Silk, with oak frame inlaid with mother of pearl
89 x 51 cm
Scottish (Glasgow), circa 1905
[…]; with Judy Wentworth, 1994, from whom acquired by an American private collection
The embroidery is in untouched condition, on its original stretcher, and in its original frame. It is backed with striped pillow-ticking.
The embroidery is worked on a ground of greenish/brownish silk, now slightly less green. The extent of fade is only visible when looking at the panel out of its frame, when the edges protected from light by the frame can be seen. It is not thought that the embroidery silks have faded. The face and hands of the figure are applied pieces cut from a fine natural silk, and the dress is similarly applied in a wild Indian silk, of the kind Liberty’s often used.
The embroidery is very competently worked in floss silks in varying shades; rusty browns for the tree-trunks, hair, and details of the peacock-feather fan, and belt; pink, lavender and pale green for the briar roses, and these with additional grays have been chosen for the corner motifs of roses. The Studio Year-Book (1909), p. 88 shows a pillow cushion designed by Ann Macbeth, with very similar treatment of the flower heads.
Liz Arthur at the Burrell Collection considered this to be: ‘typical of the Glasgow School through the use of appliqué; the simple stitches and couching in floss silk threads; the treatment of the flowers and trees, and of course the romantic figure itself. It was most probably made c. 1903-14 by one of Ann Macbeth’s students, possibly one of the teachers who attended the three year course on Saturday mornings.’
It one or two places the embroiderer has elected to improve on the drawn design, so that the original outline may be seen. For instance, at the lower left hem of the dress. This seems to be very competent handling of the work.