Plate No. 53.
Example of Bargello work in cushion and satin stitches. Italian, seventeenth century. In this pattern the powdering of flowers is in cushion stitch, and the background consists of a diaper in satin stitch.
Plate No. 53.
Example of Bargello Work, in Cushion and Satin Stitches. Italian, 17th Century.
Plate No. 54.
Portion of a Coat. French, Second Half of the 18th Century [639A - 1898].
Plate No. 54.
Portion of a coat. French, second half of eighteenth century [639A - 1898]. The ground is of velvet and the design is principally executed in very fine silk ribbon. The stem and centre fibre of leaves are embroidered in silk threads.
Ribbon work has become a favourite form of decoration during the last few years. The best examples are of French workman-ship. Their ribbon work has a lightness and delicacy which we do not appear to be able to impart to our work. Those specimens executed in narrow ribbon, as in the illustration here given, are the most satisfactory. When the broad ribbon is employed, the work assumes a coarse and foolish fancy; and the worker is warned against using the wide material. Of the two methods of working, that of carrying the ribbon through the stuff is the best.
Plate No. 55.
An Old Nottinghamshire Smock.
An old Nottinghamshire smock. The countryman's smock is now almost entirely discarded by our villagers, which is to be deplored. Apparently countrywomen have lost the art of making them, or the desire or use for them is dying out. No new ones are to be found, and old ones are very scarce. Possibly the introduction of agricultural machinery has had something to do with the smock being cast aside. Such a garment would be dangerous to wear by those tending machines. Each English county had, for many years, its own particular style of smocking and method of decorating this very useful and picturesque garment. In some cases the style of work and patterns have been carried across the borders from one county to another, and the characteristics lost. Smocks were not only worn by men, but by milkmaids. The stitchery on some was very elaborate, Essex, Buckinghamshire, and Dorset especially; others were comparatively simple; but in every instance they were decorated with embroidery, as well as the smocking on the front, back, and wrists. They were made of coarse linen, mostly a pale, tawny colour, but sometimes a dark blue was used. The thread for smocking and embroidery was like thick flax; it might, in some cases, be compared to carpet thread. There is nothing to be had quite like it now. The Nottinghamshire smock is a good type, well planned, and very distinctive. The embroidery is executed entirely in feather stitch.
An old Oxfordshire smock. This is rather simpler but none the less characteristic than the Nottinghamshire example. The treatment of the cuff and shoulder appears to be pretty much the same in all counties. The reason for this is plain - it would be difficult to improve upon the arrangement. The only variety occurs in the detail. The Oxfordshire smock has pockets with lappets, called by old country folks "pocket lids." All the embroidery is in feather stitch.
To the Fine Needlework Association the writer is indebted for the loan of the two examples here illustrated. This Association makes smocking a special feature of their work, and a very high standard has been attained by them in this beautiful old English art.
An Old Oxfordshire Smock.
Plate No. 56.