This is an unusual piece of Victorian wool and plushwork embroidery. Not only does it depict a scene that is not a common pattern, but it uses an entirely different color palette to bring the scene to life.
Golds and browns were used most effectively to create this colorful and charming piece. The plushwork is limited to the hunting dog and his catch. The gentleman hunter, with his green hunting outfit and tall hat, are done in Victorian counted cross stitch embroidery, as is his helper, who is holding up the rabbit, and the helper’s helper, who is getting the game bag ready.
The largest of the three figures is wearing a traditional long and loosely fit shirt over blue paints with a belt that crosses his chest and waist. The smallest figure of the boy holding the bag has red pants, a blue jacket, and a grey, stocking-like cap. He, as well as the larger figure, is done in the traditional Berlin work counted cross stitch embroidery. The foreground of grasses and small bushes has also been accomplished by the wool cross stitch embroidery. Our gentleman hunter is carrying his gun, which is still smoking, while examining the rabbit held out by his assistant.
It the background done in gold yarn that is one of the more interesting stitches used in this wonderful piece of needlework art. The gold wool yarn used for the stitching in the background is given a third dimensional effect by laying strands of yarn down and then going repeatedly over them to build up a bee-hive like appearance. It was most effectively used to keep interest in the textural quality of the piece.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of this wool embroidery is the original dark oak frame that has been combined with a smaller dark oak frame to create a shadowbox. This interesting framing technique allows the full depth of the raised, sculptural plushwork to be fully appreciated while keeping it from being crushed. The wide oak frame, cut across the grain and on an angle, allows the viewer to better view the hand-made nature and the extra decorative appeal of this fine Victorian frame. On the reverse there is the original label that reads: “H.S. Bunnett & Co., Wholesale and Retail, Carvers and Gilders, Picture Frame Manufacturers.” The label also advises us that the company was “Dealers in WORKS OF ART AND MANUFACTURERS OF PHOTO FRAMES.” The label further notes that the firm had two locations, one in Croydon and one in London.
The needlework itself is in excellent condition. The color retention is superb. Part of the appeal of this piece is due to the deep, rich Victorian colors of the yarns that were used to execute it. The fact that they are still so vibrant is a testimony to its care over the last 100-plus years. The frame is also in excellent condition. It has acquired a dark, rich color as well as a wonderful glowing patina. I have left the original paper on the back.
I can’t think of anywhere that would not benefit from such an exceptionally charming, colorful and creative work of Victorian wool and plushwork embroidery.
It measures 18 inches wide by 14-1/2 inches high, including the frame.
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