This is one of three virtually identical embroideries I stitched in silk ribbon and silk thread on tea-dyed silk. They were commissioned to fit three frames on an Art Nouveau French dressing screen that a lady bought from a junk shop in Melbourne in 1961. The screen stands about 6ft high and has 3 tiers, each a little shorter than the other (so that the lady dressing behind it can reveal as much or as little as she wishes to the person on the other side of the screen!).
Each embroidery features spider-web roses as the full blooms, gathered French knots for the new roses, and leave stitch buds. It is filled out with French knots in silk ribbon and fine silk thread. I tea-dyed the silk fabric to give it an antique look, because the only silk I could purchase at the time was too starkly white – up close it now has the patina of a vintage wedding dress.
The gorgeously carved screen was painted cream when I first viewed it, but when I spotted the gilding underneath the paint I became very excited. It has now been restored to its former glory in antique gold, with the original upholstery retained. The gold in these embroideries now looks even better against the gilded timber.
Each embroidery is approximately 5in x 7in, and they are mounted on wooden mounts with wool padding. The embroideries are laced to the mounts to ensure a snug fit and so that the fabric doesn’t get damaged as it would from staples, tacks, etc.
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