11491

A RARE PAIR OF EMBROIDERED SILK AND SILVER THREAD PICTURES DEPICTING AN EXQUISITELY CLAD LADY AND A CAMEL IN CEREMONIAL REGALIA

Late Seventeenth or Early Eighteenth Century.

Measurements

Picture with lady: Framed: Height: 24 1/4" (61.6 cm); Width: 19 3/4" (50.2 cm). Sight Size: 21 3/4" (55 cm); Width: 17 1/2" (44.5 cm).
Picture with camel: Height: Height: 24 1/4" (61.6 cm); Width: 19" (48.3 cm). Sight Size: 21 3/4" (55 cm); Width: 17" (43.2 cm).

Research
Of moire white silk with colored silks and silver and gilded metal threads.

After the Renaissance, increased trade and the shift in emphasis of embroidery workmanship from the church to a more secular patronage brought a desire and taste for more sumptuous clothing and interior decorations. Continuing in the 17th century, needlework became richer as a result of “growing opportunities for luxurious living”1 and increased availability of finer materials such as colored silks and metallic thread.

Embroideries were produced by groups of people in diverse positions and stations. Schoolgirls completed needlework projects in the form of samplers and pictorial embroideries, items for the household were stitched by the mistresses of the household with the help of servants and included cushion covers, table covers and curtain panels, while professional male embroiderers produced pictures and clothing decoration.2

The present pictures depict scenes featuring non-European subjects within exotic landscapes. Cultural exchange and publication of illustrated travel accounts helped familiarize Europe with the costume of far-off lands, and “European textile designers [were inspired] to produced tapestries, woven silks, embroideries, and printed textiles that imitated imported fabrics or incorporated exotic motifs.”3 The dark complexion of the figures and the appearance of a camel suggests they represent a lady and servants of North African or Middle Eastern origin. The motif of a noblewoman attended with an umbrella appears in many exotic vignettes, for example, a circa 1690 British petticoat panel with chinoiserie designs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (figure 1). It was also highlighted as part of the embroiderer’s art in an engraving of La Tapissière  by Nicolas de Larmessin the Elder in Les Costumes Grotesques et Les Metiers, circa 1685 (figure 2).

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.