ExhibitionsA Bouquet of Medieval Stitches

Museum Exhibition 2012

As there are no objects from this period in the collection, objects in keeping with the theme were chosen for the exhibition.

On one needle lace motif, a lady holding a mirror is depicted. The lady is portrayed wearing a hennin, a medieval conical hat worn by women of the nobility from 1450 to 1500. The hennin, typically 30cm to 45cm high, was worn at an angle and generally accompanied by a veil that was usually attached to the top of the cone and draped onto the woman’s shoulders. The cone was covered with rich fabrics such as brocades, cloth of gold and velvets.

A Medieval scene is worked in filet lace with a design of a dragon, a standing figure and a figure on horseback worked on hand-knotted mesh. There are many legends about dragons, such as Saint George and the dragon. In the legends of King Arthur, Myrddin had a vision of a fight between a red dragon representing the Britons (Welsh) and a white dragon, representing the invading Saxons (English). A dragon, a legendary creature depicted as a huge, fire-breathing, bat-winged, scaly, serpent-like creature with a barbed tail and in this case, four legs, is worked on a white filet lace mat.

Other themes explored are Gothic architecture, ecclesiastical embroidery, Islamic textiles encountered by the Crusaders and Tudor influenced embroidery.

Dianne Fisher. Curator