Question about antique tapestry

Discussion in 'Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing' started by Morg, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. Morg

    Morg New Member

    3723141A-DAD1-496B-8094-EB5F61EBD731.jpeg 7C677405-D462-4FBD-9539-7465AE496273.jpeg 0DAA6C80-57AD-476D-A4C4-D3FB1469000B.jpeg D4EBF654-CAD3-4079-9DA0-F75C1B6AB345.jpeg Hello,

    I’m new here - but enjoying the active community and learning a lot! I recently found an old tapestry going through some of my things and was curious if anyone here might know anything about it’s origin.

    The tapestry is not in the best shape, but aside from the tear and some wrinkling of the back cloth, the color has been well preserved. There is no signature that I’ve found, but the backing cloth may be covering one up. I’d like to avoid messing with it much until I can determine more or less it’s age, origin, etc before looking to possibly restore it.

    The fabric is velvet or felt and aside from the tears has held up nicely.

    I don’t suppose anyone might have any information that could help my wife and I figure out where this is from?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2021
    judy likes this.
  2. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    I don't know about tapestries; but it would be helpful if you would click "edit" on your post and select "full size" for the images rather than thumbnails. That will make it easier for others to view the photos.
    And Welcome!
    i need help and judy like this.
  3. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

  4. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    The style of the artwork looks Persian/Indo-Persian. But your photos are not detailed enough to see clearly what the technique is. I can see embroidered outlines, but I cannot tell if the rest of the design is embroidered or painted, or what the fabric is.
    judy and i need help like this.
  5. i need help

    i need help Moderator Moderator

    I’ve enlarged your photos. Please check the box for Full Images in the future, Thanks :)
    judy likes this.
  6. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    The OP says the fabric is "velvet or felt." I've not seen a "tapestry" in either type of fabric.
    judy and i need help like this.
  7. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Yes, a tapestry is a specific technique, handwoven, with the design created with different colored yarns during the weaving process. Velvet and felt are quite different from tapestry, and from each other. So I would like to be able to see closeups of the fabric to help identify it.
    judy and i need help like this.
  8. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    That appears to be composed of printed fabric panels on which figures and objects have been outlined with machine stitching.

    i need help and Bakersgma like this.
  9. i need help

    i need help Moderator Moderator

    It reminds me of the Mughal illuminated manuscripts. Maybe a story board on fabric from those?
    judy likes this.
  10. Morg

    Morg New Member

    Wow - thank you for the thoughtful replies - I really appreciate it! A long day at work and just home and winding down. I was able to get some better photos, more close up. I hope these can help?

    The fabric is soft to the touch, like velvet. The stitching outlines most of the major figures (and can be seen from the photo of the back of the panels above, indeed).

    I'm even more curious now - y’all are amazing, thank you!

    18114404-6CEF-4B6F-BBCA-3CBA9DA67997.jpeg B318276B-3A70-45F9-9789-0AF979B7A230.jpeg ACA00500-325B-4569-BB60-74DA4CBE0C49.jpeg 9478D9D7-CA8D-4B6F-B1EB-9A3E86320569.jpeg
    judy and komokwa like this.
  11. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    So far, I have not been able to find another example quite like it. But here is my thinking - the design seems Persianesque/orientalist, rather than genuinely Persian.
    Your piece may have been made in Europe during the 19th century art period known as Orientalism, when "exotic scenes set within an Oriental backdrop were highly regarded in Western Europe". I have found somewhat comparable textiles attributed to Italy and, less specifically, Europe, that share some of the features. They are velvet panels/runners, with decoration outlined with what appears to be a similar embroidery chain stitch. Both are dated to the 19th century. Italian textiles have often shared characteristics with fabrics of the Middle East ever since the Muslim occupation of Sicily and southern Italy during the Middle Ages.

    Italian velvet 1.jpg

    Italian velvet 2 (640x319).jpg
    Bakersgma and i need help like this.
  12. Morg

    Morg New Member

    Hello 2manybooks - I think you’re onto something indeed! I can confirm the fabric is velvet. I am quite ignorant regarding fabrics I’m afraid - apologies for the confusion before!

    One interesting thing to note is there are circular holes are the top of each panel where it looks like the panels were hung. Could this be a clue? I have attached some better photos highlighting these. 29E9AE8B-3FA8-4985-8833-F63F0ECEC047.jpeg 7C3BC7B1-3616-4C0E-9764-B4C8AEB81BAC.jpeg
  13. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    I would agree with Orientalist. But I don't think they're very old. The designs appear to be stamped (not woven) and machine-stitched.

    Bakersgma likes this.
  14. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    It looks like the holes you have shown might have been caused by someone using tacks or nails to mount the fabric to something. The head of the nails could have caused that smearing of the blue pigment.

    The design appears to have been stamped or printed on the velvet, as @Debora has suggested.

    The better photos show clearly that the outlines are done with a decorative chain stitch. A hand cranked chain stitch embroidery machine, the Cornely machine, was invented in the early 1860s. So it would have been possible to create this piece as early as that. But I agree that it is probably not that old. It is my feeling that it would more likely be early 20th century.

    The chain stitch of the Cornely machine was designed to imitate hand done tambour embroidery. Here is the work of a modern, 3-row Cornely machine:

    And a video of an antique machine in operation:
    moreotherstuff likes this.
  15. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    I would think early 20th century too. And to my eye, more likely vintage than antique.

  16. Morg

    Morg New Member

    Hello 2manybooks and Debora - thank you so much! Y'all have been such a huge help. The stitching looks spot on, like little Vs overlapped onto one another. I don't understand enough to determine if the velvet was stamped or not. One give away seems like it would be fading or discoloration and I wouldn't know how to tell the difference between stained and colored thread. The one part of it that looks like it could be a misalignment of stamped ink is in the leftmost panel, where one of the two seated persons is offering some fruit and the fruit outline is not properly filled with red (within the black outline). It also looks like the stitching was added later. It's been fun to dig into the history of this family find!

    I guess one additional question might be – do you think it would be worth trying to have this restored somehow? Or leave as is? I was thinking it might be best to place under glass to help flatten the wrinkles a bit, but I don't want to damage it.

    Thanks again!
  17. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    I would think the value of your panels to be sentimental. If your intention is to display them, you could have them mended (to the extent possible) but you might not want to invest a great deal in doing so.

    I suspect they are meant to imitate Safavid figural velvet tent panels from Persia. Those, of course, were woven.


    Screen Shot 2021-03-01 at 8.04.11 PM.png

    Attached Files:

    Bakersgma and 2manybooks like this.
  18. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I think the importance will be primarily as a family heirloom, rather than any significant monetary value.

    The simplest way to preserve it and prevent further damage would be to wrap it in archival quality tissue paper and store it in an archival quality box. Displaying it would be more complicated. I would advise against placing it under glass, which would crush the velvet, might smear the printed pigments, and could risk trapping moisture with changes in relative humidity.

    For more specific advice and assessment, you might contact a textile conservator. If you are located in the U.S., you can search for one through the website of the American Institute for Conservation:
    Bakersgma likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted
Similar Threads: Question antique
Forum Title Date
Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing Antique log cabin quilt, date & other questions please Jun 11, 2017
Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing Antique to Vintage Folding Fans questions Sep 8, 2014
Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing Have a question about an Irish double damask tablecloth Oct 31, 2020
Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing Questions About Chantilly Lace Dress Jul 26, 2020

Share This Page