In 1770 the French designer Charles Germain de Saint-Aubin published a treatise on embroidery, L’Art du Brodeur, known in English as The Art of the Embroiderer. As the Royal Embroiderer (Dessinateur du Roi pour la broderie et la entelle) to king Louis XV, Saint Aubin was responsible for crafting dresses, corsets, and festive costumes for the King and his court.
In the publication Saint Aubin provided a history of the art of embroidery in the book. The book also included instructions on a number of different types of stitches and materials to use, including silk, metal threads, and glass beads.
Saint Aubin suggests a variety of decorative motifs to be used in embroidered textiles, including the pomegranate, or la foie de grenade, and other flowers and fruits.
Needleworks on canvas were popular in both England and the Continent throughout the 18th and 19th century as they could be used for furnishings, hangings, and decoration throughout the interior. We are delighted to share several examples of French needlework cushions in our collection. Shown above is a pair of late 18th century French needlework cushions with extremely fresh strong colours on a yellow and ivory ground.
The above pair of cushions is also French and dates to the 18th century with strong colours and an intricate design of flowers and foliage.
We also have a set of four 19th century French needlework cushions that incorporate an 18th century design of pomegranates and leaves on a black ground. Shown above is one of the four cushions with its striking use of colour.
Needlework panels from Saint Aubin’s time, along with other embroidered crafts, are still highly valued today for their display of skill, creativity, and quality.