Once in a long while, a totally imaginative and creative piece of Victorian woolwork embroidery emerges. This fabulous work is definitely a one-off that is some 200 years old.
The stitcher certainly had a unique vision of how to create a dog in third-dimensional wool that not only pleases but amuses. The wool yarn was homespun, as it varies in thickness, ranging from thin to thick strands.
But it is the outrageous fur on the dog that most holds one’s attention. The stitcher accomplished this by using a plushwork stitch that involves taking strands of natural, curly yarn and pulling them through her background fabric and cutting off each individual strand one at a time at the desired length. By doing this complicated stitch over and over, she created a thick, curly fur coat. The face and paws were worked in long and short stitch to contrast with the fur. The long and short stitches of the paws and head were embellished with silk yarn. The stitcher used red for the dog’s tongue for a touch of realism in this charming needlework. Black beads were used for the eyes.
She also added a few pieces of flora around her pet dog. There is a small piece of garden upon which the dog is resting. This was done in long and short stitches in shades of green, with leaves and flowers embroidered on top of the garden patch. The flowers were stitched by looping a thread several times over a short stitch until the desired depth was achieved. There also are a few French knots that pass as flower heads. The leaves on the flowers to the right of dog were done in satin stitch.
The whole work is housed in a wood and gesso frame that was silvered. The frame is in a shadow-box style, allowing for the circa ¾- inch depth of the dog’s fur.
The needlework is in excellent condition. Even the background fabric has held well, with only a few minute pulls of thread. The glass is old with bubbles. The frame is in excellent condition as well with only a few minor losses on the silvering on the gesso underlayment.
This piece comes from the estate of a textile collector in the Cotswolds.
It measures 27 inches wide by 22-3/4 inches high, including the frame.
Rare Early 19th Century Woolwork Embroidery of a Spaniel
$995 $1,650 SALE