Lot 1
  • 1

TRAPUNTO, ITALIAN, PROBABLY SICILIAN, LATE 15TH/EARLY 16TH CENTURY |

Estimate
4,000 - 6,000 EUR
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Description

  • Haut. 213 cm, larg. 160 cm ; height 83 3/4 in., length 63 in.
cotton and linen, decorated with courtly scenes in six cartouches and a border adorned with foliage, characters and small animals ; (transformations)

Literature

Related literature

S. Young,"Sister Quilts from Sicily, A pair of Renaissance bedcovers" in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, September 1993
A. Fiette et Alii, L'Etoffe du relief, quilts, boutis et autres textiles matelass├ęs, Paris, 2006

Condition

The photograph is quite accurate. Given the age of the piece, the condition is overall good, except a few inevitable tiny holes, small stains and traces of old restorations and resewing. As said, it was probably reduced in size a long time ago: a scene like the one in the upper right corner was cut and resewn like border element, whereas it mas most probably in the center of the piece like the other ones. Nevertheless, very rare and fascinating piece.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

Trapunto, also known as quilt, is both a decorative textile and the name given to a quilting technique consisting of making relief motifs by adding cotton wool between two pieces of fabric, usually linen and cotton, and stitching reinforcing the patterns. Trapunte were particularly popular during the reign of the Anjou family in Naples and Sicily during the 13th century and continued to be produced in the following centuries. Cotton and wadding from the East contributed to the development of the technique. Given the Anjou ties with the French Crown and the rest of Europe, this type of textile was sometimes exported beyond the borders of the Kingdom of Naples.

Designed generally as a quilt or bedspread, hence the Italian name of coperta, the trapunto was given at weddings, and often later transformed or shortened, depending on the size of the beds, or for a more decorative use as a hanging. The trapunto that we present has also undergone changes from its original state, probably for similar reasons.

The oldest example today is the Tristan Quilt, depicting scenes from the history of Tristan and Yseult, made in Sicily during the second half of the 14th century and kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Its counterpart, the Coperta Guicciardini, executed in the same period, has belonged since 1927 to the Bargello collections in Florence. They were probably initially executed for two twin beds and later modified.

Narrative textiles were a well-established tradition in Europe, just think of the Bayeux Tapestry (embroidery), and the Norman occupation in the southern peninsula and Sicily had a lasting impact on the local culture. It is not surprising that the Tristan and Yseult tale inspired Sicilian artisans, as did the Arthurian legend. The origin of the courteous and folkloric scenes decorating our trapunto remains, however, to be identified.