Friday, June 21, 2013

The Home Beautiful: The Mrs. Wood Bed Cover , 1875-85

Bed Cover
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made between 1875 and 1885, this bed cover (or wall-hanging) was able to be dated due to the fashionable dress of the characters depicted. The cover was made using a piecing technique, known as “inlay” or “intarsia” wherein cut-out fabric shapes are inlaid into an identical cut-out space in another fabric.
  The pieces are then stitched from the reverse side, using extremely small stitches that are not visible on the front.  Sometimes the pieces are further adorned with appliqué.

In this example, the central panels depict the various rituals and emotions associated with courtship.  The scenes move from “Admiration” to “Zingari” (an archaic Italian term used in England for the Romany community (that’s Gypsies, you know)).   The themes depicted are:  Admiration, Beauty, Cupid, Doves, Eyes, Flowers, Guardian, Hopes, Introduction, Jealousy, Kisses, Love letters, Matrimony, Nonsense, Offers, Papa, Quakings. Refusal, Spells, Tiffs, Uncle, Valentine, Wedding, Expression, Yes, and Zingari.

A decorative border frames these romantic images.  The border depicts a variety of popular cultural figures including our Mr. Punch.

This cover came to the V&A from Beckenham, Kent where it was long in the family of the donor who stated that the object was made by a male ancestor while on a long sea voyage.

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