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Picture

Picture

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1650-75 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered in tent stitch in silks on canvas ground

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John A.D. Freeman

  • Museum number:

    T.44-2010

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This picture would have been worked by an amateur though accomplished embroiderer. A professional pattern drawer drew the design on a canvas ground, adapting published prints. Because the design would have been drawn on the canvas in black outline only, the embroiderer could use her individual taste in the choice of colour, and to a more limited extent, stitch and type of thread.

The embroidery shows a scene from the story of Abraham in the Old Testament : the Angel restraining Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac. The story of Abraham was an extremely popular subject in English 17th-century domestic embroidery, many versions surviving with minor variations. Most of these, and other Old Testament scenes used in embroidery, were taken originally from a book of biblical stories published by Gerard de Jode in Antwerp in 1585. The illustrations from this seem to have had wide circulation in England.

Physical description

Picture embroidered in tent stitch in coloured silks on canvas ground. Selvedge at left edge; other edges hemmed.
The picture depicts Abraham raising his sword to sacrifice Isaac, who kneels on the ground. The angel appears in top right corner, and the ram in the thicket in the bottom left. The rest of the picture is filled with animals, flowers and insects, including lion, unicorn, deer, elephant, foxglove, thistle, cornflower, honeysuckle, carnation, together with a castle and the sun emerging from clouds.
There is some loss of black threads, and the bare canvas revealed by this has been painted black in some places. Otherwise the condition is good, with the colours fairly fresh on front, and vivid on the back.
The picture had a 20th century cotton backing, now removed, which had the number F088 written onto it.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1650-75 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered in tent stitch in silks on canvas ground

Dimensions

Width: 38 cm, Height: 25.5 cm

Descriptive line

Embroidered, English, 1650-75; the Sacrifice of Isaac

Techniques

Embroidery

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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