Ok. I have no idea of there are Real Professional Researchers out there who are noting similarities of pieces held among far flung collections, but as you can see – the subject continues to fascinate me as an dilettante. Trust me – if readers here are willing to sit still for them, I’ve got a ton more examples to share.
This set is is more difficult to show, in part because the Hermitage Museum has taken down one of the two artifact pages dedicated to two associated cutwork pieces, accession numbers T-8043 and T-8045. The second depicted the castle that I graphed, below. The last time I saw the source artifact at the museum’s website was in November 2014, but the castle can no longer be found from my saved links, or via searches on its name or accession number.
You can find a full-size version of the chart above under the Embroidery Patterns tab at the top of this page.
There were small fragments of partial designs underneath the castle in T-8045 that associated it with this this other Hermitage artifact (T-8043). This one shows a boat with passengers, several happy fish, and a pair of rather blocky lions. The photo below is credited to their official artifact page for T-8043, where it is attributed to Italy, from the late 16th-17th century. They call it “Embroidery over drawn thread”.
And here’s the cousin of the Hermitage artifacts: a VERY similar – that’s similar, not “same” – fragment from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Accession #1939-9-1. PMA calls out the piece as being 16th century, Italian, done in linen cutwork and drawnwork.
As far as acquisition time frames, the Hermitage samples come from the same Stieglitz Museum source as the other Hermitage embroidery sample I discussed last week. The Philadelphia Museum of Art came by its piece in 1939, as a gift from Mrs. Frank Thorne Patterson (a noted collector of the time).
Now, the Philadelphia example is a truncated photo of a fragment, and has borders that the Hermitage samples lacked (you’ll have to take my word on the castle original), but in technique, composition and subject matter it’s very, very close. It has the bottom edge of what is clearly almost the same castle as the one I graphed, plus a boat, manned by curious, full skirted figures, and some similar birds. Yes, there are small differences in detail in the boat’s ornaments and passengers, plus motifs on each piece that do not appear on the other, but I believe these artifacts do like they might be from the same workshop.
Obviously, to prove this assertion we’d need some sort of detailed fiber analysis – much more than my casual observations. Any grad students out there need a project?
Keep tuned for more episodes of Embroidery Family Reunion!
UPDATE – 6 APRIL 2020
Spotted in the wild, another example of the Old Castle. This one is on a piece in the collection of the St. Gallen Textilmuseum, Accession 00671. Their listing cites it as being from Sicily, dated 1590-1610.
I really love this line of inquiry and have been very much enjoying your posts about it.
Oh to be able to don white gloves and peruse these pieces at leasure but your researches fill a gap for me. Thank you,
Very much enjoying these posts. There are lots of more recent (C18th and later) examples of very similar ships in cross-stitch on the wonderful Frisian site friesemerklappen (click on alle merklappen to see them all). It was obviously a very popular design motif – it’s interesting that the embroidered designs remained similar while I’m sure the actual boats would have been evolving.
Well written! Your articles are fascinating.
I have stitched the castle that you graphed. It came out well! Thank you!!
I would love to see a photo, and if you consent, would be delighted to post it here on String.
[…] I’ve done some casual research, and found another rendition of The Old Castle design, dated to 1590-1610. I added it to my round-up of the designs in that family. […]