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Size: 93 x 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
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 I believe to be Kensington
Outline and Fill stitches, plus more I am not familiar with.
The embroidery floss appears to be high quality cotton, with nice sheen. Even though
the floss is not silk I 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 I 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 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.
I am 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. I have not found any missing or
worn areas. I believe one of our close up shots shows a single loose thread on one
of the cherries and with the exception of this single thread, I really noted no issues
with the needlework. The colors remain amazingly bright, rich and vibrant, with
no apparent fading.There is one very small and light mark on the linen that I have
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. I
believe this is storage related and could likely be spot cleaned, which I have not
attempted, however in our humble opinion it is quite minor and insignificant.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 I have not laundered this cloth.Please 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 I have shown the reverse side, so you can see how beautifully
the needle work was done.
This is really a lovely high quality period linen tablecloth, with exceptionally
fine embroidery work in a rather unusual motif. Divine!!