Quite a while ago, Stephi contacted me with pictures of a footstool that’s been in her family since as long as she can remember. I think it’s a charming piece of needlework, so I thought I’d let you take a look, too!
Stephi’s mom dabbled in antiques, and now Stephi has ended up with many of the treasures her mother collected. Among them was this footstool, which she’d like to know something about. I told her the most basic information that I could gather from the picture – specifically, it is crewel work, it looks like it’s embroidered on linen twill out of wool. I’m positively no expert on this type of thing, but I did make some suggestions on where she could take it for more accurate information!
In the meantime, the piece is a pleasure to look at – and I like the story it tells (or at least, the story I think it tells!)
I like the simple scene – the horseman at a run, through flowered fields and trees, the house in the background… perhaps a young suitor rushing to his sweetheart?
The base of the picture is not really noticed at first glance, but it is the base of the picture, I think, that’s most impressive, with the subtle long-and-short stitch shading, and the inset flowers.
I like the little red house on the hill, with the strange-looking trees looming over it. The smoke curls up in a welcoming way; supper, perhaps, is being readied? Or the hearth prepared for an evening of good company?
An apple tree? Or an oversized rose bush? The variety of shades of pink might point to a rose tree… the roundness of the fruit might point to an apple tree. In any case, it’s a splash of color that balances very nicely the red house on the other side of the piece. I’m inclined towards roses, because of the layered look of the pink flowers.
Also, the proportion of the blue flowers seems to suggest the previous photo is one of a rose bush. The blue flowers dwarf the rider, just as the rose bush is somewhat grand in size.
Perhaps the rider’s going to pass behind the blue flowers, and the large flowers are meant to give a sense of depth to the scene. But if that were the case, the horse’s feet would not be showing so far down into the grass in the front.
Perhaps the flowers are just oversized. Maybe in his perfect world, the flowers grow larger than life.
There he is, rushing along on his strangely pale horse with the strange rump. As he rushes along, the horse’s tail and mane stream out behind (and so does the rider’s pony tail, in a stumpy sort of way). The horse’s legs gallop, and the rider’s posture – leaning forward in anticipation – indicate his eagerness to get wherever it is he’s heading. It must be to his sweetheart!
Thanks, Stephi, for sending me the photos! Sorry I can’t be of further help on the piece, but perhaps there’s a reader out there somewhere who has seen something similar and could share some information about it, or would know of a way to go about getting information on it.
I hope you all enjoyed the photos, too!