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divineantiques.com ~ your source for simply divine antiques
Size: Length ~ 93 inches Width ~ 52 inches
This outstanding antique / vintage tablecloth, c. 1900 - 1920 is embroidered in a fruit motif, on a fine linen ground and further decorated with pretty hand drawnwork edge detail.
The natural cream linen is a medium weight and quite finely woven. It is soft and fluid, with very nice drape.
The embroidery on this early textile is really quite incredible. A variety of techniques and stitches were used, including layering, directional stitching, raised and padded work, stump work, french knots, satin stitch and what we believe to be Kensington Outline and Fill stitches, plus more we are not familiar with.
The embroidery floss appears to be high quality cotton, with nice sheen. Even though the floss is not silk we believe this to be Society Work, which in addition to the usual silk floss on linen or cotton ground, research shows was also executed with cotton and wool threads, although these are less commonly found. Those less familiar, or the purists, may prefer to call it in the style of Society Work.
While the embroidery on the entire cloth is quite amazing, with no repeating designs, the highlights are certainly the large corner decorations. Two opposing corners feature traditional trug garden baskets overflowing with fruits and foliage, alternate corners feature large grape clusters centered amongst a myriad of other fruit.
The corner baskets are similar in style, but each has been embroidered in a different manner and both feature different vignettes. One basket contains plump red cherries, which we have read is a rare subject matter for Society Work. The other basket contains purple grapes, as well as other fruit and it is decorated with a pretty pink bow.
Numerous techniques and stitches were used on the baskets themselves to add texture and enhance the woven effect.
While all of the embroidery on this cloth is quite lavish and grand, the baskets are particularly impressive. To give you an idea of scale each basket measures apx. 14 inches x 11 inches.
Large grape clusters decorate the remaining two corners, one rendered in purple and the other in wine ~ red, each surrounded by various fruits, including cherries, peaches, pears and oranges.
Between each of the large corner decorations are several smaller, yet equally well executed vignettes which include all of the aforementioned fruits, plus others, one of which may be lemons.
Finally, the entire perimeter is finished with a fancy type of drawn work.
We are very pleased to report that this wonderful old tablecloth is in exceptionally nice estate condition. We find no holes, tears, rips, or repairs. The linen is quite fine, yet strong and durable, with no evidence of wear or distress. The embroidery also appears to be in extremely nice condition. We have not found any missing or worn areas. One of our close up images shows a single loose thread on one of the cherries and with the exception of this single thread, no issues with the needlework were noted. The colors remain amazingly bright, rich and vibrant, with no apparent fading.There is one very small and light mark on the linen that is shown in the last image. It is apx. 3/4 of an inch x 3/8 of an inch in size, just slight darker than the cream linen and located apx. seven inches from the edge. We believe this is storage related and could likely be spot cleaned, which we have not attempted, however in our humble opinion it is quite minor and insignificant. See image #13.It really does not appear that this tablecloth was every actually used, or if it was, it was likely just for show and then carefully stored away again. Due to the excellent condition we have not laundered this cloth.Please carefully review all of the images as they can visually show detail and aesthetic elements of the embroidery that are very difficult to describe. Also, please note: These pictures were taken in direct, natural sunlight, so the colors of the embroidery work appear somewhat less vibrant and rich than actual and the linen appears slightly gray, rather than natural/cream/ecru.
In the second to last image we have shown the reverse side, so you can see how beautifully the needle work was done. See image #12.
This is really a lovely high quality period linen tablecloth, with exceptionally fine embroidery work in a rather unusual motif. Divine!!
click images for larger view