Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (50) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

St. Matthew Embroidery – Gotta Love an Auction!


Amazon Books

I’ve spent the last five days watching an auction for this piece of Very Old Embroidery.

It’s kind of fun, to watch auctions – all the while hoping that you won’t see the price suddenly start to sky rocket.

Now, by “watching an auction,” I don’t mean I sat and stared at the screen for five days. It’s more like remembering, now and then, that I’m watching an auction, and taking a second to pop in and see how things are developing.

This looks to me like an exceptional piece of embroidery, and I’m glad to say I won it for almost a pittance in the scheme of things.

St. Matthew Embroidery

Friends, this is St. Matthew.

St. Matthew, these are my friends.

Now that we’ve covered the initial introduction…

St. Matthew, in case you aren’t familiar with him, is one of the four evangelists (he wrote a gospel), one of the twelve apostles, and an accountant, more or less. I like him – probably because I dislike bookkeeping so very much and I figure I can use all the help I can get.

St. Matthew Embroidery

The embroidery has not arrived yet, so we can’t explore it in depth together right now, but we will do so soon! I’ll show you the whole thing up close, we’ll talk about what I’m going to do with it, and then I’ll show you how I do it.

It’ll be fun to explore it together. It’s been a long time since I’ve added any antique embroidery to my collection or that we’ve had a chance to explore this kind of needlework up close.

St. Matthew Embroidery

You can see that there’s a lot more to the piece than just St. Matthew. He sits in a rather glorious setting!

For $162, I thought this was a great piece to add to my collection so that we can look at it together, talk about it, glean what we can from it, and then I’ll mount it and preserve it behind museum glass to display as a framed piece. We’ll do that together. I’ll show you my approach and we’ll troubleshoot any difficulties I might run into, together.

I can’t wait to get him into my hands! I have to admit, getting the winning notification wasn’t a bad way to start a Monday morning.

Hope your week’s off to a great start! We’ve got a LOT coming up on Needle ‘n Thread this week, so stay tuned!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(34) Comments

  1. Congrats on a nice win!! I was studying the closeup photo of his face…how beautifully it’s captured in stitches! I’ll look forward to more posts on this piece, for sure! 🙂

  2. Wow! What an exquisite piece! I’m looking forward to this upcoming event, and thank you in advance for offering it.
    Congratulations and Happy Monday to you.

  3. Ooooooh! Congratulations, Mary!!! What a perfectly lovely and delightful acquisition; I am so very happy for you and look forward to your posts on your process with it.
    Enjoy, enjoy!

  4. Wonderful! Congratulations on this fabulous find. I’m looking forward to exploring it with you. Thanks for bringing us along on this fun journey.

  5. This is an impressive piece. Such interesting, beautiful work…certainly a LOT of work. The stitched halo around his head is very impressive and a lot of work. But, I’d like to ask about the little angel looking at St. Matthew. On the edge of his face, there are some longer stitches. Might those be tears that have run down his face or is that a manner in which the face is stitched? His eyes have a look that doesn’t appear to be either happy or sad – thinking this might give me a clue about his face. Thank you.

  6. That looks like a charming piece. For your sake I’m glad that I wasn’t aware of this. My Dad’s name was Matthew, and I enjoy working designs that are religiously inspired. So I would have been mightily tempted to join the bidding.

  7. What a gorgeous piece of embroidery to treasure. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing and conserving this antiquity.

  8. I can’t stop zooming in and out and finding new things to gape at and am longing to know the age and region. Pretty excited to learn. Thanks.

  9. Can you tell us more about the world of embroidery auctions? I’ve seen some people talk about looking for samplers and other historic pieces. Is it just watching EBay? Or are there other places? What do you look for to know it’s a good piece?

    1. Oh goodness, I’m not an expert in this regard, but most people online who are bidding on legit antique samplers and such are not doing it through eBay. They’re bidding through auction houses, some as grand as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, but also through lesser-known auction houses that manage estate auctions and the like. They’re usually from estates of art collectors or enthusiasts. Those types of auctions are pretty much out of my league. I’ve only ever bid on one thing in that type of auction… and needless to say, I didn’t win it. It went well into the five digits! Anyway, this was an eBay auction that a friend pointed out to me, knowing I had a thing for old ecclesiastical embroidery. So it was very straightforward.

  10. Fabulous piece! I was JUST wishing for more posts about ecclesiastical embroidery! I’m so glad you won it! And your sharing and discussing it with us is like we ALL won it! Congratulations! I wonder what it was? A burse? A pall? Part of a processional banner or frontal? I hope to find out when you post about it next. Couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person!

  11. That’s some impressive long and short stitch on the close up. I’m envious – my long and short stitch is never that consistent or uniform.

    I’m already speculating on the size of the piece. When I see photos of detailed embroidery, they grow larger than life in my mind. More often than not, I find out they’re no larger than a dinner plate. It gets me every time. So much detail in so small a space!

  12. Hola Mary …creo es una joya ,transmite ,sentimiento .hermosas cenefas flor de liz
    gracias por compartir ,,me siento privilegiada de conocer ,esta obra

  13. I am glad you will receive this as I would not otherwise be able to see it and learn about it from you. Congratulations! And, I look forward to hearing more about this beautiful piece.

More Comments