Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 318 pages of information about Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages.

Anne of Brittany instructed three hundred of the children of the nobles at her court, in the use of the needle.  These children produced several tapestries, which were presented by the queen to various churches.

The volatile Countess of Shrewsbury, the much married “Bess of Hardwick,” was a good embroideress, who worked, probably, in company with the Queen of Scots when that unfortunate woman was under the guardianship of the Earl of Shrewsbury.  One of these pieces is signed E. S., and dated 1590.

A form of intricate pattern embroidery in black silk on fine linen was executed in Spain in the sixteenth century, and was known as “black work.”  Viscount Falkland owns some important specimens of this curious work.  It was introduced into England by Katherine of Aragon, and became very popular, being exceedingly suitable and serviceable for personal adornment.  The black was often relieved by gold or silver thread.

The Petit Point, or single square stitch on canvas, became popular in England during the reign Elizabeth.  It suggested Gobelins tapestry, on a small scale, when finished, although the method of execution is quite different, being needlework pure and simple.

In Elizabeth’s time was incorporated the London Company of Broderers, which flourished until about the reign of Charles I., when there is a complaint registered that “trade was so much decayed and grown out of use, that a great part of the company, for want of employment, were much impoverished.”

Raised embroidery, when it was padded with cotton, was called Stump Work.  This was made extensively by the nuns of Little Gidding in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Decided changes and developments took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in all forms of embroidery, but these are not for us to consider at present.  A study of historic samples alone is most tempting, but there is no space for the intrusion of any subject much later than the Renaissance.



(France and Italy)

Sculpture is not properly speaking the “plastic art,” as is often understood.  The real meaning of sculpture is work which is cut into form, whereas plastic art is work that is moulded or cast into form.  Terra cotta, which is afterwards baked, is plastic; and yet becomes hard; thus a Tanagra figurine is an example of plastic art, while a Florentine marble statuette is a product of sculpture.  The two are often confounded.  We shall allude to them under different heads, taking for our consideration now only such sculpture as is the result of cutting in the stone.  The work of Luca Della Robbia will not be treated as sculpture in this book.  Luca Della Robbia is a worker in plastic art, while Adam Kraft, hewing directly at the stone, is a sculptor.

We have no occasion to study the art of the sculptor who produces actual statues; only so far as sculpture is a companion to architecture, and a decorative art, does it come within the scope of the arts and crafts.  Figure sculpture, then, is only considered when strictly of a monumental character.

Project Gutenberg
Arts and Crafts in the Middle Ages from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook