Many 17th century needlework pieces inspired Victorian women to create wonderful and imaginative pieces of wool and silk embroidery in similar styles. This mid-19th century Victorian piece was one inspired by early examples of padded embroidery and stumpwork. The stitcher had to be an accomplished needleworker in order to even attempt this type of complicated and highly decorative wool and silk embroidery.
The background was done in typical Victorian Berlin woolwork counted cross stitch, but that is where “typical” ends and extraordinary begins. With their third dimensional quality, these ducks are more lifelike. There are several types of stitches used to accomplish this feat, and to make the feathers appear exactly as they should. Adding to their realism are their glass eyes.
To say that the color retention is superb would be an understatement. Fortunately, the paper on the back of the piece has lifted, so one can see what the original colors were like prior to exposure to many years of daylight and sun. Many of the colors are very near the original.
The whole piece was placed in an antique maple frame shadow box. Exactly when it was framed is difficult to say as there seems to be some evidence of tightening it into the frame at a later date. There was a lot of old newsprint on the back, but I could not find a date in any of it. Based on the types of advertisements and prices, the framing could have taken place in late-Victorian or Edwardian times.
This charming woolwork embroidery is in superb condition, especially given the fact that it is some 160 years old. The maple frame is in excellent condition, and has acquired a rich color and nice patina.
This unusual and decorative piece would make a handsome addition for anyone’s decorating scheme.
It measures 18-1/8 inches wide by 16 inches high, including the frame.