This exceptional set of original 17th century fine needelwork motifs are known as 'slips' and date to the 1600s period. Slips were individual naturalistic needlework motifs that were worked separately and then applied as embellishments to a larger textile of silk, velvet or wool. You would find such slips attached to Tudor Elizabethan and Jacobean bed hangings, curtains and furnishings. Of course with our example the original fabric ground has long since deteriorated but the individual motifs have been lovingly saved and reapplied to fabric. In their present form they can be seen having been professionally reapplied to a cream silk ground set within silk covered edging and inner gilt slip: the whole then framed behind glass in a stunning wooden frame.
It is a treat to find a large grouping of nineteen slips. Each flora and fauna is a miniature treasure because as you can see, the detailing is absolutely superb. We see seven butterflies, six caterpillars, three snails, one moth, one handsome frog and a large central flower. This combination of slips gives you a real insight into Elizabethan and Jacobean life and fashions, when all things natural or horticultural were very much in fashion.
Printed illustrated books of the period depicting herbal flowers, fruits, beasts, birds, flies and worms were often used as design sources for embroideries. You will see the same designs repeated on embroidered boxes, furnishings, spot sampler, stumpwork panels and needlework pictures during this period. Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England has the most fantastic collection of 16th and 17th century reattached needlework slips, being some of the original bed hangings worked by Mary Queen of Scots during her imprisonment there. Please see slip examples at Traquair House, Scotland and of course museums such as the V & A Museum, The Cooper Hewitt etc.
Measuring: Frame width 11.5 inch (29 cm) by height 12.5 inch (32 cm). Frame depth 1.25 inch (3 cm). The largest floral slip measures 4 inch (10 cm) by 5 inch (13 cm), the smallest moth slip measures 1 inch (2.5 cm) by 0.5 inch (1.5 cm).
Condition: As mentioned these needlework motifs were once part of a larger textile. They have been reapplied to a modern silk ground. Condition is good, the colors are still bright. There are some minor holes and stretching to some of the tent stitches as one expects from tent stitch canvasworks of this vast age. There is clear evidence of the black back cloth from which they were taken. There is a loose silk thread from the modern silk lining that is resting on a snail second row from the bottom.
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