silver threads, has the lion and Welsh dragon flanking the royal arms, the initials ER, and a Tudor rose. It was to have been auctioned by Sotheby’s after being valued at more then £ 30’000. It would almost certainly have gone overseas. The British Museum has acquired it with a £ 28’200 lottery grant and a further £ 10’000 from the independent art charity, the National Art Collections Fund. The museum already holds the national collectrion of seal dies, and drawings from Elizabethan great seals.

The embroidery was found in an attic in London. The discovery in a trunk caused surprise as the family knew nothing of its history. An auction label on the frame gave the lot number 667, and said it came from Plas Llangoed in Anglesey. It set Sotheby’s on the trail of 400 years of history of the purse, and the Jones family whose Welsh estate was scattered by auction in 1890. Edward Jones, founder of the estate, was on the staff of Sir Thomas Egerton, the last of Elizabeth’s Lord Keepers of the Seal, and was presumably given the purse as a favour. It is recorded in his widow’s will of 1632 as "a cushion of velvet embrodered with gould which was a seale purse".



Masterworks in the Schnuetgen Museum, Cologne
picture book, embroideries among other textile works
No 5 / May 1997/ 6

Title: Textile Kunst aus Tausend Jahren, Meisterwerke im Schnuetgen-Museum, Koeln
author: Gudrun Sporbeck, Photographs by Thomas Zwillinger
year: 1996, text in German, pages: 79, illustrations: 35 most in colour, Koeln
ISBN 3-7743-0299-5

Exhibition in Benedictine Abbey of Admont, Auistria
Embroiderer Benno Haan
No 5 / May 1997/ 7

Title: Faszination in Seide, Gold und Silber
Benediktinerstift Admont, barocke Sakralstickereien im kunsthistorischen Museum
author: Dr Christl Eger
year: 1996, pages: 23, Illustrations: 15 black and white, 4 in colour, ISBN: no number
text in German

Exhibition and book, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
No 5 / May 1997/ 8


Title of the exhibition: Samplers 29 April - 31 August 1997
Octagon, Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge
Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday 10.00-17.00, Sunday 14.15-17.00, Closed Mondays, admission free

Title of the book: Samplers
author: Carol Humphrey
Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks, Cambridge, 1997, ISBN 0-521-57300-9

Further information from:
Carol Humphrey, Honorary Keeper of Textiles, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Tel: +44 (0)1223 332 900 Fax: +44 (0)1223 332 923
Fiona Brown, Press Officer, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, CB2 1RB
Tel: +44 (0)1223 332 941 Fax: +44 (0)1223 332 923

Exhibition and 2 catalogues, Amsterdam
Jewish textiles in the Netherlands
No 5 / May 1997/ 9,10

Title of exhibition: Joods van Stof. Verhalend textiel uit eigen collectie
18 April - 19 October 1997
Jewish Historical Museum, Jonas Daniël Meijerplein 2-4, Amsterdam

Title of the catalogue: Orphan Objects. Facets of the Textiles Collection
of the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam
authors: Daniel M. Swetschinski in collaboration with Julie-Marthe Cohen and Stephen Hartog
price ƒ 65 (paperback, obtainable at the exhibition only) or ƒ 85 (hardback, special price for the duration of the exhibition).


Exhibition, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Exotic textiles in the Netherlands

Book: Embroidery in India
"Nur Jahan's Embroidery Trade"
No 5 / May 1997/ 11

Title of the exhibition: Distance lends enchantment. Exotic textiles in the Netherlands
28 March - 14 September 1997
The exhibition is accompanied by a leaflet of the same title (obtainable in Dutch or English) with nine colour illustrations.

The subject is also covered in an article:
title: Prachtige vrachten. Exotisch textiel in Nederland, in: Antiek, April 1997, pp.402-419,
autor: Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis
with various other textiles illustrated in colour and black and white

Title: Nur Jahan’s Embroidery Trade and Flowers of the Taj Mahal,
in: Asian Art & Culture, Vol. 9, No 2, pp. 7-23
author: Ellison Banks Findly

year: 1996

Exhibition in the Textile Museum, St Gallen
Embroideries from Zagreb to Istanbul
No 5 / May 1997/ 12


Title of the exhibition: Coloured embroideries from Zagreb to Istanbul
18 March 1997 - end of February 1998
Textilmuseum, Vadianstrasse 2, CH- 9000 St.Gallen
Opening times: Monday-Saturday 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-17.00, Closed Sundays

Press release:
The collection of the Textile Museum contains a great number of embroideries from the Balkans. They reached the Museum in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At that time, people generally expressed a great interest in folk art and foreign peoples. these embroideries, however, predominantly served as a stimulus and as patterns for the textile designers who received their training at the College affiliated to the Museum. What was regarded as significant was the coloured patterning, and it was considered of slight importance that the Museum collection contained many fragments.
This present exhibition also includes a private family collection. These textiles illustrate the above mentioned interest in folk art, and they also visualise the stimulus these embroideries provided for other craft activities. At the beginning ov the 20th century, Erna Rothenhaeusler-Šaj from Croatia had received art training in Winterthur, Switzerland, and later, in Munich. She gort married in Switzerland and she retained an active interest in the craft of her native land all her life. Evidence of this are textile works with ethnic motivs, and various boxes decorated in a similar fashion.
The vivid colours of the Croat works point to a strong Austro-Hungarian, but also Slovakian folk art influence. By way of contrast, the light cotton cloths from Istanbul bring oriental Persian and Islamic influences to bear on the Balkans. They are decorated with delicate silk and gold embroideries, and apart from many different floral patterns, they also display representations of buildings and, in very rare cases, people. In the Osman emprire, cloths as such were of great importance in daily life. They were worn as sashes (known as kushak), shawls headscarves; they were used at table,

in the public baths, as covers; they provided covers for books, furniture, and mirrors. It is not easy to make clear distinctions between embroideries from other Balkan countries. Apart from features peculiar to individual regions, the delight in colours characteristic of the western Latin part is expressed in many places; elsewhere, Islamic and Orthodox influences are also evident.The stylistic development and the absorption of a variety of elements is undoubtedly connected with the historical past of the Balkans. This is where Orient and Occident with their differing views and religions meet, both impetuously and painfully. As a consequence, simmering unrest and military conflicts have remained to this day.

Book review: embroidery and collection in Stuttgart
Ruth Groenwoldt, Stickerei
No 5 / May 1997/ 13,14

Title: Stickerei, von der Vorzeit bis zur Gegenwart
author: Ruth Groenwoldt

year: 1995, text in German, pages: 288, illustrations: 460 alltogether, 260 in colour,
Hirmer, Muenchen, 1993 ISBN 3-7774-5840-6


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