ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews

Book reviews - 2000



The Lost Arts of Europe
The Haslemere Museum collection
of European Peasant Art

A collection of Essasys edited
by David Crowley and Lou Taylor

70 pages, 17 color photos, many black and white pictures
ISBN: 09525947 14 , £ 5.99

Reported by A.W.
The Haslemere Collection of Peasant Art was initiated by Gerald Davies in 1895. It comprises over 600 remarkable objects dating from the 16th to the 19th century. Objects such as Icelandic mangle boards, Moravian coifs and Norwegian Wassail bowls, were used to demonstrate the rich expressive qualities of vernacular craftmanship in an age of industrial production.

The publication, published to accompany an exhibition of objects from the collection, includes essays on its history and on the meaning and value attached to peasant art at the beginning of the 20th cent.

In the preface Diana Hawkes, curator of Haslemere Educational Museum 1988-1999, writes that the reorganisation of the museum's collections only started in the early 1990s and it has not been possible to present an exhibition of Folk Art from Haslemere Museum. But now, with the support of the University of Brighton this internationally siginificant collection can be enjoyed by all.
Coming to light were fabrics, embroideries, ceramic table ware, wooden carved treen and furniture items. The collection with a rich archive is now available for enthusiasts, students and scholars.

Other essays in the booklet are:
- Emma Shepley - The Haslemere Context
- Tanya Harrod - Reviving Peasant Art in Britain 1880-1930
- Rev. Gerald S. Davies - the Peasant Arts Museum at Haslemere
- Lou Taylor - Displays of European Peasant Dress and Textiles in the Paris International
Exhibitions 1862-1900
- David Crowley - Haslemere and the Edges of Europe

as an addition: The collection in focus: The Hindeloopen artefacts, Mangle boards, Russian buraki, Nordic beakers and bowls, Scandinavian wall paintings Textiles and dress in the Haslemere Collection.

Aristocratic attire
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2000
By B.M. du Mortier
Illustrated in colour and black and white
Text in dutch: Regenten gekleed

Sent by Pat Griffiths:
This publication accompanies an exhibition of mostly costumes and accessories from the Six Gift of 1978 to the Rijksmuseum, plus some pieces given by other members of the Six family of Amsterdam in later years. The most famous embroidered item in the collection is an 18th-century mantua with an immensely wide skirt and both a tail and a train, which is said to have been worn at a wedding in The Hague in 1759 (2, detail).

1) dress, Indian tambourwork embroidery

2) detail of mantua

Also illustrated are an 18th-century petticoat embroidered with flowers in coloured silks and metal thread, an embroidered robe à la française of c. 1760, an embroidered satin redingote of c. 1775-1785, a dress (1) and a skirt of Indian tambourwork embroidery, quilted petticoats and men's caps (one of the latter whith the design drawn, but not worked) and an embroidered mule of c. 1660. All these items appear to have long been in the family collection, but others were bought at sales for wear at costume balls in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the dresses on exhibition have also been greatly altered for this purpose.
Dresdner Spitzen - Point de Saxe
Virtuose Weissstickereien des 18. Jahrhunderts
By Ruth Bleckwenn, Dresden 2000

Text in german , 247 pages, 82 bw photographs, 9 colour photos, catalogue with 124 Nrs and bw pictures, ISBN 3-932264-20-7, DM 29.-

Reported by A.W.
The definition of Dresden lace was introduced by Thérèse de Dillemont in the 9th edition of her encyclopedia in 1908. These embroideries look like lace and they were used as accessories to fashionable costumes. Specially the ladies cuffs were important around 1750.

Ruth Bleckwenn analyses for the first time the phenomena of Dresden lace and in her book she is researching its fabrication, commerce, design, motifs, fashion.
In a first, more general chapter the author deals with the development of lace and especially mentions the production of lace in Saxony. In 1743 some merchants employed women with the production of lace - Bleckwenn specially points to the position of women in lace production and trade - also the sovereign promoted this trade. The sources for Dresden lace however are sparse, in 1764 the Board of Trade referred to the decline of this branch.
The second chapter is dedicated to Dresden lace. Dresden lace only developped since the transparent indian musseline became popular around 1700 - 1720. It is supposed that net-embroidery and embroideries on quilted textiles could be considered as precursors. Ruth Bleckwenn traces out in her research design, stilistic formation and the most important motifs. Very often simiar motifs but in different compilations can be found. It is known that Friedrich Siegmund Petterlin became designer for printed textiles and for embroideries, in his earlier years he was designing for the porcelain manufacture in Meissen.

As for the stilistic formation the 3 lace techniques are compared to one another. Bleckwenn specially considers the size of motifs, the connexion of one motif to other ones and also to border motifs, in order to show an esthetical independent development of Dresden lace.
Ruth Bleckwenn then works out the most tipical and important forms of determined periods. These are: weavelike bands and tendrils, different kinds of blossom and flowers, indian blossom, pomegranate, ornamented leaves, rocailles. The indian flower is not found in bobbin and in needle lace, but the porcelain painting of Meissen shows this specific ornamentation. The motif of the ornamented leave occurs also in other lace techniques.

Bleckwenn comes to the conclusion, that Dresden lace can be considered independent with regard to its ornamentation, and that influences were integrated in its own manner.
After an early early development of 1720 - 40, a culmination point can be stated from 1740 - 80 and the decline occurs around 1770 - 1790.
Dreseden lace was produced also in other countries. After the middle of the 17th cent. The technique spread in Denmark, Belgium, northern France, Baltic countries.

In the book two special articles are added:
The contribution of Gisela Bruseberg deals with the embroidery stitches. 34 designs show the variety of the stitches.
The second article by Igor A. Jenzen describes the Museum of applied Arts in Dresden and its textile collections. It also mentions the origin and preliminary owners of the Dresden lace collection.

There is a second part of the book, it is the catalogue of the 124 Dresden laces, and it has been compiled by Ruth Bleckwenn and Gisela Bruseberg.

Bilderwelt des Himmelbetts
gestickte Bettbordüren der Spätrenaissance
by Vera Heuberger, Anne Wanner, Manuel Kehrli

Zürich, 2000,

Text in german, 64 pages, 54 colour photographs, written in german. SFr. 22.-.
Bernisches Histor. Museum, Helvetiaplatz 5, CH-3000 Bern 6 (ISBN 3-921573-3-3 ).
And Chronos Verlag Zürich (ISBN 3-905313-61-8).

reported by A.W.
There are short introductory chapters about wool embroidery in 16th and 17th c.and about the history of bernese families. It then follows the description of the 16 scenes of the newly acquired valance of 1604 (see Newsletter 11) with coat of arms of the family of Niklaus Wittenbach and Salome Thormann.

There is also a short description with coloured plates of three other bed valances of the Bernese Historic Museum, also embroidered in the end of 16th c. and in the 17th c.
The embroideries show scenes of the old and new testament, allegoric figures representing the senses as well as the virtues and they give an impression of the highly developed culture in the city of Berne around 1600.

Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum
By Clare Browne and Jennifer Wearden,
London 1999

ISBN 18 5177 309 6
£ 25.-
112 coloured photographs

the chapters of the book are:
1. samplers in the museum's collection
2. list of plates
3. the plates
4. stitches and techniques
5. glossary with diagrams and explanations
6. select bibliography

Embroidered samplers from the outstanding collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum provide both a historical survey of this popular needlework art and a practical guide to the different types of stitches.
Details of individual motifs are shown alongside full colour photographs of the complete samplers while stitch types and techniques are explained through photographic details and clear line drawings.
Samplers provides a gallery of some of the most important and beautiful pieces in the V&A and an opportunity to see in close-up fragile objects which by their nature cannot remain on permanent display or to be seen in strong light.

The book is international in its scope, illustrating British, Continental and non-European samplers, and covers a wide range of stitch types, providing practical information and inspiration for designers and embroiderers. It will also be of interest to collectors and to those interested in the wealth of historical detail revealed in the evocative images.

Eef de Jonge-Everaert
„Door mijn gedaan", de geschiedenis von de Zeeuwwe merk- en stoplap
(„Done by me", the history of the Zeeland sampler and darning sampler)

Text in Dutch, published by the Vereniging van Zeeuwse musea en Bureau provinciaal museumconsulent Zeeland,
Text in Dutch, illustrated in colour and black and white, bibliography

The Bureau Provinciaal Museumconsulent Zeeland has changed its setup and name since 2000. It can best be reached at Stichting Cultureel Erfgoed Zeeland, SCEZ, Postbus 49, 4330 AA Middelburg, email
An exhibition 'Door ons gedaan' , the longest sampler in the world, was shown in Japan in 2009. A description of it can be found on the website: which can be translated into English (very badly!!!) on the Google browser.

Unfortunately, the book  "Door mijn gedaen, de geschiedenis van de Zeeuwse merk- en stoplap" by
Eef de Jonge-Everaert, published by VZM/BPMZ, isbn : 9789090129662, is not in stock at


Sent by Pat Griffiths
A nice publication on samplers in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands with numerous illustrations, including a titlepage painting of the first quarter of the 20th century showing a girl in Zeeland costume in front of a mirror with a framed darning sampler on the wall behind her. The text gives a general survey of the history of samplers in the province, notes on schools and typical Zeeland motifs, some of which are linked with samplers in England, Denmark and North Germany.

The stories are told of various girls and their samplers, beginning with one born in 1750 and ending with one who lived through almost the whole of the 20th century.
Samplers for special occasions are covered and so are articles of regional costume on which sampler motifs were embroidered.
Since the book was compiled in the context of aconsideration project carried out in 1997-8, there is a final chapter on the conservation and framing of samplers.

There are also lists of motifs and their symbolism and museums in Zeeland with samplers in their collections.
The book costs less than 25 guilders and even if you cannot read Dutch, is would be a useful addition to any library of sampler publications.

Newsletter No 9, p. 3,4 already gave a short information about this catalogue and the exhibition

Soieries en Sacristie
Fastes liturgiques, 17e – 18e c.
par Christine Aribaud, Paris 1998

Text in French, 199 pages on every page one or several colour photographs
ISBN 2-85056-337-4

Reported by A.W.
The musée Paul Dupuy in Toulouse was founded in 1949, its aim is the exploration of all the kinds of art in Toulouse and in its surroundings.
Christine Aribaud was commissioned to form an exhibition on religious textiles and to write a catalogue. This exhibition on vestments of rural parishes in the region of Toulouse and its surroundings took place from 26th october to 31th january 1999.

In the first chapter the author treats the Concile of Trient and its consequences for Toulouse. After his stay in Italy the archbishop of Toulouse convoke the 14th concile of Toulouse which established the resolutions of Trient.

The visits of the Bishop in the single parishes became very important. For instances, some questionnaires are preserved on which are listed all objects which a community should have in possession corresponding to the resolutions of Trient. Especially between 1603-17 and 1630-44 there were intensive visits and controlls in the communities and they lasted until the 18th cent.

Chapter 4 treats the embroidery craft of Toulouse thoroughly. Since medieval times the corporation of the embroiderers was joint to the one of painters and sculptors. Since June 7th 1505 the embroiderers had their own corporation. Later on they united with the goldsmiths. It is known that Nicolas Escudier set up the regulations between the end of the 16th and the beginning of 17th c. He became master embroiderer in 1604.
Unfortunately these regulations have not been found up to the present day. There are other descriptions which mention an apprenticeship but they do not tell its duration. For the right to become a master in 1621 there had to be paid „sept soulz six deniers" and in 1649 „15 sous".

Besides the future master had to present some practical work of embroidery which normally are described in detail in the regulations. With this piece of work the applicant had to proof his ability for embroidery. It was judged by the elected „bayles brodeurs". The ceremony of presentation took place before the „ capitouls dans la salle du Consistoire du Capitole".

In Toulouse it exists a „libre des Mestiers" since 1596 and here registrations of masters of embroidery have been found. In particular names are listed and therefore it is possible to give a chronological list of embroiderers: From 1600 to 1625 there were 25 masters, from 1650 to 1700 there were 13 masters, from 1700 to 1750 there were 3 masters and from 175o to 1790 there were 3 masters. Moreover from 18th c. there have been found a great number of executed embroideries.

As a speciality a calice veil of Saint-Lizier is preserved, worked by the embroiderer Manaud Troy.
He was born 1574 in Castaignac close to Saint-Ybars. He was married on June first 1604 to Benoise du Roy the widow of master embroiderer Henry du Roy. In 1606 he became embroidery master himself and one year later „bayle brodeur". Some more events concerning Manaud Troy are known: In 1618 he enrolled an apprentice and in 1635 he embroidered a cope for Bruno de Ruade, bishop of Saint-Lizier. It is a late works of his, he died on february 4th 1639. In his family there are several embroiderers, for instance Pierre Troy the son of his brother, who became an embroiderer in 1639. It may be him who installed in 1639 in Carmes. Maurice Troy, Pierre Troy‘s son, became master in 1716.

Church vestments were also adorned by nuns. Very rich work is known of the Carmelits at Lecoutre or of the Augustins in Lisle-sur-Tarn. Specially these embroideries are inspired by botanical designs

Chapter 6 deals with the fashion in patterns of fabrics. There are no special religious pattern and priests ordered the most modern design. Identical designs can be found today in a damasc in the royal palace of Madrid. Some other designs show the general tendencies of the time. Reports of the years 1739-1743 show that in Tours velours was woven in the manner of Genova. In 1740 the italian Giuseppe Solary settled in Tours and in 1744 the name of the manufacture was:
„Manufacture Royale de damas façon de Gênes".
Other patterns clearly show inspiration of the ornamentists of the time:
Jean Bérain‘s design can be found in the chasuble of Montpezat de Quercy.
Jean Pillement (1728-1808) inspired a chaperon of the chasuble in the musée Pasul Dupuy.
Jean Revel who introduced since 1732 the technique of „points rentrées", also inspired
In the field of lace there is no distinction between religious and secular design. Lace can be used as borders of albs or altar hangings. In the 17th c. it is used every where in men‘s costume.
The church never opposed against fashion fabrics and priesthood received some cultural importance.

As a conclusion the author informs about her inquiry in the parishes about the preservation of church vestments, and whether vestments should rather be kept in Museums collections. She points out the dangers which rests upon this estate. The preservation of vestments in possession of rural parishes is not always easy. In many cases the conditions are perfect and the priests are well aware of their responsibility but there is little time and no money to really take care of this estate. Sometimes vestments are kept in drawers which are swollen by humidity. In this way they may become victims of neglect.

In the catalogue there are listed: religious textiles, secular objects and non textiles objects. Among the 31 chalice veils there are 6 embroidered examples and most of these veils belong to a whole set of vestment. Embroidered are two altar frontals (end of 16th and beginning of 18th c.), 2 shrines (17th c., and a coat of arms (19th c.)

Indian Embroidery Techniques at the Calico Museum of Textiles
compiled by Professor Anne Morrell, 1999
published by: Sarabhai Foundation, Opp. Underbridge, Shahibag
Ahmedabad - 380 004, India

Phone: 286 8 172, Fax: 286 5 759
ISBN: 81-86980-04-0

For easy use the guide is in four folded sections which are housed in a cover. This publication is in colour, at a price of US$ 20 per copy plus postage

Press Release:
The techniques are classified into eight sections. These are embroidery stitches, quilting: darning and pattern-darning, counted-thread work, whitework, mirror work, metal work, embroidery with a hook, appliqué and patchwork.
The guide takes you step-by-step through the gallery looking at the different stitches and techniques in detail, with a clear indication of where they are to be found in the historical examples. Many of the ninety-one pieces from the Calico Museum which are on show in the gallery are illustrated, they reflect the wide use of embroidered textiles.

Anne Morell is the author of ten books and of many articles on hand and machine embroidery. She is a free-lance embroiderer, consultant and teacher who has long been interested in the embroidered textiles of India. Since 1994 she has been a consultant at the Calico Museum of textiles.

Hravatski Povijesni Muszej
Katalog Musejskih Zbirki XXX
"Texstil-Paramenta. Crkveni tekstil Hrvatskoga povijesnog muzeja"
by Snjezana Pavicic

Copyright © Hrvatsii povijesni muzej
Zagreb, 1998, ISBN 953-6046-14-8

Text in croatian language, with an english and a german summery. There are 122 pages. It is illustrated by 128 very good mostly coloured photographs.

reported by A.W.
The catalogue includes all the textiles and leather objects made between ther 14th and the middle of the 19th c. in domestic and foreign workshops. Most of the objects come from the continental part of Croatia, and a smaller number from the costal region.

From existing scant literature about domestic specialised workshops for the manufacture of church textiles the weavers’ guilds in Dubrovnik can be pointed out. The renowned weaver Wolfgang Jacob Stoll from Ingolstadt worked in Zagreb in the middle of the 17th c. Besides there existed the work of the Pauline workshops and especially the convent centres of the Benedictine nuns in Rijeka, the Ursuline nuns in Zadar and the sisters of Mercy in Zagreb.
High quality work was done by the Ursuline nun Mater Michaela Karba and the sister of Mercy Ksaverija Skuba.

gloves, 18th/19th c.,
HPM/PMH 19693, p.76
The oldest amd rarest object is the "Avinon standard" of cut red velvet with a cross that was probably embroidered in the 15th cent. with traces of elements made in the gothic tradition.

home   Last revised January 20, 2001 For further information contact Anne Wanner