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A fine large antique French tablecloth with twelve matching very large, oversize banquet napkins often referred to as lapkins due to their generous size; dating to the later 19th century, near the end of the Napoleon the III period - the Belle Epoque era, and acquired directly from France.The very high quality, clean, crisply pressed white linen dining table set features a wonderful and somewhat unusual, opulent damask pattern of grapes, leaves and vines, bordered with a fancy stylized acanthus leaf and scroll motif. Grapes and wine were often associated in the period with bounty, abundance and plentiful harvest and acanthus leaves symbolized enduring life, so the set has significant meaning and was surely an important and symbolic 19th century textile.In the French manner, each napkin features a large, very fancy, hand executed center “M” monogram, out lined in red, which is surrounded by a pretty leafy vine garland cartouche woven into the damask.The tablecloth also features the matching “M” monogram, with two large initials placed rather uniquely near cloth center in opposing positions; see image #2. We have not previously seen double tablecloth monograms placed in this exact manner, which in our opinion is aesthetically quite striking and very attractive.Please note that we initially thought the monogram could be either a “W” or “M”, hence the first image, and it wasn’t until we unfolded the tablecloth for additional photographs that we realized, due to the way the monograms are positioned, that the letter was likely in fact an “M”, but it is quite stylized, so probably could function as either, really.The stitching on the monograms is not the typical cross stitch often found on French embroideries of lesser significance, but rather the more seldom seen chain or tambour stitch, referred to in France as Point de Beauvais embroidery, which is usually only found on select textiles of higher quality, such as this fine linen set; see our magnified close up images.The monograms on the tablecloth are exceptionally large, each measuring apx. 6 & ¾ inches. The napkin monograms are quite large as well, each measuring apx. 3 & ½ inches.It should be noted that a single monogram is somewhat unique to find on an antique textile of this era, as multiple initials, double, triple or even more letters are most commonly seen. The tablecloth, as well as the napkins, have two natural, finely woven selvage sides and two hemmed sides. The hems are very nicely finished; narrow, flat, smooth and appear to have been done by hand.This linen table set has stood the test of time quite well and remains in exceptionally nice antique estate condition; fresh, clean, crisply pressed and ready to be used and enjoyed.Careful examination of the tablecloth revealed only two extremely tiny and faint marks, as can be seen in our last image above. The monograms on the tablecloth may be just slightly less red than the napkins, however all the monograms really remain quite true to the desirable color range frequently referred to as “turkey red”.The napkins also remain in similar very nice condition, with only one small, (apx. pencil eraser size) pale yellowish mark, right near the selvage edge of a single napkin. This was not noted in our initial inspection, so wasn’t photographed, but is quite minor and small, as described. Apparently missed in our pre-treat, but would likely resolve with subsequent treatment/soak/wash.We are happy to report that the fine linen damask appears strong and robust throughout the set. Both the tablecloth and napkins present very clean and bright.A very nice quality, large antique Victorian era damask linen tablecloth, with matching serviettes lapkins; all with a somewhat rare single red monogram, in a desirable grape, wine, harvest, bounty pattern motif. Perfect for the vineyard collector.
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