17th Century: Beadwoven Panel (1657)

Panel Made in 1657

In the collections at the V&A, London, not on display.

ARTIST/MAKER
Unknown
PLACE OF ORIGIN
England (made)

Coloured and transparent glass beads threaded together on silk

OBJECT DETAILS

CATEGORY
Textiles
OBJECT TYPE
Panel
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES
glass beads threaded onto silk ground
Glass Beads
Silk
BRIEF DESCRIPTION
beaded, 1657, English; Coloured beads, floral decoration with inscription
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Coloured and transparent glass beads threaded together on silk
DIMENSIONS
  • Height: 16.5cm
  • Width: 31cm
  • Unmounted depth: 0.5cm
MARKS AND INSCRIPTIONS
Naturs flowers soon doe fade ful long we last cause art us made ARW 1657

17th Century: Drawstring Bag, 1610-1650

Drawstring bag

English, 1610–50

Item info from: https://collections.mfa.org/objects/119711

DESCRIPTION: Red silk satin embroidered with gold metallic threads, seed pearls, metal purl, spangles, and bits of colored glass. Baroque design. Embroidery stitches include laid and couching, beading, bullion knots, braid stitch. Green and metallic braided cords and strap at top; two wood-core drawstring pull tassels covered in seed pearls, with silk, metallic thread and spangles. Green silk lining.
PROVENANCEEx-Seligman Coll. (London); Elizabeth Day McCormick collection; Gift to the MFA, October 14, 1943
DIMENSIONS: Overall (without tassels and cord): 6 x 6 cm (2 3/8 x 2 3/8 in.)
CREDIT LINE: The Elizabeth Day McCormick Collection
ACCESSION NUMBER: 4:3.1080
CLASSIFICATIONS: Costumes

17th Century: 1625-1650 Beaded bag

Small flat bag of coloured beads netted on a foundation of thick linen thread, and patterned with bird and flowers and inscribed ‘IN HOP ME HART DOTH REST’. With brown, green, white, yellow and blue beads. Lined with chamois leather. Above the beadwork is a band of material of green silk covered with a pale pink silk.

Link to item @ V&A

There is also a pink satin lining and pink ribbon handles. The pink silk and satin are probably later additions.

‘IN HOP ME HART DOTH REST’ (Inscribed in beadwork above the birds and flowers)

  • Width: 13cm
  • Length: 11.5cm
  • Width: 5.125in
  • Length: 4.5in

 

17th Century: 1662 Mirror

Looking glass or mirror, seven inches wide, in a wide frame with beadwork decoration arranged in two full-height verticals and two short horizontal panels

top and bottom. Yellow cord runs between the vertical and horizontal panels.

Design

In each corner a medallion containing a figure of a woman, one of them being Diana with a bow and dog, the others represented with a horse, an alligator, and a cock. In the upper rectangle are three seated women (possibly the three Fates spinning) with a naked recumbent man below. To the left is Venus with Cupid and a peacock and, above, her chariot drawn by a pair of doves. To the right is a clothed woman, possibly Charity, with three naked children. Below is a composition of flowers, birds and beasts. Along the upper edge the inscription: ‘IM6 6W2’. The sight and back edges of the frame are lined with tooled brown leather, worked in a geometric pattern.

2018 – in a modern glazed case

  • Height: 71.1cm
  • Width: 66cm (Note: Thickness of frame estimated at 4cm.)

H 2′ 4″ W 2′ 2″ 2018 In a modern glazed case 75 x 70 x 6.5cm
Link to V&A page

17th Century: 1659 Basket

Examples of beadwork that can be associated with makers whose names and dates are known suggest that they were usually made by teenage girls from affluent families. Their function is uncertain. They may have been used as layette baskets, which held baby clothes, because they are similar in form to silver examples. But it has also been suggested that they were made to celebrate betrothals or used at wedding ceremonies to hold gloves, sprigs of rosemary or other favours given to guests. Most examples depict a couple as the central motif. All of the design elements may be found in silk embroidery on domestic furnishings of the period.
Link to item @ V&A

Materials & Making
The basket is made from glass beads strung on linen thread and fine wire, supported on a wire frame lined with silk. Beadwork keeps true, clear colours, an advantage over coloured silks and wools, the usual materials for embroidery. A beaded cushion in the V&A dated 1657 bears the inscription ‘natvrs flowers soon doe fade ful long we last cavse art vs made’.

Ownership & Use
Another beaded basket of identical design exists, with only the name and date different. This suggests that it may have been worked from a type of kit, or possibly made to commission as a gift, with the recipient’s name added.

1659, English; Signed Sarah Gurnall
set with the maker or recipient’s name : sarah gvrnall avgvst 24 anno 1659

  • Height: 11cm
  • Width: 46.5cm
  • Depth: 36cm

17th Century: 1628 Beaded Bag

A number of beaded bags from the early 17th century survive. Their stylized floral patterns and less expensive materials imitate the elaborate embroidered versions carried by the aristocracy. Many bear mottos or expressions relating to charity, friendship or luck, which suggests that they may have been used for gifts of money.
Link to page @ V&A

Materials & Making
The development of the ‘drawn-glass’ technique about 1490 allowed the manufacture of large numbers of small, round, coloured beads with a central hole, of the type used in this purse. The glassworks on the island of Murano near Venice were the most famous during the Renaissance, but by the early 17th century the technology had spread to glass-making centres in Amsterdam and Bavaria. Beads were produced mainly for trade with North America and Africa, but they were also sold in Europe for use in embroidery.

Subjects Depicted
The expression ‘hit or miss’ is first recorded in the English language in William Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida published in 1606, where it has the same meaning of random luck that it has today. The expression may have derived from a country dance also known as ‘hit and miss’, recorded as early as 1626.

Purse of brown glass beads on a ground of netted silk. With a diamond diaper pattern in blue and white beads with clusters of green and blue beads at the intersections. In each diamond a letter ‘S’ in dark blue beads is surrounded by white and yellow beads. Lined with leather and buff silk. Two tassels of buff silk ribbon at the bottom.

  • Height: 8.9cm
  • Width: 12.7cm
  • Depth: 1cm

17th Century: Beaded Casket

Casket

English ca. 1650-1660 (made)

Wooden casket decorated with panels of glass beads sewn onto a canvas ground. On the lid is a figure of Justice depicted with her attributes of sword and scales. On the sides are cupid and a seated lady, on the back a mermaid and swan. The casket has metal handles at the sides and a key in the centre front. There is a shallow drawer at the bottom of the front side. No other internal fittings remain.
  • Width: 270mm
  • Height: 155mm
  • Depth: 290mm

Link to Object @ the V&A

16th Century: Beaded Bag

Beaded leather bag, 1630s, British; inscribed ‘heare et is hit or miss’, acorn pattern

 

A number of beaded bags from the early 17th century survive. Their stylized floral patterns and less expensive materials imitate the elaborate embroidered versions carried by the aristocracy. Many bear mottos or expressions relating to charity, friendship or luck, which suggests that they may have been used for gifts of money. This example is inscribed ‘heare et is hit or miss’.

The development of the ‘drawn-glass’ technique about 1490 allowed the manufacture of large numbers of small, round, coloured beads with a central hole, of the type used in this purse. The glassworks on the island of Murano near Venice were the most famous during the Renaissance, but by the early 17th century the technology had spread to glass-making centres in Amsterdam and Bavaria. Beads were produced mainly for trade with North America and Africa, but they were also sold in Europe for use in embroidery.

The expression ‘hit or miss’ is first recorded in the English language in William Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida published in 1606, where it has the same meaning of random luck that it has today. The expression may have derived from a country dance also known as ‘hit and miss’, recorded as early as 1626.

Text from: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O74982/purse-unknown/http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O158778/bag-unknown/

Physical description: A flat, square leather bag, covered with red, white, green, yellow and blue glass beads in a repeating pattern of stylized acorns. It has silver thread loops, silk tassels and holes in the leather for a drawstring

Place of Origin: Great Britain (made)

Date: 1630-1639 (made)

Materials and Techniques: Kidskin, glass beads, linen thread, silk thread, silver thread; hand sewn, hand beaded

Dimensions: Length: 13.0 cm approx., bag only, Width: 14.6 cm approx., bag only

Beaded leather bag, 1630s, British; inscribed ‘heare et is hit or miss’, acorn pattern

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no): John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.100

Materials: Kidskin; Glass beads; Linen thread; Silk thread; Silver thread

16th Century: Beaded Portrait

AN EXTREMELY FINE AND RARE ENGLISH PORTRAIT IN NEEDLEWORK DEPICTING QUEEN ELIZABETH I
CIRCA 1580
MEASUREMENTS: 6 3/4 by 6 1/2 in.; the panel 4 3/4 by 4 1/2 in.

DESCRIPTION
Delicately worked in polychrome silks, silver and gold metal threads ornamented with seed pearls and glass beads, the face painted on vellum, Gloriana shown standing on a terrace wearing a feather plumed hat worked with seed pearls, with a ruff above a couched bodice with similar ballooned sleeves, the dress diapered with silver thread and sequins and flossed polychrome silk bands, and with a yellow lined short cape, with cut painted paper hands, one holding a plumed fan, the other gloves(?), the sky worked in silver thread and centered by a shining star above a vista of rolling hills and woods with a town in the upper right, to the left a knotted garden centered by an elaborate fountain surmounted by Eros holding a bow, to the right a small landscape with buildings and enclosed fields with a scene of dogs chasing a stag, partly enclosed by a bower of red roses, white lilies and yellow dog roses, with a pair of birds and a robin, the foreground with balustrades before a paved terrace, one end with square pot with a climbing white flowers, perhaps eglinton, the foreground with a further balustrade ornamented with roundels enclosing fleurs de lys; the panel within a gold metal thread square tape with silver thread square jewels and with fleur de lys corners, and with an outer blue tape threaded with a gold thread and a red silk snake ornamented with seed pearls, joined at the top, and interspersed with woven green silk leaves.

This was sold at Sotheby’s in April of 2004 for $153,600.

16th: Drawstring Bag

Pictures & info from: https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/drawstring-bag-119706

Drawstring bag
English
late 16th–early 17th century

Overall (without tassels and cord): 13.3 x 13 cm (5 1/4 x 5 1/8 in.

Silk satin emroidered with silk, gold metallic threads, metal purl, and seed pearls Braided silk and metallic cords and tassels

Small square drawstring bag. White silk satin embroidered with polychrome silk, gold metallic threads, metal purl, and seed pearls. Design of flower flanked by birds and cornicopias; floral motifs fill out ground. Stitches include laid and couching, scroll couching, satin stitch, raised work, and knots.

Salmon/white/metallic cords with two silk and metallic covered-wood tassels; three similar tassels at base. Pink silk lining. White satin is fraying at top and bottom to reveal vertical pink and green wefts.

15th Century: Minden Mitre

The Annunciation worked on a mitre from Minden of c.1400
Silk, pearls, and silver-gilt motifs; the scene on the reverse is the Virgin Enthroned.

From: “Medieval Craftsmen: Embroiderers,” by Kay Staniland, University of Toronto Press, 1991, pp. 46-48. ISBN: 0-8020-6915-0

Elaborate medieval embroideries were often further enhanced by the addition of pearls and other precious and semi-precious stones, gold or silver ornaments, enameled plaques or, very occasionally at this period, glass beads or discs, whilst some are almost exclusively composed of these ornaments and might not properly be considered as embroideries. These powerful symbols of class and wealth were at least as widely seen in the church as in royal or aristocratic courts: many of these rich creations were the gift of wealthy patrons seeking influence or favors. However, it would eventually be this very enrichment which ensured the destruction of these pieces, for once the gold, jewels, and pearls were removed, the ground would quickly be recycled. So much of this work has disappeared that it can now be difficult to envisage the extravagance involved, though the imagination is aided by fifteenth-century paintings which, with their naturalistic and precise approach, frequently portray these jewel-enriched garments. Coupled with the boldly designed and colored Italian silks and velvets the effect must indeed have been sumptuous and impressive.

Pearls were very popular in the Middle Ages, especially tiny seed pearls, which were much used in place of jewels in crowns, or to form haloes, birds, masks, or other decorative motifs. English royal accounts of the fourteenth century reveal that these pearls cost between £1 and £2 per ounce. Together with a range of other, larger pearls, some colored, originating from the East or from Scotland, they were frequently employed upon festal or jousting garments at the French and English courts and often massed together to form decorative motifs. In 1345-9, for example, Edward III’s armourer John de Cologne made five hoods of white cloth for the King and his friends, each worked with blue dancing men and fastening at the front with buttons of large pearls. They required 2350 large pearls, together with velvet, silk and gold thread. These richly embroidered hoods were fashionable at the time and there are many entries listing the expensive requirements for them.

The mitre from Minden, a rare and almost complete survival from the Middle Ages, shows the technique used in an ecclesiastical context, combined with plaques and golden ornaments, whilst the single mask and few acorns of pearls still in place on the Butler-Bowden cope show something of the original richness of the embroideries.

The incorporation of gold ornaments similarly enlivened the decoration, catching the light and adding an impressive three-dimensional quality. The ornaments, as with pearls, could simply be assembled and sewn into place and did not therefore demand the services of skilled embroiderers. Rather, they involved goldsmiths to create them in specially carved moulds, drawing these craftsmen into the large embroidery workshops. Also catching the light in embroideries were “doublets” — tiny discs of glass of a type still seen in Indian embroideries — which appear to have come from Venice.

Countless similar examples are described in both the English and French royal accounts of the fourteenth century, none of which, sadly, have survived. For the Christmas and New Year festivities in 1393-4, two gloriously extravagant and light-hearted concoctions of this kind were created for Richard II: a white satin doublet embroidered in gold with orange trees on which hung one hundred silver-gilt oranges, and a “hancelyn” (believed to be a loose outer garment), also of white satin which was embroidered with leeches, water and rocks, and amongst which were placed fifteen silver-gilt mussels and fifteen silver-gilt whelks. How these must all have sparkled in the subdued lighting of the medieval royal halls. Late medieval taste was particularly attracted to light-reflecting ornaments on clothing and horse-harness where movement would produce a multitude of glinting reflections. Consequently gold and silver motifs of all shapes and sizes were incorporated into embroidery. In 1441 the Goldsmiths Company confirmed and renewed their Ordinance for Making Spangles which fixed prices. These “spangles” were the equivalent of modern sequins, mall, round, thin pieces of glittering metal with a hole in the centre to admit a thread; some were rectangular in shape and sewn at one end only, whilst ohers survive in situ on embroideries but a number have turned up in archaeological contexts, perhaps the small lost hoards of people in flight from invaders.