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.
I will not
apologize for my femininity. I will wear pink.
husband exclaimed, "Wow! They can do amazing things with machine
embroidery now!" Give him five minutes to tell you how much he regretted saying
that about this piece.)
A society silk embroidery
"primer" in linen and floss, with every stitch this piece reveals the excellence
of both the maker and the style. A crisp, creamy antique linen centerpiece is
hand embroidered with silk in a refreshingly natural border of roses in every
stage of bloom, from bud to seed. The edge is richly embroidered and
artfully designed with stitched jewels and three dimensional "carvings" -- a
quality of depth achieved by careful changes of direction in the stitch.
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, see below. Museum quality. Excellent condition, offered
as found. c.1890 - 1920. 23.75" X 22"