Designs and design books

Designs and design books

A Choice of Emblemes and Other Devises by Geoffrey Whitney is an English/Dutch emblem book, which was used as a source of inspiration for emblem embroidery in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The book was dedicated to the Earl of Leicester, who at the time was the Lord Lieutenant of the English forces fighting against the Spanish who were occupying the Low Countries.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has an early seventeenth century sample book from Portugal (MMA 25.92). It is filled with numerous small pieces of actual embroidery worked on a linen ground using silk yarns in various colours.

Bilderbuch für Kinder ('Picture Book for Children') was an illustrated natural history series aimed at children composed by the German publisher, Franz-Johann Bertuch (1747-1822). The book(s) came out in twelve volumes between 1792 and 1830. Images from the book were sometimes used for embroideries.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York houses a page from an album of embroidery designs that originates from The Netherlands and dates to the early seventeenth century. The design is executed with pen and ink, with some wash. The design is unfinished.

The British Museum, London, houses a series of design on A-4 size paper for embroidery on the front and back of a man's gown. They date to c. 2010 and were made in Kano, Nigeria.

In the sixteenth century, picture books started to appear in Italy and other European countries depicting often surreal situations with Latin mottos. With this development, people commenced to adopt for themselves or their families an individual image from these illustrations with a suitable Latin motto.

Two printed embroidery designs for respectively the vamp (upper) and tongue of a shoe are printed on one page of paper. The print dates to the early eighteenth century. The page has the inscriptions Ein schuh ('a shoe') and (plate) '42'. The intention was that two of each design would be embroidered (usually on velvet) and then sent to a shoemaker to be made up into a pair of shoes.

The Icones Animalium is a mid-sixteenth century natural history book by the Swiss naturalist and bibliographer, Conrad Gesner (1516-1565; also known as Konrad Gesner, Conrad von Gesner, other spellings also exist). The book was first published in Zurich in 1553.  

Needlecraft for H.M. Forces is the name for a series of small embroidery kits and booklets produced during the Second World War. They were made by the company of Wm. (William) Briggs and Co. Ltd. (34 Cannon Street, Manchester, England). The kits and booklets were specifically produced for wounded members of the British armed services.

The library of the Textile Research Centre in Leiden holds an original copy of a 17th century embroidery pattern book published in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1666, by Paulus Fürst.

Practical Hints on the Revived Art of Crewel and Silk Embroidery, by Mary Anne Turner, was published in London in 1877.

A book (76 x 42 cm) with samples and patterns from c. 1920 now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, derives from Vietnam and was used by the firm of Nam-Quat. It was probably used to show customers the wide range of embroidery products (cloth; threads) and designs that could be commissioned from the firm. The final page of the book contains silk satin samples in twelve different colour ways.

A Schole-House for the Needle is a pattern book published in 1624 by Richard Shorleyker. It includes patterns for needlework, especially embroidery and needle lace.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York holds a copy of the first and second volumes of the Zeichen-Mahler und Stickerbuch zur Selbstbelehrung für Damen welche sich mit diesen Künsten beschäftigen, by Johann Friedrich Netto (1756-1810). The first volume was published in Leipzig in 1795 (acc. no. 25.65.4); the second in 1798 (acc. no. 32.121.3), and the third in 1800.