embroidered panel (wall hanging)


This fragile embroidery (one of a pair) came from a grand house near Exeter called Combesatchfield. It shows scenes from the Bible as well as ships, deer, swans and a church. It also depicts a finely dressed woman accompanied by a servant holding a parasol. Black servants appear in fashionable painted portraits from around this time but it is unusual to have an embroidered record.

Many Africans who were brought to Britain at the time of the transatlantic slave trade were made to work as unpaid ‘servants’ or domestic labourers for wealthy families. It became fashionable to have a black footman or a black child to work in the home. Many family portraits from the period show black people dressed in the livery or uniform of the people they had to serve.

This object is not on display.

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