A VERY RARE trio of late vintage Arts & Crafts textiles on a SILK GROUND. Gorgeous champagne-toned natural silk serves as the foundation for beautiful, thick and rustic hand embroidery featuring a vine and Glasgow rose motif and a spectacular handmade filet lace inset. As a set, they wonderfully exemplify the Arts & Crafts / Mission style which is ever so popular.
The set consists of three pieces: a larger square and two smaller squares. The large textile features a lovely inset piece of handmade filet lace which is flanked by the sumptuous embroidery whereas the smaller pieces feature the embroidery only. All pieces are bordered with a hand-crocheted trim which perfectly matches the silk linen ground.
I'd like to discuss the set broken down by design elements, beginning first with the silk. With this material as the ground, the pieces are elevated to a much rarer level as silk grounds are extremely difficult to find. I have not found such textiles from this period which utilize silk as the ground fabric; normally pieces from this era are on a linen or cotton ground, and if silk is used it is for the embroidery work. The silk is soft and supple. Natural slubs are throughout, lending beautifully to the Arts & Crafts aesthetic characteristics. The color is magnificent, a lustrous golden champagne, and it bears a subdued and quiet elegance.
Moving to the embroidery, it is just a beautiful example of true Arts & Crafts design. It is of a thicker floss, typical to the style, and exhibits strong artistic elements indicative of Arts & Crafts pieces, thus giving it real period authenticity and collectibility. Gorgeous olive-hued leaves sprout forth from chocolate brown branches, among which small multi-toned blue berries are mingled. This "vine" portion is anchored by a lovely Scottish/Glasgow rose motif on each end, one in soft, subdued rose tones and one in a warm butter tone. The needlework is smooth, tight and supple and is awash with color on a muted level. The original design was stamped onto the silk, over which the embroidery was worked. Portions of the pattern outline are still visible in some areas, indicating little if no use. The crochet-edging gives a final touch to the pieces, making them wonderful to use beneath your period vases or pottery on tables, shelves or what not.
MEASUREMENTS: Large piece overall approx. 19 x 22-1/4"; Buratto lace insert approx. 6-1/2" x 3"; embroidery approx. 5-1/2" x 2". Smaller pieces overall approx. 11-1/2" x 11-3/4"; embroidery approx. 7" x 2-1/4"
CONDITION REPORT: Excellent. Unwashed in condition as acquired. Silk ground on all three is overall excellent with only two noted "pull" type lines on the large piece and a few tiny loose threads, which are primarily on the back of the pieces. This is a natural woven silk; there are multiple tones and slubs within the weave. This is normal and actually part of what the Arts & Crafts style would mandate, so to speak. Overall a beautiful, even patina with general "age" to the fabric in terms of spotting and overall wear, including storage wear, Color of silk ground matches across all three pieces. Embroidery is in excellent condition with no flaws to report. Strong, tight and unfaded. No odors, holes, fraying, stains, weak spots, dye bleed noted. The filet lace insert has three noted broken brides, a small flaw in consideration of the overall excellent condition of the set.
I believe this was once an antimacassar set which would have been designed to protect the backs and arms of furniture. Being that this is in silk and is thus extremely difficult to wash – aside from the fact that it is so much more fragile than a piece of linen or cotton ground – and that it is in such gorgeous condition - the pieces may not have ever been used, but rather stored. Additionally, the fact that portions of the original embroidery pattern are still visible is further evidence that this trio of silk Arts & Crafts textiles is unused, as normally, when washed, these outlines are lifted off.
These textiles are wonderful relics from a period in world design which is highly collectible. The Arts & Crafts movement, attributed to William Morris, produced a wave of new and beautiful ideas concerning design. As a reaction to the mass production of products which was starting to overcome world markets at the end of the 19th century due to the Industrial Revolution, Morris and others strove to renew the appreciation for handmade and natural pieces. Natural materials, soft colors, handwork... one-of-a-kind pieces... It sought to highlight the individual in terms of craftsmanship over the anonymity of mass production.
As a design philosophy, it did not promote strict standards as this would have impinged on the rights, the freedoms, required for artists and craftsmen to create their individual works; it simply promoted general guidelines. As such, it is a varied and very rich design era full of individuality and beauty which now carries much popularity around the world, and for those who decorate with this look in mind, locating original period textiles are truly a finishing touch.
This is a beautiful set – very graceful and elegant - and with the use of silk versus more typically seen thicker linen or cotton ground, beautifully-wrought embroidery, the presence of the ever-popular Scottish or Glasgow rose motif and the filet lace, these are one-of-a-kind, rare and exquisite collector quality Arts & Crafts/Mission textiles worthy of the finest collection.
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Item ID: T-1503
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