An English needlework Old Testament biblical narrative panel, from the ‘Story of David and Bathsheba’ circa 1660-1680
- silk, linen
- Framed: 52cm. high, 65cm. wide; 1ft. 8in., 2ft. 1in., Textile visible: 35cm. high, 48cm. wide; 1ft. 1in., 1ft. 7in.
An extremely influential English book and print seller, was John Stent (born c.1615-1617) who had by 1662 accumulated the most extensive and diverse stock of engravings of any of his English competitors or predecessors, publishing at least 218 different plates of natural history subjects which were used by artists, teachers and embroiderers and were available at different prices, as broadsheets or as books including a three part work, A Book of Flowers Beasts, Birds and Fruits, in three parts, 20 leaves in each l’art. See Alexander Globe, Peter Stent London Bookseller Circa 1642-1665. Stent’s inventory included that of earlier engravers and printers, including Thomas Johnson’s work of 1530, and most importantly he was indebted to the four-part natural history work engraved by the German Jacob Hoefnagel, and designs by his father, printed in 1592, Stent also commissioned and used new designs by Wenceslaus Hollar, John Dunstall and John Payne and Johann Sibmacher all producers of pattern books. Many of the biblical embroideries derive from Continental designs and were based on Gerard de Jode’s compilation, Thesaurus Sacrarum Historiarium Veteris Testamenti, of 1585, which comprised of engravings by different artist and was used for wallpaintings, plasterwork, silver and textiles. Many of the English interpretations from the print designs of the distinctive needlework motifs are identiable and repeated in the distinctive style of the textile panels.
Beck, Thomasina, Gardening with Silk and Gold, A History of Gardens in Embroidery, Published by David and Charles, 1997, Chp.2 &4, Stuart & Georgian Gardens, pp.40-63 & pp.80-99, comprehensive discussion of the inspiration of garden design.
Brooks, Mary M, English Embroideries of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, in the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, London, 2004, discussion on collectors, makers, sources and stitches, and illustrations of the specific pieces in the collection.
Morrall, Andrew and Watt, Melinda, English Embroidery from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700, `Twixt Art and Nature’, Yale University Press, for comprehensive discussion and illustration of the subject and techniques of embroidery and needlework used.
Synge, Synge, Art of Embroidery, History of Style and Technique, The Royal School of Needlework, London, 2001, Chapter Five, The Seventeenth Century, pp.110-159