and text have been used for centuries in the craft of embroidery. Sometimes it
has been used in a relatively minor way, while at other times it has been at
the centre of an embroidered piece, even to the point of defining a
composition. Written language in a textile format can often date a piece of
work and its maker by the sentiment of the message, but also by the style and
construction of the individual letters that make up the message.
of the alphabets shown in this article come from a period ranging from 1858 to
1869 and although, by embroidery standards, this is a very small moment in
time, it does help to show that even though limited to a decade in time, the
embroidered alphabets cover a significantly large range of individual styles and
motifs. All of the examples are derived from popular women's magazines of the
period, many of which regularly contained embroidery designs either to be used
as the individual embroiderer chose, or for specific items such as handkerchief
corners, baby bonnets, general clothing and domestic items which could entail
anything from a cigar case to a glove box.
This article is
originally published in 'Design, Decoration, Craft'.
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