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Polychrome silk embroidered apron, c.1720
This exceptional mid-18th century decorative apron is hand embroidered with polychrome silk floss. The scalloped edges are trimmed with handmade needle-run lace in shades of delicate blue and beige. The background cloth is cream colored silk taffeta.
The apron, purchased from an American collection, is probably English. It could have been imported, ready made, to the colonies in the 18th century; or else acquired later by an American collector.
The embroidered floral pattern is expertly executed in shaded tones of rose, blue, green, gold, and brown. The design has textural interest created by the contrast of satin stitch (pink petals) with a variety of fancy fill stitches (flower bulb). The apron retains its gathered waistband and waist ties.
The consummate modeling or shading of the pink hue in the petals stamps the apron as a masterpiece of costume art, a sublimely brilliant example of the satin stitch technique. I have not personally seen such fine work.
The reference point for modeling of color in art is of course the work of Raphael (1483-1520). The V&A Museum in London is showing four of Raphael's Sistine Chapel tapestries alongside his "cartoons," the huge drawings he created as models for the master weaver. The cartoons reveal the modeling, nuance, and range of color we associate with Raphael's masterpieces.
The cartoons were cut into strips later used in Pieter van Aelst's Brussels atelier, where the tapestries were woven. While the tapestries are very fine, the shading of the colors does not come up to the standard in Raphael's cartoons, due in part to the limitations of textile art compared to painting. (Also, no one ever came up to Raphael's level in art.)
Like weaving, embroidery faces constraints in modeling color compared to the freedom that painting enjoys. Nevertheless, the level of achievement is very high indeed in this superb decorative apron. This treasure of embroidery art is an amazing value for a 270-year-old decorative apron from George Washington's time (b. 1732). When this masterwork is displayed properly, they will come far from and wide to see it!
The condition is very good. There are a few breaks in the silk cloth near the edges at the waistband and a few small pale stains. These are very minor flaws. The embroidery and lace are remarkably intact.
The apron is 18 1/2" long by 40" wide.

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File information
Album name:Anton / Передники
Keywords:18в. ; артефакты ; женское платье ; передники
Год создания:1720
Название произведения:передник
Filesize:134 KiB
Date added:Jul 21, 2011
Dimensions:600 x 542 pixels
Displayed:164 times
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