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THE PIPING SHEPHERD circa 1730 - The Scarlet Letter
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Needlework fashion was in the throes of change when this canvaswork picture was stitched in England in the early 18th century. Pictorial embroideries were becoming more popular, drawing on a vocabulary of motifs and design characteristics that appear over and over again, with individual idiosyncrasies. Designs became more naturalistic, with an emphasis on idyllic landscapes, lush with flora and fauna. Most women of a certain class were proficient in needle skills, and many men as well. The influence of oriental design- Turkish, Indian, Chinese, as well as Venetian, had a profound effect on English style. It isn't uncommon to see lions and elephants cavorting alongside sheep and squirrels in a landscape that appears to be drawn from a scene in rural England. The scrolling four-sided border on this piece is unusual, as pieces like this were not often "framed" in needlework if they were meant to be framed in wood and hung on the wall. This could have been intended as a cushion cover, or a panel for the back of a wing chair.

It is stitched entirely in cross stitch over two threads of 40 count linen. The finished size will be approximately 11" x 13-1/2".

Words courtesy of The Scarlett Letter.

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