Inspired by the works of Sir Edwin Landseer, the famed Victorian painter of animals, this large Victorian woolwork embroidered picture depicts figures feeding horses, with a chorus of chickens at their feet. This wonderfully intricate piece well exhibits the skill and artistry of its embroideress at her best.
The stitches are exceptionally small, bordering on pettipoint. The wool yarn used is very fine, and there are many places with silk and beadwork embellishment to highlight various details. The stirrup on the leather strap on the horse was done in steel beads, for example. There are also beads on the buckle of the bridle and the edges of the hoofs to outline the horseshoes.
Silk was utilized to emphasize the feathers of the chickens and the lace collar on the lady holding some tempting greenery for the horses. And, in general, the costumes of both of the figures have silk highlights. The detail is such that one can easily discern the clay pots on the windowsill within the arched stone windows with their leaded glass features.
Our stitcher has lent the needlework fine shading in the horses. This gives them an added dimensional quality. Even the individual flagstones are given great attention. The gentleman is wearing a jaunty blue beret with a red ribbon band. His costume is wonderfully depicted by the superb execution of folds and highlights that help make it come to life.
As remarkable as the marvelous stitching is on this huge piece of woolwork, the very large rosewood frame, with its wood and gesso gilded slip, adds another decorative element to it. The gilt slip itself is an exceptional one as it was embellished with small pieces of gesso work.
The condition of the needlework is superb, with amazing color retention given its Victorian origin. There is no staining, insect damage or loss of wool yarn. The only comment that can be made is that some, but not all, of the steel beads have rusted over the last century-and-a-half. The frame is in excellent condition, although there are some minor veneer losses along the edges. But given its heavy weight and size, this would be expected as it is difficult to handle.
It measures 35 inches wide by 40 inches high, including the frame.
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