Needlework As Art
by Marian Alford
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The next day the "Hardy Kings" met armed at all points. The French king and his followers were arrayed in purple satin, broched with gold and purple velvet, embroidered with little rolls of white satin, on which was written "Quando;" all the rest was powdered with the letter L—"Quando Elle" (when she). The third day the motto was laboriously brought to a conclusion. Francis appeared dressed in purple velvet embroidered with little white open books; "Liber" being a book, the motto on it was, "A me." These books were connected with worked blue chains; thus we have the whole motto: "Hart, fastened in pain endlesse, when she delivereth me not of bondes." Could painful ingenuity go further? On the English side we have similar devices. Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the bridegroom of the Dowager Queen of France, Henry's sister, was clothed on one side in cloth of frise (grey woollen), on which appeared embroidered in gold the motto,—

"Cloth of frise, be not too bold That thou be match'd with cloth of gold."

This parti-coloured garment was on the other side of gold, with the motto,—

"Cloth of gold, do not despise That thou be match'd with cloth of frise."

Besides mottoes, cyphers and monograms were the fashion, embroidered with heraldic devices. These particulars we find in Hall's account of the tournament, with a detailed description of the golden tent in which the monarchs met, and which gave its name ever after to the plain near Guisnes, where the jousts were held. What we read of its construction recalls the Alexandrian erections, of which I have spoken already, as well as their hangings and embroideries.

Incrustations of pearls and precious stones gave a dazzling brilliancy to the tent, divided into many rooms, and adapted to the climate of the north. It covered a space of 328 feet. Hall describes the tent, the jousts, and the splendid apparel belonging to this last chapter of the magnificence of chivalry. Brewer remarks that magnificence was, in those days, often supposed to be synonymous with magnanimity (at any rate, it was erected into a royal virtue). "The Mediaeval Age," he says, "had gathered up its departing energies for this last display of its favourite pastime, henceforth to be consigned without regret to the mouldering lodges of the past."[601]

We cannot say how much of French taste was imported from this meeting of French and English luxury. The spirit of the Renaissance, fresh from Italy, was reigning in France, but we had also in Italy our own emissaries. John of Padua was probably only one of many Englishmen who travelled to learn and improve themselves in their special crafts.

Catherine of Aragon introduced the Spanish taste in embroidery, which was then white or black silk and gold "lace stitches" on fine linen (plate 81). This went by the name of "Spanish work," and continued to be the fashion down to and through the reign of Mary Tudor, who remained faithful to the traditions of her mother's and her grandmother's work[602] (plate 82). Catherine of Aragon had learned her craft from her mother, Queen Isabella, who always made her husband's shirts. To make and adorn a shirt was then an artistic feat, not unworthy of a queen. Isabella instituted trials of needlework amongst her ladies. In the days of her disgrace and solitude, Catherine turned to her embroidery for solace and occupation. She came forth to meet the Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio with a skein of red silk round her neck.[603] Taylor, the water poet, says,—

"Virtuously, Although a queen, her days did pass In working with her needle curiously."

At Silbergh Castle, in Westmoreland, was a counterpane and toilet embroidered by Queen Catherine.

Anne of Cleves brought with her the taste for Flemish and German Renaissance designs; and all the cushion stitches were in vogue. The Renaissance borders for dress were mostly worked in gold on coloured silk on the linen collars and cuffs. Holbein's and other contemporary portraits illustrate this peculiarity of the costumes of the time. The women's head-dresses also carried much fine, beautifully designed, and delicate work.

In the reign of Henry VIII. fine hangings were worked and woven in England; the royal inventories give us an idea to what extent. Cardinal Wolsey's walls were covered with splendid embroideries, besides the suites of tapestries still adorning the hall at Hampton Court. One room was hung with embroidered cloth of gold.

Mary Tudor, as I have said, was Spanish in all her tastes, and we have lists of her "smocks" all worked in Spanish stitches, black and gold, or black silk only.[604] This taste, following the political tendencies of the time, entirely disappeared under Elizabeth. It survives, however, in peasant dress in the Low Countries.

Queen Elizabeth spent much of her time in needlework. She herself had received the education of a man, as well as her cousin, Lady Jane Grey; and doubtless many women were taught at that time Greek and Latin, and to study philosophy, mathematics, and the science of music, as a training for serious life. Elizabeth studied and embroidered too; at any rate, she stood godmother to many pieces of embroidery, which are to be seen still in the houses she visited or occupied.

While at Ashridge, and afterwards as a prisoner at Hatfield, she so employed herself; and among the specimens of work of the sixteenth century exhibited at South Kensington in 1873, were her shoes and cap, worked in purl, a semainiere in the same stitch, also cushion-covers in divers cushion stitches, and a portmonnaie in exquisitely fine satin-stitch; all of which articles, and many more, were left by her at Ashridge when she was hurried away in the dead of night to Hatfield.[605]

The character of the Renaissance of the sixteenth century, just released from the trammels of Gothic traditions, was somewhat lawless in England, being unchastened by the classical element which entirely controlled the movement in Italy.

The queen's dress soon departed from the severe simplicity which she at first affected, and every part of her costume was covered with flowers, fruit, and symbolical designs; while serpents, crowns, chains, roses, eyes and ears crowded the surfaces of the fine materials of her dresses. These symbolical designs were rich without grace, and ingenious rather than artistic, although their workmanship was perfect. In Louisa, Lady Waterford's collection we find a jacket for a slight girl's figure, of white linen, covered with flowers, fruit, and berries, all carried out in satin and lace stitches. There are butterflies with their wings disengaged from the ground; pods bursting open and showing the round seeds or peas; caterpillars stuffed and raised; all these astonish us by their quaint perfection, and shock us by their naturalistic crudeness of design, and the utter want of beauty or taste in the whole effect. The impression left on the mind is, how dear it must have cost the pocket of the purchaser and the eyes of the workers. There are, however, exceptions to these defective poor designs; and in the same collection is a cushion-cover worked in gold and silver plate, purl and silk, on a red satin ground, which is as good as possible in every respect, and is purely English in style. The stitches and materials are most refined and varied. Purl, which was a newly made material imported from Italy and Germany, was then in much vogue, and we have seen a few fine specimens of it, that have been imitated from the Italian cinque-cento raised and stuffed needlework, which are very curious and almost very beautiful,—only one feels that the same effect could have been produced by simpler means. This work is characteristic of the reigns of Henry VIII., Elizabeth, and James I. We have needlework of another most unhappy queen of this date. Poor Mary, Queen of Scots, tried to soften Elizabeth's heart towards her prisoner by little gifts of her own embroideries.[606]

We have no account of the cause of the incorporation of the Embroiderers' Company by Queen Elizabeth,[607] in the third year of her reign, Oct. 25th, 1561, confirmed by James II., April 12th, 1686, which is still a London guild. It received the lions of England as a special favour. The arms are thus blazoned: "Palee of six argent and azure on a fess gules, between three lions of England pass. gardant or. Three broches in saltire between as many trundles (i.e. quills of gold thread), or. Crest: on a wreath a heart; the holy dove displayed argent, radiated or. Supporters: two lions or (guttee de sang). Motto: 'Omnia Desuper.' Hall, 20, Gutter Lane." There were branches, incorporated and bearing the arms, at Bristol and Chester, in 1780. (See Appendix.)

In the reign of James I. it was the fashion to do portraits in needlework, stitched flat or raised. Some are artistic in design and execution, but they are mostly ridiculously bad.

The East India Company was founded in 1560, under Elizabeth, and obtained the monopoly of the Anglo-Indian trade, under Cromwell, in 1634. This would have been the moment for encouraging a fresh importation of Oriental taste into our degenerate art. Cromwell's own service of plate was scratched over ("graffito") with a childish and weak semi-Indian, semi-Chinese design; and we must accept this as typical of the artistic Oriental knowledge of that day. Grafted on the style of James I., it shows, however, that Indian ideas were creeping in and sought for, if not understood in high places, under the auspices of the East India Company. Needlework alone was excluded from all benefit. From that date, for 150 years, Indian manufactures were imported, with the exception of embroidery, which was contraband by the ancient statutes. This accounts for our faint and ignorant imitations of Indian work, and the extreme rarity of the true specimens to be met with in England, unless of a later period.

But our Aryan instincts have always led our English tastes towards conventional naturalism. Although we have lost the rules and traditions which converted natural objects into patterns, we are continually, in our style, leaning and groping in their direction, and twining flowers, those of the field by preference, into semi-conventional garlands and posies.

In the seventeenth century, when James I. was king, protection had done its worst. The style of work called "embroidery on the stamp" was then the fashion. This sort of work in Italy continued to be artistic, but the English specimens that have survived from this reign are mostly very ugly. Continental art had ceased to influence us, and bad taste reigned supreme, except in our architecture, which had crystallized into a picturesque style of our own called "James I.," and was the outcome of the last Gothic of Henry VIII. and the Italian style of Edward VI. and Elizabeth. But the carvings of that phase of architecture were semi-barbarous. Nothing could have been poorer than their composition, or coarser than their execution, and the needlework of the day followed suit. Infinite trouble and ingenuity were wasted on looking-glass frames, picture frames, and caskets worked in purl, gold, and silver. The subjects were ambitious Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and James and Anne of Denmark,[608] and other historical figures were stuffed with cotton or wool, and raised into high relief; and then dressed and "garnished" with pearls; the faces either in painted satin or fine satin stitch; the hair and wigs in purl or complicated knotting. Windsor Castle as a background for King James and King Solomon alike, pointed the clumsy allegory, and the lion of England gambolling in the foreground, amid flowers and coats-of-arms, filled up the composition.

The drawing and design were childish, and show us how high art can in a century or less slip back into no art at all. Any one comparing the Dunstable or the Fishmongers' pall with one of the best caskets of this period would say that the latter should have preceded the former by centuries. In James I.'s time, ignorance of all rules of composition was added to the absence of any sort of style.[609] I give the illustrations of the time of James I. Plate 83 is a cushion from Hatfield House, rich and rather foolish, with tiny men filling in the corners left vacant by large flowers, caterpillars, &c.

Charles I. gave a raised embroidered cope to the Chapter of Durham, of this description of work.[610]

The other fashionable work of that day had its merits. It was the custom to embroider hangings or linen in crewels. Considering how often in this book and my preceding lectures I have said that this style of work was common (even in the early days of Egypt and Assyria), it may well be said, when was it not the fashion? and I must answer, "only since the days of Queen Anne." It seems as if before that time our designs for work were partially influenced by the fine Indian specimens which had surreptitiously crept into England. Some of these are very cleverly executed. Huge conventional trees grow from a green strip of earth carrying every variety of leaf and flower done in many stitches. The individual leaf or flower is often very beautiful. On the bank below, small deer and lions disport themselves, and birds twice their size perch on the branches (plate 84).[611] But even where the work is finest, the incongruities are too annoying. The modern excuse for it, "that it is quaint," does not reconcile us to its extravagant effect. To be quaint in art is, as I have said before, to be funny without intending it; and these curtains are funny by their absence of all intention or perspective, and when hung they make everything in the room look disproportionate to the unnatural size of the foliage. (Plate 85.) Specimens of this work are to be found in most English country houses. It has lasted till now, partly because the crewels first manufactured in the sixteenth century were of an excellent quality, and secondly, because there was no gold to make it worth any one's while to destroy them; so the old hangings went up into the attics in all the disgrace of shabbiness, and have come down again as family relics. Even the moths have been deprived of their prey, by these curtains having served for the beds of the household, so that they have been kept for their nearly 300 years of existence, aired and dusted. Much of this work has been recovered from farmhouses and cottages in tolerable preservation. In many cases the flowers have survived the stout linen grounds on which they were worked. The Royal School of Needlework has often been commissioned to restore and transfer the crewel trees on to a new backing. The hangings and the curtains I have described, prevailed from the end of Elizabeth's reign to that of Queen Anne, and gradually deteriorated. The stitches, of which the variety at first was infinite, had given place to a coarse uniform stem stitch—"gobble stitch." The materials also were of inferior quality, and less durable, so that the latest specimens are in general in the worst condition.

It is remarkable how little the beautiful Continental work influenced our English school. We were enjoying perfect protection, and were clumsily taking advantage of our security from all competition. In the Italian palaces this was the moment of the finest secular embroideries in satin stitches, gold and silver, and "inlaid" and "onlaid" appliques. Likewise in Spain and Portugal the Oriental work, especially that executed at Goa, filled the palaces and the convents with gorgeous hangings, carpets, table-covers, and bed furniture. We feel it painful to contrast with these our own shortcomings in art, and our faded glories.

The fact is, that, owing to our art-killing protectionist laws, embroidery had the misfortune to be treated at that time as textile manufacture, and not as art at all.

In the reign of William and Mary, Dutch taste had naturally been brought to the front.[612] This included Japanese art, or imitations of it, and also had something of late Spanish. The Georges brought into England, and naturalized a rather heavy work, in gold and silver—the design being decidedly a German "Louis Quatorze"—richly stitched and heavily fringed, and much employed on court dresses and on state furniture. We have seen royal beds and court suits which show very little difference in style. It does not appear that this was worked by ladies. It has, somehow, a professional look.

Occasionally, however, we meet with pieces of exceptionally beautiful work of the end of the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth centuries. The style is the most refined Louis Quatorze, but the work is actually English. The white satin coverlets belonging to the Marquis of Bath and the Duke of Leeds are not to be exceeded in delicacy and splendour. The embroidered dresses of the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham, in Westminster Abbey (early eighteenth century) are of this description.

From Queen Anne to George III., a great deal of furniture was covered with the different cushion stitches, either in geometrical or kaleidoscope patterns, or else displaying groups of flowers or figures, quaint and sometimes pretty. These designs are generally, however, wanting in grace, and their German feeling shows them to be the precursors of the Berlin wool patterns.

When the crewel-work hangings ceased to be the fashion, home work took another direction. All the ladies imitated Indian dimity patterns, on muslin, in coloured silks or thread, with the tambour-frame and needle;[613] but in 1707 the "Broiderers' Company," we presume, found that the Indian manufactures were engrossing the market, and a fresh statute was obtained, forbidding the importation from India of any wrought material. This cruel prohibition carried its own punishment. The Indian trade was ours, and we might have adapted and assimilated the Indian taste for design. We might have brought over men and women great in their most ancient craft, and so produced the most splendid Indo-English School. The Portuguese at least sent out their own silks and satins to be worked at Goa; we threw away our chance, and signed the death-warrant of our art.

About the middle of the last century, several ladies, notably Miss Linwood, Miss Moritt, of Rokeby, and Mrs. Delany, copied pictures in worsteds. Some of these are wonderfully clever and even very pretty, but they are rather a painful effort of pictorial art under difficulties, than legitimate embroideries. These pictures would have served the purpose of decoration better as medallions in the centres of arabesque panels, than framed and glazed in imitation of oil paintings. Some of the followers of this school produced works that are shocking to all artistic sense, especially as seen now, when the moths have spoiled them. They can only be classed with such abortive attempts at decoration as glass cases filled with decayed stuffed birds, and vases of faded and broken wax flowers.

I may record with praise the efforts of Mrs. Pawsey,[614] a lady who started a school of needlework at Aylesbury. She was patronized by Queen Charlotte; and for her she worked the beautiful bed at Hampton Court, of purple satin, with wreaths of flowers in crewels touched up with silk, which look as if they might have been copied from the flower-pieces of a Dutch master. The execution is very fine, and reminds one of the best French work of the same period. Mrs. Pawsey taught and helped ladies to embroider in silk and chenille, as well as crewels, and in many country houses we can recognize specimens of her style; usually on screens worked in silk and chenille, with bunches of flowers in vases or baskets, artistically designed.

This was our last attempt at excellence, immediately followed by the total collapse of our decorative needlework, and the advent of the Berlin wool patterns.


A postscript to this chapter will perhaps be acceptable to those who have taken an interest in the "History of English Embroidery," and who will therefore care to know about the revival which has filled so many workshops with what is now called "Art Needlework."

There was a public demand for something better than the worsted patterns in the trade, and the Royal School of Art Needlework rose and tried to respond to that call by stimulating original ideas and designs, and imitating old ones in conformity with modern requirements. The difficulties to be overcome were at first very great. The old stitches had all to be learned and then taught, and the best methods to be selected; the proper materials had to be studied and obtained—sometimes they had to be manufactured. Lastly, beautiful tints had to be dyed; avoiding, as much as possible, the gaudy and the evanescent.

The project of such a school was first conceived in the autumn of 1872.

Lady Welby, herself an accomplished embroideress, had the courage to face all the difficulties of such an undertaking. A small apartment was hired in Sloane Street, and Mrs. Dolby, who was already an authority on ecclesiastical work, gave her help. Twenty young ladies were selected, and several friends joined heartily in fostering the movement.

H.R.H. the Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein gave her name as President, and her active co-operation.[615]

The school grew so fast, that for want of space for the work-frames, it had to remove into a larger house, No. 31, Sloane Street, and finally in the year 1875 it found its present home in Exhibition Road, when the Queen became its Patron. In 1878 the Association was incorporated under the Board of Trade, with a Managing and a Finance Committee, and a salaried manager to overlook the whole concern.

From 100 to 150 ladies at a time have there received employment. Their claims were poverty, gentle birth, and sufficient capacity to enable them to support themselves and be educated to teach others.

Branch schools have been started throughout the United Kingdom and in America.[616]

The education of the school has been much assisted by the easy access to the fine collections of ancient embroideries in the Kensington Museum, and by the loan exhibition of old artistic work, which was there organized in 1875, at the suggestion of H.R.H. the President; and since then there have been three very interesting loan exhibitions in the rooms of the Royal School.

It was, indeed, necessary that the acting members should avail themselves of every means of instruction, in order to fit themselves for the task they had undertaken. They were expected at once to be competent to judge all old work, to name its style and date, and even sometimes its market value. They were to be able to repair and add to all old work; to know and teach every stitch, ancient and modern; and produce designs for any period, Gothic, Renaissance, Elizabethan, James I., or Queen Anne; besides contemporary European work,—all different, and each requiring separate study.

Some important works have been produced which will illustrate what has been said:—

1. A suite of window curtains for her Majesty, at Windsor (style, nineteenth century; sunflowers).

2. Curtains for a drawing-room for the Duchess of Buccleuch: crimson velvet and gold applique (Louis Quatorze).

3. Curtain for Louisa, Lady Ashburton: coloured silk embroidery on white satin (Venetian, sixteenth century).

4. Curtain, also for Louisa, Lady Ashburton: brown velvet and gold applique (Italian).

5. Dado for the Hon. Mrs. Percy Wyndham: linen and crewels. Peacocks and vines (Mediaeval).

6. Furnishings and hangings for state bedroom for Countess Cowper, Panshanger: crimson satin, embroidered and coloured silks (Chinese).

7. Curtains for music gallery for Mr. Arthur Balfour: blue silk, applique, velvet, and gold (Italian).

The earnest attempt to produce an artistic school of embroidery met with recognition and help from the highest authorities. Sir F. Leighton granted permission for appeals to his judgment. Mr. Burne Jones, Mr. Morris, Mr. Walter Crane, and Mr. Wade gave original designs.

We cannot guess whether the taste which has sprung up again so suddenly will last. Perhaps its catholicity may prolong its popularity, and something absolutely new in style may be evolved, which shall revive the credit of the "opus Anglicanum." Of one thing we may be sure—that it is inherent in the nature of Englishwomen to employ their fingers. And the busy as well as the ignorant need a guide to the principles of design, as well as the technical details of the art of embroidery. This should be supplied by the Royal School of Art Needlework, which by inculcating careful drawing, by reviving old traditions and criticizing fresh ideas, becomes a guarantee for the improvement of domestic decorative design.


[555] "The people of Babylon, the Accadians, had a written literature and a civilization superior to that of the conquering Assyrians, who borrowed their art of writing, and probably their culture, which may have been the centre and starting-point of the western civilization of Asia, and therefore the origin of our own. Accadian civilization was anterior to that of the Phoenicians and the Greeks, and is now received in these later years as the original form, and become again the heritage of mankind. It has been said that Assyrian art was destitute of originality, and to that of the Accadians, which they adopted, we ourselves owe our first customs and ideas. Four thousand years ago these people possessed a culture which in many of its details resembles that of our country and time."—"Assyrian Life and History," p. 66, by M. Harkness and Stuart Poole.

[556] "The arts of spinning and the manufacture of linen were introduced into Europe and drifted into Britain in the Neolithic Age. They have been preserved with but little variation from that period down to the present day in certain remote parts of Europe, and have only been superseded in modern times by the complicated machinery so familiar to us.... The spindle and distaff are proved by the perforated spindle-whorls, made of stone, pottery, or bone, commonly met with in Neolithic habitations or tombs. The thread is proved, by discoveries in the Swiss lakes, to have been made of flax; and the combs that have been found for pushing the threads of the warp on the weft show that it was woven into linen on some sort of loom."—Boyd Dawkins' "Early Man in Britain," p. 275.

[557] I am aware that the presence of the Phoenicians (or Carthaginians) on our coasts has been disputed; but I think that the evidence of the Etruscan ornaments I have mentioned gives more than probability to the truth of Pliny's account of the expedition of Himilco from Gades, 500 B.C. By some he is supposed to have been a contemporary of Hanno, and of the third century B.C. There is some confusion in the imperfect record of the voyage; but it is difficult to interpret it otherwise than that he touched at several points north of Gaul. (See Boyd Dawkins' "Early Man in Britain," pp. 457-461; see also Perrot and Chipiez, "L'Histoire de l'Art dans l'Antiquite," t. iii.; "Phenicie et Cypre," p. 48.) For a contrary opinion, see Elton's "Origins of English History." Elton ascribes the first knowledge of the British islands to the voyage of Pytheas in the fourth century B.C.; he acknowledges that the geography of Britain was well known to the Greeks in the time of Alexander the Great. We owe to Pliny and Strabo the few fragments from Pytheas that have been rescued from oblivion, and to Pliny the notices of Himilco. (See Bouillet's "Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Geographie.")

[558] See Rock's Introduction to "Textile Fabrics," p. xii.

[559] I give the following amusing tradition, which was probably founded on the celebrity of the English pearl embroidery of the Anglo-Saxon times, of which much went to Rome:—

"Then Caesar, like a conqueror, with a great number of prisoners sailed into France, and so to Rome, where after his return out of Brytaine, hee consecrated to Venus a surcote of Brytaine pearles, the desire whereof partly moved him to invade this country."—(Stow's "Annales," p. 14, ed. 1634.) Tacitus, in the Agricola 12, says that British pearls are grey and livid.

[560] See Rock's Introduction to "Textile Fabrics," p. xii.

[561] These are the poor results of the Roman invasion and neglect of Britain during their occupation. The second invasion of Britain by the Romans, under Claudius, was caused by the squabbles between the chiefs of the different tribes. Comnenus, the prince of the Atrebates, was at war with the sons of Cunobelinus (Cymbeline). He took his grievances to Rome, and the Roman legions were despatched to settle the matter, and to dazzle the world by the echoes rather than the facts of the triumphant victories in the land of the "wintry pole." Claudius marched with elephants clad in mail, and bearing turrets filled with slingers and bowmen, accompanied by Belgic pikemen and Batavians from the islands in the Rhine, A.D. 44. The dress of Claudius on his return from Britain was purple, with an ivory sceptre and crown of gold oak leaves. One officer alone was entitled to wear a tunic embroidered with golden palms, in token of a former victory. The Celts, the Gauls, the Gaels, the Picts, the Scots, and the Saxons,—all crowded and settled in Britain when the Romans left it in 410, after nearly four hundred years of misgovernment. (See Elton's "Origins of English History," pp. 306-308.)

[562] Semper, "Der Stil," pp. 133, 134. See Louis Viardot, "Des Origines Traditionnelles de la Peinture en Italie" (Paris, 1840), p. 53, note. Also see "Les Ducs de Bourgogne," part ii. vol. ii. p. 243, No. 4092. Muratori was born in 1672; and he says the Empress Helena's work was in existence in the beginning of the eighteenth century. (See p. 316, ante.)

[563] When St. Augustine (546) came to preach to the Anglo-Saxons, he had a banner, fastened to a cross, carried before him, on which was embroidered the image of our Lord. (See Mrs. Lawrence's "Woman in England," pp. 296, 297.) Probably this was Roman work.

[564] Quoted by Mrs. Lawrence, "Woman in England," p. 49, from one of Adhelme's Latin poems. Adhelme, Bishop of Sherborne, died in 709, having been thirty years a bishop. He wrote Latin poems, of which the most important, in praise of virginity, is in the Lambeth Library, No. 200. The MS. contains his portrait. See Strutt's "English Dresses," ed. Planche.

[565] An Anglo-Saxon lady named Aedelswitha, living near Whitby, in the sixth century, collected a number of girls and taught them to produce admirable embroideries for the benefit of the monastery. (See Rock's "Church of our Fathers," p. 273; also his Introduction to "Textiles," p. xxvii.) Bock speaks of Hrothgar's tapestries, embroidered with gold, of the thirteenth century. See Appendix 8. But the earliest English tapestry I have seen is that in York Minster, in which are inwoven the arms of Scrope, 1390. Wright says of the Anglo-Saxon women, "In their chamber, besides spinning and weaving, the ladies were employed in needlework and embroidery, and the Saxon ladies were so skilful in this art, that their works were celebrated on the Continent."—"History of Manners in England during the Middle Ages," by Thomas Wright, p. 52.

[566] See Mrs. Lawrence's "Woman in England," i. p. 296-7.

[567] See Rock's "Church of our Fathers," ii. p. 272, quoting Th. Stubbs. "Acta Pontif. Th. ed. Twysden," 1. ii. p. 1699; also Bock's "Liturgische Gewaender," i. p. 212, and p. 325 ante.

[568] Appendix 9.

[569] This could hardly have been intended originally for an ecclesiastical purpose. It sounds as if it were a stray fragment from Graeco-Roman art, rather than a survival of the classical legend employed as a pretty motive for decoration. Wiglaf's veil is named by Ingulphus. See Strutt's "English Dresses," pp. 3, 7. See also "Historia Eliensis," l. 2, ed. Stewart, p. 183.

[570] See Rock's "Textile Fabrics," p. xxi.; also for Council of Cloveshoe, see his "Church of Our Fathers," p. 14.

[571] The Benedictines drained the marshes of Lincolnshire and Somersetshire to employ the poor in the eighth century. St. Bennet travelled to France and Italy, and brought back from his seven journeys cunning artificers in glass and stone, besides costly books and copies of the Scriptures, in order (as is expressly said by Bede) that the ignorant might learn from them, as others learned from books. See Mrs. Jameson's "Legends of the Monastic Orders," pp. 56, 57.

[572] See Raine's "St. Cuthbert," pp. 50-209. Mr. Raine describes it as being "of woven gold, with spaces left vacant for needlework embroidery." Beautifully drawn majestic figures stand in niches on rainbow-coloured clouds, and the effect is that of an illumination of the ninth century. The style is rather Greek or Byzantine than Anglo-Saxon. For further notices of St. Cuthbert's relics, see chapter on Materials, ante; also see Rock's "Introduction," p. cxvii.

[573] Appendix 10.

[574] See "Calendar of the Anglican Church," by J. H. Parker (1851): "St. Dunstan was not only a patron of the useful and fine arts, but also a great proficient in them himself; and his almost contemporary biographers speak of him as a poet, painter, and musician, and so skilled a worker in metals that he made many of the church vessels in use at Glastonbury."

[575] See Rock's "Church of our Fathers," p. 270.

[576] Strutt's "English Dresses," p. 70, quoted from Ingulphus' "History of Croyland Abbey."

[577] Shot, or iridescent materials, were then and had been some time manufactured at Tinnis in Egypt, a city now effaced. It was called "bouqualemoun," and employed for dresses and hangings for the Khalifs. See Schefer's "Relations du Voyage de Nassiri Khosrau," p. cxi. The original was written in the middle of the eleventh century.

[578] See Duchesne's "Historiae Normanorum." Fol. Paris, 1519.

[579] Queen Matilda was not the originator of the idea that a hero's deeds might be recorded by his wife's needle. Penelope wove the deeds of Ulysses on her loom, and it is suggested by Aristarchus that her peplos served as an historical document for Homer's "Iliad." See Rossignol's "Les Artistes Homeriques," pp. 72, 73, cited by Louis de Ronchaud in his "La Tapisserie," p. 32. Gudrun, like the Homeric woman, embroidered the history of Siegfried and his ancestors, and Aelfled that of the achievements of her husband, Duke Brithnod. The Saga of Charlemagne is said to have been embroidered on twenty-six ells of linen, and hung in a church in Iceland.

[580] Domesday ed. Record Commission, under head of Roberte de Oilgi, in co. Buckingham. See also another entry under Wilts, where "Leivede" is spoken of as working auriphrigium for King Edward and his Queen.

[581] Canon Jackson, writing of embroidery, says: "That this was cared for in the great monasteries at this early date appears from a MS. register of Glastonbury Abbey in the possession of the Marquis of Bath. It is called the Liber Henrici de Soliaco, and gives an account of the affairs of that abbey in A.D. 1189 (Richard I.)." There was a special official whose business it was to provide the monastery with church ornaments generally, and specially with "aurifrigium," or gold embroidery, on vestments. For this a house and land, with an annual allowance of food, was set apart. Another tenant also held some land, to which was attached the obligation to find a "worker in gold."—Letter from Canon Jackson to the Author.

[582] See Mrs. Lawrence's "Woman in England," vol. i. p. 360. She quotes an entry from Madox, a sum of L80 (equal to L1400 of to-day) for an embroidered robe for the Queen, paid by the Sheriffs of London.

[583] Matthew Paris, "Vit. Abb. St. Albani." p. 46; Rock, "Church of our Fathers," vol ii. p. 278.

[584] See Mrs. Dolby's Introduction to "Church Vestments."

[585] Strutt's "Royal and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of England," ed. mdcclxxiii.

[586] Though the work was domestic, the materials came from the East and the South; and while the woven gold of Sicily and Spain was merely base metal on gilded parchment, our laws were directed to the preservation of pure metals for textile purposes.

[587] Matthew Paris, "Hist. Angl.," p. 473, ed. Paris, 1644. See Hartshorne's "Mediaeval Embroideries," pp. 23, 24.

[588] The reproduction by the Arundel Society of this picture will familiarize those who care for English art with what is, perhaps, its finest example, next to the crosses of Queen Eleanor. It has been erroneously attributed to Van Eyk, but it is undoubtedly English. That its art is contemporary with the time of Richard II., is shown by the design and motives of the woven materials and embroidery in which the king and his attendant saints are clothed. They remind us of the piece of silk in the Kensington Museum, into which are woven (probably in Sicilian looms) the cognizance of the King's grandfather, the sun with rays; that of his mother Joan, the white hart; and his own, his dog Math. This is a good example of the value of an individual pattern. It helps us to affix dates to other specimens of similar style.

[589] See Miss Strickland's mention of the Countess of Oxford in her "Life of Queen Elizabeth of York," p. 46.

[590] From the fragments found, it appeared that King John's mantle was of a strong red silk. Till lately, when it was effaced by being completely gilt, the mantle on the recumbent effigy was of a bright red, bordered with gold and gems. See Greene's "Worcester," p. 3, quoted in the "Report of the Archaeological Association of Worcester," p. 53.

[591] "Notice sur les Attaches d'un Sceau," par M. Leopold Delisle (Paris, 1854); and also Rock's Introduction to "Textile Fabrics," p. xxii.

[592] The opus Anglicanum often included borders and orphreys set with jewellers' work (or its imitation, worked in gold thread), gems, and pearls.

[593] Edward III. had from William de Courtenay an embroidered garment, "inwrought with pelicans, images, and tabernacles of gold. The tabernacles were like niches, with pinnacles and roofs."

[594] Bock, "Liturgische Gewaender," i. p. 211, says there is a piece of opus Anglicanum in the treasury of Aix-la-Chapelle, called the Cope of Leo III.

[595] For further notice of the "opus Anglicanum," see chapter (ante) on ecclesiastical embroideries.

[596] Appendix 11.

[597] The orphreys are probably not the original work.

[598] "Testamenta Vetusta," ed. Nicholas, t. i. p. 33.

[599] Woolstrope, Lincolnshire. Collier's "Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain," v. p. 3 (ed. Lothbury). This proves that the monks sometimes plied the needle.

[600] See Hall's "Union of the Houses of York and Lancaster," pp. lxxv-lxxxiii.

[601] See Brewer's "Reign of Henry VIII.," vol. i. pp. 347-376.

[602] In the Public Record Office is an inventory of Lord Monteagle's property, 1523 A.D.; amongst other things, is named a piece of Spanish work, "eight partletts garnished with gold and black silk work." This Spanish work is rare, but the description reminds us of a specimen belonging to Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford (Plate 82)—a square of linen, worked with ostriches, turkeys, and eagles in gold and black silk stitches. See Mrs. Palliser's "History of Lace," pp. 6, 12.

[603] Quoted from Cavendish by Miss Strickland, "Queens of England," iv. p. 132.

[604] "The invalid queen, in her moments of convalescence, soothed her cares and miseries at the embroidery frame. Many specimens of her needlework were extant in the reign of James I., and are thus celebrated by Taylor, the poet of the needle:—

"'Mary here the sceptre sway'd; And though she were no queen of mighty power, Her memory will never be decay'd, Nor yet her works forgotten. In the Tower, In Windsor Castle, and in Hampton Court,— In that most pompous room called Paradise,— Whoever pleases thither to resort, May see some works of hers of wondrous price. Her greatness held it no disreputation To hold the needle in her royal hand, Which was a good example to our nation To banish idleness throughout the land. And thus this queen in wisdom thought it fit; The needle's work pleased her, and she graced it.'

"According to Taylor, Mary finished the splendid and elaborate tapestry begun by her mother."—Miss Strickland's "Life of Mary Tudor," v. p. 417.

[605] "After the action at D'Arbre de Guise, Elizabeth (of England) sent to Henri IV. a scarf embroidered by her own hand. 'Monsieur mon bon frere,' wrote the queen, 'its value is naught in comparison to the dignity of the personage for whom it is destined; but I supplicate you to hide its defects under the wings of your good charity, and to accept my little present in remembrance of me.'"—"Henri IV.," by Miss Freer, p. 311.

[606] In the year 1683 the Marchese Luca Casimiero degl' Albizzi visited England, and his travels were recorded in manuscript by Dr. A. Forzoni. At Windsor he observed over a chimney-piece a finely wrought piece of embroidery—"un educazione di fanciulli"—by the hands of Mary Queen of Scots.—Loftie's "History of Old London;" also article on "Royal Picture Galleries," by George Scharf, p. 361 (1867).

[607] "The Company of the Embroiderers can make appear by their worthy and famous pieces of art that they have been of ancient use and eminence, as is to be seen in divers places at this day; but in the matter of their incorporation, it hath relation to the fourth year of Queen Elizabeth."—Stow's "Survey of London and Westminster," part ii. p. 216; also see Edmonson's "Heraldry," vol. i. (1780). "The Keepers, Wardens, and Company of the Broiderie of London.... 2 keepers and 40 assistants, and the livery consists of 115 members. They have a small but convenient hall in Gutter Lane."—Maitland's "History of London," book iii. p. 602.

[608] The fashion of this work began much earlier, for we find in the inventory of "St. James's House, nigh Westminster," 1549: "42 Item. A table wherein is a man holding a sword in his one hand and a sceptre in his other hand of needlework, partly garnished with seed pearl" (p. 307).

[609] The merit or blame of this rounded padded work (a caricature of the raised embroidery of the opus Anglicanum) is often erroneously awarded to the "nuns of Little Gidding." The earliest specimens we know of this "embroidery on the stamp" are German. At Coire in the Grisons, at Zurich (see chapter on ecclesiastical art), and in the National Museum at Munich are some very beautiful examples. The Italians also executed elaborate little pictures in this manner; but I cannot praise it however refined in execution or beautiful the design. I have seen no English specimens that are not beneath criticism; they are only funny.

[610] In the Calendar of the State Papers Office (Domestic, Charles I., vol. clxix. p. 12), Mrs. H. Senior sues the Earl of Thomond for L200 per annum, her pay for teaching his daughter needlework. Mrs. Hutchinson, in her Memoir, says she had eight tutors when she was seven years old, and one of them taught her needlework. This shows how highly this accomplishment was still considered in the days of Charles I. and the Commonwealth. Later, Evelyn speaks of the "new bed of Charles II.'s queen, the embroidery of which cost L3000" (Evelyn's Memoirs, January 24, 1687). Evelyn says of his own daughter Susanna, who married William Draper: "She had a peculiar talent in designe, as painting in oil and miniature, and an extraordinary genius for whatever hands can do with a needle." See Evelyn's "Memoirs," April 27, 1693; also see Mrs. Palliser's "History of Lace," pp. 7, 8.

[611] The tree-pattern, already common in the latter days of Elizabeth, reappeared on a dress worn by the Duchess of Queensberry, and described by Mrs. Delany; she says, "A white satin embroidered at the bottom with brown hills, covered with all sorts of weeds, and with a brown stump, broken and worked in chenille, and garlanded nasturtiums, honeysuckles, periwinkles, convolvuluses, and weeds, many of the leaves finished with gold." Mrs. Delany does not appreciate this ancient pattern.

[612] Queen Mary only knotted fringes. Bishop Burnett says: "It was strange to see a queen work so many hours a day." Sir E. Sedley, in his epigram on the "Royal Knotter," says,—

"Who, when she rides in coach abroad, Is always knotting threads."

Probably it was the fashion, as Madame de Maintenon always worked during her drives with the king, which doubtless prevented her dying of ennui!

[613] I quote from the Spectator, No. 606: "Let no virgin receive her lover, except in a suit of her own embroidery."

[614] Her style was really legitimate to the art. It was flower-painting with the needle. Miss Moritt copied both figures and landscapes, with wonderful taste and knowledge of drawing. Miss Linwood's and Mrs. Delany's productions are justly celebrated as tours de force, but they caused the downfall of the art by leading it on the wrong track.

[615] Lord Houghton alludes to H.R.H.'s patronage of the revival of embroidery in his paraphrase of the "Story of Arachne," p. 238, ante.

[616] "Opposed to the 'utility stitches' are the art needlework schools that have branched out in many directions from New York.... The impulse that led to their formation was derived from South Kensington (England), and affords a striking instance of the ramifications of an organization."—Atlantic Monthly ("Women in Organization"), Sept., 1880.




By Ch. T. Newton.

Though the embroidered and richly decorated textile fabrics of the ancients have perished, all but a few scraps, we may form some idea of the richness and variety of Greek female attire from the evidence of the inventories of dedicated articles of dress which have been preserved for us in Greek inscriptions.

In the Acropolis at Athens have been found a number of fragments of marble on which are inscribed lists of various female garments dedicated, for the most part, in the Temple of Artemis Brauronia, in the Archonship of Lykurgos, B.C. 338-35. These articles were thus carefully registered because they formed part of the treasures dedicated to the gods of the Acropolis, which it was the duty of the state to guard, and to commit to the custody of officers specially selected for that duty. One of these fragments is in the Elgin Collection at the British Museum, and has been published by Mr. Hicks in the "Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum," Part 1, No 34; and the entire series has since been given to the world in the "Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum" of the Academy of Berlin, ii., Part 2., Nos. 751-65.

The material of these garments seems to have been either linen or fine woollen; the colours white, purple, or some shade of red, mostly used as a border or in stripes; or a shade of green, the tint of which is described as "frog colour," saffron, or sea-green.

The borders and patterns noted remind us of those represented on the garments of figures in vase pictures, such as the embattled border, the wave pattern, and certain patterns in rectangular compartments. A group of Dionysos pouring out a libation while a female serves him with wine, and a row of animals, are also noted among the ornaments.

The inscription, "Sacred to Artemis," woven into the fabric of the garment, occurs twice. Gold, as an ornament fixed on the dress, is mentioned in these entries. It is noted that some of these dresses served to deck the statue of the goddess herself. Most of the garments are the chiton or tunic, flowing to the feet; the chitoniskos, a shorter and more ornamental garment worn over it; and the mantle, himation. Pieces of cloth or rags are also mentioned among the entries; these were probably the remnants of cast-off garments dedicated by their wearers. Some of the dresses are described as embroidered with the needle.

In the worship of the Artemis Brauronia, certain Athenian girls between the ages of five and ten were solemnly dedicated to the goddess every five years. In publishing the inventory in the British Museum already referred to, Mr. Hicks remarks, "It may have been the custom sometimes to dedicate to the goddess the garments worn by children at their presentation, just as we know that the garments in which persons had been initiated at the Greater Eleusinia were worn by them until threadbare, and then dedicated to some god. If so, the number of children's clothes mentioned in our inventory is easily explained. Or were these the clothes of children cut off by Artemis in infancy, such as bereaved mothers nowadays often treasure for years, having no temple wherein to dedicate them?" Mr. Hicks further remarks that it was usual for the bride before marriage to dedicate her girdle to Artemis; and at Athens the garments of women who died in childbirth were likewise in like manner so dedicated. It is probably on account of such dedications that Artemis was styled Chitone—the goddess of the chiton.

Another list of vestments is preserved in an inscription found at Samos, and published by Carl Curtius in his "Inschriften u. Studien zur Geschichte von Samos," pp. 17-21. The garments in this list were dedicated to the goddess Here (Juno) in her celebrated temple at Samos. The entries relate chiefly to articles of female attire, but some few are dedicated to the god Hermes. Some of these articles were doubtless worn by the deities themselves on festive occasions, when their statues were decked out. The toilet, kosmos, of goddesses was superintended by a priestess specially chosen for that purpose. She was called kosmeteira, or "Mistress of the Robes."

In the Samian list of garments, those which are embroidered or ornamented with gold are specially noted. Some of the tunics are described as Lydian. Curtains or hangings are also mentioned in this list. These must have been used to ornament the interior of the temple, or to screen off the statue of the goddess on the days when she was withdrawn from the gaze of the profane. Such hangings were, probably, a main cause of the conflagrations by which Greek temples were from time to time destroyed in spite of the solidity of their walls.


In the Castle of Moritzburg, built by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, is a quaint apartment, on the walls of which are hung rugs of feather-work, of which the borders are adorned with set patterns of fruit and flowers, and the colouring is as soft as a Gobelins tapestry. The feathers are woven tightly into the warp, in the same manner as the tufts are set in a velvety carpet; forming a surface as delicate as silk to the touch. There are four high-backed chairs covered with the same work in smaller patterns. But what is especially remarkable is an immense canopy, like that of a state bed, with urn-shaped ornaments of stiff feathers at the corners; and a pretty bell-shaped fringe of scarlet feathers. The same ornament edged a large rug like those on the wall, thrown over what at first appeared to be a bed; but on examination it was found to be a rough wooden platform, said to be the throne of Montezuma. The story is that Augustus the Strong went to Spain incognito at the age of eighteen, in search of adventures, and distinguished himself at a bull-fight. When the king (Charles II.) heard the name of the young hero, he gave him a hospitable reception, and afterwards sent these Mexican treasures to him as a token of friendship.


Story of Arachne, abridged by Earl Cowper from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Arachne's tale of grief is full: Her father was of low degree; No thought beyond his crimson'd wool, His daughter and his wife had he.

The wife had fill'd an early tomb, The daughter lived—and all the land Of Lydia boasted of her loom, Her needle, and her dexterous hand.

To watch her task the nymphs repair From fair Timolus' vine-clad hill; They deem the work divinely fair, The maid when working fairer still.

The softness of the fleecy ball, By skilful fingers taught to flow In lengthening lines—they watch'd it all— And round and round the spindle go.

Wondering, they view the rich design: Ah, luckless gift! ah, foolish pride! 'Twas Pallas taught the art divine, But this the haughty maid denied.

"Me taught," she cried, "by Pallas! Me By Pallas! Let the goddess first Accept my challenge. Then, should she Surpass me, let her do her worst."

Vain, impious words! The goddess came In likeness of an ancient crone, With grizzled locks and tottering frame, And spoke with warning in her tone.

"Though matchless in thine art," she cried, "Though first of mortals, tempt not fate. Age makes me wise. Thou hast defied A goddess. It is not too late."

The unhappy maid, with madness blind, Replied, and scarce restrain'd the blow. "'Tis plain, old woman, that your mind Is drivelling to address me so.

"Some daughter or some slave may want Your counsel. Let her but appear, This mighty Pallas whom you vaunt!" The goddess answer'd, "She is here."

She spoke, and lo! that ancient crone Was young and fair, and tall and proud: —The nymphs fell prostrate. She alone— Arachne—neither shrank nor bow'd.

One blush quick came and pass'd away, Hovering as clouds, when night is done, Grow rosy at the dawn of day, Then whiten with the rising sun.

She did not shrink—she did not pause— But headlong to destruction ran; And thus the strife ordain'd to cause Such dark calamity began.

Each for the contest takes her stand— The goddess here, the mortal there— And each proceeds with skilful hand The means of victory to prepare.

The beam each loom supports full well, And to the loom the warp is tied; Nor will I now forget to tell The reed that doth the warp divide.

The woof the shuttle in doth bring, The nimble fingers guide its way; And still from either work-frame ring The blows inflicted by the slay.

Each to her bosom binds her vest: The arms of each, quick moving, feel No sense of toil, no need of rest, For weariness is quench'd by zeal.

And all the gorgeous tints of Tyre In varying shades are mingled there; And every hue the sun's bright fire Can kindle in the showery air,—

When the wide rainbow spans the sky; The bow whose colours, in the end So different, yet so like when nigh, In harmony's own concord blend,—

And precious threads of glittering gold Enrich the growing web. But say! What ancient tale by each was told? What legend of an earlier day?

Pallas her well-known triumph drew; The gods assembled in their force, And Neptune with his trident, too, Exulting in the fiery horse,—

Which from the rock he made to bound: But she herself, more deeply wise, A greater blessing from the ground The olive brought, and gain'd the prize.

The border of this main design With Rhodope's sad tale was set; And all who dared the gods divine To rival—and the fate they met.

Meanwhile Arachne wove the wool: The web with many a picture shone. She drew Europa with her bull, And Leda with her snow-white swan.

Deois with her snake display'd, And Danaee with her shower of gold; And many a tale besides the maid, Had fate permitted, would have told.

But the dread goddess now no more To check her rising envy strove; The half-completed task she tore, And all the pictured crimes of Jove.

The shuttle thrice the air did rend, Thrice did the heaven-directed blow Full on Arachne's head descend, And made her purple blood to flow.

Arachne's soul was proud and high: She drew a cruel cord around Her tender neck—and, driven to die, Was from a beam suspended found.

Her death the unpitying goddess stay'd; "Henceforth, vain fool! for such a crime For ever shall thou hang," she said; "A warning to the end of time."

In scorn she spoke, and over all Her rival's face and form she smear'd A deadly drug. The head grew small, And each fair feature disappear'd.

And off the beauteous tresses fell; The tender waist that was so slim, In loathly sort was seen to swell, Shrivell'd and shrank each comely limb.

The spider's fingers still remain To spin for ever.—We may vie With fellow mortals, but 'tis vain To struggle with the gods on high.

January, 1885. COWPER.


Extract from "History of Christian Art." By Lord Lindsay. Vol. i. pp. 136-139.

"But perhaps the noblest testimony to the revival under the Comneni is afforded by the designs on the Dalmatic or sacerdotal robe, commonly styled 'Di Papa San Leone,' preserved in the sacristy of St. Peter's—said to have been embroidered at Constantinople for the coronation of Charlemagne as Emperor of the West, but fixed by German criticism as a production of the twelfth, or the early part of the thirteenth century. The Emperors wore it ever after, when serving as deacons at the Pope's altar during their coronation-mass. You will think little of it at first sight, and lay it aside as a piece of darned and faded tapestry, yet I would stake on it, alone, the reputation of Byzantine art. And you must recollect, too, that embroidery is but a poor substitute for the informing hand and the lightning stroke of genius.

It is a large robe of stiff brocade, falling in broad and unbroken folds in front and behind,—broad and deep enough for the Goliath-like stature and the Herculean chest of Charlemagne himself. On the breast, the Saviour is represented in glory, on the back the Transfiguration, and on the two shoulders Christ administering the Eucharist to the Apostles.

The composition on the breast is an amplification of No. V. (as above enumerated) of the Personal traditional compositions.—In the centre of a golden circle of glory, 'Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life,' robed in white, with the youthful and beardless face, his eyes directly looking into yours, sits upon the rainbow, his feet resting on the winged wheels[617] of Ezekiel, his left hand holding an open book, inscribed with the invitation, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father,'—his right raised in benediction. At the four corners of the circular glory, resting on them, half within it, half without, float the emblems of the four Evangelists; the Virgin and the Baptist stand to the right and left of our Saviour, the Baptist without, the Virgin entirely within the glory, the only figure that is so placed; she is sweet in feature and graceful in attitude, in her long white robe.

Above Our Saviour's head, and from the top of the golden circle, rises the Cross, with the crown of thorns suspended upon it, the spear resting on one side, the reed with the sponge on the other, and the sun and moon looking down upon it from the sky.

The heavenly host and the company of the blessed form a circle of adoration around this central glory; angels occupying the upper part, emperors, patriarchs, monks and nuns the lower; at the extremity, on the left side, appears Mary Magdalen, in her penitence—a thin emaciated figure, imperfectly clothed, and with dishevelled hair.

In the corners, below this grand composition, appear, to the right, St. John the Baptist, holding the cross, and pointing upwards to Our Saviour; to the left, Abraham seated, a child on his lap, and resting his hand on another by his side.

The background and scene of the whole composition is of blue, to represent heaven,—studded with stars, shaped like the Greek cross.

The Transfiguration, which corresponds to this subject on the back of the robe, is the traditional composition, only varied by the unusual shape of the vesica piscis which encloses Our Saviour. The two compositions representing the Institution of the Eucharist, on the shoulders, are better executed and more original. In each of them, Our Saviour, a stiff but majestic figure, stands behind the altar, on which are deposited a chalice and a paten or basket containing crossed wafers. He gives, in the one case, the cup to St. Paul, in the other the bread to St. Peter,—they do not kneel, but bend reverently to receive it; five other disciples await their turn in each instance,—all are standing.

I do not apprehend your being disappointed with the 'Dalmatica di San Leone,' or your dissenting from my conclusion, that a master, a Michael Angelo I might almost say, then flourished at Byzantium.

It was in this Dalmatic—then semee all over with pearls and glittering in freshness—that Cola di Rienzi robed himself over his armour in the sacristy of St. Peter's, and thence ascended to the Palace of the Popes, after the manner of the Caesars, with sounding trumpets and his horsemen following him—his truncheon in his hand and his crown on his head—'terribile e fantastico,' as his biographer describes him—to wait upon the legate.[618]"


[617] In the 'Manual of Dionysius,' recently published by M. Didron (p. 71, &c.), these winged wheels are interpreted as signifying the order of angels commonly distinguished as Thrones. Their interpretation as the Covenants of the Law and Gospel, sanctioned by St. Gregory the Great in his Homilies, is certainly more sublime and instructive.

[618] Cited from the original life, printed in Muratori's 'Antiquit. Ital. Medii AEvi,' tom. viii., by M. Sulpice Boisseree, in his essay, 'Ueber die Kaiser-Dalmatica,' &c.


The Hon. and Rev. Ignatius Clifford has permitted me to make extracts from his "Memoranda of some remarkable Specimens of Ancient Church Embroidery." First on his list is the Cope now in the possession of Colonel Butler Bowden, of Pleasington, near Blackburn, Lancashire. I give his account of the mutilated condition, from which he has made his beautifully drawn restoration. "Formerly," he says, "portions of this cope, some made up into chasuble, stole, maniple, and some scraps detached, were at Mount St. Mary's College, Spink Hill, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire."

The well-known architect, the late Augustus Welby Pugin, having seen them (or at least the chasuble), wrote on the 20th April, 1849, to the Rector of the College, "I found it to be of English work of the time of Edward I., and have no hesitation in pronouncing it to be the most interesting and beautiful specimen of church embroidery I have ever seen."

Other portions of the cope had been made up into an altar-frontal, and were in the possession of Henry Bowden, Esq., of Southgate House, Derbyshire, some four or five miles from the college.

The ground is crimson velvet. The designs are wrought in gold, silver, silk, and seed pearls. The silks are worked in chain, or rather in split stitch. It contains between seventy and eighty figures.

Only two small fragments remain of the quasi-hood.

In the orphrey are kings, queens, archbishops, and bishops. In the body of the cope are the Annunciation—Adoration of the Magi—Our Lady enthroned at the right of her Divine Son. Lowest row of single figures—St. Simon, St. Jude, St. James, St. Thomas, St. Andrew, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Barnabas, St. Matthew, St. Philip, St. James, St. Bartholomew. Middle row—St. Edward the Confessor—a Bishop—St. Margaret, St. John the Evangelist, St. John the Baptist, St. Catherine, an Archbishop, St. Edmund king and martyr. Top row—St. Lawrence, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Martha (or St. Helen?), St. Stephen. In the intervals, angels seated on faldstool thrones, and bearing stars; also two popinjays.

Mr. Clifford describes the Steeple Aston Cope. The ground is of a richly ribbed faded silk. The design worked in gold and silks is enclosed in quatrefoils of oak and ivy. The Syon Cope he refers to Rock's "Textile Fabrics." See Appendix.

The Dalmatic from Anagni, exhibited at Rome in 1870, he thinks is probably English.

The Pluvial in the Basilica of St. John Lateran at Rome, he speaks of as "having much the appearance of the celebrated Opus Anglicanum."

He describes the subjects embroidered on it thus: "No border round the curved edge. The orphrey is divided into tabernacles containing an archbishop, two bishops, and three kings and queens. Between the tabernacles are four angels, each accompanied by one of the evangelistic symbols. The body of the cope is cut into a most elaborate system of tabernacles, with a centre compartment of a different form for the group of the Crucifixion. The subjects are chiefly from the life of our Lord and the Blessed Virgin. The small quasi-hood is embroidered with two wyverns or griffin-like creatures. The pelican and the phoenix are introduced over the top central group of the enthronement of our Lady."

Mr. Clifford gives the history of the Cope of Pius II. (Bartolomeo Piccolomini, "AEneas Silvius") fifteenth century. It is a masterpiece of Italian embroidery of the early Renaissance. The material was gold brocade, covered with wonderful designs carried out in needlework, representing saints and angels, trees and birds, and arabesques. The whole was adorned with pearls and precious stones valued at L80,000. At his death the pope bequeathed this vestment to the cathedral of his native town. The cope was stolen in March, 1884, from the treasury at Pienza; and shortly afterwards discovered in the shop of a dealer in antiquities at Florence, but completely stripped of its precious stones and of some of its more valuable embroidery. After magisterial investigation, the cope was restored to Pienza.

The cope at Bologna is thus described: "Subjects from the New Testament contained in two rows of tabernacle compartments, twelve in lower, seven in upper row. Spandrils occupied by angels playing on various musical instruments. After each row, a border containing medallions with heads (of angels, prophets, &c.), twenty-three in lower, nine in upper row. No orphrey; no border or outside curve; quasi-hood very small."


From Rock's "Textiles," p. 275.

"The Syon Monastery Cope; ground green, with crimson interlacing barbed quatrefoils, enclosing figure of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles, with winged cherubim standing on wheels in the intervening spaces, and the orphreys, morse, and hem wrought with armorial bearings; the whole done in gold, silver, and various coloured silks. English needlework, thirteenth century; 9 feet 7 inches by 4 feet 8 inches.

"This handsome cope, so very remarkable on account of its comparatively perfect preservation, is one of the most beautiful among the several liturgical vestments of the olden period anywhere to be now found in Christendom. If by all lovers of mediaeval antiquity it will be looked upon as so valuable a specimen of art of its kind and time, for every Englishman it ought to have a double interest, showing, as it does, such a splendid and instructive example of the opus 'Anglicum,' or English work, which won itself so wide a fame, and was so eagerly sought after throughout the whole of Europe during the Middle Ages."

Dr. Rock gives a list of the subjects. St. Michael overcoming Satan (from Rev. xii. 7, 9). The next quatrefoil above this is filled with the Crucifixion. Here the Blessed Virgin is arrayed in a green tunic, and a golden mantle lined with vair; her head is kerchiefed, and her uplifted hands sorrowfully clasped. St. John—whose dress is all of gold—is on the left, at the foot of the cross, upon which the Saviour, wrought all in silver—a most unusual thing—with a cloth of gold wrapped about His loins, is fastened by three (not four) nails.... In the highest quatrefoil is figured the Redeemer in glory, crowned as a king, and seated on a cushioned throne. Resting upon His knee and steadied by His hand is the Mund, or ball representing the earth.... This is divided into three parts, of which the largest, an upper horizontal hemicycle, is coloured crimson (now faded to a brownish tint), but the lower hemicycle is divided vertically in two, of which one portion is coloured green, and the other white or silvered....

The next two subjects to be described are—one on the right hand, the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the other, on the left, her burial....

Below the burial we have our Lord in the garden, signified by two trees; still wearing the crown of thorns; our Lord in His left hand holds the banner of the Resurrection, and with His right bestows His benediction on the kneeling Magdalene, who is wimpled, and wears a mantle of green, shot yellow, over a light purple tunic.

Below, but outside the quatrefoil, is a layman clad in gold, upon his knees, and holding a long, narrow scroll bearing words which cannot now be satisfactorily read.

Lowermost of all we see the Apostle St. Philip, with a book in one hand, in the other the flaying knife.

A little above him St. Peter, with his two keys, one gold, the other silver; and somewhat under him is St. Andrew with his cross. On the other side of St. Michael and the Dragon is St. James the Greater—sometimes called of Compostella, because he lies buried in that Spanish city—with a book in one hand and in the other a staff, and slung from his wrist a wallet, both emblems of pilgrimage to his shrine in Galicia.... In the next quatrefoil above is St. Paul with his sword, and over to the right St. Thomas; still further to the right St. James the Less. Just above is our Saviour, clad in a golden tunic, and carrying a staff, overcoming the unbelief of St. Thomas. Upon his knees that Apostle feels, with his right hand held by the Redeemer, the spear wound in His side.

As at the left side, so here, quite outside the sacred history on the cope, we have the figure of an individual probably living at the time the vestment was wrought. The dress of the other shows him to be a layman; by the shaven crown of his head, this person must have been a cleric of some sort; but we cannot tell ... for the canvas is worn quite bare, so that we see nothing now but the lines drawn in black to guide the embroiderer.... This Churchman holds up another scroll bearing words which can no longer be read.

"When this cope was new, it showed, written in tall gold letters more than an inch high, an inscription now cut up and lost ... the word ne, and a V on some of the shreds are all that remains of it.

"In its original state it could give us the whole of the twelve Apostles. Portions can still be seen.... The lower part of the vestment has been sadly cut away, and reshaped with the fragments; perhaps at that time were added the present heraldic orphrey, morse, and border, probably fifty years later than the other portions of this matchless specimen of the far-famed 'Opus Anglicum.'" "Of angels," the "nine choirs," and the three great hierarchies, Cherubim, Seraphim, and Thrones, are figured here. Led a good way by Ezekiel, but not following that prophet step by step, our mediaeval draughtsmen found out for themselves a certain angel form. To this they gave a human shape, that of a comely youth; clothing him with six wings, with human feet; instead of the body being full of eyes, the wings are often composed of the bright-eyed feathers of the peacock. On this cope the eight angels standing upon wheels are so placed that they are everywhere nearest to those quatrefoils wherein our Lord's Person comes, and may therefore be taken as representing the upper hierarchy of the angelic host. The other angels, not upon wheels, no doubt belong to the second hierarchy; while those that have but one pair of wings (not three) represent the lowest hierarchy. "All, like our Lord, are barefoot. All of them have their hands lifted in prayer.... For every lover of English heraldry this cope, so plentifully blazoned with armorial bearings, will have a special value, equal to that belonging to many an ancient roll of arms." The orphrey, morse and hem contain the arms of Warwick, Castile and Leon, Ferrars, Geneville Everard, the badge of the Knights Templars, Clifford, Spencer, Lemisi or Lindsey, Le Botiler, Sheldon, Monteney of Essex, Champernoun, England, Tyddeswall, Grandeson, FitzAlan, Hampden, Percy, Chambowe, Ribbesford, Bygod, Roger de Mortimer, Golbare or Grove, De Bassingburn, with many others not recognized, and frequent repetitions.... "Besides their heraldry, squares at each corner are wrought with swans and peacocks of curious interest for every lover of mediaeval symbolism...." These coats of arms, being mostly blazoned on lozenge-shaped shields, suggest that possibly they record those of the noble ladies who worked the border; while those on circles may be the arms of religious houses or donors.

"A word or two upon the needlework; how it was done; and the now unused mechanical appliance to it after it was wrought, so observable on this vestment, lending its figures more effect."

"We find that for the human face, all over this cope, the first stitches were begun in the centre of the cheek, and worked in circular lines, into which, after the first start, they fell, and were so carried on through the rest of the flesh tints.

"Then with a little iron rod, ending in a small bulb slightly heated, were pressed down those parts of the faces worked in circles, as well as the wide dimple in the throat. By the hollows thus sunk a play of light and shadow is brought out that lends to the parts so treated a look of being done in low relief. Upon the lightly clothed figure of our Lord the same process is followed, and shows a noteworthy example of the mediaeval knowledge of external anatomy.

"We must not, however, hide from ourselves that the unequal surfaces, given by such a use of the hot iron to parts of the work, expose it to the danger of being worn by friction more than other parts, and soon betray the damage by their threadbare, dingy look, as is the case in the example just cited. The method for grounding the quatrefoils is remarkable for being done in a long zigzag diaper pattern (laid stitch)....

"The stitching on the armorial bearings is the same as that now followed in many trifling things worked in wool (cross stitch).

"The canvas (or linen) for every part of this cope is of the finest sort, but its crimson canvas lining is thick and coarse....

"A word or two about the history of this fine cope...."

Dr. Rock now enters into the history of the guilds, which included noble laymen and women, and members of the clergy; and tells us that the rolls of these associations sometimes grew to be exceedingly wealthy. He says that each of these guilds had usually in its parish church a chapel or altar of its own, splendidly provided for, to which offerings were spontaneously given by individuals, or by members clubbing together that their joint gift might be the more worthy.

Perhaps the cleric and the layman worked on the cope may have been the donors. Dr. Rock suggests that possibly Coventry may have been the place of its origin, "where the famous Corpus Christi plays" (which this cope so well illustrates) "drew crowds every year to see them, as is testified by the Paston letters. Taking this old city as a centre, with a radius of no great length, we may draw a circle on the map enclosing Tamworth, tower and town, Chartley castle, Warwick, Charlcote, and Althorp. The lords of these broad lands would, in accordance with the religious feelings of those times, become brothers of the famous Guild of Coventry, and on account of their high rank find their arms embroidered on the vestments belonging to their fraternity. That such a pious queen as the gentle Eleanor, wife of Edward the First, who died 1290, should have in her lifetime become a sister is very likely, so that we may easily account for the shield—Castile and Leon."

The other noble shields may possibly record munificent benefactions. "The whole must have taken very long in the working, and the probability is that it was embroidered by the nuns of some convent which stood in or near Coventry....

"Upon the banks of the Thames at Isleworth, near London, Henry V. built and munificently endowed a monastery, to be called 'Syon,' for the nuns of St. Bridget's order. Among the earliest friends of this new house was a Master Thomas Graunt, an official in one of the Ecclesiastical Courts of the kingdom. In the Syon Nun's Martyrologium—a valuable MS. lately bought by the British Museum—this Churchman is gratefully recorded as the giver to their convent of several precious ornaments, of which this very cope seemingly is one. It was the custom for a guild or religious body to bestow some rich church vestment upon an ecclesiastical advocate who had befriended it by his pleadings before the tribunal, and thus to convey their thanks to him with his fee. After such a fashion this cope might easily have found its way, through Dr. Graunt, from Warwickshire to Middlesex.

"At the beginning of Elizabeth's reign it went with the nuns, as they wandered in an unbroken body through Flanders, France, and Portugal, where they halted. About sixty years ago it came back again from Lisbon to England, and has found a home in the South Kensington Museum."

For want of space I have been obliged to omit a great deal of Dr. Rock's interesting account of the Syon Cope. The reader is referred for further details, especially regarding the heraldry and the subjects in the quatrefoils, to Rock's "Textile Fabrics," pp. 275-291, in the South Kensington Museum (No. 9182).


The Assyrians were great in fringes. Of this we can judge from their sculptures, in which the rich deep and broad fringe forms the ornament and accentuates the shaping of the garments of kings and priests and nobles. Loftus, in his "Babylon and Susiana," tells of the only actually existing remnant of their textile art of which I can find any record. Some terra-cotta coffins were opened at Warka (the ancient Erech), and in one of them was a cushion, on which the head, gone to dust, had reposed. It was covered with linen—fringed. Nothing else had survived the ages except a huge wig of false hair. Such fragmentary echoes from a life, a civilization, and an art dead for thousands of years, are curiously pathetic, and touch and startle the thinking mind.


The following poem from the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf shows that the hospitable hall of the Saxon earl was hung with tapestry embroidered with gold.

Foela poera was Much people were Wera and Wifa pe pat win rued Men and women who that wine house Gest sele gyredon gold fag scinon That guest-hall garnished. Cloths embroidered with gold Web-after wagum. Wundersiona feld Those along the walls many wonderful sights Sioga gustryleum para pe on swyle stara [female or Venus symbol] To every person of those that gaze on such.

Translation by Thomas Arnold.

The poem of Beowulf is supposed to have been written in the early part of the twelfth century.

The lines which follow are from a poem, recomposed from earlier sagas, in the beginning of the twelfth century. It serves to show that arras was used in bedrooms thus early in Germany.

From the "Niebelungen Lied," uebersetzt von Karl Simrock, p. 294.

Manche schmucke Decke von Arras da lag Aus lichthellem Zeuge und manches Ueberdach Aus arabischer Seides so gut sie mochte sein, Darueber lagen leisten du gaben herrlicher Schein.

I owe these notices to the kindness of the Rev. A. O. Winnington Ingram.


Abridged from Trans. by Sir G. Dasent.

(From the Ezrbyggja Saga.)

In that summer in which Christianity was established by law in Iceland (A.D. 1000), there came a ship from off the sea out to Snowfellsness, in Iceland. It was a Dublin ship, and on board it were Irishmen and men from Sodor and the Hebrides, but few Norsemen.... On board the ship was a woman from the Hebrides, whose name was Thorgunna. Her shipmates said that they were sure she had such treasures with her as would be hard to get in Iceland.

Thurida, the housewife at Frida, was envious and covetous of these precious goods, and received Thorgunna into her home in hopes, by some means, to possess herself of them, especially the embroidered hangings of a bed; but Thorgunna refused to part with them. "I will not lie in the straw for thee, though thou art a fine lady, and thinkest great things of thyself." Thorgunna made her own terms with Thurida and Master Harold, and set up her bed at the inner end of their hall. Her richly worked bed-clothes, her English sheets and silken quilt, and her bed-hangings and canopy were such "that men thought nothing at all like them had ever been seen." An air of truth is given to the whole story by the details. Thorgunna is described as "tall and strong and very stout. She was swarthy brown, with eyes set close together; her hair was brown and very thick. She was well-behaved in daily life, and went to church every morning before she went to her work." Then comes an account of a storm, and a rain of blood; and how Thorgunna sickened and died, and at her own desire was carried to be buried to Skilholt, which she prophesied would one day be considered holy, and that priests might there sing dirges over her.

There is a curious and picturesque account of the two days' journey to Skilholt, and the adventures that befell the funeral cortege; including the incident of the corpse cooking the supper of the convoy at an inhospitable farmhouse where they had sought refuge and received no entertainment.

On Harold's return home after the funeral, he proceeded to carry out the wishes of Thorgunna, who had warned him that the ownership of her embroidered hangings would cause trouble, and therefore she had desired they should be burned. Thurida, however, could not bear to lose them, and persuaded Harold to spare them. "After this followed many signs and portents, and deaths of men and women, and apparitions of ghosts, until Kjartan (Thurida's son) brought out all Thorgunna's bed-hangings and furniture, and burned them in the fire."


Aelfled or Athelfleda was the founder of a race of embroiderers. Their pedigree is as follows:—

BRITHNOD, === ATHELFLEDA. a Northumberland She embroidered the Chief or Alderman. daring deeds of her husband. LEOFLEDA. === KING OSWIC. Oswic's sister Aedelfleda was adopted by Hilda, Abbess of Whitby. She succeeded Hilda, and died 713. She was a great embroiderer. AELFWIN. AELSWITH. LEOFWED. AELSWITH.

Leofwed made her will in the time of King Cnut; dividing her revenue between her daughter Aelswith and the Abbey of Ely. Aelswith accepted the residence of Coveney, a small property belonging to the convent, and there she embroidered with her maidens. See Liber Eliensis, ed. D. J. Stewart, "Anglia Christiana," vol. i., 1848.


In the Statutes at Large there is the following in vol. i. p. 526 (in old French):—

2 Henry VI.

A penalty on deceitful workers of gold and silver embroidery.

Item. pur ceo que diverses defautes sont trovez en loveraigne de diverses persons occupiantz le mestier de brouderie. Ordonnez est & assentiez, que tout loveraigne & stuff de brouderie d'or ou d'argent de Cipre ou d'or de Luke melle avec laton de Spayne & mys a vent en deceit des lieges du Roi sont forfait au Roi ou as Seigneurs et autres accenz franchises d'autielx forfaitures ein quy franchise autiel overaigne soit trouvee et durera c'est ordinance longue parlement prochainement avenir.

33 Henry VI.

That if any Lombard or any other person, Stranger or Denizen, bring or cause to be brought by way of merchandize any wrought silk thrown, Ribbands, Laces, Corses of Silk, or any other thing wrought, touching or concerning the mystery of Silk women, the corses which come from Genoa only excepted, into any part or place of the Realm from beyond the Sea, that the same ... be forfeit.

3 Edward IV.

Whereby the importation of any wrought silk thrown, Ribbands, Laces, Corses of Silk, or other things wrought, concerning the craft of Silk women is prohibited or restrained.

22 Edward IV.

That no Marchant, Stranger, nor other person shall bring into the Realm to be sold, any Corses, Girdles, Ribbands, Laces, Coll. Silk or Colein Silk, thrown or wrought, upon pain of forfeiture of the same.

Also Richard III. "An Act touching the bringing in of Silk Laces, Ribbands, &c."

Also 19 Henry VII. "An Act for Silk Women."

These acts appear to have been partially repealed, 3 and 5 George III.


Achilles, shield of, 33, 103.

Aelgitha, wife of Canute, embroideries by, 366.

AEsthetic, 17, 90, 339.

Agrippina, golden garment of, 143.

Alessandri Palace, Florence, 284.

Alexander the Great, 142, 299; wedding tent of, 263-4; pall of, 142.

Alkisthenes, mantle of, 298.

Altar, 42, 346; altar-piece, 328; altar-cloths, 340, 346; by Queen Emma, 366.

Amasis, corselet of, 20, 308; Bishop of, 299.

Anne of Brittany, 331.

Apollo of Branchidae, 296.

Arabesque, 43, 80.

Arachne, 237.

Aragon, Catherine of, embroideries by, 383.

Aristophanes, 98.

Arras, 238, 243, 255-6, 274.

Arrazzi, 245; Prince of, 249; trade with, 250, 252.

Art of dress, 298; of needlework, 396.

Art, Greek, 18, 35, 59, 306; Egyptian, 20, 25, 34, 56-7; Scandinavian, 29, 40; Roman, 37, 60, 310; Romanesque, 36, 323; Christian, 37, 39, 300, 306, 311, 315, 317; Chinese, 38, 73, 153, 155; Japanese, 38, 64, 65, 393; Gothic, 42, 52, 68, 307, 324; Italian, 43, 311; French, 46; Ecclesiastical, 41, 78, 303, 305; Aryan, 69, 70; Celtic, 96, 273; decorative, 289; Lombardic, 310; Pagan, 338.

Asbestos linen, 123.

Atrebates, 136, 246.

Attalus II., 142.

Auxerre, Bishop of, 242.

Balawat, bronze gates from, 271.

Baldachino, 170, 268, 283, 312.

Banner, 215; of St. Cuthbert, 349.

Bas-relief, Assyrian, 287.

Bayeux tapestries, 367.

Beads, 332.

Bede, mention of worked palls by, 160.

Bedsteads, 282; at Kenilworth, 283-4; at Hampton Court, 395.

Bellini, portrait of Mahomet II., 147.

Black, 187.

Blode-bendes, or silk arm-bindings, 374.

Blue, 184, 187.

Boadicea, dress of, 87, 359.

Bombacinum or cotton, 138.

Book-coverings in library of Charles V., 289.

Borghese Palace, Rome, 277.

British Museum, sculptures in, 22; vases, 31, 114; frieze of Parthenon, 31; mantle of Demeter, 93; Egyptian dress, 93; glass bowls, 101; carpets from Nineveh, 105; Egyptian woollen embroidery, 130; fine linen printed, 134; garment with gold ornaments, 144; "opus pectineum" from Egypt, 236; pavements, 272; bronze statuette of Minerva, 297; specimen of "opus Anglicanum," 376.

Brocade, 141.

Bronze age, 358; statues, 359.

Brown, 187.

Buckram, 139.

Burleigh House arras, 256.

Byrri, 238.

Byssus, 134-5.

Byzantium, 306, 314.

Carpets, 261, 285; Persian, 23, 73, 132, 188, 241, 271, 371.

Cashmere, 133.

Castle Ashby, tapestries at, 277.

Catacombs, 304.

Chair, 285; chair-backs, 286.

Chaldean house, 281.

Charles I., 255, 390.

Charles V., library of, 289, 295.

Chasuble, 164; by Isabella of Spain, 147; at Coire, 328; of St. Oswald, 362; at Valencia, 381; for Henry III., 374.

Chaucer, 251.

Chemmis, city of Pan, woollen trade in, 127.

Chenille, 395.

Church historical embroideries, 316.

Ciclatoun, 145.

Cinnabar, 183.

Clavus latus, 309, 337.

Cleves, Anne of, 384.

Cochineal, 184.

Code of Manu, 89.

Colour, 175-193; prismatic, 177; purple, 180; crimson, 184; copper, 184; yellow, 185; pure, 189, 192; iodine, 190; chromatic, 190; Oriental, 191; gas, 191; foundation, 289; green, 289; liturgical, 305; mystical, 335.

Complication, 67.

Confusion, 65.

Constantine, 306, 316.

Consutum, 214.

Contrast, 66.

Conventional, 71, 97.

Cope of St. Andrew, 144; Syon, 206, 326; of Boniface VIII., 320; at Rheims, 321-2; Daroca, 320, 376; at Stoneyhurst, 348, 379; of Innocent III., 369; at Durham, 390.

Copper, 184.

Coral, 88, 124, 332.

Coronation robes, 295, 318, 362; of St. Stephen of Hungary, 322; of Charles X., 339; of Edward the Confessor, 366; of James II., 393.

Corselet of Amasis in temple at Lindos, in Rhodes, 20, 308.

Cotton, 137; cotton trees, 138; woven, 139; cotton plush, 139.

Counterpane worked by Queen Catherine, 384.

Coverlets, 393.

Crewels, 133, 229, 345, 398; work in, 390, 392.

Crimson, 184.

Cross, 103; of St. Andrew, 144; Greek, 165; emblem of, 308; prehistoric, 335-6.

Croyland Abbey embroideries, 366.

Crusaders, 307, 371.

Curtains, 261, 270, 272, 281, 288; ordered by Sergius, 312; by Pope John, 312; by Stephen IV., 312.

Cushion at Hatfield, of James I.'s reign, 390.

Cuthbert, St., 144; silk garments in tomb of, 163, 165, 364-5.

Cyprus bowls, 109.

Dado, 271.

Dais, the chamber of, 282.

Dalmatic of Charlemagne, 53, 317-18; at Valencia, 381.

Damascus, 127.

Decoration, 5, 50, 70, 290, 355; art of, 273.

Decorative, 81, 273.

Design, 54-81; floral, 71, 345, 348; English, 377; by St. Dunstan, 365.

Detail, 71.

Dress, 70, 294, 301, 373; Greek, 297-8; Roman, 299; early Christian, 300; of Claudius, 360; of Duke and Duchess of Buckingham, 393.

Durham Cathedral, 348.

Dyes, 183, 185, 358; Indian, 187.

East India Company, monopoly of trade by, 388.

Ecclesiastical embroidery, 303, 327, 330, 353; for images, 305; priests' robes, 306; materials used in, 311; names of garments in, 313, 316; at Durham, 316; English, 332.

Edward II., 250.

Edward III., 377.

Eighteenth century decorations, 112; embroidery, 393, 395.

Eleanor, Queen, crosses of, 372.

Emare, mantle of, 372.

Embroiderers' Guild, 388; list of names, 373; Company in Elizabeth's reign, 387, 394.

Embroideries, Babylonian and Ninevite, 22, 44, 105, 127, 132, 271, 299, 311, 350; Greek, 31-2, 93, 103, 142; German, 43, 149; Italian, 43, 116, 147; Spanish, 45, 150, 331, 383; Portuguese, 45; Scandinavian and Celtic, 68, 91, 104, 116, 131, 136, 306; Egyptian, 93, 114, 130, 134, 209, 236, 271; Assyrian, 93, 127, 262, 357; Roman, 129, 143, 153, 313; Chinese, 97, 113, 127, 151, 208; Persian, 99, 266, 299; Japanese, 109, 214; Russian, 201, 206, 313; Delphic, 272; English, 319, 321, 325, 356-396; spurious, in Henry VI.'s reign, 377.

Embroidery, art of, 16, 136, 173, 195, 289, 378; white, 200; in churches, 313, 341.

Emma, Queen, embroideries by, 366.

Enamel, 146.

Etruscan borders, 47; tombs, 357.

Fashion, 301.

Fayoum, 39; ancient Egyptian textile fabrics from, 139, 300.

Fictile vases, 31, 32, 93, 103.

Field of Cloth of Gold, 381-2.

Filatorium, 222.

Fitness, 81.

Flat, drawing on, 69-70; stitches, 345.

Flavius Vopiscus, 158.

Flax, 133, 135.

Flemish work, 329.

Floral patterns, 71.

Floss silk, 374.

Flowers, 291.

Footstools, 285.

Frames, 292, 299, 371, 389.

Frescoes, 373.

Fringes, 271, 351.

Fulham, tapestry works at, 257.

Furniture, 280-293.

Gammadion, 104.

Gaudry, Bishop, tapestry of, 242.

Geoffrey, Abbot, 249.

Gisela, Queen, 323.

Giustini Palace, Florence, 277.

Gobelins, 131, 237, 247-8, 275, 277.

Gold, 140, 143; threads, 346; Gothic design in, 75, 377; embroideries, 202; needlework for Elinor of Aquitaine, 369; Spanish lace, 381; caskets, 389.

Gradation, 67.

Green, 187.

Gregory Nazianzen, 160.

Grey, 187.

Grotesque, 43.

Guimp, 163, 223.

Hair, 133.

Hampton Court, 288, 384; bed at, worked by Mrs. Pawsey, 395.

Hand-looms, 374.

Hangings, 243, 260-274; of the Hebrew Sanctuary, 262; of Alexander's tent, 263; portraits on, 265; in Kosroes' "white palace," 268; on Greek vases, 269; in Pompeii, 269; saffron, mentioned by Euripides, 272; French, sixteenth century, 274; modern French, 275; in Holland House, 276; in Florence, 277; in Rome, 277; English, from time of Harold to Edward IV., and others, 370, 384, 392-3.

Harmonies, 66.

Hawaiian royal mantle, 209.

Helen, 33.

Helena, Empress, 316, 360.

Hemp, 121.

Henry II., mantle of, 203, 323.

Henry VIII., manufacture of tapestry in reign of, 252; embroidery, 302, 369, 384-5.

Hephaestion, catafalque of, 267.

Hexameron work of St. Ambrose and St. Basil, 333.

Holland House, 276.

Homer, 11, 19, 33, 130.

Hom, the sacred, 99, 334.

Icelandic Sagas, 273, 362.

Illumination, 273, 305, 310, 363.

Imperial, a silk tissue, 161.

India, arts of, 7, 27, 75, 83, 311; Museum, 89, 285.

Indian carving, 75; shawls, 133; cotton fabrics, 138; dyes, 187; embroideries, 284, 299; manufactures, 389, 391, 394.

Inscriptions, 105, 146, 341; woven in, 168; in tapestry, 242, 375.

Isabella of France, 331; of Spain, 384.

Jacket in Lady Waterford's collection, 386.

James I., manufacture of tapestry in reign of, 254; portrait of, 255; work in reign of, 387, 388.

Josephus, 9.

Juno, toilet of, 297.

Jute, 121.

Kells, Book of, 30.

Khotan, Prince of, 156.

Kosroes' hangings, 261, 268.

Kunigunda, Empress, 203, 323.

Lace, 222-235; bone, 225; yak, 225; needle-made, 227; ancient lace-books, 228; stitches, 229; Venetian, 229; Burano, 230; list of, 231; blond, 232; schools in France, 233; for ecclesiastical purposes, 233; bobbin, 234; Limerick, 234; Irish, 234; Honiton, 234; Spanish, 383.

Lambeth tapestry works, 257; missal at, 30.

Lares, 291.

Leather, 123.

Lilac, 187.

Linen, 357-8.

Lombardic, 310, 323.

Lotus, 89, 102, 105.

Louis XIV., 46, 247, 276, 332, 393.

Louis XV., 47, 110, 247, 276, 332.

Louis XVI., 332.

Lyons, 151, 167, 345.

Maniple of St. Cuthbert, 144; in Durham library, 364.

Mantle of Demeter, 93; of Ajax, 103; of Servius Tullius, 129; of Alkisthenes, 299; of Gisela, 323; of King Wiglaf, 363-4.

Manu, Code of, 314.

Manufactures of Nineveh and Babylon, 127; at Lyons, 151; of silk, 160; at Palermo, 161.

Marcus Aurelius, 158.

Mark's, St., Venice, 346.

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