Book Review — Handbook of EmbroideryMarch 31, 2008 at 7:09 pm | Posted in Book Review, Embroidery, Project Gutenberg | 1 Comment
Just hot off PGDP‘s press is the newest arrival on the Crafts Bookshelf, Handbook of Embroidery. Published in 1880 “BY AUTHORITY OF THE ROYAL SCHOOL OF ART-NEEDLEWORK”, this book gives an introduction to different embroidery techniques, without wanting to be a complete guide, as the preface says:
In drawing up this little “Handbook of Embroidery” we do not pretend to give such complete technical directions as would enable a beginner in this beautiful art to teach herself; because learning without practical lessons must be incomplete, and can only lead to disappointment.
We have sought, therefore, only to respond to the inquiries we are constantly receiving, and to supply useful hints to those who are unable to avail themselves of lessons, and are forced to puzzle over their difficulties without help from a trained and experienced embroiderer; at the same time, the rules we have laid down and the directions we have given may serve to remind those who have passed through the classes, of many little details which might easily be forgotten when the lessons are over, though so much of the success of embroidery depends upon them.
We have abstained from giving any directions as to the tracing of designs upon material, for two sufficient reasons: firstly, that the Royal School of Art-Needlework has never supplied designs alone, or in any other form than as prepared work; and secondly, that having made experiments with all the systems that have been brought out for “stamping,” ironing from transfer-papers, or with tracing powder, it has been found that designs can only be artistically and well traced on material by hand painting. Those ladies who can design and paint their own patterns for embroidery are independent of assistance, and to those who are unable to do so we cannot recommend any of the methods now advertised.
What it comes to is a big advert for the courses given and prepared projects sold by the Royal School of Art-Needlework, which are advertised in a separate section at the end of the book. The designs given are also just sample pieces, under the assumption that embroiderers would buy the prepared projects. Nevertheless, there is a lot of useful information in there. The first chapters give an extensive description of the different materials that can be used for embroidery, followed by instructions on the different stitches employed. The book ends with 22 plates of different embroidery designs, some of them in colour:
This is a beautiful book, and I really enjoyed reading it. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!