silk style of embroidery began as a past time in England long before it came to
America. For some women it eventually became a way to earn a living from
home. Perhaps the original American cottage industry, fine silk
embroideries could be produced at home and then sold as lots to linen houses for
sale in a wider market. "Society silk" is a popular reference to the Royal
Society of Embroidery that produced the silk floss, embroidery patterns and
promoted the cottage industry of embroidery of finer pieces. Additionally,
they promoted embroidery "clubs" that fostered friendly competition between
members to produce the finest work. This glorious set of embroidered
napkins came from that period and
represents the very best of technique, materials and design.
How ever could someone
have parted with this amazing set after the last stitch was sewn? At first
glance it appears the pattern is imprinted...a longer glance will make you gasp
audibly as I did when I first laid eyes on them. The three dimensional
embroidery is heavily couched (padded) and perfectly shaded in the cleanest and
most elegant work I've ever seen. My thought is that these were made by a
highly experienced embroidress and sold for profit, as described above.
They were never used and are still polished and as crisp as they were the day
they left her hands. A wee bit of age shows on all six...and they are
creamy beige but will soak to a light cream to white. These would be
marvelous framed individually...oh, MY!! Offered as found in perfect
condition with age, as described and shown.
c.1900 -- 1910 18"