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A truly divine rare textile acquired from France and dating to the Victorian era, Aesthetic Movement period, c. 1860s to apx. 1890s.This example features fine muslin profusely embellished with Cornely embroidery, in an opulent Aesthetic, nature inspired pattern, with a huge floral center medallion surrounded by flowing Art Nouveau designs, Greek key motifs and an abundant variety of flowers, foliage and ferns. All four sides are beautifully scalloped and finished with more smaller scale embroidery. Cornely embroidery is a type of chain stitch perfected in the 1860s that allowed dense, dimensional and extremely intricate designs to be worked on very fine textiles.The muslin is exceptionally fine and gossamer sheer, like tissue gauze, or the finest lawn and almost translucent; see last image. This high quality fabric, referred to by the French as Mousseline des Indes and described as “a cotton textile so fine as to be almost invisible”, was very popular with the affluent and elite society of the decadent Belle Epoque era, for both clothing and soft furnishings.This textile is a symmetrical rectangle, without the additional cut away sides pillow cover section sometimes found on period examples designed specifically for bedcovers. Additionally, the large middle medallion is almost perfectly centered, whereas in some examples we have seen, the medallion is located more towards one end or the other, rather than centered. Therefore this textile could be utilized either length or width wise, depending on application, making it more versatile and easily useable as a tablecloth, coverlet, bedspread, bed hanging, canopy, cornice, curtain, drape, portiere, or diaphanous room separator/divider, and more. The last image shows the cloth laid out flat, so you can see the symmetrical rectangle shape, plus the scale of the fancy scalloped edges, as well as the overall dense embroidery. Please note: this picture was taken with a different camera, under alternate lighting conditions, so the color is less accurate that preceding images.It is in very nice antique estate condition, which is unusual for textiles of this nature, if they can be found at all. This example has two old, well done darns, one measuring apx. three inches in length and the other apx one inch. There is also a fairly well done, small one inch by one inch L shaped repair, near a corner edge. The three aforementioned older repairs are all located on the same end of the cloth, the largest of which can be seen near the red pen in image #12.On the opposing end we noted only three very small repairs that appear to possibly be somewhat more recent; all three clustered/located in the same area, the largest of which is apx. pea size, so fairly minor.One side also has several older small repairs right at the scallop edge, so hardly noticeable and near same edge we noted two very small pencil eraser size areas showing some thinning. Overall, the repairs are fairly minor and not unexpected for a textile of this type, generally blending quite well with the dense embroidery.When acquired this textile had recently been cleaned, so we did not re-launder. It presents well, with no stains, (possibly a tiny/minute speck here or there) only a subtle / very slight toning of the embroidery threads in some areas, which is not unusual for textiles of this type. This is very minor and difficult to photograph, but may be detectable with close scrutinize in image #8. A gentle soak would likely resolve, as well as further brighten.We examined this textile closely a number of times in various lighting conditions and accordingly feel quite confident in the above extremely detailed description, however please keep in mind the muslin is densely covered in embroidery, so some minor issue may have been inadvertently overlooked due to same.A hard to find, lushly embroidered, romantic and opulent antique textile; extremely desirable almost 150 years ago and still treasured today.Brief History of Cornely Embroidery: The embroidered method used to embellish this fine muslin textile was invented by a French engineer named Bonnas, in Paris, in the mid 1860s. The Cornely ( Cornelly ) embroidery machine, similar in size to a period sewing machine, created a type of chain stitch similar to hand tambour needle work, or crewel and utilized skilled operators, using a hand guided technique, to embroider intricate designs on fine textiles and fabrics.
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