Stumpwork embroidered picture

The figures in this piece of embroidery represent Peace and Plenty. Raised work, or stumpwork, was often used to cover books, boxes and picture frames. This panel may been worked by a young girl to show off her needlework skills.
The maker was well acquainted with the symbolism of the motifs. Peace is represented by the olive branch and Plenty holds a cornucopia or horn of plenty. Lace stitches have been used to form their elegantly draped clothing, and the hair jewellery and girdles and necklaces are real seed pearls and coral stitched to the ground. The heads and arms are padded satin, outlined with a thick thread. Other motifs include the Sun in Splendour emerging from the clouds, and the drawn outline of two buildings or pavilions which have now lost much of the needlework and would have originally had shining mica windows. Three doves in flight probably also represent Peace. The large flower motifs in the centre of the panel are worked in purl, a metal thread wrapped with coloured silks. Detached leaves and petals formed from needle-lace stitches such as detached button-hole stitch add to the three dimensional effect. Elsewhere straight stitches and french knots are used. The outlines of the motifs were drawn in pounce, a powdered substance. Patterns were usually transferred by pricking around the original design and dusting with the powder. The dots were then joined with a fine paintbrush before the work was begun. Some of these outlines are now visible where the silk threads have worn away. Donated by Miss Bredall, the panel originally belonged to Miss Barrington of Tavistock.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Textiles and equipment
Common Name
stumpwork embroidered picture
Simple Name
Embroidered panel
Full Name
Stumpwork (raised work) panel
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Family Group

silk satin; silk; metallic; chenille; mica

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