School of Design

ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles

Wessex Stitchery piece
Date: early 20th Century
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Dimensions: 25 × 1.5 cm (9 13/16 × 9/16 in.)
Medium: baste fibre
Description: This piece of embroidery is labelled as Wessex stitching panel. Wessex stitching was the name given by the embroiderer Mrs M Foster to her own style of work. Examples vary in style but this particular piece is worked on a fairly course even weave baste fibre in green/blue with white, red and yellow embroidery threads. The white threads form the basic pattern of squares and flowers, the red threads were added next and the yellow, much finer thread completes the pattern. A void of five squares in the centre of the piece forms a cross and in this two shades of yellow thread are couched. In a panel at the bottom of the stitching is the latin phrase Sursam Corda (Lift up your hearts) stitched in the yellow thread with blanket stitch in red. One of the characteristics of Mrs Foster's work was her use of ecclesiastical texts in her stitchery. There is here monogram stitched in the bottom left corner, used to identify this piece. Mrs Foster was an embroiderer in the early twentieth century who had her own style of embroidery known as 'Wessex stitchery'. Probably the main reason she is still known today is because there was an exhibition of her work at the Medici galleries in Grafton Street, London in 1934. There was an article about this event in The Times newspaper in March 1934 recording that the exhibition was opened by Major Sir Nevile Wilkinson, for whom Mrs Foster had 'done a great deal of work' for his doll's house. Mrs Foster was over 90 when the exhibition was held. Mrs Foster's work varied from piece to piece but they are mainly counted thread work.
Inv. No.: 2015.80

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