With Victorian woolwork embroidery, one of the more familiar subject matters was that of country life. Often, this involved depicting families together with their animals.
In this wonderful and charming counted cross stitch embroidery, we are presented with two figures, a puppy and, presumably the puppy’s mother, which is protectively eyeing her pup. It is set, like many Victorian pictures, in a large garden with shrubs, trees and flowers.
This one differs slightly in that there is a very pretty, wide border done in silk floss and fine wool yarn that is similar to what one would find in a traditional Victorian sampler. This decorative border, comprised mostly of x’s, helps to give the large woolwork picture its traditional feel.
The faces and hands of the figures were done in fine pettipoint, and our stitcher used silk floss to highlight buttons, clothing and even the fur on the puppy. Elsewhere, the stitches were worked in counted cross stitch in even rows in dyed wool yarns.
The piece is housed in a marvelous Victorian bird’s eye maple veneer frame. I have added a gilded slip to keep the glass away from the woolwork. The condition of the embroidery is excellent. There is some amount of fading, but overall the colors are deep and bright. This is especially true of the maroons, blues, olive greens, golds, grays and black. They show remarkable color retention. Even the flowers on the bottom edge are of a deep, intense blue wool yarn that is still vibrant.
The handsome, deep and heavy frame is in excellent condition as well, having achieved a beautiful, soft color and pretty patina.
This is a very good example of mid-Victorian woolwork embroidery in a traditional subject matter. With its delightful figures, even stitching, colorful wool yarns, silk embellishment and pettipoint, plus its fabulous frame, this example would cheerfully decorate any wall on which it was hung.
It measures 26-3/4 inches wide and 25-1/2 inches high, including the frame.
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