Antique EARLY 18th Century Needlework Embroidery Saint Lucy Of Syracuse Original Frame Circa 1720
We purchased this authentic and rare devotional needlework in France last summer but strongly suspect that it is Sicilian in origin. Housed in an original 17th/ 18th century frame and behind very, very ancient, undulating, bubbled Crown glass is the exquisite needlework of Saint Lucy of Syracuse. The frame dates to the 1680- 1720 period but the needlework may be a fragment of a larger devotional item from this same period. The embroidery would certainly have been made by a professional needleworker as the quality is OUTSTANDING, convents very often produced work of this standard...they say only the best is good enough for God!! See the painting of Saint Lucy by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato 1609 – 1685, also the painting by Domenico Beccafumi 1521
The central needlework vignette was applied to an ancient crimson velvet ground. The depiction of Saint Lucy is extraordinary when you consider that it is wrought in silk thread using extremely fine long and short stitch...it truly is a needle painting. How the needleworker has managed to convey the transparency of the dress with its folds and creases is remarkable. The gold thread details inject extra vibrancy to the scene, just look at her halo, platter and palm branch (the sign of Victory over evil). Other details such as the edges to her halo, collar and belt are raised to give a wonderful three dimensional effect. The colors have lasted superbly well, this masterpiece has been kept away from sunlight. The goldwork still glows.
Size: Frame height to tip of hanger 11.5", width 7.5". Actual central octagonal aperture approx 6.5" by 4.5". Size of needlework vignette 4.25" by 3.75".
The octagonal frame is positively ancient yet delightful in its octagonal form (a favorite shape in Italy during the 17th and 18th century). Please see the Trapani mirror frames produced in Italy during the 17th century. We adore the original metal cherub hanger to the top with faint traces of its original gilding...so typical of the Baroque style that was spreading across Europe at this time. Roman Catholic imagery permeated painting, sculpture and architecture. Devotional pieces brought comfort and the chance of spiritual improvement. Although the quality of this particular piece suggests that it would have been intended for use by the Church itself or a wealthy believer.
Saint Lucy was born on December 13th and lived in the ancient city of Syracuse, Italy. Sadly sometime during the fourth century she was persecuted for her faith by Christians. They tried to defile her by forcing her in to a brothel but she could not be moved even when pulled by a team of oxen. Then they tried to burn her but the piles would not light, then her eyes were gouged out with daggers and she was eventually killed. This is why she is depicted with her eyes on a platter. When it was time for her burial it was noticed that her eyes had been restored. Since then she has been known as the patron Saint of the blind. In the sixth century she was venerated by the church for her bravery during the defense of her faith.
Condition - Absolutely ancient...please do not expect perfection here. There is trapped dust under the incredibly ancient glass. The crimson velvet has some bare patches. The octagonal frame with the gilt metal panels has worn and dulled over the past three centuries with a possible replace section of wood at 7 o clock. There is much shrinkage to the wood joints but they are all stable. The tooled paper edges would have looked fantastic back in the day, you can just see traces of the tooling on the top right edge. The original cherub suspension hook has had a modern repair as it appears to have been split in two - do not hang this antiquity from this hook. There is much evidence of old, historic wood worm in the wooden frame, one of which has gone through above her eye. BUT, it is simply captivating and we guarantee that you will be smitten with this original 18th century artifact.
PLEASE NOTE that this precious item will ship by expedited courier to USA, Canada and mainland Europe , a signature will be required upon delivery. This 2/3 day delivery service is included in our price. We do not however cover any import duties or taxes that you may incur - USA customers please note the good news that the threshold for imported goods has been raised from $200 to $800 - please check with US customs and Border protection website . Shoppers from countries not included in the above list please contact us for shipping rate.
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