17th century

17th century

Sometimes described as one of the most penetrating portraits painted by the Dutch, and Leiden-born master, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), the painting of Agatha Bas (1611-1659) now forms part of the Royal Collection in Great Britain (RCIN 405352) and is currently on display in Buckingham Palace.

The British Museum, London, houses an engraving taken from the poem Documenti d'amore by Francesco da Barberino (1264-1348), which was published in Rome in 1640. The illustration shows a woman doing some sort of needlework, allegorically representing Industry.

A print (14 x 8.1 cm) now in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (RP-P-OB-44.538), shows a Borduurder ('embroiderer') hard at work. The print (an engraving), after a copper plate etching, forms part of a collection of one hunded representations of human occupation, called Spiegel van het Menselyk Bedryf, composed in the late seventeenth century by Jan and Caspar Luyken and published in Amsterdam in 1694.

Dame en désabillé de chambre is the title of a print housed in the British Museum, which shows a woman holding a piece of embroidery in her hands. The print dates to about 1675. The woman is shown wearing a long apron that appears to be decorated with lace or whitework embroidery of some kind. She is holding a needle in her right hand and a long band with a stylised floral motif in her left hand.

The portrait of Elizabeth Wriothesley (née Vernon), Countess of Southampton (1572-1655) and wife of Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton (1573-1624), was painted by an unknown artist in about 1600. The painting is now in the private collection of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry (Buccleuch Collection, Boughton House, Northamptonshire, England).

Phineas Pett was a shipwright with close connections to the royal court in London. He was the son of shipwright Peter Pett and his second wife, Elizabeth Thornton. The National Portrait Gallery, London houses a portrait of Phineas Pett aged 43. Pett noted in his autobiography that in the autumn of 1612: "About this time my picture was begun to be drawn by a Dutchman working then with Mr. Rock at Rochester" (pp. 99-100).

This engraving by the German craftsman, Elias Porzelius (1662-1722), dates to 1689. It is called the Embroidery Lessons, or the Embroidery School. It shows a group of women and girls engaged in various forms of embroidery. 

The family of the Antwerp artist, Cornelis de Vos (1584-1651) was painted by the artist in 1621. The painting is now in the Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium), in Brussels.

Jean Magoulet was Brodeur Ordinaire de la Reine in Paris, from December 1677. Illustrated here is an etched and engraved trade card from c. 1690 (25.5 x 21.4 cm). The text below the design tells that Jean Magoulet provided gold, silver and silk embroideries for garments and furnishings.

The collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam includes a pair of early seventeenth century embroidered gloves for a bride (acc. no. BK-1978-48-A). They are made of waxed leather, decorated with silk, lace, gold thread and paillettes.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses a print by the French engraver, Abraham Bosse (1612-1676), showing a lady at her needlework. The print itself measures 21.3 x 14.8 cm.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses a business card for the gold and silver thread shop of Christiaan Beuning, in Beuningen (Gelderland, The Netherlands). It measures 20.4 x 18.1 cm. The engraving is made by Caspar Luyken (1672-1708; see also De Borduurder) and dates to the late seventeenth century.

Margaret Browne (Brown, Brawne; c. 1590-1641) was the daughter of a wealthy London merchant and the wife of Francis Layton (1577-1661) of West Layton and Rawdon (W. Yorkshire, England). Her portrait, probably by the Belgian artist, Marcus Gheeraerts (the Younger; 1561-1636) and painted in about 1620, together with the embroidered jacket actually worn by the sitter, are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam holds a paper pattern (149 x 113 mm) for embroidery motifs. The patterns, together with other examples that are also housed in the Rijksmuseum, are attributed to Daniel Meijer and are dated to the years between 1618 and 1623. The print was published in Paris. The patterns were designed for goldwork embroidery with gemstones, and may have been used for emblems for high-status people.

'Portrait of a Young Girl' is an early seventeenth century painting, now in the British Royal Collection, depicting a young, aristocratic English girl wearing an embroidered gown and a salmon red coat. The artist is unknown. Based on the garments worn by the girl the painting probably dates to c. 1625-1635.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA, holds a portrait of a young bride, painted by the Dutch master, Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy (c. 1590 - 1654 or 1656). The portrait measures 118.7 x 91.1 cm, and is part of a pair, next to Pickenoy's portrait of the young bride's husband (see Getty Museum acc. no. 94.PB.1). The painting is dated to 1632. The bride was 21 years of age when painted.

A seventeenth century portrait of a Tudor lady after Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) has been variously described as that of Catherine Howard (1521-1542; fifth wife of Henry VIII of England) or possibly of Elizabeth Seymour (1518-1568; sister of Jane Seymour, the second wife of Henry VIII).

The portrait of Margaret Graham, Lady Napier, is by the Dutch/Scottish artist, Adam de Colone (c. 1572-1651). He worked in the London and Edinburgh courts in the early seventeenth century and made various portraits of Scottish nobility. These portraits include two of Margaret Graham, sister of the 1st Marquess of Montrose and wife of the First Lord Napier (c. 1576-1645). She died shortly after the portrait was made, in 1626.

The Straatje van Vermeer ('Little Street of Vermeer') is a painting (54.3 x 44 cm) by the Dutch seventeenth century master, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). He created the painting around 1658. It shows two houses in the town of Delft, with two alleyways in between, some children playing in front of the house to the left, and a woman in the doorway carrying out what at first glance seems to be her sewing.

The Lacemaker is a painting by the Dutch artist, Caspar (Gaspar) Netscher (1639-1684), of a young woman making bobbin lace. The painting (33 x 27 cm), dates to AD 1662. The woman is wearing an under or indoor cap embroidered in black on a white ground (blackwork). The design is of interconnecting foliage motifs characteristic of the period. This type of cap later became the hul form worn in the western parts of the Netherlands.

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