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Antique French Petitpoint Tapestry in Frame, Signed, c.1887, Tiniest Stitches Ever!
Antique micro-petit point wool and silk stitched artistry, the stitches tinier than any we've ever found. One tiny stitch at a time, someone has created a fabulous work of needle arts. The signature sewn there at the bottom is perhaps "R. Bretheau", though I'm not positive (you take a look, see if you can make it out). It is also dated "Juin 1887", (June, 1887). Tapestry panels like this were created quite often by astonishingly young girls. The needle arts were taught, and often comprised much of a girl's education. Even as late as 1880s, not all were taught reading, writing. The fact that this exquisite work is signed in this manner (embroidered in cursive) would suggest this embroiderer was literate, however. I've taken one photo with a rule so you can see for yourself the minuscule size of the needlepoint in this tapestry. They are actually smaller than 1mm. Can you even imagine how long it would take to complete a work like this. I needlepoint - I'd spend a lifetime completing this one. The yarns used for face and skin may have faded, but they are eerie. I'm unsure if this is meant to depict Jesus' mother, Mary, but I suspect so. Framed as she is, we didn't open up to see if we could tell the original palette of colors unfaded and showing on the backside of the panel, but I suspect the colors have altered. It presents a very unique and haunting image, and feels less religious than many - more a work of fine art. The old original frame is still with it and there is not a cover glass on this panel at this time. We'll not put one since it only makes it more difficult and expensive to ship, but we imagine our buyer will again put one there to protect the old needlework for another century or two. Isn't she lovely!
Very good to excellent, fading gives it an unusual palette, yet it seems more a work of fine art. The stitches are smaller than 1mm, tiniest needlepoint stitches I've ever seen done by hand. Signed by the seamstress, dated 1887. There are no holes or tears to the canvas nor losses to the wool and silk stitches. The frame remains very lovely, though it has some typical losses owing to the age and type of frame. Substantial, the frame is wood with plater appliqué and a bright gilt finish. You can see any flaws notable in our clear and large photos. The outer frame measures 22" x 17.5" and 1.75" in depth. The needlepoint showing through aperture is 17.5" x 13" and it is stretched well on a wooden stretcher board. You can see from image taken of backside, it has been paper-sealed all this time. The framer's stamp remains on back, too. A French one, framed by B. Charpentier. Adds to the charm.
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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