An exceptionally beautiful framed embroidery, it dates towards the late 18th century (1780-1800). It was purchased in Paris from a large collection of religious textiles and embroidery.
The very fine needlework depicts Saint Catherine (also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel). According to history and legend, Saint Catherine was both a princess and a noted scholar, who became a Christian around the age of fourteen, and converted hundreds of people to Christianity. She was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the emperor Maxentius. Catherine was then scourged and imprisoned, during which time over 200 people came to see her, including Maxentius' wife, Valeria Maximilla; all converted to Christianity and were subsequently martyred. Upon the failure of Maxentius to make Catherine yield by way of torture, he tried to win the beautiful and wise princess over by proposing marriage. The saint refused, declaring that her spouse was Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity. The furious emperor condemned Catherine to death on a spiked breaking wheel, but, at her touch, it shattered.
The embroidery work is done on a parchment leaf. Her face and hands are drawn in ink. The very detailed silk threads form her beautiful robe and crown. The curtains, wheel and sword are also embroidered with very close, thick stitching. The halo and hair outlines are visible and probably were once embellished with a silk thread outline (notice the needle holes). The piece is placed under glass into a gorgeous wood and plaster frame. The oval frame is adorned with flowers and acanthus leaves. The gilding is beautiful, with a rich glow which comes from time and touch. The back of the frame has a a plain hard board cover in the inset, small nails hold the piece in place.
It measures: 11" x 6 3/4" (frame), The embroidery, 4 3/8" x 6 3/8, it is 1/2" thick. It is in very good antique condition: Some missing threads as stated to the hair and halo, some wear to the hands. The frame is in very good condition with no noticeable chipping. The glass is intact with no cracks.
It is a rare, framed example (we most often see these pieces in a modern frame or with no frame at all).