An extremely rare pair of late 17th century crewelwork square bed hangings worked on a linen twill background in brightly coloured wool and depicting entwined trees with exotic leaves, birds and flowers on a hillock ground with stags, leopards and flowers, centred by an exotic pavilion; within a burgundy border of later date. Note: These bed hangings were intended as curtains for the state bed in a grand house and are rare survivors of late 17th century English needlecraft. The design of these fantastic landscapes was influenced by Indian embroidery imported by the East India Company into Europe and reflects the fashion for the exotic from the east at the time. A set of bed hangings of identical design is in the collection of Lord Walpole at Mannington Hall, Norfolk, and another pair of hangings, formerly at Leeds Castle, Kent, is illustrated in ‘Mallett Millennium’. Related crewelwork panels are also in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Literature: Mark Bence-Jones, ‘Burke’s Guide to Country Houses’, Vol. I - Ireland, 1978, p. 79. ‘Grosvenor House Antiques Fair Handbook’, 1984, p. 90; a related needlework panel. Lanto Synge, ‘Mallett Millennium’, 1999, p. 224, illus. 286.
Earl Annesley, Castlewellan Castle, County Down, Ireland.
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