A large double sided 18th century needlework with hand painted features of French King Louis IX 25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270, popularly known as Saint Louis. With pin prick halo and hand painted features, this is a gorgeously decorative needlework. This striking example comes complete with a period bespoke 18th century reverse ogee frame.
The technique of double faced embroidery probably originated in China. It was not taught to British girls except for those girls who were sent to Catholic Europe to complete their education. French nuns during the 17th century used the word 'Colifichet' to describe their own very fine embroideries that were worked on both faces of a sheet of vellum, later paper. The unique point being that both sides of a Colifichet are the same with no loose threads or untidiness that you would expect to find on the reverse a usual needlework. Our last but one image shows a light placed behind to illuminate the parchment.
The actual visible silk embroidery is wrought on painted parchment paper/vellum, within a pale blue silk taffeta mount set under glass to both sides.
Condition: The wood veneer has very minor lifting in a couple of places and a few vertical cracks in the veneer. There is one small sliver of restored mahogany inserted to one side and evidence of historical professional restoration to the corner joints; they are strong and extremely sound. There is one small area of repaired veneer to the top on the reverse side.
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