Friday, December 03, 2010

Heraldic pouches revisited

Image from Gomez-Moreno, M (1946), El panteon real de las Huelgas de Burgos, Madrid: Consejo superior de investigaciones cientificas, Instituto Diego Velazquez.

Images taken by me in November 2010 in the V&A textile study room.
1. Parts of a lectern-cover. The Annunciation, with angels censing, German, 14th century. White linen thread in chain, split and buttonhole stitches on linen. From the Bock Collection. 7029-1860.
2. Panel. Adoration of the Kings. German, late 14th or early 15th century in brick and knitting stitches. From the Bock Collection. 8308-1863.
3. Apparel of an amice, with inscription SANCTA ODILLA SANCTUS KYLIANUS AVE REGINA CELO(UM) MATER REGIS. German, 15th century. Coloured silks in lon-armed cross stitch on linen. Said to come from the Cathedral of Halberstadt. From the Bock Collection. 8311-1863.

Some time ago we had a discussion on the blog concerning the type of stitch used on some Spanish purses. Were they knitted or embroidered? The pillow (also made in Spain) in the top image of this post pointed in the direction of embroidery: specifically the long-armed cross stitch. This stitch does slightly resemble knitting, and also explains some elements in the pattern that could not (or hardly) be achieved by knitting.
When I was visiting the V&A museum in London last november I got the chance to study the embroidery collections up close. I was there to visit the first Fashioning the Early Modern workshop at the V&A but got some time to visit the collection as well. (Oh and do look at the photos of the workshop, there are pretty pics of fabulous pieces of knitting).
I found several pieces containing stitches that resembled knitting. However, of all I found the type from image 3 comes closest. This also is a long armed cross stitch. When comparing it to the Spanish pillow it's almost identical.

I have loads of other treasures to show you from my visit to London, but that will have to wait a little bit. I'll be posting them in portions as I have time available.
Machteld already told you all that I have a new job. I started working as a phd researcher at Antwerp University on a project concerning the material culture of the Low Countries during the Long Sixteenth Century. I - oh lucky, lucky me - get to spend four years researching clothing, fashion and textiles of this period and region. Mainly from a written sources perspective, but off course I'll also include visual sources and extant textiles.
This is off course about the most exciting job I could have ever wished for, but it is very intensive, and that means a little less time for blogging... I hope you won't be angry ;-)

PS.: We recently reached 200 followers to this blog! Thank you all for being the best/coolest/sweetest followers in the world!


kbsalazar said...

I would agree with you. Long armed cross stitch. Modern sample, close up here:

Possibly also close packed chain stitch variant done following the weave of the ground cloth, almost as if it were on the count, too. Maybe this one

Very cool stuff! -k.

Unknown said...

I'm glad that the stitches are/were up for debate. I looked at the pictures first, and thought 'what the heck stitch is that?'

Now I don't feel so stupid.

Big Congratulations on your new job!

Isn't there a quote somewhere that says that working at a job you love leads to a longer life and much happiness (I'm saying it really badly - I hope you know the one I mean)

Machteld said...

Oh, those silk knitted jackets... :-)

Alettesiriane said...

I want to show you a piece of work that was given to me .It had been hanging in a older house.This is not something I have seen more of .It resembles a bit of the work you do.See my blog

Yrmegard said...


I've been following this blog for quite a while and really enjoy reading about historical embroidery. I used to do a bit of that myself, but now my interest has shifted to tablet weaving. Yet I try to keep an eye on embroidery topic as much as possible.

What made me write this comment is your picture of an apparel of an amice with the inscription on it. Years ago I was doing some experimenting with long armed cross stitch and used Timothy Mitchell's (aka Wymark) charts for this specific piece. Now seeing a good picture of the original gives me some ideas about what I did wrong then. So I was wondering if I could have your permission to repost a part of this picture on my website (, only Russian and Estonian versions, sorry) with all due credit in order to re-evaluate my own work.

And thanks for wonderful materials on this blog.

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