We are thrilled to offer this very rare little late 18th century treasure. Rare because this is a miniature form portrait of the 13th century Italian ruler, politician and poet Dante Alighieri, better known as Dante, author of The Divine Comedy/Commedia. This miniature portrait is after the original by Giotto held in the Bargello Chapel, Florence. But this miniature portrait is not rendered in paint, but in its entirety wrought in silk thread.
The composition is remarkably accurate; the needleworker using the long and short stitches to compose this tonal, lifelike portrait in MINIATURE scale. We love his face with many shades of red and pink flesh tones. The gathered folds on his sleeves are very well worked in thread. His silk headdress is draped so beautifully that you are waiting for the wind to blow through it. So, so clever, everything including the background is wrought in stitches!!
In the mid 18th century there rose a fashion for copying the famous art works of the painting masters. Therefore, there are a few stand out female personalities with exceptional creative talents at this time. Characters such as Mrs Mary Delany (1700-1788) who was an expert embroiderer and paper cutter of lifelike botanical flowers. Also Mrs Anne Eliza Moffit (1726-97) whose skill of embroidering well known paintings was legendary, she toured the country with her embroidered artworks. Also, the Quakeress Mrs Mary Knowles (1733-1807) who was known for her worsted thread embroidered paintings. She was commissioned by Queen Charlotte to produce a needlepainting of King George III based on the 1771 Zoffany portrait of the King. Mary Linwood (1755-1845) a professional embroiderer (rather than a lady of leisure) who produced wool-embroidered needle paintings after famous artists. She exhibited them in London. You really must see the wonderful John Hoppner portrait of her at the V and A Museum, where she holds her embroidery materials rather than paints.
Our small needlepinting is framed behind glass in a rather shabby circa 1810 black papier mache frame. It has lived in their a long while.
Frame size:5.5" tall by 4.75" wide. Actual oval embroidery 3.25" tall by 3.75" wide approx.
Condition: The silk needlework is in good, sound order, it has gently faded from its once vibrant original colors. The frame is a little crazed, battered at the corners and is missing its top acorn or rose gilt adornment.
A rare example in miniature size.
Reference: Embroidered Georgian Pictures: Margaret Swain page 18
Pictorial Embroidery in England: A Critical History of Needlepainting and Berlin Work by Rosika Desnoyers page 20
The Accomplished Lady A History of Genteel Pursuits C.1660-1860 by Noel Riley page 157
FREE USA and EU Air Tracked Postage, Signature On Delivery. NO PO Boxes please.
Circa 1800 RARE Miniature Needlework, Silk Embroidery, Poet Dante, After Mary Linwood
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