The Art of Needlework, 1840

Title page of The Art of Needle-Work, London 1840. Title page of The Art of Needle-Work, London 1840.

The Art of Needlework, from the Earliest Ages; including some notices of the ancient historical tapestries was first published in 1840. It was edited by Mary Margaret Egerton (1801-1858), Countess of Wilton, and published by Henry Colburn.

The book was dedicated to (dowager) Queen Adelaide (1792-1849; "It is well known that Queen Adelaide, and, in consequence of her Majesty's example, those around her, habitually occupied their leisure moments in ornamental needlework"). The name of the real author of the book was not particularly highlighted, but it was Mrs. Elizabeth Stone, and this book was the first of eighteen books, on various subjects including history, she would subsequently complete.

The book contains some 405 pages in 25 chapters, discussing ancient embroidery, the Tabernacle, the Bayeux tapestry, embroidery for royal ladies etc., and "modern embroidery", which mainly refers to Berlin woolwork and the embroidered pictures by Mary Linwood.

At the end of the book she writes: "This is, I believe, the first history of needlework ever published. I have met with no other; I have heard of no other; and I have experienced no trifling difficulties in obtaining material for this. I have spared no labour, no exertions, no research. I have toiled through many hundeds of volumes for the chance of finding even a line adaptable to my purpose: sometimes I have met with this trifling success, oftener not."

In 1847 it was bound together with a book on knitting, netting, crochet and patterns for embroidery, edited by Mrs. Henry Owen, with the title The Illuminated Book of Embroidery.

Source: EDWARDS, Joan (1976). 'A survey of English literature of embroidery, 1840-1940', The Bulletin of the Needle and Bobbin Club, Vol. 76, pp. 3-20. Dowload here

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Last modified on Monday, 21 November 2016 17:02