Ivory Embroidery…

As I’ve noted here before, I collect historic needlework books, including the facsimile editions of Weldon’s practical needlework that Piecework put out several years ago.

In these volumes (and in the early 20th century Weldon’s Encyclopedia of Needlework that a friend gave me) is a canvaswork style they call “Ivory Embroidery.”

Weldon’s says, “The work is known as ‘Ivory Embroidery’ fom the fact that its being entirely executed in white, at least as far as the filings are concerned. Silk is used in preference to cotton as being more glossy, and filoselle is more useful than any other make, as being readily splet and used coarse or fine to suit the requirements of any particular portion of the pattern.”

It goes on to describe various canvas stitches – mosaic, byzantine, etc. that we use in modern needlepoint. They never mention if you stitch the background: indeed some of the partial patterns they show indicate that you might not…

It sounds absolutely beautiful. But I’ve got a problem. When it talks about designs, it says they are available for sale. there is no image of a finished project (at least not that is easily interpreted.) I haven’t been able to find a clue as to the type of design considered suitable in the day. (Or that nagging question about background, either). In addition, the only reference I can find for this type of work is IN Weldon’s. No one else seems to talk about it, nor have I found even one extant example.

Has anyone seen an actual design for one of these? Or an extant example you can point me toward? I’m fascinated by the idea and I’d really like to see an original.

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