In all my years exhibiting 18th and 19th century silkworks, this may be my favorite piece for many reasons. It has incredibly fine stitching. Our stitcher used a combination of padded embroidery with satin stitch, French knots, outline stitch, long and short stitches, and teeny dots. One can get lost in the embroidery, although the subject matter is so appealing that it feels like love at first sight.
The little boy, dressed in period costume, is playing ball with his pet spaniel. His clothes are wonderfully stitched in outline stitch and satin stitch. The work appears somewhat raised so that there must be some overlay stitching to it. As the child is clutching a small red and white ball while watching his pet. The stitcher shows a remarkable ability to embroidery the outline stitch so that her subject matter is very readily seen.
The tree behind them is finely stitched in satin stitch that also appears raised. The leaves are third-dimensional stitching that is a derivative of stumpwork. Each stitch was carefully overlaid over several stitches until the desired height was achieved. The finest stitching was done in the ground and in the background hills. These were stitched in teeny dots that are so small one needs a magnifying glass to see them. This type of early stitch was used in the 18th century to reproduce famous engravings.
The boy’s face, hair and hands were painted in watercolor for greater detail as was the fashion of the day. The sky provides a pretty background with clouds painted on the silk.
The piece is housed in its original rosewood frame, gilded wood and gesso slip, and oval wood and gesso mount. The wood has achieved a beautiful, rich color and a glowing patina. The gilded slip and mount have turned to a highly attractive gold, setting off the silkwork very well.
On the back is the provenance that it originally came from Witney Antiques in Oxfordshire. There also is another label that the piece was framed with “True Vue” conservation glass. The last label states “Early 19th C. 1,400 (Pounds).” (Depending on when this piece was sold at this price, this could be up to around $2,500.)
The silkwork is in superb condition, with nothing to remark up
on. The color retention is very good, as is the luminosity of the fine silk floss. The original rosewood frame with gilded mounts is in excellent condition as well.
This is an exceptional and rare piece of early 19th century silkwork embroidery.
It measures 9-1/4 inches wide by 11 inches high.
Rare Early 19th Century Silkwork of Boy and Dog