AN ITALIAN RENAISSANCE SILK VELVET, VOIDED, PILE ON PILE, BROCADED AND BOUCLÉ COMPOSITE PANEL, POSSIBLY FLORENCE, MID-16TH CENTURY
30,000 - 50,000 GBP
Property of a Private European Collection
30,000 - 50,000 GBP
Property of a Private European Collection
AN ITALIAN RENAISSANCE SILK VELVET, VOIDED, PILE ON PILE, BROCADED AND BOUCLÉ COMPOSITE PANEL, POSSIBLY FLORENCE,
composite panel, comprised of four joined panel widths, and four smaller panel width fragments joined across the top, mounted within a box frame
Box frame: 106cm high, 244cm wide, 3cm deep; Textile panel approximately
Giuseppe Cantelli, Il Museo Stibbert a Firenze, II Vols, Milan, 1974, Vol. I., cat.2046, p.174 & Vol. II, fig.355.
Peggy Stoltz Gilfoy, Fabrics in Celebration from the Collection, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1983, no.96, ill.
Rosalia Bonito Fanelli, Il Museo del Tessuto a Prato: la donazione Bertini, Florence, 1975, cat.7., p.64.
Monique King and Donald King, European Textiles in the Keir Collection 400 BC to 1800 AD, London, 1990, Chp. 5, Medieval and Renaissance Embroidery, 900 - 1550, pp.88-111, No.72-74, pp.108-111.
Christa Charlotte Mayer, Masterpieces of Western Textiles, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1969, pl. 147.
Lisa Monnas, Renaissance Velvets, London, 2012, pp.120-121, Nr.35.
Lisa Monnas, Princes and Painters: Silk fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1330-1550, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008.
Roberta Orsi Landini, Velvets in the Collection of the Costume Gallery in Florence, Abegg-Stiftung and Mauro Pagliai, Florence, 2017.
J. M. Rogers (translated and edited), Hülye Tezcan and Selma Delibas, The Topkapi Saray Museum: Costumes, Embroideries and other Textiles, London, 1986, p.153, pl. no.31 (and detail).
Alice Zrebiec, Textiles in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (Winter, 1995-96), p.45.
Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.
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Overall in good condition, and of a rich and striking deep red in hue.
The brocade in silver and gilt, despite some losses, still sparkles in the light at different angles. The voided velvet techniques adds to the overall subtleness of the design, and is in good condition. There are some area that are a little worn, to the pile and the metal thread brocade, visible for example to areas on the joins. Some minor distress to be expected on a panel of this age and materials used.
Very evocative panel, with examples of all the techniques associated with the highest quality silk velvets.
Professionally mounted in glazed frame.
Box frame: 106cm high, 244cm wide, 3cm deep;
Not glazed. Panels across the back holding all in place. With small metal hooks in the corner for hanging.
Four panels joined vertically. From left to right, each panel has smaller section joined at the top. The join between top sections and larger lower sections, is not exactly the same, and is not entirely straight.
From left to right of whole panel:-
Section 1 = 56cm. Wide, lower larger section approx between 73.8 and 74cm high, (slightly curved (concave) line on upper join), top smaller section approx. 14.6cm high
Section 2 = 57cm. Wide, lower larger section approx. 74cm high, top smaller section approx. 14.3cm high
Section 3 = 57cm. Wide, lower larger section approx. 74.6cm high (slightly curved (convex) line on upper join), top smaller section approx. 13.8cm
Section 4 = 56cm. Wide, lower larger section approx between 72.5cm and 73cm (slightly sloping line on upper join), top smaller section approx. 15cm
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
The allure of velvet has endured from the initial appearance and references, as a prestigious and exclusive item, appearing in Europe in the 13th century, having been brought from the Mongol empire with other textiles. Italy became the leading proponents of the skill of producing silk velvet and other European countries benefited from the migration of the skilled craftsmen, and in the 15th/16th century, the Renaissance was the high point for the European velvets. The design elements were influenced by Mongol and Levantine motifs, such as the ‘pomegranate’, and the Italian velvets were in turn exported to Turkey, before Ottoman velvets were produced. The appeal is in the design, techniques and the association of distinction. It became a very important diplomatic gift and item of trade and associated with rank. It was used for ecclesiastical vestments, other luxury clothing items including dresses and cloaks, as interior scheme decorative panels used for canopies and beds, and extended to smaller items such as accessories and book and casket coverings. The expense being prohibitive to most and every fragment would be precious. Larger panels were often cut, and reused or sold, and several international museums have small fragments from what was once a larger piece (for example from the Franz Bock collection). The large panels, as backdrops and clothing are tantalisingly represented in the 15th/16th century paintings of Italy, England and the Netherlands, often altar pieces or portraits, such as those by Carlo Crivelli (Madonna Della Rondine, 1491/92) or Agostino Bronzino (Portrait of Eleanor di Toledo, 1540) respectively.
Italian luxurious and beautifully designed velvets, have exuberant designs and bold engaging colour combinations, the most extravagant being those ‘cloths of gold’ with highly technical and expensive metal- thread detailing (silver-gilt filé), often of large motifs , including tiny loops (bouclé) which stand proud, and catch the light. The velvet itself creates shadows and depth due to the height of the pile and areas where it is intentionally lower, ‘pile on pile’, revealing the patterns of the motifs. The colours range from shades of dark reds, greens and dark blues.
Velvet is as popular now and far more readily available. The beauty and technical skills of the early evocative examples is incomparable and has not been equalled. The present example has all the attributes required of a Renaissance silk velvet.
The design of this velvet is used in a set of ecclesiastical Mass vestments, now divided between the Victoria and Albert Museum and Keir Collection, and purchased from Christie's, South Kensington, 27 May 1976.
For discussion of the dalmatic and altar frontal in the Victoria and Albert Museum, see Lisa Monnas, Renaissance Velvets, London, 2012, pp.120-121, Nr.35, Dalmatic, made of crimson pile-on-pile velvet, Italy (possibly Florence) or Spain, mid 16th century (see Fig. 1), with a matching altar frontal, and the accompanying matching dalmatic, cope and chasuble from the same set now in the Keir Collection.
For other related examples to this velvet, which are either identical or very similar, include three fragments (78 by 57.2cm, 76 by 56.1cm and 70.7 by 57cm) in the Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris (10601 A, B & C - unpublished), and a chasuble, Italy, 1500-1550, in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Orville A. and Elina D. Wilkinson Fund (74.117).
There are six other similar variants recorded by Monnas, including: fragments in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; a late fifteenth century altar frontal, Italy, in the Chicago Art Institute; a sixteenth century fragment in the Museo Stibbert, Florence and a Florentine fragment, third quarter of the fifteenth century, in the Museo del Tessuto, Prato; a composite panel (376 by 58.4cm), Italian or Spanish, late fifteenth/early sixteenth century, in the Metropolitan Museum, New York and a comparable swath of a close variant of this velvet design was used for a ceremonial long sleeved kaftan, with gold brocaded crimson velvet, seventeenth century, probably Spanish, belonging to Sultan Ahmed I (1603 -1617), in Istanbul (The Topkapi Saray Museum).
The wonderfully vibrant and large pattern velvet has survived in examples which have been attributed to Florence, Venice and Spain. It has been noted by Roger, Tezcan and Delibas that silks similar to this in design were woven in both Italy and Spain. The style of velvet was also exported to Turkey, and an example found in the surviving kaftan in the Topkapi Saray Museum, which is considered to be Venetian in design, much imitated in contemporary Spain. Italian velvets from the various cities including Florence, Venice and Genoa are difficult to distinguish apart, due to the similar techniques used by all.
In addition to the detailed and comprehensive discussion of early velvets by Monnas, opcit., see Fabrizio de'Marinis (ed), Velvet: History Techniques and Fashions, Milan, 1994, essay, Roberta Orsi Landini, The triumph of velvet: Italian production of velvet in the Renaissance, pp.19-49, for further discussion of the production and processing of velvet, the motifs, uses and fashions including notes on sumptuary laws.