Victorian woolwork embroidery had several forms, including counted cross stitch and plushwork. Plushwork was a more complicated way of filling the canvas with third dimensional areas. This was that was accomplished by using a plushwork stitch that involved taking strands of natural, curly yarn and pulling them through the background fabric and cutting off each individual strand one at a time at the desired length. By doing this complicated stitch over and over, we are thus presented with a much more realistic and decorative effect.
In this marvelous piece of counted cross stitch in woolwork and plushwork, the stitcher created a swirl of roses on a single branch in luscious colors of pink, red and white. The plushwork was done to create individual, distinct petals. The composition is pleasing, and the color palette is harmonious. The individual leaves were stitched in traditional Berlin wool embroidery of counted cross stitch. The stitcher expertly mixed greens, golds, blues and black to achieve the effect of leaves with naturalistic-looking veins. The leaves serve as an outstanding frame for each single rose, not only showcasing the flowers, but also showing color contrasts.
The round shape of the piece adds to the decorative appeal of the needlework. The work was stitched in fine wool yarn on a linen ground. The heyday of Victorian plushwork was from approximately 1840 to 1860. This piece was done within this time frame.
It is housed in its original wood and gesso gilded frame and deep, gilded slip. The frame is fabulous, with a chain-like gesso design. The slip provides a shadow-box effect so as to keep the original glass from pressing against the raised plushwork. The glass is bubbled and wavy.
The back of the piece was well protected by a heavy wooden back with a turned edge which serve to seal up the fine needlework. Because of this sealing, there is no insect damage, spotting or staining. The linen ground has age toned over the last 170 or so years, but this is a natural process that occurs with nearly every piece of antique needlework. The needlework and the frame are both in superb condition.
This romantic and charming piece would enhance the ambience of any room.
It measures 20-1/2 inches in diameter, including the frame.
Victorian Mid-19th Century Plushwork of Roses