This wonderfully vibrant and intricate picture worked in raised beadwork depicting a late 17th century couple amongst exotic fauna and flowering flora belongs to a well-established group of pictures made from the 1660s through the early 1680s centering the restoration of the monarch of Charles II. Many of these pictures depict Royal figures such as Charles II with his consort Catherine of Braganza, biblical figures such as King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba as well as Adam and Eve, and couples about to be married. The present picture may fall in to the later category commemorating a marriage. The setting is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, with overtones of fruitfulness and prosperity. Beadwork, because of its fragile nature, is one of the rarer survivals of the decorative arts to have survived from the latter half of the 17th century. The colored glass beads naturally retain their original strong hues, most of the surviving articles being in the form of pictures and baskets. A beadwork basket depicting Charles II and Catherine of Braganza with allegories of the Four Continents, is illustrated, A. Morrall and M. Watt, eds., English Embroidery from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700: 'Twixt Art and Nature', New Haven and London, 2008, pp. 134-5, fig. 13-13a; exhibition held at The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, December 11, 2008-April 12, 2009. A number of other similar beadwork/needlework pictures depicting a similar subject are also illustrated (Morrall and Watts, op. cit. nos. 27, 55 and 56. pp. 163, 216, 217, 219). For a number of related beadwork pictures, see also Xanthe Brooke, The Lady Lever Art Gallery Catalogue of Embroideries, Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire, 1992, nos. LL5272, LL5276, LL5257, LL5264, LL5341, LL5342, LL5343. A beadwork basket depicting Adam and Eve sold in these rooms, April 9, 2009, lot 34 ($40,625).
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