Magnificent Antique 17th Century French Ecclesiastic Needlework Vestment Cope Hood

This is an extraordinary and extravagant example. It is French and dates from 1680-1700.

The very delicate and beautifully worked stitches unfold into a rich and very painterly religious scene. The Madonna kneels before the Christ Child with an expression of serene adoration. Three angels look down from a billowing cloud with expressive hand gestures and joyful facial expressions. The rich colors of the threads impart a luminous quality. Each stumpwork (raised needle work) face has realistic expression and form (which is amazing as it was achieved with the tiniest of stitching). The scene has a lovely sense of perspective; one can see trees in the distance through the open space between the columns. A curving red border surrounds the figures and gives wide window frame to the scene. Elegant flowers and leaves finish the work which ends with a 1/2" wide gilt metallic brocade braid.

There is a burlap backing which has been added (in our era) to give support to the piece. It measures 21 1/4" (including braid) x 20". The Madonna figure is 7 1/4" tall. It is in amazing condition with colors still vibrant and needlework in good order.

It is impossible to imagine the hours and expertise needed to complete such a fabulous example. It is a rare and superb seventeenth century religious textile.

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