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 embroidery of 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.
The maker of this
piece sought to demonstrate her knowledge of the Kensington stitch which used
layers, directionality and fine gradations of shade to achieve the botanical
realism we have come to so thoroughly admire....this is a rare society silk
My photographs did
not do this piece justice -- The silk shading on each botanical form is much
finer and more detailed than shown below. I counted 14 forms, including the
vivid carnation, daisies, and a rose with a falling petal...so charming.
The creamy white linen is very fine and shows a wee bit of age, shown below,
that does not detract at all. There is an additional very, very faint fold
line, as seen (barely) in the photos. This is a fabulous piece for the
serious collector of society silk embroidery. Freshly laundered and
pressed, in excellent condition as described. c.1890 - 1910 19"