Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bullion Birds

Swan from Martha Edlin's Casket T.449-1990

When looking at the wheat sheafs, we saw two drawings of birds done in the same technique.  I love the idea of the multicolored birds in this method!  Well, there is a bird that exists in a collection - it is a toy from Martha Edlin's cabinet and we got to see it last year.

Note that it has lacets attached too! Hint Hint (Contest...)

This bird or swan is cream colored and looks very similar to the drawn bird on the right side of the illustration from Seligman and Hughes book (1930s).  But we know that this particular bird is not the same as it came in the Edlin collection, passed for generations in the same family.  So somewhere out there is another that might even be in multiple colors!

Plate from Domestic Needlework by Seligman and Hughes, listed as owned by Sir William Lawrence, Bart.
Looking at my research pictures of the swan, the body is covered in cream woven silk fabric and the feathers are wrapped in cream silk thread.  Then the entire piece is wrapped in expanded gilt bullion.  There are black and white stumpwork eyes attached (the iris is white).  The size of this piece is substantial, it fits in the palm of your hand at 8 cm x 10 cm long.  The legs are a thick brass wire with the bullion around them.  While we can't expand the wings - it looks similar to that in the drawn picture in configuration.  There is black silk fabric for the beak as well.

Just imagine our favorite birds from the 17th century being worked this way!

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