In 2018 we got the rare chance to restore and complete an embroidery dating to approx. 1907.
The embroidery had been started but not completed and the owner was eager that restoration on the work could be done in memory of her friend.
Restorations are normally a difficult affair, mainly due to sourcing the original or matching threads but on this very rare occasion, the owner had also inherited the original box of silk threads made by a UK manufacturer, Pearsalls Silks.
A couple of the incomplete areas had been started in threads which were not in the collection and could no longer be sourced. Although Pearsalls no longer make embroidery thread, they were very helpful in trying to source some originals but it wasn’t to be, so UK manufacturer Pipers Silks stepped up to the mark.
Sorting the threads took a whole afternoon as many of them had faded from the original colour, so there were a number of variations on a colour batch. A number of the threads were also starting to degrade and could not be used. We had to test the strength on each skein before we knew what we had left to work with.
The Jacobean style design is thought to come from one of Pearsalls’ periodicals which were released in 1907 and 1908. A tear out design which can then be ironed on to fabric. However, there is no reference on the original design paper which can prove its origin.
Matching the “hand” of the original embroiderer is vitally important and the design had been started in single strand silk, so needed to be continued in the same manner. We worked closely with the owner to determine a colour scheme and stitch plan.
Once complete, the embroidery was mounted and stretched using traditional techniques and then sent to Grays Picture Framing in Carlisle where he chose a wonderful frame to compliment the design.
Our certificate of provenance was supplied with the embroidery on return to the client.
The owner was thrilled with the finished piece and has been giving local talks about the embroidery.