The society 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 embroidering finer pieces. Additionally, they promoted embroidery
"clubs" that fostered friendly competition between members to produce the finest
work. This glorious piece of embroidery came from that period and
represents the very best of technique, materials and design.
Do you look
for only the best?
Like a botanical summary
of a full life, a happy marriage, or a joyous, long awaited birth....a perfect
rose in full bloom here has captured a needle workers best effort...the
pinnacle, the crest, the summit of her life long attention to the details and
execution of a complex art form ....this is a piece by which all her others were
A crisp, creamy
antique linen centerpiece is hand embroidered with brilliant red silks in a
refreshingly simple border of roses in every stage of bloom, from bud to seed.
The edge is finished in a gracefully undulating repeating pattern that, like a
perfect frame, directs the eye to the picture and takes no applause for itself.
No detail was overlooked -- thorns, petals, upturned leaves. Even the cut
stems are carefully shaded. Very minor age in the linen lawn is hardly
noticeable, and a single pin hole and a palest pink stain on the edge threads,
see below, can be overlooked. Museum quality. Excellent condition,
offered as found. c.1890 - 1910. 23"