A scarce and very early religious laid silk picture housed in rare walnut double faced glass frame. Although on first glance one would believe this to be a silk embroidery or needlework tapestry it is in fact neither.
This picture of St Anthony of Padua was made during the second half of the 18th century using an unusual but documented technique called 'adhesive embroidery'. During the 18th century, this form of embroidery was popular for religious works of art in both Italy and Spain. The technique was explained in the Connoisseur magazine of 1906 by Miss A F Morris as 'a layer of melted wax was laid over an engraving and silk threads were then laid back and forwards and secured to the surface by pressing.' Also, Mrs Lilla Hailstone owned four such pictures which she herself described as 'not strictly needlework but silk threads laid on surface of wax or gum...from Rome and dating to circa 1600' this extract comes from her 1897 published book 'Illustrated catalogue of ancient framed needlework pictures / both framed by and in the possession of Mrs S.H. Cilla Hailstone'.
Our example has wonderful detailing to both of the faces, it is clear to see from this gentle rendering that this item was made with love and devotion. This absolutely ancient example has retained some of its original coloring in the sky blue area. Our example also has remains of the original silver and gold work thread that was used on the book, halo and cloud areas. However, this ancient example is showing its vast age, with much thread loss to the outer oval area and more. At some point in the early 19th century it had been rescued and placed in this wonderful Ecclesiastical frame that shows both front and back, both behind glass with wonderful integral wood top hangers. The back shows the reverse of the picture's ancient 18th century rag paper/card ground with fibrous threads/hairs and old script and label.
Size: Frame 11.25" tall by 9" wide by 0.75" through. Heavy due to double sided nature of the frame. Please excuse any reflections on the glass in the main image, taken under our studio lighting, the remaining images were taken in natural English daylight to show colors.
Condition: AGED...please study our many images, read our description and request further images if unsure. This antique textile is 250 years old plus and it IS showing its age. There is fading to the silk thread. Loss to the laid silk which is now showing as bare wax - see the outer oval, base of the sky, cloud area and St Anthony's robe. There are also two circular stains to the sky area at 1 and 2 o'clock and wax loss to the corners. However, a very interesting and scarce laid silk embroidery that now allows us to see the ingenious production technique. It displays well and will make a fine addition to any 18th century textile collection.
Book Reference: Xanthe Brooks, Catalogue of Embroideries, page 134
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