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Ladies’ Handiwork

Originally known as ‘raised work’, the ladies’ handiwork known as ‘stumpwork’ was at the peak of its popularity in the United Kingdom in the second half of the 17th century.  The term stupwork was coined in the late Victorian era. Like other handiwork, stumpwork was primarily made by young women of the upper classes. Kits were often provided by professionals including designs stamped onto fabric and containing intricate forms, such as hands, ready to attach to the figures. A form was built up into a recognizable shape with padding and then embroidered by the young amateur. The term ‘stumpwork’ either originated from the French word for ‘stamped’ or from the use of small pieces of wood to form some of the features of the figures depicted. Subject matter was initially religious, later classical, royal or fashionable with out-of-proportion butterflies and flowers. The resulting pictures were mounted by professionals on behalf of the amateurs as frames, trays, book covers, or used to decorate gloves. The most sophisticated and challenging projects produced by the young ladies were series of embroidered panels to be attached to the sides and tops of caskets.

We are pleased to offer a small group of early English and Continental textile panels in two upcoming auctions: the The Collection of Jill and John Fairchild, on October 26th, and The English Interior, on October 27th. Highlights include an early Jacobean crewelwork panel, a variety of needleworks, an appliqued panel and three different early stumpwork panels.

Time & Location

The Collection of Jill and John Fairchild on October 26 at 11am and The English Interior on October 27 at 11am

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