Antique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work ColifichetAntique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work ColifichetAntique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work ColifichetAntique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work ColifichetAntique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work ColifichetAntique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work ColifichetAntique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work Colifichet

Antique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work Colifichet

This is a wonderful French double sided embroidery on paper that was created in one of the Ursuline convents of Paris around the 1710-15 period. This needlework has been historically trimmed slightly to fit this early 19th century European frame and mounted on card (we have not opened the frame to see if it is permanently fixed to the green paper backing). From having retailed and collected such 18th century colifichets before, we know from the intricate technique that this is most definitely a double sided embroidery ( ie: the back is EXACTLY the same as the gorgeous front - not the usual untidy threads that one finds to the reverse of a needlework).

The technique of double faced embroidery was not taught to British girls except for those girls who were sent to Catholic Europe to complete their education. Colifichet is a French word meaning trifle, or a bagatelle. It was a word used by French nuns during the 17th century to describe their very fine embroideries that were worked on both faces of a sheet of vellum, later paper. This technique of pricking the paper outline of the design with a needle and then sewing through those holes with silk thread was exacting. Traquair House, Scotland, ancestral home of the Stuart family has one of the largest collections of Colifichets. Why you may ask, simply because the two eldest Stuart daughters, Lucy and Anne were sent to a French Ursuline convent in 1713. At this Parisian convent they were able to complete their education, keep in contact with exiled members of the Catholic Stuart family and learn many of the fine French needlework skills. For many prior decades there had been a period of great unrest in Scotland & England between Protestant and Catholics. James II was exiled in France thanks to Mary II and her husband William of Orange.

Measurements: The frame 8.25" (21 cm) by 6.75" (17 cm), the actual embroidery on paper 5.5" (14.5 cm) by 4” (10 cm). The embroidery is wrought on heavy rag paper (cotton and linen soaked and stirred until it had pulped enough to make sheets of paper).

We see a gleaming gold thread Monstrance which holds the two sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Monstrance stands upon a cloth covered altar, two large branching flowers flank each side. Above the Monstrance is a crown. The entire depiction sits underneath a draped canopy.
Please see similar examples in the book Embroidered Georgian Pictures by Margaret Swain Page 31, The Needlework at Traquair also by Margaret Swain and a similar example at The Bavarian National Museum.

Condition: The silk threads are in remarkable condition for their vast age, they are still bright and vibrant. The metal wrapped thread is also in very good order. The rag paper ground has a scuffed area at the base where most probably a written inscription once lived. There is some minor age darkening to the edges of the paper. The antique Biedermeier frame has an old touched up repair to the top right corner and lower left corner.


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ITEM ID
TA11443C
ITEM TYPE
Antique

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Antique 18th Century French Embroidery On Paper Circa 1715 Ursuline Convent Work Colifichet

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    Purveyors of period fancies for those of a desirous nature.
    Outstanding antiques direct from The Cotswolds, England. Curated with passion. Opening doors to the past.

    since 2011

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    Victoria Clark
    The Cotswolds , England , UK Platinum Platinumsince 2011