Beadwork Mirror

Anonymous Lady Embroiderer

A superb Charles II beadwork mirror

The LAF have recently helped Leeds Museums and Galleries to secure this superb Restoration period beadwork mirror for Temple Newsam. It must be one of the largest and most ambitious surviving examples of this rare form of embroidery associated with ladies from gentry families from the 1660s. The ‘pictures’ which surround the central looking glass are made from hundreds of coloured glass beads applied to a silk backing. Either side are figures of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza (married in 1662) with their attendants under canopies; in each corner are emblematic birds and beasts; above is a castle and below a fountain.

Interspersed between these are trees, flowers and foliage with occasional bugs and butterflies. The effect is remarkably vivid and colourful. Even more remarkable is the original hinged box, still covered in its original rich crimson silk velvet. This material has now disintegrated but traces can be seen in different places. it is the intention to replicate this in order to restore the full visual impact of the mirror as it was originally seen. The mirror is particularly relevant to the collections at Leeds since it was once at Farnley Hall near Otley and was probably made by one of the ladies of the Fawkes family.”

Anonymous Lady Embroiderer


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