Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Catching Up! 17th Century Beadwork, Samplers, and Other News


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Good morning, my friends! If you love historical needlework, today’s news bit is for you!

I’m also going to share a picture of the wedding dress that I mentioned the other day, for those who asked. And there were many of you who asked!

The last many months, things have been a bit discombobulated in my life, but I think (I hope) that life will settle down into a controllable routine for a while now. There’s much to catch up on behind the scenes, and I’m working again on a normal publishing schedule for the blog. As the days unfold, you should notice a little more regularity here, if all goes as planned. Thanks for sticking by me!

Ok, to move forward, this is time sensitive information. October 2nd and 3rd, an auction of a fabulous collection of historical needlework is available online, and I want you to know about it. You might not be able to participate, but you can certainly take a peek at the items being auctioned and perhaps glean a bit of inspiration for your own pursuits.

17th century bead embroidery auction

Brunk Auctions is featuring this lot of historical needlework pieces from the property collection of Dudley and Constance Godfrey.

Many beautiful pieces of crewel work, raised work, goldwork, and bead embroidery – and some schoolgirl samplers, and a lovely piece of paper scroll work – are part of this auction lot.

The 17th century bead embroidery pieces are fascinating! This one in particular catches my eye – I love it! I keep going back to it and looking at it.

(Oh, don’t worry. I can’t bid on it. If I could, I would, but it is well beyond my reach. If you can, I think it is a piece that will surely delight you!)

As you begin looking at a piece like this, you get an overall impression of the story it relates. It’s the story of Jephte the Galaadite and his daughter, from Judges 11 in the Old Testament.

It’s when you start to study it closely that you see what I think of as fantastic and fun details, despite the nature of the story itself. I like to think that the embroiderer who made it really enjoyed doing so.

17th century bead embroidery auction

The castle is not necessarily biblical, which is typical of art depicting biblical subjects. The art tends to depict the story, but the details that adorn the story are often a little more contemporary to the artist.

I’m quite taken by what I think must be very charming chimney smoke on the left. If I were drawing that, it’s pretty much what my chimney smoke would look like, too.

17th century bead embroidery auction

Fruit trees and out-of-all-proportion birds and bugs often adorn 17th century embroidery.

17th century bead embroidery auction

Check out those striped beads!

17th century bead embroidery auction

And who doesn’t love a snail in the garden? (Even one big enough to eat you, if so inclined.)

In any case, take a look at the offerings for this auction! It’s a terrific opportunity if you are a collector. And even if you’re not, it is a wonderful opportunity to browse through the photos of the pieces on offer. You can enlarge them to see the details.

That Wedding…

So, yes, my niece was married on Saturday, and I hand beaded the bodice of the gown. You can find the backstory in last week’s article.

The gown – and the lace and the beading – were very simple. It just took a little bit of time to get it together at the end. I loved sewing the beads on!

I finished the beading late Friday afternoon. The gown was ironed and the sleeves finished on Saturday morning. (Why rush these things?)

hand-beaded wedding gown - Patrick & Juliette

Patrick and Juliette, happily wed!

The photos from the photographer are not available yet, but this one gives you an idea of the simplicity of the gown. Though simple, it was a really beautiful dress, and the lightness of the fabric and the lining were a stroke of brilliance on Julie’s part. It was 95 degrees on Saturday! (Kansas!)

And now, I’m off to work. I’m weighing beads today for a completely different project. I can’t wait!

Enjoy your day!


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(21) Comments

  1. Oh Julie looked stunning!!! I love her dress <3 And they both look so happy. Her bouquet was terrific!! Just such happy colours! Looks like it was a perfect day. Thank you (& her) for a glimpse in her happy & joyous day. May Love, Peace & Joy be their guide as they embark on this new journey!!!

  2. Your niece is just stunningly lovely, and so is her gown. The wonderful smiles of the bride and groom warm my heart.
    I’m praying for a wonderful future for them, and it looks like they are fully capable of creating their own.

  3. Hello, Mary!
    Thank you for the peek into the auction. Though tempted to sign with covetousness, instead I will be grateful that there are those who have cared enough to preserve and keep the works of those who put needle and thread to cloth so long ago, and in such delightful ways.

    As for the bride and groom–they surely do look happy! The dress is lovely and the bouquet the very best kind (in my opinion!)–so huge and wild and colorful and lush! Happy for all of you.


  4. What a joyful photo! I love that your niece designed the remarkable dress and that you and her mother helped complete it. thank you for sharing the story of the lace and this joy! The items in her arms are exceedingly nice too!

  5. Morning Mary – Happy the bride the sun shines on. A wonderfully simple dress and the best there is. The bride a groom should not be upstaged by a piece of fabric on their special day.
    I’m hoping that all the upheaval of this year is done for you, there have been some really difficult times to endure. The peace and quiet of a familiar routine will be a blessing. Those who follow you on your blog have been keeping you in their thoughts and appreciate the time you were able to give us. Your ‘Related Articles’ have been perused more thoroughly by me and sent me down many a rabbit hole, but then, I always have enjoyed them.
    Take care of yourself, you’re knowledge, exploration and willingness to share is precious and appreciated by us.

  6. Ahhh, so I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see the whole dress! Thank you, other commenters who weren’t (like me) too shy to ask! 🙂

    Ninety-five degrees on Saturday — a bit warm, yes, but thank goodness Sunday’s weather didn’t arrive a day early! That cold front arrived with a LOT of wind and rain!

    Blessings to the new couple; wishing them every happiness!

  7. What a beautiful bride and wedding gown! Congrats to the lovely couple!

    I live in Asheville, NC, where Brunk Auctions is located. While I can’t afford to purchase any of the embroideries, I’m checking to see if I can view them, without making any commitments to purchase. I know they will schedule in-person viewing of auction lots. I would love to see them in person!

  8. Huge and heartfelt congratulations to Patrick and Julie! Her dress turned out amazing, it looks so beautiful on her, and I loved the story of the lace and the pearls you added – a true generational family affair, and a wonderful heirloom to treasure Wishing them a happy and joyous life journey together And best of luck with catching up, take all the time you need!

  9. Dear Mary

    The collection of historical needlework are really beautiful like you I would love to bid on the one that you have shown above I think it’s the best and would love to own it, if only, dream. It’s nice to see that needlework pieces are appreciated enough to be auctioned at a good price, as they so often are not considered a worthy art form, in my opinion they are just as good as an expensive piece of art work if not better. The picture of your nieces wedding and wedding dress is beautiful and I’m glad you had good weather, I’m glad all the efforts of adding lace and beading worked out and I’m sure you all had a great day celebrating. Thanks you for sharing with us the beautiful historical needlework collection and for the photo of your nieces wedding and wedding dress.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  10. Hi Mary, Thank you for that delightful photo of the happy couple and telling us all about that lovely dress.
    The word on that sampler is ‘Taste’

    Where shall the tribes of Adam find
    6 Here let my soul forever lie,
    Beneath the blessings of thine eye;
    ‘Tis heaven on earth, ’tis heaven above,
    To see thy face, to taste thy love.
    Isaac Watts
    Psalm 34:8
    Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

  11. Thank you! I have an old project that had a metallic thread that I HATE so I never finished it. NOW I know what to do. Finish it with these threads! Yeah!

  12. Thank you for sharing a beautiful family moment with us. The world is kind of a mess and your art and thoughts help. Best wishes to your niece.

  13. This was an amazing post. As are all of them. I am so sorry I missed the post about the auction. Not that I could have bid but would love to have perused the offerings. Well done.

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