ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  publications

Art hand embroidery in St.Gallen
a paper, given at the CIETA meeting of 1995 in Lyon, France, by Anne Wanner-JeanRichard

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  Drawn and Cut Threadwork of St Gallen
  Among the various types of needleworks that were produced in St.Gallen, I want to show one special group, that of drawn and cut threadwork.

This kind of needelwork was developed to perfection in Italy in the 16th cent. The pattern books of the 16th and 17th cent. spread this type all over Europe. These patterns are continued in the samplers of the 17th and 18th cent. which played an important part in the education of girls.

Drawn and cutwork was popular too, in England. Vinciolo was published in London in 1587, and in 1596 the publisher William Barley copied Giovannbattista Ciotti's lace patternbook.

Some very fine Italian samplers of the 17th cent. came with Leopold Iklé's collection to the Museum in St.Gallen. Since 1900 the collector himself had worked for several years on a catalogue of his textiles and there were also exhibitions. There is no doubt that the ladies of the artistic embroidery department were very interested in these samplers. Italian Renaissance had already influenced the Institute when it was erected. The staircase was built in the Neo-Renaissance style, the banisters are made in the style of Italien needle lace and resemble Italian Reticella lace.

Italian drawn and cutwork must also have influenced Spanish work, the socalled "sols". They are typical in Spanish dominated regions like Teneriffe, and in South America they are known as "nanduti". These "sols" were worked separately on cardboard, on spindles, on special devices, and they were inserted later on into the fabric.

  A similar technique is known from Eastern Asia. A special cloth, the socalled "pina-cloth" made from pineapple or banana plants was used. The threads were drawn in one direction and then they were embroidered in different patterns. These bear a certain resemblance to the to Italian patterns and to the Spanish "sols". Some people think that Catholic missionaries from the Mediterranean area took the technique to America and to Eastern Asia.

We find similar patterns in Th. de Dillemont's encyclopedia of needlework. These inserts must have been very well known in all the needlework of the late 19th and early 20th cent.

A photograph from 1910 made in St.Gallen, shows the students exam works, and here we find many examples in drawn and cutwork and also with inserts. And it is obvious that the drawnwork and the inserts became part of the training in St.Gallen. The tablecloth with inserts and a white parasol, used in this town at a local feast (Kinderfest), shows inserts that must have been done in Anna Schelling's classes as well. An elderly lady gave these small devices to the Museum and she told us that she had inherited them from her mother. I found the names of her mother and all her girl-friends listed in Anna Schelling's class register, published in the annual reports of 19..... The finished lace shows the kinds of work that were produced on these devices. When the work was finished, the small metal frame could be opened by means of a hinge and the piece of lace would come out easily.


    "Dilettante" Anna Needlework Technique Literature  

content Last revised 15 August, 2004