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Title: English Embroidered Bookbindings
Author: Davenport, Cyril James Humphries, 1848-1941
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: 19--Christopherson, Historia Ecclesiastica. Lovanii,







The English
Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty


GENERAL INTRODUCTION,                                              ix
By Alfred W. Pollard.

By Cyril Davenport.

CHAPTER I.--Introductory,                                           1

 1. Embroidered Bag for Psalms. _London_, 1633,                    17
 2. Embroidered Cover for New Testament. _London_, 1640,           18

CHAPTER II.--Books Bound in Canvas,                                28

 3. The Felbrigge Psalter. 13th-century MS.,                       29
 4. The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul. MS. by
        the Princess Elizabeth. 1544,                              32
 5. Prayers of Queen Katherine Parr. MS. by the
        Princess Elizabeth. 1545,                                  33
 6. Christian Prayers. _London_, 1581,                             37
 7. Psalms and Common Praier. _London_, 1606,                      38
 8. Bible, etc. _London_, 1612,                                    39
 9. Sermons by Samuel Ward. _London_, 1626-7,                      41
10. New Testament, etc. _London_, 1625-35,                         42
11. The Daily Exercise of a Christian. _London_, 1623,             44
12. Bible. _London_, 1626,                                         45
13. Bible, etc. _London_, 1642,                                    48
14. Bible. _London_, 1648,                                         49

CHAPTER III.--Books Bound in Velvet,                               52

15. Très ample description de toute la terre Saincte,
        etc. MS. 1540,                                             52
16. Biblia. _Tiguri_, 1543,                                        54
17. Il Petrarcha. _Venetia_, 1544,                                 55
18. Queen Mary's Psalter. 14th century MS.,                        57
19. Christopherson, Historia Ecclesiastica. _Lovanii_, 1569,
20. Christian Prayers. _London_, 1570,                             59
21. Parker, De antiquitate Ecclesiæ Britannicæ. _London_, 1572,    60
22. The Epistles of St. Paul. _London_, 1578,                      63
23. Christian Prayers, etc. _London_, 1584,                        65
24. Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio, etc. _Genevæ_, 1583,            67
25. Bible. _London_, 1583,                                         68
26. The Commonplaces of Peter Martyr. _London_, 1583,              69
27. Biblia. _Antverpiæ_, 1590,                                     70
28. Udall, Sermons. _London_, 1596,                                71
29. Collection of Sixteenth-Century Tracts,                        72
30. Bacon, Opera. _Londini_, 1623,                                 75
31. Bacon, Essays. 1625,                                           76
32. Common Prayer. _London_, 1638,                                 77
33. Bible. _Cambridge_, 1674,                                      78

CHAPTER IV.--Books Bound in Satin,                                 80

34. Collection of Sixteenth-Century Tracts,                        80
35. New Testament in Greek. _Leyden_, 1576,                        81
36. Bible. _London_, 1619,                                         84
37. Emblemes Chrestiens. MS. 1624,                                 85
38. New Testament. _London_, 1625,                                 86
39. New Testament and Psalms. _London_, 1630,                      89
40. Henshaw, Horæ Successivæ. _London_, 1632,                      90
41. Psalms. _London_, 1633,                                        91
42. Psalms. _London_, 1635,                                        92
43. Psalms. _London_, 1633,                                        94
44. Bible. _London_, 1638,                                         96
45. Psalms. _London_, 1639,                                        98
46. The Way to True Happiness. _London_, 1639,                     99
47. New Testament. _London_, 1640,                                101
48. Psalms. _London_, 1641,                                       103
49. Psalms. _London_, 1643,                                       105
50. Psalms. _London_, 1643,                                       106
51. Psalms. _London_, 1646,                                       108
52. Bible. _London_, 1646,                                        109


A new series of 'Books about Books,' exclusively English in its aims,
may seem to savour of the patriotism which, in matters of art and
historical research, is, with reason enough, often scoffed at as a
treacherous guide. No doubt in these pleasant studies patriotism acts as
a magnifying-glass, making us unduly exaggerate details. On the other
hand, it encourages us to try to discover them, and just at present this
encouragement seems to be needed. There are so many gaps in our
knowledge of the history of books in England that we can hardly claim
that our own dwelling is set in order, and yet many of our bookmen
appear more inclined to re-decorate their neighbours' houses than to do
work that still urgently needs to be done at home. The reasons for this
transference of energy are not far to seek. It is quite easy to be
struck with the inferiority of English books and their accessories, such
as bindings and illustrations, to those produced on the Continent. To
compare the books printed by Caxton with the best work of his German or
Italian contemporaries, to compare the books bound for Henry, Prince of
Wales, with those bound for the Kings of France, to try to find even a
dozen English books printed before 1640 with woodcuts (not imported
from abroad) of any real artistic merit--if any one is anxious to
reinforce his national modesty, here are three very efficacious methods
of doing it! On the other hand, English book-collectors have always been
cosmopolitan in their tastes, and without leaving England it is possible
to study to some effect, in public or private libraries, the finest
books of almost any foreign country. It is small wonder, therefore, that
our bookmen, when they have been minded to write on their hobbies, have
sought beauty and stateliness of work where they could most readily find
them, and that the labourers in the book-field of our own country are
not numerous. Touchstone's remark, 'a poor thing, but mine own,' might,
on the worst view of the case, have suggested greater diligence at home;
but on a wider view English book-work is by no means a 'poor thing.' Its
excellence at certain periods is as striking as its inferiority at
others, and it is a literal fact that there is no art or craft connected
with books in which England, at one time or another, has not held the
primacy in Europe.

It would certainly be unreasonable to complain that printing with
movable types was not invented at a time better suited to our national
convenience. Yet the fact that the invention was made just in the middle
of the fifteenth century constituted a handicap by which the printing
trade in this country was for generations overweighted. At almost any
earlier period, more particularly from the beginning of the fourteenth
century to the first quarter of the fifteenth, England would have been
as well equipped as any foreign country to take its part in the race.
From the production of Queen Mary's Psalter at the earlier date to that
of the Sherborne Missal at the later, English manuscripts, if we may
judge from the scanty specimens which the evil days of Henry VIII. and
Edward VI. have left us, may vie in beauty of writing and decoration
with the finest examples of Continental art. If John Siferwas, instead
of William Caxton, had introduced printing into England, our English
incunabula would have taken a far higher place. But the sixty odd years
which separate the two men were absolutely disastrous to the English
book-trade. After her exhausting and futile struggle with France, England
was torn asunder by the wars of the Roses, and by the time these were
ended the school of illumination, so full of promise, and seemingly so
firmly established, had absolutely died out. When printing was introduced
England possessed no trained illuminators or skilful scribes such as in
other countries were forced to make the best of the new art in order not
to lose their living, nor were there any native wood-engravers ready to
illustrate the new books. I have never myself seen or heard of a 'Caxton'
in which an illuminator has painted a preliminary border or initial
letters; even the rubrication, where it exists, is usually a
disfigurement; while as for pictures, it has been unkindly said that
inquiry whence they were obtained is superfluous, since any boy with a
knife could have cut them as well.

Making its start under these unfavourable conditions, the English
book-trade was exposed at once to the full competition of the
Continental presses, Richard III. expressly excluding it from
the protection which was given to other industries. Practically all
learned books of every sort, the great majority of our service-books,
most grammars for use in English schools, and even a few popular books
of the kind to which Caxton devoted himself, were produced abroad for
the English market and freely imported. Only those who mistake the
shadow for the substance will regret this free trade, to which we owe
the development of scholarship in England during the sixteenth century.
None the less, it was hard on a young industry, and though Pynson,
Wynkyn de Worde, the Faques, Berthelet, Wolfe, John Day, and others
produced fine books in England during the sixteenth century, the start
given to the Continental presses was too great, and before our printers
had fully caught up their competitors, they too were seized with the
carelessness and almost incredible bad taste which marks the books of
the first half of the seventeenth century in every country of Europe.

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, as is well known, the
French thought sufficiently well of Baskerville's types to purchase a
fount after his death for the printing of an important edition of the
works of Voltaire. But the merits of Baskerville as a printer, never
very cordially admitted, are now more hotly disputed than ever; and if I
am asked at what period English printing has attained that occasional
primacy which I have claimed for our exponents of all the bookish arts,
I would boldly say that it possesses it at the present day. On the one
hand, the Kelmscott Press books, on their own lines, are the finest and
the most harmonious which have ever been produced; on the other, the
book-work turned out in the ordinary way of business by the five or six
leading printers of England and Scotland seems to me, both in technical
qualities and in excellence of taste, the finest in the world, and with
no rival worth mentioning, except in the work of one or two of the best
firms in the United States. Moreover, as far as I can learn, it is only
in Great Britain and America that the form of books is now the subject
of the ceaseless experiment and ingenuity which are the signs of a
period of artistic activity.

As regards book-illustration the same claim may be put forward, though
with a little more hesitation. We have been taught lately, with
insistence, that 'the sixties' marked an epoch in English art, solely
from the black and white work in illustrated books. At that period our
book-pictures are said to have been the best in the world; unfortunately
our book-decoration, whether better or worse than that of other
countries, was almost unmitigatedly bad. In the last quarter of a
century our decorative work has improved in the most striking manner;
our illustrations, if judged merely for their pictorial qualities, have
not advanced. In the eyes of artists the sketches for book-work now
being produced in other countries are probably as good as our own. But
an illustration is not merely a picture, it is a picture to be placed
in a certain position in a printed book, and in due relation to the size
of the page and the character of the type. English book-illustrators by
no means always realise this distinction, yet there is on the whole a
greater feeling for these proprieties in English books than in those of
other countries, and this is an important point in estimating merits.
Another important point is that the rule of the 'tint' or 'half-tone'
block, with its inevitable accompaniment of loaded paper, ugly to the
eye and heavy in the hand, though it has seriously damaged English
illustrated work, has not yet gained the predominance it has in other
countries. Our best illustrated books are printed from line-blocks, and
there are even signs of a possible revival of artistic wood-engraving.

In endeavouring to make good my assertion of what I have called the
occasional primacy of English book-work, I am not unaware of the danger
of trying, or seeming to try, to play the strains of 'Rule Britannia' on
my own poor penny whistle. As regards manuscripts, therefore, it is a
pleasure to be able to seek shelter behind the authority of Sir Edward
Maunde Thompson, whose words in this connection carry all the more
weight, because he has shown himself a severe critic of the claims
which have been put forward on behalf of several fine manuscripts to be
regarded as English. In the closing paragraphs of his monograph on
_English Illuminated Manuscripts_ he thus sums up the pretensions of the
English school:--

     'The freehand drawing of our artists under the Anglo-Saxon kings
     was incomparably superior to the dead copies from Byzantine models
     which were in favour abroad. The artistic instinct was not
     destroyed, but rather strengthened, by the incoming of Norman
     influence; and of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries there is
     abundant material to show that English book-decoration was then at
     least equal to that of neighbouring countries. For our art of the
     early fourteenth century we claim a still higher position, and
     contend that no other nation could at that time produce such
     graceful drawing. Certainly inferior to this high standard of
     drawing was the work of the latter part of that century; but still,
     as we have seen, in the miniatures of this time we have examples of
     a rising school of painting which bid fair to attain to a high
     standard of excellence, and which only failed for political

To this judicial pronouncement on the excellence of English manuscripts
on their decorative side, we may fairly add the fact that manuscripts of
literary importance begin at an earlier date in England than in any
other country, and that the Cotton MS. of _Beowulf_ and the
miscellanies which go by the names of the _Exeter Book_ and the
_Vercelli Book_ have no contemporary parallels in the rest of Europe.

[Footnote 1: _English Illuminated Manuscripts._ By Sir Edward Maunde
Thompson, K. C. B. (Kegan Paul, 1895), pp. 66, 67.]

When we turn from books, printed or in manuscript, to their possessors,
it is only just to begin with a compliment to our neighbours across the
Channel. No English bookman holds the unique position of Jean Grolier,
and 'les femmes bibliophiles' of England have been few and
undistinguished compared with those of France. Grolier, however, and his
fair imitators, as a rule, bought only the books of their own day,
giving them distinction by the handsome liveries which they made them
don. Our English collectors have more often been of the omnivorous type,
and though Lords Lumley and Arundel in the sixteenth century cannot,
even when their forces are joined, stand up against De Thou, in Sir
Robert Cotton, Harley, Thomas Rawlinson, Lord Spencer, Heber, Grenville,
and Sir Thomas Phillips (and the list might be doubled without much
relaxation of the standard), we have a succession of English collectors
to whom it would be difficult to produce foreign counterparts. Round
these _dii majores_ have clustered innumerable demigods of the
book-market, and certainly in no other country has collecting been as
widely diffused, and pursued with so much zest, as in England during
the present century. It is to be regretted that so few English
collectors have cared to leave their marks of ownership on the books
they have taken so much pleasure in bringing together. Michael Wodhull
was a model in this respect, for his book-stamp is one of the most
pleasing of English origin, and his autograph notes recording the prices
he paid for his treasures, and his assiduous collation of them, make
them doubly precious in the eyes of subsequent owners. Mr. Grenville
also had his book-stamp, though there is little joy to be won from it,
for it is unpleasing in itself, and is too often found spoiling a fine
old binding. Mr. Cracherode's stamp was as graceful as Wodhull's; but,
as a rule, our English collectors, though, as Mr. Fletcher is
discovering, many more of them than is generally known have possessed a
stamp, have not often troubled to use it, and their collections have
never obtained the reputation which they deserve, mainly for lack of
marks of ownership to keep them green in the memory of later possessors.
That this should be so in a country where book-plates have been so
common may at first seem surprising. But book-plates everywhere have
been used rather by the small collectors than the great ones, and the
regrettable peculiarity of our English bookmen is, not that they
despised this rather fugitive sign of possession, but that for the most
part they despised book-stamps as well.

Of book-plates themselves I have no claim to speak; but for good taste
and grace of design the best English Jacobean and Chippendale specimens
seem to me the most pleasing of their kind, and certainly in our own day
the work of Mr. Sherborn has no rival, except in that of Mr. French,
who, in technique, would, I imagine, not refuse to call himself his

I have purposely left to the last the subject of Bindings, as this,
being more immediately cognate to Mr. Davenport's book, may fairly be
treated at rather greater length. If the French dictum 'la reliure est
un art tout français' is not without its historical justification, it is
at least possible to show that England has done much admirable work, and
that now and again, as in the other bookish arts, she has attained

The first point which may fairly be made is that England is the only
country besides France in which the art has been consistently practised.
In Italy, binding, like printing, flourished for a little over half a
century with extraordinary vigour and grace, and then fell suddenly and
completely from its high estate. From 1465 to the death of Aldus the
books printed in Italy were the finest in the world; from the beginning
of the work of Aldus to about 1560 Italian bindings possess a freedom of
graceful design which even the superior technical skill quickly gained
by the French does not altogether outbalance. But just as after about
1520 a finely printed Italian book can hardly be met with, so after
1560, save for a brief period during which certain fan-shaped designs
attained prettiness, there have been no good Italian bindings. In
Germany, when in the fifteenth century, before the introduction of gold
tooling, there was a thriving school of binders working in the mediæval
manner, the Renaissance brought with it an absolute decline. Holland,
again, which in the fifteenth century had made a charming use of large
panel stamps, has since that period had only two binders of any
reputation, Magnus and Poncyn, of Amsterdam, who worked for the
Elzéviers and Louis XIV. Of Spanish bindings few fine specimens
have been unearthed, and these are all early. Only England can boast
that, like France, she has possessed one school of binders after
another, working with varying success from the earliest times down to
the present century, in which bookbinding all over Europe has suffered
from the servility with which the old designs, now for the first time
fully appreciated, have been copied and imitated.

In this length of pedigree it must be noted that England far surpasses
even France herself. The magnificent illuminated manuscripts, the finest
of their age, which were produced at Winchester during the tenth
century, were no doubt bound in the jewelled metal covers of which the
rapacity of the sixteenth century has left hardly a single trace in this
country. But early in the twelfth century, if not before, the Winchester
bookmen turned their attention also to leather binding, and the school
of design which they started, spreading to Durham, London, and Oxford,
did not die out in England until it was ousted by the large panel stamps
introduced from France at the end of the fifteenth. The predominant
feature of these Winchester bindings (of which a fine example from the
library of William Morris recently sold for £180), and of their
successors, is the employment of small stamps, from half an inch to an
inch in size, sometimes circular, more often square or pear-shaped, and
containing figures, grotesques, or purely conventional designs. A
circle, or two half-circles, formed by the repetition of one stamp,
within one or more rectangles formed by others, is perhaps the commonest
scheme of decoration, but it is the characteristic of these bindings, as
of the finest in gold tooling, that by the repetition of a few small
patterns an endless variety of designs could be built up. The British
Museum possesses a few good examples of this stamp-work, but the finest
collections of them are in the Cathedral libraries at Durham and
Hereford. Any one, however, who is interested in this work can easily
acquaint himself with it by consulting the unique collection of rubbings
carefully taken by Mr. Weale and deposited in the National Art Library
at the South Kensington Museum. In these rubbings, as in no other way,
the history of English binding can be studied from the earliest
Winchester books to the charming Oxford bindings executed by Thomas
Hunt, the English partner of the Cologne printer, Rood, about 1481.

During the first half of this period the English leather binders were
the finest in Europe; during the second, the Germans pressed them hard,
and when the large panel stamps, three or four inches square and more,
were introduced in Holland and France, the English adaptations of them
were distinctly inferior to the originals. The earliest English bindings
with gold tooling were, of course, also imitative. The use of gold
reached this country but slowly, as the first known English binding, in
which it occurs, is on a book printed in 1541, by which time the art had
been common in Italy for a generation. The English bindings found on
books bound for Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Mary I., all of which are
roughly assigned to Berthelet as the Royal binder, resemble the current
Italian designs of the day, with sufficient differences to make it
probable that they were produced by Englishmen. We know, however,
that until the close of the century there were occasional complaints
of the presence of foreign binders in London, and it is probable that
the Grolieresque bindings executed for Wotton were foreign rather than
English. Where, however, we find work on English books distinctly unlike
anything in France or Italy, it is reasonable to assign it to a native
school, and such a school seems to have grown up about 1570, in the
workshop of John Day, the helper of Archbishop Parker in so many of his
literary undertakings. These bindings attributed to Day, especially
those in which he worked with white leather on brown, although they have
none of the French delicacy of tooling, perhaps for this reason attack
the problem of decoration with a greater sense of the difference between
the styles suitable for a large book and a small than is always found in
France, where the greatest binders, such as Nicholas Eve and Le Gascon,
often covered large folios with endless repetitions of minute tools whose
full beauty can only be appreciated on duodecimos or octavos. The English
designs with a large centre ornament and corner-pieces are rich and
impressive, and we may fairly give Day and his fellows the palm for
originality and effectiveness among Elizabethan binders. In the next
reign the French use of the semé or powder, a single small stamp, of a
fleur-de-lys, a thistle, a crown, or the like, impressed in rows all over
the cover, was increasingly imitated in England, very unsuccessfully,
and, save for a few traces of the style of Day, the leather bindings of
the first third of the century deserve the worst epithets which
can be given them.

Until, however, French fashions came into vogue after the Restoration,
English binders had never been content to regard leather as the sole
material in which they could work. Embroidered bindings had come early
into use in England, and a Psalter embroidered by Anne Felbrigge towards
the close of the fourteenth century is preserved at the British Museum,
and shown in one of Mr. Davenport's illustrations. In the sixteenth
century embroidered work was very popular with the Tudor princesses,
gold and silver thread and pearls being largely used, often with very
decorative effect. The simplest of these covers are also the best--but
great elaboration was often employed, and on a presentation copy of
Archbishop Parker's _De Antiquitate Ecclesiæ Britannicæ_ we find a
clever but rather grotesque representation of a deer-paddock. Under the
Stuarts the lighter feather-stitch was preferred, and there seems to
have been a regular trade in embroidered Bibles and Prayer-books of
small size, sometimes with floral patterns, sometimes with portraits of
the King, or Scriptural scenes. A dealer's freak which compelled the
British Museum to buy a pair of elaborate gloves of the period rather
than lose a finely embroidered Psalter, with which they went, was
certainly a fortunate one, enabling us to realise that in hands thus
gloved these little bindings, always pretty, often really artistic, must
have looked exactly right, while their vivid colours must have been
admirably in harmony with the gay Cavalier dresses.

Besides furnishing a ground for embroidery, velvet bindings were often
decorated, in England, with goldsmith work. One of the most beautiful
little bookcovers in existence is on a book of prayers, bound for Queen
Elizabeth in red velvet, with a centre and corner pieces delicately
enamelled on gold. Under the Stuarts, again, we frequently find similar
ornaments in engraved silver, and their charm is incontestable.

Thus while for English bindings of this period in gilt leather we can
only claim that Berthelet's show some freedom in their adaptation of
Italian models, and Day's a more decided originality, we are entitled to
set side by side with this scanty record a host of charming bindings in
more feminine materials, which have no parallel in France, and certainly
deserve some recognition. After the Restoration, however, leather
quickly ousted its competitors, and a school of designers and gilders
arose in England, which, while taking its first inspiration from Le
Gascon, soon developed an individual style. In effectiveness, though not
in minute accuracy of execution, this may rank with the best in Europe.
We can trace the beginnings of this lighter and most graceful work as
early as the thirties, and it might be contended with a certain
plausibility that it began at the Universities. Certainly the two
earliest examples known to me--the copy of her _Statutes_ presented to
Charles I. by Oxford in 1634, and the Little Gidding _Harmony_
of 1635, the tools employed in which have been shown by Mr. Davenport to
have been used also by Buck, of Cambridge--are two of the finest English
bindings in existence, and in both cases, despite the multiplicity of
the tiny tools employed, there is a unity and largeness of design which,
as I have ventured to hint, is not always found even in the best French
work. The chief English bindings after the Restoration, those associated
with the name of Samuel Mearne, the King's Binder, preserve this
character, though the attempt to break the formality of the rectangle by
the bulges at the side and the little penthouses at foot and head
(whence its name, the 'cottage' style) was not wholly successful. The
use of the labour-saving device of the 'roll,' in preference to
impressing each section of the pattern by hand, is another blot.
Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to find an English or Scotch
binding of this period which is less than charming, and the best of them
are admirable. At the beginning of the eighteenth century a new grace
was added by the inlaying of a leather of a second colour. These inlaid
English bindings are few in number (the British Museum has not a single
fine example), but those who know the specimens exhibited at the
Burlington Fine Arts Club, two of which are figured in its Catalogue,
will readily allow that their grace has never been surpassed. The fine
Harleian bindings let us down gently from this eminence, and then, after
a period of mere dulness, with the rise of Roger Payne we have again an
English school (for Payne's traditions were worthily followed by Charles
Lewis) which, by common consent, was the finest of its time. Payne's
originality is, perhaps, not quite so absolute as has been maintained,
for some of his tools were cut in the pattern of Mearne's, and it would
be possible to find suggestions for some of his schemes of arrangement
in earlier English work. If he borrowed, however, he borrowed from his
English predecessors, and he brought to his task an individuality and an
artistic instinct which cannot be denied.

After Payne and Lewis, English binding, like French, became purely
imitative in its designs; but while in our own decade the French artists
have endeavoured to shake themselves free from old traditions by mere
eccentricity, in England we have several living binders, such as Mr.
Cobden Sanderson and Mr. Douglas Cockerell, who work with notable
originality and yet with the strictest observance of the canons of their

Moreover in the application of decorative designs to cloth cases England
has invented, and England and America have brought to perfection, an
inexpensive and very pleasing form of book-cover, which gives the
bookman ample time to consider whether his purchase is worth the more
permanent honours of gilded leather, and also, by the facts that it is
avowedly temporary, and that its decoration is cheaply and easily
effected by large stamps, renders forgivable vagaries of design, which
when translated, as they have been of late years in France, into the
time-honoured and solemn leather, seem merely incongruous and

In binding, then, as in the other bookish arts, the part which English
workers have played has been no insignificant or unworthy one, and the
development of this art, as of the others, in our own country is worthy
of study. In this case much has already been done, for the illustrations
of _English Bookbindings at the British Museum_, edited, with
introduction and descriptions by Mr. W. Y. Fletcher, present the student
with the best possible survey of the whole subject, while the excellent
treatises of Miss Prideaux and Mr. Horne bring English bookbinding into
relation with that of other countries. Here, then, there is no need of a
new general history, but rather of special monographs, treating more in
detail of the periods at which our English binders have done the best
work. The old stamped bindings of the days of manuscript, the
embroidered bindings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the
leather bindings of Mearne and his fellows under the later Stuarts, and
the work of Roger Payne--all these seem to offer excellent subjects for
unpretentious monographs, and it is hoped that others of them besides
the _English Embroidered Bindings_, with which Mr. Davenport has made a
beginning, may be treated in this series.

In other subjects the ground has not yet been cleared to the same
extent, and for the history of English Book-Collectors and English
Printing, not special monographs, but good general surveys are the first
need. To say much on this subject might bring me perilously near to
re-writing the prospectus of this series. It is enough to have pointed
out that the bookish arts in England are well worth more study than they
have yet been given, and that the pioneers who are endeavouring to
enlarge knowledge, each in his own section, may fairly hope that their
efforts will be received with indulgence and good-will.





The application of needlework to the embellishment of the bindings of
books has hitherto almost escaped special notice. In most of the works
on the subject of English Bookbinding, considered from the decorative
point of view in distinction from the technical, a few examples of
embroidered covers have indeed received some share of attention. Thus in
both Mr. H. B. Wheatley's and Mr. W. Y. Fletcher's works on the bindings
in the British Museum, in Mr. Salt Brassington's _Historic Bindings in
the Bodleian Library_ and _History of the Art of Bookbinding_, and in my
own _Portfolio_ monograph on 'Royal English Bookbindings,' some of the
finer specimens of embroidered books still existing are illustrated and
described. But up to the present no attempt has been made to deal with
them as a separate subject. In the course, however, of the many lectures
on Decorative Bookbinding which it has been my pleasure and honour to
deliver during the past few years, I have invariably noticed that the
pictures and descriptions of embroidered specimens have been the most
keenly appreciated, and this favourable sign has led me to examine and
consider such examples as have come in my way more carefully than I
might otherwise have done. Very little study sufficed to show that in
England alone there was for a considerable period a regular and large
production of embroidered books, and further, that the different styles
of these embroideries are clearly defined, equally from the
chronological and artistic points of view. A peculiarly English art
which thus lends itself to orderly treatment may fairly be made the
subject of a brief monograph.

With the exception of point-lace, which is sometimes made in small
pieces for such purposes as ladies' cuffs or collars, decorative work
produced by the aid of the needle is generally large. Certainly this is
so in its finest forms, which are probably to be found in the
ecclesiastical vestments and in the altar frontals of the Renaissance
period, or even earlier. On the other hand, such work as exists on books
is always of small size, and, unlike the point-lace, it almost
invariably has more than one kind of 'stitchery' upon it--chain, split,
tapestry, satin, or what not.

Thus it can be claimed as a distinction for embroidered book-covers that
as a class they are the smallest complete embroideries existing, ranging
upwards from about 6 inches by 3-1/2 inches--the size of the smallest
specimen known to me, when opened out to its fullest extent, sides and
back in one. This covers a copy of the Psalms, printed in London in
1635, and is of white satin, with a small tulip worked in coloured silk
on each side.

An 'Embroidered Book,' it should be said, means for my purpose a book
which is covered, sides and back, by a piece of material ornamented with
needlework, following a design made for the purpose of adorning that
particular book. A cover consisting of merely a piece of woven stuff, or
even a piece of true embroidery cut from a larger piece, is not, from my
point of view, properly to be considered an 'embroidered book,' it being
essential that the design as well as the workmanship should have been
specially made for the book on which they are found; and this, in the
large majority of instances, is certainly the case.

With regard to the transference of bindings to books other than those
for which they were originally made, such a transference has often taken
place in the case of mediæval books bound in ornamental metal, but even
in these instances it must be recognised that such a change can seldom
be made without serious detriment. It is chiefly indeed from some
incongruity of style or technical mistake in the re-putting together
that we are led to guess that the covers have been thus tampered with.
Now and then such a transference occurs in the case of leather-bound
books, and in such instances is usually easy for a trained binder to
detect. Embroidered covers, on the other hand, have rarely been changed,
the motive for such a proceeding never having been strong, and the risk
attending it being obvious enough. We may, in fact, feel tolerably sure
that the large majority of embroidered covers still remain on the boards
of the books they were originally made for.

All the embroidered books now extant dating from before the reign of
Queen Elizabeth have gone through the very unfortunate operation of
're-backing,' in the course of which the old embroidered work is
replaced by new leather. The old head and tail bands, technically very
interesting, have been replaced by modern imitations, and considerable
damage has been done in distorting the work left on the sides of the
book. It would seem obvious that a canvas, velvet, or satin embroidered
binding, if it really must be re-backed or repaired at all, should be
mended with a material as nearly as possible of the same make and colour
as that of the original covering; but this has rarely been done, the
large majority of such repairs being executed in leather. But in the
case of such old bindings we must be grateful for small mercies, and
feel thankful that even the sides are left in so many cases. It is
indeed surprising that we still possess as much as we do. If all our
great collectors had been of the same mind as Henry Prince of Wales, the
Right Hon. Thomas Grenville, or even King George III., we
should have been far worse off, as although several fine old bindings
exist in their libraries, many which would now be priceless have been
destroyed, only to be replaced by comparatively modern bindings,
sometimes the best of their kind, but often in bad taste.

_Division of Embroidered Books according to the designs upon them._

The designs on embroidered books may be roughly divided into four
classes--Heraldic, Figure, Floral, and Arabesque.

The Heraldic designs always denote ownership, and are most frequently
found on Royal books bound in velvet, rarely occurring on silk or satin,
and never, as far as I have been able to ascertain, on canvas. The
Figure designs may be subdivided into three smaller classes, viz.:--

     I. Scriptural, _e.g._ representations of Solomon and the
     Queen of Sheba, Jacob wrestling with the Angel, David, etc.

     II. Symbolical, _e.g._ figures of Faith, Hope, Peace,
     Plenty, etc.

     III. Portraits, _e.g._ of Charles I., Queen
     Henrietta Maria, Duke of Buckingham, etc.

The Scriptural designs are most generally found on canvas-bound books;
the Symbolical figures, and Portraits, on satin, rarely on velvet. The
Floral and Arabesque designs are most common on small and unimportant
works bound in satin, but they occur now and then on both canvas and
velvet books. The true arabesques have no animal or insect forms among
them, the prophet Mohammed having forbidden his followers to imitate any
living thing.

It may further be noted that heraldic designs on embroidered books are
early, having been made chiefly during the sixteenth century, and that
the figure, floral, and arabesque designs most usually belong to the
seventeenth century. There are, of course, exceptions to these
divisions, notably in the case of the earliest existing embroidered
book, which has figure designs on both sides, but also maintains its
heraldic position, inasmuch as its edges are decorated with

Naturally, again, it may be sometimes difficult to decide whether a
design should be classed as heraldic or floral. Such a difficulty occurs
as to the large Bible at Oxford bound in red velvet for Queen Elizabeth,
and bearing a design of Tudor and York roses. I consider it heraldic,
but it might, with no less appropriateness, be called floral. If it had
belonged to any one not a member of the Royal family it would
undoubtedly be properly counted as a floral specimen. Again, in many of
the portrait bindings flowers and arabesques are introduced, but they
are clearly subordinate, and the chief decorative motive of such designs
must be looked for, and the work classed accordingly. Thus it is evident
that the arrangement of the embroidered books by their designs cannot
be too rigidly applied, although it should not be lost sight of

_Division of Embroidered Books according to the material on which they
are worked._

A more useful and accurate classification may however be found by help
of the material on which the embroidered work is done, and this division
is obvious and easy. With very few exceptions all embroidered books,
ancient and modern, are worked on _canvas_, _velvet_, or _satin_, and
while canvas was used continuously from the fourteenth century until the
middle of the seventeenth century, velvet was most largely used during
the Tudor period, and satin during that of the early Stuarts.

Broadly speaking, the essential differences in the kind of work found
upon these three materials follow the peculiarities of the materials
themselves. Canvas, in itself of no decorative value, is always
completely covered with needlework. Velvet, beautiful even when alone,
but difficult to work upon, usually has a large proportion of appliqué,
laid, or couched work, in coloured silk or satin, upon it, showing
always large spaces unworked upon, and such actual work as occurs
directly on the velvet is always in thick guimp or gold cord. Satin,
equally beautiful in its way, is also freely left unornamented in
places; the needlework directly upon it is often very fine and delicate
in coloured floss silks, generally closely protected by thick raised
frames or edges of metallic threads or fine gold or silver cords.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. Silken thread closely wound round with strip of
flat metal.]

[Illustration: FIG. 2. Silken thread loosely wound round with strip of
flat metal.]

[Illustration: FIG. 3. Strips of flat metal cut into shapes and kept
down by small stitches at regular intervals. Called 'Lizzarding.']

By 'metallic' threads, when they are not simply fine wires, I mean
strands of silk closely (Fig. 1) or loosely (Fig. 2) wound round with
narrow coils of thin metal, mostly silver or silver gilt. The use of
such threads, alone, or twisted into cords, is common on all styles of
embroidered books, and it is largely due to their use that pieces of
work apparently of the greatest delicacy are really extremely
durable--far more so than is generally supposed. Certainly if it had not
been for the efficient protection of these little metal walls we should
not possess, as we actually do, delicate-looking embroidered books,
hundreds of years old, in almost as good condition, except in the matter
of colour, as when they were originally made.

Thin pieces of metal are sometimes used alone, caught down at regular
intervals by small cross stitches; this is, I believe, called
'Lizzarding' (Fig. 3). Metal is also found in the form of 'guimp,' in
flattened spirals (Fig. 4), and also in the 'Purl,' or copper wire
covered with silk (Fig. 5), so common on the later satin books (compare
p. 46).

[Illustration: FIG. 4. Edging made with a piece of spiral wire
hammered flat, appearing like a series of small rings.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5. Loop made of a short length of Purl
threaded, the ends drawn together.]

Spangles appear to have been introduced during the reign of Elizabeth,
but they were never freely used on velvet, finding their proper place
ultimately on the satin books of a later time. The spangles are
generally kept in position either by a small section of purl (Fig. 6) or
a seed pearl (Fig. 7), in both cases very efficaciously, so that the use
of guimp or pearl was not only ornamental but served the same protective
purpose as the bosses on a shield, or those so commonly found upon the
sides of the stamped leather bindings of mediæval books.

[Illustration: FIG. 6. Spangle kept in place by a stitch
through a short piece of Purl.]

[Illustration: FIG. 7. Spangle kept in place by a stitch
through a seed pearl.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8. Binder's stamp for gold tooling, cut in
imitation of a spangle.]

It may be mentioned that the seventeenth-century Dutch binders, Magnus
and Poncyn, both of Amsterdam, invented a new tool for gilding on
leather bindings, used, of course, in combination with others. This was
cut to imitate the small circular spangles of the embroidered books
(Fig. 8), and the English and French finishers of a later period used
the same device with excellent effect for filling up obtrusive spaces on
the sides and backs of their decorative bindings. Thus it may be taken
as an axiom that, for the proper working of an embroidered book, except
it be tapestry-stitch or tent-stitch, on canvas, which is flat and
strong of itself, there should invariably be a liberal use of metal
threads, these being not only very decorative in themselves, but also
providing a valuable protection to the more delicate needlework at a
lower level, and to the material of the ground itself.

The earliest examples of embroidered bindings still existing are not by
any means such as would lead to the inference that they were exceptional
productions--made when the idea of the application of needlework to the
decoration of books was in its infancy. On the contrary, they are
instances of very skilled workmanship, so that it is probable that the
art was practised at an earlier date than we now have recorded. There
are, indeed, frequent notes in 'Wardrobe Accounts' and elsewhere of
books bound in velvet and satin at a date anterior to any now existing,
but there is no mention of embroidered work upon them.

_The Forwarding of Embroidered Books._

The processes used in the binding of embroidered books are the same as
in the case of leather-bound books; but there is one invariable
peculiarity--the bands upon which the different sections of the paper
are sewn are never in relief, so that it was always possible to paste
down a piece of material easily along the back without having to allow
for the projecting bands so familiar on leather bindings (Fig. 9). The
backs, moreover, are only rounded very slightly, if at all.

This flatness has been attained on the earlier books either by sewing on
flat bands, thin strips of leather or vellum (Fig. 10), or by flattening
the usual hempen bands as much as they will bear by the hammer, and
afterwards filling up the intermediate spaces with padding of some
suitable material, linen or thin leather.

In several instances the difficulty of flattening the bands has been
solved, in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century embroidered books, in a way
which cannot be too strongly condemned from a constructive point of
view, although it has served its immediate purpose admirably.

A small trench has been cut with a sharp knife for each band, deep
enough to sink it to the general level of the inner edges of the
sections (Fig. 11).

[Illustration: FIG. 9. Back of book sewn on raised bands.]

[Illustration: FIG. 10. Band of flat vellum sometimes found on
old books with flat backs.]

[Illustration: FIG. 11. Typical appearance of a book, before it
is sewn, with small trenches cut in the back in which the bands are to
be laid; a bad method, but often used to produce a flat back.]

This cutting of the back to make room for the bands was afterwards more
easily effected by means of a saw--as it is done now--and in the
eighteenth century was especially used by the French binder Derome le
Jeune, who is usually made responsible for its invention.

The existence of the sunken bands on early embroidered books probably
marks the beginning of this vicious system, but here there is some
excuse for it, whereas in the case of ordinary leather-bound books there
is none, except from the commercial standpoint.

In the case of vellum books there may be some reason for using the
'sawn in' bands, as it is certainly difficult to get vellum to fit
comfortably over raised bands, although numerous early instances exist
in which it has been successfully done. Again in the case of 'hollow
backs,' the bands are kept flat with some reason. But for all valuable
or finely bound books the system of 'sawing in' cannot be too strongly

'Sawing in' can be detected by looking at the threads in the centre of
any section of a bound book from the inside. It will show as a small
hole with a piece of hemp or leather lying transversely across it, under
which the thread passes (Fig. 12).

[Illustration: FIG. 12.
Typical appearance of the sewing of a book with 'sawn in' bands, as seen
from the inside of each section. The bands just visible.]

In the case of a properly sewn book, the bands themselves cannot be seen
at all from the inside of the sections, unless, indeed, the book is
damaged (Fig. 13). If the covering of the back is off, or even loose,
the method of sewing that has been used can very easily be seen; and if
it appears that the bands are sunk in a small trench, that is the form
of sewing that is called 'sawn in,' or analogous to it.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.
Typical appearance of the sewing of a book on raised bands, as seen from
the inside of each section. The bands invisible. Known as 'flexible.']

Although in the embroidered books the bands of the backs do not show on
the surface, it is common enough to find the lines they probably follow
indicated in the work on the back, which is divided into panels by as
many transverse lines, braid or cord, as there are bands underneath
them. But in some cases the designer has used the back as one long
panel, and decorated it accordingly as one space. The headbands in some
of the earlier books were sewn at the same time as the other bands on
the sewing-press and drawn in to the boards, but in most early bindings
the ravaging repairer has been at work and made it impossible to know
for certain what was the state of the headbands before the book came
into his hands. Most of the existing headbands are made by hand in the
usual way, with the ends simply cut off, not indeed a very satisfactory
finish. It would be better if these ends were somehow drawn in to the
leather of the back, as for instance they still often are on thin vellum

The great majority of embroidered books, both large and small, have had
ties of silk on their front edges--generally two, but sometimes only
one, which wraps round. These ties have generally worn away from the
outer side of the boards, but their ends can usually be traced (if the
book has not been repaired) in the inner side, covered only by a thin
piece of paper; and if this paper is loose, as often happens, and the
ends show well, it may often be advisable not to paste it down again at
that particular place.

The backs of old embroidered books are by far the weakest parts about
them. If they exist at all in their old forms they are always much worn,
and the work upon them so much damaged that it is often difficult to
make out even the general character of the design, to say nothing of the
details of the workmanship.

The edges of the leaves of books bound in England in embroidered
bindings are always ornamentally treated, sometimes simply gilded,
often further adorned with 'gauffred' work, that is to say, small
patterns impressed on the gold, and sometimes beautifully decorated with
elaborate designs having colour in parts as well. The earliest English
ornamentation of this kind in colour is found on the Felbrigge Psalter
and on some of the books embroidered for Henry VIII., one of
which is richly painted on the fore edges with heraldic designs, and
another with a motto written in gold on a delicately coloured ground.

_Cases for Embroidered Books._

Common though the small satin embroidered books must have been in
England during the earlier part of the seventeenth century, it is still
certain that the finer specimens were highly prized, and beautifully
worked bags were often made for their protection. These bags are always
of canvas, and most of them are decorated in the same way, the
backgrounds of silver thread with a design in tapestry-or tent-stitch,
and having ornamental strings and tassels. To describe one of these is
almost to describe all. The best preserved specimen I know belongs to a
little satin embroidered copy of the Psalms, printed in London in 1633,
and measures 5 inches long by 4 inches in depth.

[Illustration: 1--Embroidered Bag for Psalms. London, 1633.]

The same design is repeated on each side. A parrot on a small grass-plot
is in the middle of the lower edge. Behind the bird grow two curving
stems of thick gold braid, each curve containing a beautifully-worked
flower or fruit. In the centre is a carnation, and round it are arranged
consecutively a bunch of grapes, a pansy, a honeysuckle, and a double
rose, green leaves occurring at intervals. From the lower edge depend
three ornamental tassels of silver loops, with small acorns in silver
and coloured silks, one from the centre and one from each corner.

The top edge has two draw-strings of gold and red braid, each ending in
an ornamental oval acorn of silver thread and coloured silks, probably
worked on canvas over a wooden core, ending in a tassel similar to those
on the lower edge.

A long loop of gold and silver braid serves as a handle, or means of
attachment to a belt, and is fixed at each side near a strong double
loop of silver thread, used when pulling the bag open. The lining is of
pink silk. This particular bag is perfect in colour as well as
condition, but usually the silver has turned black, or nearly so.
Besides these very ornamental bags, others of quite simple workmanship
are occasionally found, worked in outline with coloured silks. As well
as the embroidered bags, certain rectangular cloths variously
ornamented, some richly, some plainly, were made and used for the
protection of embroidered books, when being read. These, like the bags,
only seem to have been used during the seventeenth century. A
particularly fine example belongs to a New Testament bound in
embroidered satin in 1640. It is of fine linen, measuring 16-1/2 by
9-1/4 inches, and is beautifully embroidered in a floral design, with
thick stalks of gold braid arranged in curves and bearing conventional
flowers and leaves, all worked in needle-point lace with coloured silks
in a wonderfully skilful manner.

In the centre is a double red rose with separate petals, and among the
other flowers are corn-flowers, honeysuckles, carnations, strawberries,
and several leaves, all worked in the same way, and appliqués at their
edges. Some, however, of the larger leaves and petals are ornamentally
fastened down to the linen by small coloured stitches arranged in lines
or patterns over their surfaces, as well as by the edge stitches. There
are several spangles scattered about in the spaces on the linen, and the
edge is bound with green silk and gold. On the book itself to which this
cover belongs there is a good deal of the same needle-point work,
probably executed by the same hand; but the cover is a finer piece
altogether than the book,--in fact it is the finest example of such work
I have ever seen.

[Illustration: 2--Embroidered Cover for New Testament. London, 1640.]

Abroad there have been made at various times embroidered bindings for
books, but in no country except England has there been any regular
production of them. I have come across a few cases in England of
foreign work, the most important of which I will shortly describe. In
the British Museum is an interesting specimen bound in red satin, and
embroidered with the arms of Felice Peretti, Cardinal de Montalt, who
was afterwards Pope Sixtus V.; the coat-of-arms has a little
coloured silk upon it, but the border and the cardinal's hat with
tassels are all outlined in gold cord. The work is of an elementary
character. The book itself is a beautiful illuminated vellum copy of
Fichet's _Rhetoric_, printed in Paris in 1471, and presented to the then
Pope, Sixtus IV. In the same collection are a few more instances of
Italian embroidered bindings, always heraldic in their main
designs, the workmanship not being of any particular excellence or
character. Perhaps altogether the most interesting Italian work of this
kind was done on books bound for Cardinal York, several of which still
remain, embroidered with his coat-of-arms, one of them being now in the
Royal Library at Windsor. Although the actual workmanship on these books
is foreign, we may perhaps claim them as having been suggested or made
by the order of the English Prince himself, inheriting the liking for
embroidered books from his Stuart ancestors.

French embroidered books are very rare, and I do not know of any
examples in England. Two interesting specimens, at least, are in the
Bibliothèque Nationale, and are described and figured in Bouchot's work
on the artistic bindings in that library. The earlier is on a book of
prayers of the fifteenth century, bound in canvas, and worked with
'tapisserie de soie au petit point,' or as I should call it, tent-, or
tapestry-, stitch. It represents the Crucifixion and a saint, but M.
Bouchot remarks of it, 'La composition est grossière et les figures des
plus rudimentaires.'

The other instance occurs on a sixteenth-century manuscript, 'Les Gestes
de Blanche de Castille.' It is bound in black velvet, much worn, and
ornamented with appliqué embroideries in coloured silks, in shading
stitch, probably done on fine linen. The design on the upper cover shows
the author of the book, Etienne le Blanc, in the left-hand corner,
kneeling at the feet of Louise de Savoie, Regent of France, to whom the
book is dedicated. Near her is a fountain into which an antlered stag is
jumping, pursued by three hounds.

The Dutch, in the numerous excellent styles of bindings they have so
freely imitated from other nations, have not failed to include the
English embroidered books. In the South Kensington Museum is a charming
specimen of their work on satin, finely worked in coloured silks with
small masses of pearls in a rather too elaborate design of flowers and
animals. In the British Museum, besides other instances of Dutch
needlework, there is a very handsome volume of the _Acta Synodalis
Nationalis Dordrechti habitæ_, printed at Leyden in 1620, and bound in
crimson velvet. It has the royal coat-of-arms of England within the
Garter, with crest, supporters, and motto, all worked in various kinds
of gold thread; in the corners are sprays of roses and thistles
alternately, and above and below the coat are the crowned initials J. R.,
all worked in gold thread.

_Hints for Modern Broiderers._

Many book-covers have been embroidered during the last few years in
England by ladies working on their own account, or by some of the
students at one or other of the many excellent centres now existing for
the study and practice of the fascinating art of bookbinding.

Although a large proportion of modern work of this kind has been only
copied from older work, I see no reason why original designs should not
be freely and successfully invented. But I think that the ancient work
may be advantageously studied and carefully copied as far as choice of
threads and manner of working them goes. The workers of our old
embroidered books were people of great skill and large experience, and
from a long and careful examination of much of their work, I am
impressed with the conviction that they worked on definite principles.
If I allude briefly to some of these I may perhaps give intending
workwomen a hint or two as to some minor points which may assist their
work to show to the best advantage when _in situ_, and also insure, as
far as possible, that it will not be unduly damaged during the operation
of fixing to the back and boards of the book for which it is intended.

(1) Before the operation of fixing on the book is begun, it will always
be found best to mount the embroidered work on a backing of strong fine
linen. The stage at which it is best to add the linen will vary
according to the kind of work it is to strengthen. In the case of canvas
it will only be necessary to tack it on quite at the last; with velvet a
backing from the first may be used with advantage, all the stitches
being taken through both materials. As to satin, it will be best to do
all the very fine work, if any, in coloured silks first, and when the
stronger work in cord or braid comes on, the linen may be then added.
The value of the linen is twofold: it strengthens the entire work and
protects the finer material from the paste with which it is ultimately
fastened on to the book.

(2) A book must be sewn, the edges cut, and the boards fixed, before the
sizes of the sides and back can be accurately measured. These sizes must
be given to the designer most carefully, as a very small difference
between the real size and the embroidered size will entirely spoil the
finished effect, however fine the details of the workmanship may be.
When the exact size is known the designer will fill the spaces at his
disposal according to his taste and skill, making his sketches on paper,
and, when these are complete, transferring the outlines to the material
on which the work is to be done. If the designer is also to be the
worker it is artistically right, and he, or she, will put in the proper
stitches as the work progresses; but if another person is to execute the
needlework it will be best that very detailed description of all the
threads and stitches that are to be used should be given, as every
designer of an embroidery design intends it to be carried out in a
particular way, and unless this way is followed, the design does not
have full justice done to it.

(3) In the working itself the greatest care must be taken, especially as
to two points: the first and perhaps the more important, because the
more difficult to remedy, is that the needlework on the _under_ side of
the material must be as small and flat as possible, and all knots,
lumps, or irregularities here, if they cannot be avoided or safely cut
off, had best be brought to the upper side and worked over. With satin,
especially, attention to this point is most necessary, as unless the
plain spaces lie quite flat, which they are very apt not to do, the
proper appearance of the finished work is spoiled, and however good it
may be in all other points, can never be considered first-rate.

The second pitfall to avoid is any pulling or straining of the material
during the operation of embroidering it. Success in avoiding this
depends primarily upon the various threads being drawn at each stitch to
the proper tension, so that it may just have the proper pull to keep it
in its place and no more--and although a stitch too loose is bad enough,
one too tight is infinitely worse.

(4) The preponderance of appliqué work, and raised work in metal guimps
on embroidered books, especially on velvet, is easily accounted for when
the principles they illustrate are understood, the truth being that in
both these operations the maximum of surface effect is produced with the
minimum of under work.

If the piece appliqué is not very large, a series of small stitches
along all the edges is generally enough to keep it firm; such edge
stitches are in most cases afterwards masked by a gold cord laid over
them. If, however, the appliqué piece is large it will be necessary to
fix it as well with some supplementary stitches through the central
portions. These stitches will generally be so managed that they fit in
with, or under, some of the ornamental work; at the same time, if
necessary, they may be symmetrically arranged so as to become themselves
of a decorative character.

_The Embroidered Books here illustrated._

For the purposes of illustration I have chosen the most typical
specimens possible from such collections as I have had access to. The
chief collections in England are, undoubtedly, those at the British
Museum and at the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The collection at the
British Museum is especially rich, the earlier and finer specimens
almost invariably having formed part of the old Royal Library of England
given by George II. to the Museum in 1757.

The more recent specimens have been acquired either by purchase or
donation, but as there has been no special intention at any time to
collect these bindings, it is remarkable that such a number of them
exist in our National Library. The Bodleian is rich in a few fine
specimens only, and most of these are exhibited. My illustrations are
made from photographs from the books themselves in all instances; to
show them properly, however, all should be in colour, and it should not
be forgotten that an embroidered book represented only by a half-tint
print, however good, inevitably loses its greatest charm. However, if
the half-tint is unworthy, the colour prints are distinctly flattering.
I think that almost any old book well reproduced in colour gains in
appearance, and in two of my colour plates I have actually restored some
parts. In the beautiful fourteenth century psalter, supposed to have
been worked by Anne de Felbrigge, I have made the colours purposely much
clearer than they are at present. If it were possible to clean this
volume, the colours would show very nearly as they do on my plate; but,
actually, they are all much darker and more indistinct, being in fact
overlaid with the accumulated dirt of centuries. The other instance
where I have added more than at present exists on the original is the
green velvet book which belonged to Queen Elizabeth, and forms my
frontispiece. Here I have put in the missing pearls, each of which has
left its little impression on the velvet, so nothing is added for which
there is not the fullest authority. Moreover, some of the gold cord is
gone on each of the three volumes of this work, but I have put it in its
proper place for the purpose of illustration. The other plates are not
in any way materially altered, but it may be allowed that the colour
plates show their originals at their best.

The books illustrated are selected out of a large number, and I think it
may fairly be considered that the most favourable typical specimens now
left in England are shown. It may well be that a few finer instances
than I have been able to find may still be discovered hidden away in
private collections, but it is now so rarely that a really fine ancient
embroidered book comes into the sale-room, that we may safely conclude
the best of them are already safely housed in one or other of our great
national collections. Where not otherwise stated, the specimens
described are in the British Museum.

In the following detailed descriptions I have used the words 'sides' and
'boards' to mean the same thing, and the measurements refer to the size
of the boards themselves, not including the back. These measurements
must be taken as approximate only, as from wear and other causes the
actual sizes would only be truly given by the use of small fractions of



English books bound in embroidered canvas range over a period of about
two hundred and fifty years, the earliest known specimen dating from the
fourteenth century, and instances of the work occurring with some
frequency from this time until the middle of the seventeenth century.
The majority of these bindings are worked in tapestry-stitch, or
tent-stitch, in designs illustrating Scriptural subjects in differently
coloured threads.

Very often the outlines of these designs are marked by gold threads and
cords, of various kinds, and parts of the work are also frequently
enriched with further work upon them in metal threads. Spangles are very
rarely found on canvas-bound books. The backgrounds of several of the
later specimens are worked in silver threads, sometimes in chain-stitch
and sometimes in tapestry-stitch; others again have the groundwork of
silver threads laid along the surface of the canvas and caught down at
regular intervals by small stitches--this kind of work is called 'laid'
or 'couched' work. Books bound with this metal ground have always strong
work superimposed, usually executed in metal strips, cords, and thread.
The silver is now generally oxidised and much darkened, but when new
these bindings must have been very brilliant.

[Illustration: 3--The Felbrigge Psalter. 13th-century MS.]

_The Felbrigge Psalter._ 13th-century MS. Probably bound in the
14th century.

The earliest example of an embroidered book in existence is, I believe,
the manuscript English Psalter written in the thirteenth century, which
afterwards belonged to Anne, daughter of Sir Simon de Felbrigge, K. G.,
standard-bearer to Richard II. Anne de Felbrigge was a nun in
the convent of Minoresses at Bruisyard in Suffolk, during the latter
half of the fourteenth century, and it is quite likely that she herself
worked the cover--such work having probably been largely done in
monasteries and convents during the middle ages.

On the upper side is a very charming design of the Annunciation, and, on
the under, another of the Crucifixion, each measuring 7-3/4 by 5-3/4
inches. In both cases the ground is worked with fine gold threads
'couched' in a zigzag pattern, the rest of the work being very finely
executed in split-stitch by the use of which apparently continuous lines
can be made, each successive stitch beginning a little _within_ that
immediately preceding it--the effect in some places being that of a very
fine chain-stitch. The lines of this work do not in any way follow the
meshes of the linen or canvas, as is mostly the case with book-work upon
such material, but they curve freely according to the lines and folds
of the design. It will be recognised I think by art workwomen skilled in
this kind of small embroidery, that the methods used for ornamenting the
canvas binding of this book are the most artistic of any of the various
means employed for a similar purpose, and I know of no other instance
which for appropriateness of workmanship, or charm of design, can
compare with this, the earliest of all.

The figure of the Virgin Mary, on the upper side, is dressed in a pale
red robe, with an upper garment or cloak of blue with a gold border. On
her head is a white head-dress, and round it a yellow halo; just above
is a white dove flying downwards, its head having a small red nimbus or
cloud round it. The Virgin holds a red book in her hand. The figure of
the angel is winged, and wears an under robe of blue with an upper
garment of yellow; round his head he has a green and yellow nimbus, his
wings are crimson and white.

Between these two figures is a large yellow vase, banded with blue and
red; out of it grows a tall lily, with a crown of three red blossoms.

The drawing of both of the figures is good, the attitudes and the
management of the folds of the drapery being excellently rendered, and
the execution of the technical part is in no way inferior to the design.

On the lower side, on a groundwork of gold similar to that on the upper
cover, is a design of the Crucifixion. Our Saviour wears a red garment
round the loins, and round his head is a red and yellow nimbus, his feet
being crossed in a manner often seen in illuminations in ancient

The cross is yellow with a green edge, the foot widening out into a
triple arch, within which is a small angel kneeling in the attitude of
prayer. On the right of the cross is a figure of the Virgin Mary, in
robes of pale blue and yellow, with a white head-dress and green and
yellow nimbus. On the left is another figure, probably representing St.
John, dressed in robes of red and blue, and having a nimbus round his
head of concentric rings of red and yellow. This figure is unfortunately
in very bad condition. The edges of the leaves of the book are painted
with heraldic bearings in diamond-shaped spaces, that of the Felbrigge
family 'Gules, a lion rampant, or' alternately with another 'azure, a
fleur-de-lys, or.' The embroidered sides have been badly damaged by time
and probably more so by repair. The book has been rebound in leather,
the old embroidered back quite done away with, and the worked sides
pulled away from their original boards and ruinously flattened out on
the new ones. After the Felbrigge Psalter no other embroidered binding
has been preserved till we come to one dating about 1536, which is in
satin, and will be described under that head.

_The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul._ MS. by the
Princess Elizabeth. 1544.

The Princess Elizabeth, afterwards Queen, in her eleventh year, copied
out in her own handwriting the _Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul._
She says it is translated 'out of frenche ryme into english prose,
joyning the sentences together as well as the capacitie of my symple
witte and small lerning coulde extende themselves.' It is also most
prettily dedicated: 'From Assherige, the last daye of the yeare of our
Lord God 1544 ... To our most noble and vertuous Quene Katherin,
Elizabeth her humble daughter wisheth perpetuall felicitie and
everlasting joye.'

The book is now one of the great treasures of the Bodleian Library; it
is bound in canvas, measures about 7 by 5 inches, and was embroidered in
all probability by the hands of the Princess herself. The Countess of
Wilton in her book on the art of needlework says that 'Elizabeth was an
accomplished needlewoman,' and that 'in her time embroidery was much
thought of.' The Rev. W. Dunn Macray in his _Annals of the Bodleian
Library_ considers this binding to be one of 'Elizabeth's bibliopegic

[Illustration: 4--The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul. MS. by the
Princess Elizabeth. 1544.]

[Illustration: 5--Prayers of Queen Katherine Parr. MS. by the Princess
Elizabeth. 1545.]

The design is the same upon both sides. The ground is all worked over in
a large kind of tapestry-stitch in thick pale blue silk, very evenly and
well done, so well that it has been considered more than once to be a
piece of woven material. On this is a cleverly designed interlacing
scroll-work of gold and silver braid, in the centre of which are the
joined initials K. P.

In each corner is a heartsease worked in thick coloured silks, purple
and yellow, interwoven with fine gold threads, and a small green leaflet
between each of the petals. The back is very much worn, but it probably
had small flowers embroidered upon it.

_Prayers of Queen Katherine Parr._ MS. by the Princess
Elizabeth. 1545.

Another manuscript beautifully written by the Princess Elizabeth about a
year later is now at the British Museum. It is on vellum, and contains
prayers or meditations, composed originally by Queen Katherine Parr in
English, and translated by the Princess into Latin, French, and Italian.
The title as given in the book reads, 'Precationes ... ex piis
scriptoribus per nobiliss. et pientiss. D. Catharinam Anglie, Francie,
Hibernieq. reginam collecte, et per D. Elizabetam ex anglico converse.'
It is, moreover, dedicated to Henry VIII., the wording being,
'Illustrissimo Henrico octavo, Anglie, Francie, Hibernieq. regi,' etc.,
and dated Hertford, 20th December 1545.

It is bound in canvas, and measures 5-3/4 by 4 inches, the groundwork
being broadly worked in tapestry-stitch, or some stitch analogous to it,
in red silk, resembling in method the work on the ground of _The Miroir
of the Synneful Soul_ already described. On this, in the centre of each
side, is a large monogram worked in blue silk, interwoven with silver
thread, containing the letters K, probably standing for Katherine, A, F,
H, and R, possibly meaning 'Anglie, Francie, Hibernieque, Reginæ,' but
like most monograms this one can doubtless be otherwise interpreted.
Above and below the monogram are smaller H's, worked in red silk,
interwoven with gold thread. In each corner is a heartsease of yellow
and purple silk, interwoven with gold thread, and having small green
leaves between each of the petals. The work which was once on the back
is now so worn that it cannot be traced sufficiently to tell what it
originally was. The designs of these two volumes, credited to the
Princess Elizabeth, resemble each other to some extent; they both have a
monogram in the centre, they both have heartsease in the corners and
groundwork of a like character. They are, as far as workmanship goes,
still more alike, similar thick silk is used for the ground, and threads
and braids of a thick nature, with metal interwoven, are used on both
for the ornamental work. Speaking of this British Museum book, the
Countess of Wilton says, 'there is little doubt that Elizabeth's own
needle wrought the ornaments thereon.'

_Books embroidered by the Princess Elizabeth._

It cannot be said that there is any actual authority for saying that the
two covers just described are really the work of Elizabeth's own hand,
although she is known to have been fond of embroidery, it being recorded
that she made and embroidered a shirt for her brother Edward when she
was six. There is little doubt, however, that the same designer and the
same workwoman worked both these covers, and the technique, as well as
the design, are peculiar for the time in which they were done. Canvas
bindings were rare--most of the embroidered work on books of that period
were splendid works on velvet--so that if these two manuscripts had been
'given out' to be bound in embroidered covers we should have expected to
find them in rich velvet, like Brion's _Holy Land_, or Christopherson's
_Historia Ecclesiastica_, instead of a very elementary braid work.
Without attaching too much importance to the various statements
concerning their royal origin, I am inclined to think that there is no
impossibility, or even improbability, in the supposition that the
Princess designed and worked them herself, thereby adding to her
exquisite manuscript the further charm of her clever needle. The idea of
both writing and embroidering such valued presents as these two books
must have been is likely to have strongly appealed to an affectionate
and humble daughter, and there is an artistic completeness in the idea
which, I think, tells strongly in its favour.

Probably enough no proof of their having been worked by Elizabeth will
now ever be forthcoming, but it is equally unlikely that any positive
disproof will be found.

The two 'Elizabeth' books stand alone--there are no others resembling
them; but the next kind of embroidered work I shall describe is one
which includes a large number of books, generally small in size, and
usually copies of the Bible or the Psalms. The canvas in these cases is
embroidered all over in small tapestry-stitch, the design being shown by
means of the different colours of the silks used. The work being all
flat it is very strong, and often books bound in this way are in a
marvellous state of preservation. The most interesting designs are those
which represent Scriptural scenes. Some of these are very curious and
almost grotesque, but there is much excuse for this. To work a face any
way in embroidery is troublesome enough, but to work it on a small scale
in tent-stitch is especially difficult, the result being somewhat
similar in effect to that of a glass or marble mosaic, each little
stitch being nearly square and of an uniform colour. The designers of
these embroideries do not appear to have had a very fertile imagination,
as again and again the same subject is represented. Perhaps the most
favourite of all is Jacob wrestling with the angel; of figure subjects
'Faith and Hope' are the most frequently met with, but 'Peace and
Plenty' are also common enough.

[Illustration: 6--Christian Prayers. London, 1581.]

_Christian Prayers._ London, 1581.

A _Book of Christian Prayers_ with illustrated borders, printed in
London in 1581, is bound in coarse canvas worked in tapestry-stitch in
colours, and measures 7 by 5 inches. The same design is on each side--a
kind of flower-basket in two stories, out of the lower part of which,
rectangular in shape, grow two branches, one with lilies and another
with white flowers, and out of the upper, oval in shape, rise two sprays
of roses, one white the other red.

In the lower corners are a large lily, a blue flower, and a large
double-rose spray. All the design is outlined with silver cord or
thread, and the veinings of the leaves are indicated in the same way.
There are remains of two green velvet ties on the front edges of each of
the boards. The back is not divided into panels, but has a design upon
it of the letters E and S repeated five times. The edges are gilt and

_Psalms and Common Praier._ London, 1606-7.

During the seventeenth century little 'double' books were rather
favourite forms for Common Prayer and Psalms especially. These curious
bindings open opposite ways and have two backs, two ornamental boards,
and one unornamented board enclosed between the two books, which are
always of the same size.

There are several instances where embroidered books have been bound in
this way, the earliest I know being a copy of the Psalms and Common
Prayer, printed in 1606-7.

This is bound in canvas, and measures 3-1/4 by 2 inches, each side
having the same design embroidered on each of the ornamented sides and
backs. The flowers and leaves are worked in long straight stitches in
coloured silks, outlined with silver twist. A large pansy plant occupies
the place of honour, growing out of a small green mound, from which also
spring two short plants with five-petalled yellow flowers. The main
stems and ribs of the leaves are made with strong silver twist. Round
about the central spray are several coloured buds. On the backs are four
panels, each containing a small four-petalled flower. The ground is
worked all over with silver thread irregularly stitched, and the edges
are bound with a broad silver thread. There was originally one ribbon to
twist round both books and keep them together, but it is now quite
gone. The edges are gilt, gauffred, and slightly coloured.

[Illustration: 7--Psalms and Common Praier. London, 1606.]

[Illustration: 8--Bible, etc. London, 1612.]

_Bible, etc._ London, 1612.

A copy of the Bible, with the Psalms, printed in London in 1612, and
measuring 6-3/4 by 4-1/4 inches, is bound in fine canvas, and bears upon
it designs embroidered in coloured silks in tapestry-stitch.

On the upper side is King Solomon seated in an elaborate throne on a
dais, all outlined with gold cord. He wears a golden crown and a dress
which more nearly approaches the style worn at the date of the
production of the book than that which was probably worn by Solomon
himself. Before the King kneels a figure, no doubt intended for the
Queen of Sheba, in a red and orange robe of a curious fashion. She holds
out two white and red roses to the King, who bends to take them. The
ground is patterned in green and blue diamonds. The distant landscape
shows a castle with turrets, trees, a tower, a house, and a sun with
rays. The groundwork on both sides and the back is worked in silver

The lower side has in the centre Jacob wrestling with the angel. Jacob
has a beard and a blue cloak; his staff lies on the ground. The angel
wears a red flowing robe, and his wings are many-coloured, and enriched
with various threads and spirals of gold. The landscape is elaborate. In
the foreground is a river with a bridge of planks, a gabled cottage,
hospitably smoking from its chimneys, a red lily, and a tree. In the
middle distance is a castle with tower and flag, and on the horizon are
a windmill, a castle with two towers, and some trees, above all a red
cloud. The back is divided into six panels, on each of which is a
different design in coloured silks. These designs are small, and
although they are in perfectly good condition, the subjects represented
are doubtful. The upper and lower panels seem to represent only castles
with towers. Then apparently come Jonah and the whale, the creation, the
temple, and the deluge with the ark, but it is quite possible that other
interpretations might be made. There are remains of two red silk ties on
the front edges of each board, and the edges of the leaves are gilded

[Illustration: 9--Sermons by Samuel Ward. London, 1626-7.]

_Sermons by Samuel Ward._ London, 1626-7.

Mr. Yates Thompson has kindly allowed me to describe and illustrate an
embroidered book belonging to him, bound in canvas, and measuring 5-3/4
by 4-1/4 inches. It is a collection of sermons preached by 'Samuel
Ward, Bachelour of Divinity,' and printed in London, 1626-7, the binding
being probably of about the latter date. On the upper cover is a lady in
a blue dress, seated, and holding a hawk on her left wrist, and a branch
with apples in her right. Round her are scattered flower sprays,
honeysuckle, foxglove, a stalk with two large pears, a cluster of
grapes, a twig with a butterfly upon it, and a wild-rose spray. The
lady, the petals of the flowers, and the leaves are all worked in
tapestry-stitch; the bird and the lady's hair in long straight stitches;
the stalks, fruits, and grasses are worked in variously coloured silk
threads, thickly and strongly bound round with very fine silver wire.
The lady has a coif, cuff, and belt of short pieces of silver and gold
guimp arranged like a plait.

The under side shows a seated lady in a green dress, playing a lute
left-handed. This most unusual position is probably not really
intentional, but the drawing has accidentally been reversed. She is
surrounded, like her companion with the hawk, by flower sprays, a
thistle, cornflower, strawberries, a rose, lily, bluebell, and small
bunch of grapes, making a kind of arbour, with a wreath of red cloud at
the top. The lady, the petals of the flowers, and the leaves are worked
in fine tapestry-stitch; the stalks and fruits in coloured silks, mixed
with silver wire. The lady has a coif and a cuff of silver guimp
arranged in the same way as that on the other side.

The back is divided into four panels by silver guimp, each containing a
flower worked in tapestry-stitch, a blue flower, a wild rose, a pansy,
and a thistle. The ground of the whole is loosely overcast with silver
thread, the constructive lines of the book being marked by rows of
silver guimp arranged in small arches. The edges are bound by a strong
silver braid. The head and tail bands are worked in silver thread--an
unusual method--and the edges are gilt and gauffred.

There are two ties on each board of striped silk, much frayed and worn,
but the embroidered work itself is in excellent condition, and very

_New Testament, etc._ London, 1625-35.

[Illustration: 10--New Testament, etc. London, 1625-35.]

A small copy of the New Testament, printed in London in 1625, bound
together with the Psalms, 1635, is covered with canvas, all worked in
tapestry-stitch, and measures 4-1/4 by 3 inches.

On the upper cover is a full-length figure of Hope, with dark hair,
dressed in a red dress with large falling collar, having a blue flower
at the point. In her left hand she holds an anchor. In the distant
background is a cottage and a gibbet on a hill, the sun with rays just
appearing under a cloud. On the hilly foreground is a red lily, and
further afield a caterpillar and a strawberry plant. On the lower cover
is a full-length figure of Faith, with fair hair, dressed in a blue
dress with large falling collar, having a red flower at the point. In
her left hand she holds an open book with the word 'FAITH'
written across it. On the hilly foreground is a large red tulip and a
plant with red blooms, further afield are a pear-tree and two

On the back are four panels, containing respectively a bird, a blue
flower, a squirrel, and a red flower.

On the front edge of the upper cover can be seen the remains of one tie
of green silk, and the edges are protected all round by a piece of green
silk braid. The edges of the leaves are plainly gilt.

This cover is one of the rare instances of a book bound in embroidered
work not made for it, the embroidery being clearly made for a book of
about half the present thickness. It is possible that it was intended
for either the New Testament or the Psalms separately, and, as an
after-thought, was made to do double duty. But as it now is, the worked
back is just a strip down the middle of the back itself, the designs of
the sides encroaching considerably inwards.

_The Daily Exercise of a Christian._ London, 1623.

_The Daily Exercise of a Christian_, printed in London in 1623, and
measuring 4-3/4 by 2-3/4 inches, is ornamented with a single flower
spray, with buds and leaves. The flower is a double rose with curving
stem, one large half-opened bud and one smaller, and a few leaves, all
worked in tent-stitch. The spray rises from a small bed of grass, out of
which grows a small blue flower. In the upper right-hand corner is a
small blue cloud. The same design is on both sides. The back is divided
into four panels, the divisions being marked and bounded by a thick
silver braid, which is also used as an edging all round the book; the
designs, beginning at the top, are a fly and a flower alternately,
differently coloured.

The background is all worked in with silver thread in chain-stitch. With
this book is one of the now rare ornamental markers, which, no doubt,
often went with embroidered books. It is fastened to an ornamental
oblong cushion, probably made of light wood, and is worked in silver
thread and coloured silks in the same manner as the rest of the
embroidered work, and finished off at the ends with small red tassels.

[Illustration: 11--The Daily Exercise of a Christian. London, 1623.]

[Illustration: 12--Bible. London, 1626.]

_Bible._ London, 1626-28.

A copy of the Bible, printed in London in 1626, is bound in canvas,
and measures 6 by 3-1/2 inches.

The embroidery is in coloured silks, silver cords and threads, and
silver guimp. On the upper cover is a small full-length figure of St.
Peter, with short beard, holding a key in his left hand. He is dressed
in a blue under-garment, with red and orange robe over it, all the edges
being marked by a silver twist, some of which has come off. The ground
is green and in hillocks. All this work is done in coloured silks and
silver threads in shading stitch.

On the under side is a figure of St. Paul, with long beard, holding a
silver sword in his right hand. He wears a blue under-garment, with red
and orange upper robe, all edged with silver twist. The feet of both
figures are bare. The rest of the design is the same on both sides. The
skies are worked in large stitches of blue and yellow silk and silver
threads, graduating from dark to light; above these are canopies of
silver thread, couched, and vandyked at the edge. Enclosing the figures
are arches with columns, in high relief in silver cords and threads. The
inner edge of the arch is curiously marked by a line of brown silk
worked over a strip of vellum in the manner used for hand-worked
head-bands, and the outer edge has 'crockets' of silver guimp. The
columns rest upon 'rams-horn' curves, heavily worked in relief with
silver threads, the insides of the curves worked in brown silk over
vellum like the inner edge of the arch.

_Metal Threads used on Embroidered Books._

Guimp and gold threads are largely used, as has already been noticed,
in embroidered books from early times, but on the next specimen of a
canvas-bound book I have chosen for description, dated 1642, a kind of
metal thread occurs which is very curious. It is used at an earlier date
on satin books, and it is also found more commonly upon them; but as I
have put the canvas books first for the purpose of description, and the
'thread' occurs in one of them, this is the best place to put its
description. This thread I call 'Purl,' and a thread with this name is
mentioned in several places as having been used in England in the
seventeenth century; but there is no description of it, so that this
thread may not be the 'purl' mentioned by the seventeenth-century
writers, but if it is not, I do not know what purl is, neither do I know
any other special name for the thread. In order that there may be no
doubt as to what I mean by purl, I will shortly describe the thread as I
know it.

First there is a very fine copper wire; this is closely bound round with
coloured silk, also very fine, and in this state it looks simply like a
coloured thread. Then this coloured thread is itself closely coiled
round something like a fine knitting-needle--in fact I have made it on
one--and then pushed off in the form of a fine coiled tube. The thread
is always cut into short lengths for use, and on books these short
lengths are generally threaded and drawn together at their ends,
making, so to speak, little arches--so that although on the under side
of the material there is only a tiny thread, on the upper side there is
a strong arch, practically of copper. On boxes and other ornamental
productions of this same period, pieces of purl are not infrequently
found laid flat like little bricks; and houses, castles, etc., are often
represented by means of it; but on books the general use is either for
flowers, grounds, or (in very small pieces) to keep on spangles.
Obviously any coloured silk can be used in making this thread, so that
it may be said that for coloured silk work, where strength is required,
flowers worked in purl are the best. The colours used when roses are
represented are usually graduated,--yellow or white in the centre, then
gradually darkening outward, yellow, pale pink, and red, or pale yellow,
pale blue, and dark blue. Purl flowers are usually accessories to some
regular design, but, in one instance at least, to be described later on,
it supplies the entire decoration of a small satin book.

_Bible, etc._ London, 1642.

The design on a Bible with Psalms, printed in London in 1642, bound in
fine canvas, and measuring 6 by 3-1/2 inches, is the same on both sides.
The ground is all laid, or couched, with silver threads, caught down at
intervals by small white stitches. In the centre is a circular silver
boss, and out of this grow four lilies worked with silver thread in
button-hole stitch; each of these lilies has a shape similar to its own
underneath it, outlined with fine gold cord, and filled in with red
silk; representing altogether white flowers with a red lining. These
four red and white lilies make together the form of a Maltese cross, and
between each of the arms is a purl rose with yellow centre and graduated
blue petals. A double oval, with the upper and lower curves larger than
the side ones, marked with a thick gold cord, encloses the central
cross, and the remaining spaces are filled with ovals and lines of gold
guimp, with here and there a little patch of red or yellow purl, the
extremities of the upper and lower ovals being filled with threads of
green silk loosely bound with a silver spiral, worked to represent a
green plot.

[Illustration: 13--Bible, etc. London, 1642.]

The upper and lower curves of the oval are thickened by an arch of gold
thread laid lengthwise, and kept in place by little radiating lines of
red silk. In each corner is a purl rose, with blue centre, the petals
graduating in colour from pale yellow to dark red, with leaf forms and
stalks of gold cord and guimp. At the top and bottom of the oval is a
many-coloured purl rose, and the spaces still left vacant are dotted
with little pieces of red, blue, and yellow purl and spangles. On the
front edges are the remains of two red silk ties.

[Illustration: 14--Bible. London, 1648.]

The back is divided into four panels by a thick gold twist. The upper
and lower panels have each a blue purl rose worked in them, with a white
and red lily in the same silver thread as those on the sides, with gold
leaves and stalks; the two inner panels contain each three purl roses,
with gold leaves and stems. The upper of these panels has a large rose
of blue, yellow, and red, and two smaller ones yellow with blue centres;
the lower panel has a large rose of red, pink, and yellow, and two
smaller ones of red, with yellow centres.

Dotted about the groundwork of the panels are several spangles and short
lengths of coloured purl.

The edges of the leaves are plainly gilt.

_Bible._ London, 1648.

A Bible, printed in London in 1648, formerly the property of George
III., is bound in canvas, and has embroidered upon the boards
emblematic representations of Faith and Hope. It measures 6-3/4 by 4-3/4

On the upper side is a full-length figure of Faith. She has fair hair,
and is dressed in an orange and red dress cut low, and showing in the
front a pale blue under garment. She has a large white collar and cuffs,
both in point-lace, and bears in her right hand an open book with the
word 'FAITH' written upon it, while her left hand rests upon a
pointed shield, pale purple with a yellow centre. She is standing upon a
rounded hillock, on which are a strawberry plant with two fruits, two
caterpillars, a red tulip, and another flower.

In the right-hand upper corner is a turreted and gabled house, the
windows of which are marked with little glittering pieces of talc. Below
the house is a caterpillar and a large blue butterfly. In the left-hand
upper corner is the sun, in gold, just appearing under a blue cloud.
Underneath this, in succession, come a tree with a butterfly upon it, a
bird, most likely meant for a wren, and another caterpillar. The remains
of two red tie-ribbons are near the front edges. The background is
worked in silver thread, and the edges of the boards are bound with
silver braid having a thread or two of red silk on the innermost side.

On the under cover Hope appears in a curiously worked upper garment of
blue and white, short in the sleeves, in needlepoint, with a belt. Under
this is a dress of red and orange, showing a blue under skirt in front.
A scarf of the same colour as the dress is gracefully folded over the
shoulders and hangs over the left arm; a rather deep collar and cuffs
are both worked in needlepoint. The right hand rests upon an anchor with
a 'fouled' rope.

Hope stands upon a rounded hillock, on which are a snail and spray of
possible foxglove, and out of which grow a red carnation and another
flower. In the upper right-hand corner is a gabled cottage with a tree,
and under it a moth, flower, and caterpillar. Towards the upper
left-hand corner is a bank of cloud with red and yellow rays issuing
therefrom, and under it a pear-tree with flower and fruit, and a
many-coloured butterfly. All the background is worked in silver thread.

The five panels of the back, indicated with silver cord, are each filled
with a different design. Beginning at the top, these are: a rose, a
parrot with a red fruit, a double rose, a lion, and a lily. The edges
are plainly gilt.



It seems probable that velvet was a favourite covering for royal books
in England from an early period. Such volumes as remain 'covered in
vellat' that belonged to Henry VII. are, however, not embroidered,
the ornamentation upon them being worked metal, or enamels
upon metal. It is not until the time of Henry VIII. that we
have any instances remaining of books bound in embroidered velvet.

Velvet is very troublesome to work upon, the pile preventing any
delicate embroidery being done directly upon it, hence the prevalence of
gold cords and appliqué work on canvas or linen, on which of course the
embroidery may be executed as delicately as may be desired.

_Tres ample description de toute la terre Saincte, etc._ [By Martin de
Brion.] MS. of the sixteenth century, probably bound about

[Illustration: 15--Tres ample description de toute la terre Saincte,
etc. MS. 1540.]

The earliest extant English binding in embroidered velvet covers this
manuscript, which belonged to Henry VIII., and is dedicated to
him. The manuscript is on vellum, and is beautifully illuminated. It is
bound in rich purple velvet, and each side, measuring 9 by 6 inches, is
ornamented with the same design. In the centre is a large royal
coat-of-arms, surrounded by the garter, and ensigned with a royal crown.
The coat-of-arms and the garter are first worked in thick silks of the
proper colours, red and blue, laid or couched, with small stitches of
silk of the same colour, arranged so as to make a diamond pattern, on
fine linen or canvas. On the coat are the arms of France and England
quarterly; the bearings, respectively three fleur-de-lys and three
lions, are solidly worked in gold cord, and the whole is appliqué on to
the velvet with strong stitches. On the blue garter the legend 'Honi
soit qui mal y pense' is outlined in gold cord, between each word being
a small red rose, the buckle, end, and edge of the garter being marked
also in gold cord, and the whole appliqué like the coat. The very
decorative royal crown is solidly worked in gold cords of varying
thickness directly on to the velvet. The rim or circlet has five square
jewels of red and blue silk along it, between each of these being two
seed pearls. From the rim rise four crosses-patée and four
fleurs-de-lys, at the base of each of which is a pearl, and also one in
each inner corner of the crosses-patée. Four arches also rise from the
rim, the two outer ones each having three small scrolls with a pearl in
the middle; at the top is a mound and cross-patée, with a pearl in each
of its inner corners. There is a letter H on each side of the
coat-of-arms, and these letters were originally doubtless worked with
seed pearls, but the outlines of them alone are now left. In each corner
is a red Lancastrian rose worked on a piece of satin, appliqué, the
centres and petals marked in gold cord, and the whole enclosed in an
outer double border of gold cord. On the front edges of each side are
the remains of two red silk ties.

This is certainly a very handsome piece of work, and is wonderfully
preserved. It is the earliest example of a really fine embroidered book
on velvet in existence, and it has perhaps been more noticed and
illustrated than any other book of its kind. The crown has an
interesting peculiarity about it, which does not appear, as far as I
have observed, on any other representation of it, namely, that the four
arches take their rise directly from the rim. They generally rise from
the summits of the crosses-patée, but I should fancy that the rise from
the circlet itself is more correct.

[Illustration: 16--Biblia. Tiguri, 1543.]

_Biblia._ Tiguri, 1543.

This Bible also belonged to Henry VIII. It is bound in velvet,
originally some shade of red or crimson, but now much faded. It measures
15 by 9-1/4 inches. It is ornamented with arabesques and initials all
outlined with fine gold cord. In the centre are the initials H. R., bound
together by an interlacing knot, within a circle. Arabesques above and
below the circle make up an inner panel, itself enclosed by a broad
border of arabesques, with a double, or Tudor, rose in each corner. The
edges of the leaves of the book are elaborately painted with heraldic

It has been re-backed with leather, but still retains the original

[Illustration: 17--Il Petrarcha. Venetia, 1544.]

_Il Petrarcha._ Venetia, 1544.

Another fine example of the decorative use of Heraldry occurs on a copy
of Petrarch printed at Venice in 1544, and probably bound about 1548,
after the death of Henry VIII. It belonged to Queen Katherine
Parr, and bears her arms with several quarterings--worked appliqué on
rich blue purple velvet, and measures 7 by 6 inches. The first coat is
the 'coat of augmentation' granted to the Queen by Henry
VIII.--'Argent, on a pile gules, between six roses of the same,
three others of the field'--and the next coat is that of 'Parr.'

The various quarterings on this coat are worked differently from those
on the last book described. Here the red and blue are well shown by
pieces of coloured satin--except in the first, fifth, and seventh coats,
where there is some couched work in diamond pattern, just like that on
Martin Brion's book. The entire coat, which is of an ornamental shape,
is appliqué in one large piece, and edged by a gold cord. The crown
surmounting it is heavily worked in gold guimp--the cap being
represented in crimson silk thread and all appliqué. There are two
supporters--that on the right, an animal breathing flame, and gorged
with a coronet from which hangs a long chain, all worked in coloured
silks on linen and appliqué, belongs to the Fitzhugh family, the coat of
which is shown on the third quarter; that on the left, a wyvern argent,
also gorged with a coronet, from which depends a long gold chain, is
that of the Parr family. The wyvern is a piece of blue silk, finished in
gold and silver cords, in appliqué. The gold cord enclosing the armorial
design is amplified at each corner into an arabesque scroll. The book
has been most unfortunately rebound, and the work is badly strained in
consequence--the back being entirely new; nevertheless it is in a
wonderful state of preservation. It is said to have been worked by Queen
Katherine Parr herself. The design is too large for the book, and the
crown is too large for the coat-of-arms. It is probable that the binding
of the book was done after the death of Henry VIII., otherwise
the supporters would have been the lion and the greyhound; also the
coat-of-arms would have been different; also, as the Seymour coat does
not appear, it is likely that the binding was done before Queen
Katherine Parr's marriage with Lord Seymour of Sudley, in 1547. The
design is the same on both sides.

[Illustration: 18--Queen Mary's Psalter. 14th-century MS.]

_Queen Mary's Psalter._ 14th-century MS. Bound about 1553.

The beautiful English manuscript of the fourteenth century known as
'Queen Mary's Psalter' was presented to her in 1553. It is bound in
crimson velvet, measuring 11 by 6-3/4 inches, and appliqué on each side
is a large conventional pomegranate-flower worked on fine linen in
coloured silks and gold thread. This flower is much worn, but enough is
left to show that it was originally finely worked. Queen Mary used the
pomegranate as a badge in memory of her mother, Katharine of Aragon. The
volume has been re-backed in plain crimson velvet, and still retains the
original gilt corners with bosses, and two clasps, on the plates of
which are engraved the Tudor emblems,--portcullis, dragon, lion, and

Christopherson, _Historia Ecclesiastica_. Lovanii, 1569.

Many fine bindings in embroidered velvet of the time of Queen Elizabeth
still remain, several of them having been her own property.

One of the most decorative of these last is unfortunately in a very bad
state, owing possibly to the fact that there were originally very many
separate pearls upon it, and that these have from time to time been
wilfully picked off. The book is in three volumes, and is a copy of the
_Historia Ecclesiastica_, written by Christopherson, Bishop of
Chichester, and printed at Louvain in 1569. Each of these volumes is
bound in the same way, so the description of one of them will serve for
all, except that no one volume is perfect, so the description must be
taken as representing only what each originally was.

It is covered in deep green velvet, and measures 6 by 3-1/2 inches, the
design being the same on each side. In the centre the royal coat-of-arms
is appliqué in blue and red satin, on an ornamental cartouche of pink
satin, with scrolls of gold threads and coloured silks, richly dotted
with small pearls. The bearings on the coats-of-arms are solidly worked
in fine gold threads.

From each corner of the sides springs a rose spray, with Tudor roses of
red silk mixed with pearls, and Yorkist roses all worked in pearls
clustering tight together, the leaves and stems being made in gold cord
and guimp. A decoratively arranged ribbon outlined with gold cord and
filled in with a line of small pearls set near each other, encloses the
design, and numerous single pearls are set in the spaces between the
roses and their leaves and stems.

[Illustration: 20--Christian Prayers. London, 1570.]

The back is divided into five panels bearing alternately Yorkist roses
of pearls and Tudor roses of red silk and pearls, all worked in the
same way as the roses on the sides.

The illustration I give of this binding (Frontispiece) is necessarily a
restoration. But there is nothing added which was not originally on the
book. Each pearl that has disappeared has left a little impress on the
velvet, and so has each piece of gold cord which has been pulled off.
The back is still existing; but bad though both sides and back now are,
it is much better they should be in their present condition than that
they should have been mended or replaced in parts by newer material.

_Christian Prayers._ London, 1570.

A simpler binding, but still one of great richness, covers a copy of
_Christian Prayers_, printed in London in 1570.

This is covered in crimson velvet, measuring 6 by 3-1/2 inches, and is
worked largely with metal threads, mixed with coloured silks. In the
centre is the crest of the family of Vaughan--a man's head with a snake
round the neck. The crest rests on a fillet, and is enclosed in a
twisted circle of gold with four coloured bosses. From the upper and
lower extremities of this circle spring two flower forms in gold and
silver guimp, with sprays issuing from them bearing strawberries, grape
bunches, and leaves, in the upper half, and roses and leaves in the
lower. The grapes are represented by rather large spangles, and the
leaves, worked in gold, have a few strands of green silk in them; large
spangles, kept down by a short piece of guimp, are used to fill in
spaces here and there. This is the first instance of the use of spangles
on a velvet book. The back is tastefully ornamented with gold cord
arranged diamond-wise, and having in each diamond a flower worked in

Parker, _De antiquitate Ecclesiæ Britannicæ_. London, 1572.

This is one of the embroidered books that belonged to Queen Elizabeth,
and has been frequently illustrated and described. It is remarkable in
other respects than for its binding, as it is one of a number of
probably not more than twenty copies of a work by Matthew Parker,
Archbishop of Canterbury, _De antiquitate Ecclesiæ Britannicæ_, printed
for him by John Day in London, 1572. It was the first instance of a
privately printed book being issued in England.

[Illustration: 21--Parker, De antiquitate Ecclesiæ Britannicæ.
London, 1572.]

Archbishop Parker had a private press, and his books were printed with
types cast at his own cost, John Day being sometimes employed as his
workman. No two copies of this particular work are alike, and it is
supposed that the Archbishop continually altered the sheets as they came
from the press and had the changes effected at once. The book has two
title-pages, each of which, as well as a leaf containing the arms of
the Bishops in vellum, the ornamental borders, and coats-of-arms
throughout the book, are emblazoned in gold and colours.

The biographies of sixty-nine Archbishops are contained in the book, but
not Parker's own. This omission was supplied afterwards by a little
satirical tract published in 1574, entitled 'Histriola, a little storye
of the actes and life of Matthew, now archbishop of Canterbury.'

But the Archbishop not only had his printing done under his own roof,
but also had in his house 'Paynters ... wryters, and Boke-binders,' so
that it may fairly enough be considered that he bound the splendid copy
of his great work which was intended for the Queen's acceptance, in a
specially handsome manner, under his own direct supervision, and in
accordance not only with his own taste but also with that of his royal
mistress. The volume is a large one, measuring 10 by 7 inches, and is
covered in dark green velvet. On both sides the design is a rebus on the
name of Parker, representing in fact a Park within a high paling. The
palings are represented as if lying flat, and are worked in gold cord
with flat strips of silver, on yellow satin appliqué. There are gates
and other small openings in the continuity of the line of palings. On
the upper cover within the paling is a large rose-bush, bearing a large
Tudor rose and two white roses in full bloom, with buds and leaves,
some tendrils extending over the palings. The stalks are of silver twist
edged with gold cord, the red flowers are worked with red silk and gold
cord, the white ones made up with small strips of flat silver and gold
cord. Detached flowers and tufts of grass grow about the rose-tree;
among these are two purple and yellow pansies, Elizabeth's favourite
flowers, and in each corner is a deer, one 'courant,' one 'passant,' one
feeding, and one 'lodged.'

The design fills the side of the book very fully, and the workmanship is
everywhere excellent. This upper cover is much faded, as it has been for
many years exposed to the light in one of the Binding show-cases in the
King's Library at the British Museum.

[Illustration: 22--The Epistles of St. Paul. London, 1578.
(_From a drawing_).]

The under side is much fresher, but the design not so elaborate. There
is a similar paling to that on the other side, the 'Park' being dotted
about with several plants, ferns, and tufts of grass. Near each corner
is a deer, one feeding, one 'couchant,' one 'tripping,' and one
'courant,' and one 'lodged' in the centre. There are also two snakes
worked in silver thread with small colour patches in silk.

The back is badly worn, but the original design can be easily traced
upon it. There were five panels, in each of which is a small rose-tree,
bearing one large flower, with leaves and buds, and tufts of grass. The
first, third, and fifth of these are white Yorkist roses; the second and
third are Tudor roses of white and red.

_The Epistles of St. Paul._ London, 1578.

If this book of Archbishop Parker's is one of the most elaborately
ornamented embroidered books existing, and perhaps one of the greatest
treasures of its kind in the British Museum, the next velvet book to
describe is one of the simplest, yet it also is one of the greatest
treasures of its kind at the Bodleian Library.

It is a small copy of the Epistles of St. Paul, printed by Barker in
London, 1578, and measuring 4-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches, and it belonged to
Queen Elizabeth. Inside she has written a note in which she says: 'I
walke manie times into the pleasant fieldes of the Holy Scriptures,
where I plucke up the goodlie greene herbes of sentences by pruning,
eate them by reading, chawe them by musing, and laie them up at length
in the hie seat of memorie by gathering them together, so that having
tasted thy swetenes I may the less perceive the bitterness of this
miserable life.'

The Rev. W. D. Macray, in the _Annals of the Bodleian Library_, says,
'This belonged to Queen Elizabeth, and is bound in a covering worked by
herself'; and the Countess of Wilton, in the _Art of Embroidery_, says,
'The covering is done in needlework by the Queen herself.'

It is also described by Dibdin in _Bibliomania_. He says, 'The covering
is done in needlework by the Queen herself.'

The black velvet binding is much worn, and has been badly repaired. The
work upon it is all done in silver cord or guimp, and the designing, as
well as the work, is such as may well have been done by the Queen.

On both covers borders with legends in Latin, enclosed in lines of gold
cord, run parallel to the edges. Beginning at the right-hand corners of
each side, these legends read, 'Beatus qui divitias scripturæ legens
verba vertit in opera--Celum Patria Scopus vitæ XPUS--Christus
via--Christo vive.' In the centre of the upper side is a ribbon outlined
in gold cord, with the words, 'Eleva sursum ibi ubi,' a heart being
enclosed within the ribbon, and a long stem with a flower at the top
passing through it. In the centre of the lower side a similar ribbon
with the motto, 'Vicit omnia pertinax virtus,' encloses a daisy, a badge
previously used by Henry VIII. and Edward VI., probably in memory of
their ancestress, Margaret Beaufort. Both these inner scrolls have the
initial letter E interwoven with them.

[Illustration: 23--Christian Prayers, etc. London, 1584.]

There is no doubt that the usual royal embroidered bindings of the
time of Elizabeth were elaborately designed and richly worked, in
decided contrast to this small book; and this difference of style makes
it more probable that the Queen worked it herself.

There is no resemblance between this book and the two canvas-bound books
already described which are attributed to her, except the use of cord
alone in the embroidery; but the difference of material might perhaps be
considered sufficient to account for this. No real evidence seems to be
forthcoming as to the authorship of the embroidered work, but there is
no doubt that the book was a favourite one of Queen Elizabeth's, and if
the needlework had been done for her by any of the ladies of her Court,
it would be likely that she would have added a note to that effect to
the words she has written inside.

_Christian Prayers, etc._ London, 1584.

A copy of _Christian Prayers_, with the Psalms, printed in London in
1581 and 1584, is curiously bound in soft paper boards strengthened on
the inner side with pieces of morocco and covered with pale tawny
velvet. It measures 7-1/2 by 5-1/2 inches. The edges of the leaves are
gilt and gauffred.

The arrangement of the design is unusual. It starts from the centre of
the back in the form of a broad ornamental border, extending towards
the front edges along the lines of the boards. This border is
handsomely ornamented by a wavy line of silver cords, filled out with
conventional flowers and arabesques worked in gold and silver cords and
threads, with a little bit of coloured silk here and there. A
symmetrical design of flower forms and arabesques starts, on each board,
from the centre of the inner edge of the border, and is worked in a
similar way. Some of the leaves, however, have veinings marked by strips
of flat silver, and others made by a flattened silver spiral, having the
appearance of a succession of small rings. There are the remains of two
pale orange silk ties on the front edges of each board, and the edges
are gilt and gauffred with a little colour.

The petals of the flowers are worked in guimp, whether gold or silver is
difficult to say. Indeed in many instances of the older books it is
difficult to be sure whether a metal cord or thread was originally
gilded or not, as all these 'gold' threads are, or were, silver gilt, so
that when worn the silver only remains. If the cord or thread has been
protected in any corners, however, or if it can be lifted a little, the
faint trace of gold can often be seen on what would otherwise have been
surely put down as originally silver.

[Illustration: 24--Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio, etc.
Genevæ, 1583.]

_Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio, etc._ Genevæ, 1583.

There is in the British Museum a copy of _Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio,
per Lambertum Danæum_, printed at Geneva in 1583, which belonged to
Queen Elizabeth. It is bound in black velvet, measures 6-3/4 by 4-1/4
inches, and is ornamented most tastefully, each side having an arabesque
border in gold cord and silver guimp, enclosing a panel with a design of
white and red roses, with stems and leaves worked in gold cord and
silver guimp with a trifle of coloured silk on the red roses and on the
small leaves showing between the petals. On the front edge are the
remains of red and gold ties. The design of this charming little book is
excellent, and the colour of it when new must have been very effective.
The design is the same on both sides. The back is in bad condition, and
is panelled with arabesques in gold and silver cord.

_Bible._ London, 1583.

The most decorative, and in many ways the finest, of all the remaining
embroidered books of the time of Elizabeth is now at the Bodleian
Library at Oxford. It is one of the 'Douce' Bibles, printed in London in
1583, and probably bound about the same time. It was the property of the
Queen herself, and is bound in crimson velvet, measuring 17 by 12
inches. The design is the same on both sides, and consists of a very
cleverly arranged scroll of six rose stems, bearing flowers, buds, and
leaves springing from a large central rose, with four auxiliary scrolls
crossing the corners and intertwining at their ends. The large rose in
the centre as well as those near the corners are Tudor roses, the red
shown in red silk and the white in silver guimp, both outlined with gold
cord. Small green leaves are shown between each of the outer petals.
These flowers are heavily and solidly worked in high relief. The smaller
flowers are all of silver, the buds, some red, some white. The stems are
of thick silver twist enclosed between finer gold cords, and the leaves
show a little green silk among the gold cord with which they are
outlined and veined. Immediately above and below the centre rose are two
little T's worked in small pearls.

[Illustration: 25--Bible. London, 1583.]

The narrow border round the edges is very pretty; it is a wavy line of
gold cord and green silk, the hollows within the curves being filled
with alternate 'Pods' with pearls, and green leaves. The back is divided
into four panels by wavy lines of gold cord and pearls, and the upper
and lower panels have small rose-plants with white roses, buds, and
leaves; the inner panels have each a large Tudor rose of red and white,
with leaves and buds. The drawing and designing of this splendid book
are admirable, and the workmanship is in every way excellent. Many of
the pearls are gone, and some of the higher portions of the large roses
are abraded, the back, as usual, being in a rather bad state; but in
spite of all this, and the inevitable fading, the work remains in a
sufficiently preserved condition to show that at this period the art
of book-embroidery reached its highest decorative point. It is rather
curious to note that Henry VIII. used the red Lancastrian rose
by preference, but that on Elizabeth's books the white rose always
appears, and I know of very few instances where the red rose appears on
her books. Of course both sovereigns used the combined, double, or Tudor
rose as well.

[Illustration: 26--The Commonplaces of Peter Martyr.
London, 1583.]

_The Commonplaces of Peter Martyr._ London, 1583.

An embroidered book designed in a manner which is characteristic of a
gold tooled book is found but rarely. An instance of this however is
found on a copy of _The Commonplaces of Peter Martyr_, translated by
Anthonie Marten, and printed in London in 1583. It is covered in blue
purple velvet measuring 13-1/2 by 9 inches, and the design upon it is a
broad outer border doubly outlined with a curious and effective braid,
apparently consisting of a close series of small silver rings, but
really being only a silver spiral flattened out. This border is dotted
at regular intervals with star-shaped clusters of small pieces of
silver guimp symmetrically arranged. The centre of the inner panel is a
diamond-shaped ornament made with similar 'ring' braid and small pieces
of silver guimp, and the corner-pieces are quarter circles worked in the
same way. This design of centre-piece and corner-pieces is distinctly
borrowed from leather work, and I have never seen another example of the
kind executed in needlework. The colouring of this book is very good,
the purple and silver harmonising in a very pleasing manner.

[Illustration: 27--Biblia. Antverpiæ, 1590.]

_Biblia._ Antverpiæ, 1590.

A beautiful binding of green velvet covers a Bible printed at Antwerp in
1590, measuring 7 by 4 inches. The design is the same on both sides, and
the book was apparently bound for 'T. G.,' whose initials are worked into
the design; a conventional arrangement of curving stems and flower forms
worked in gold cord, guimp, and small pearls thickly encrusted; the same
on both boards. The centre is a large conventional flower, in form
resembling a carnation, with serrated petals, having a garnet below it,
and flanked by the letters T. G., all thickly worked with reed pearls. In
each corner is a smaller flower--conventionalised forms probably of
honeysuckle and rose--joined together by curving stems of gold cord,
filled out with leaves and arabesques, all together forming a very
decorative panel. The outer border is richly worked with leaves and
arabesques in guimp and pearls, the outer line of gold cord being
ornamented with small triple points marked with pearls. The back is
divided into three spaces by curving lines of gold cord, and in each of
these spaces is worked one of the same conventionalised flower forms as
occur on the boards, _i.e._ a honeysuckle, cornflower, and rose, with
leaves and smaller curves of gold cord.

[Illustration: 28--Udall, Sermons. London, 1596. (_From a drawing_).]

The ground of the entire work is freely ornamented with gilt spangles
held down by small pieces of guimp, and with single pearls; the larger
of these are enclosed within circles of guimp, the smaller are simply
sewn on one by one.

There are remains of gilt clasps on the front edges of each of the
boards, and the edges of the leaves are gilt and gauffred, with a little
pale colour.

Udall, _Sermons_. London, 1596.

A few specimens of embroidered books were exhibited at the Burlington
Fine Arts Club in 1891. Among them was a charming velvet binding that
belonged to Queen Elizabeth, lent by S. Sandars, Esq., and now in the
University Library, Cambridge. It is a copy of Udall's _Sermons_,
printed in London in 1596, and is covered in crimson velvet, measuring
about 6 by 4 inches. The design is the same on each side, the royal
coat-of-arms appliqué, with the initials E. R., and a double rose in each
corner with stalks and leaves. The coat-of-arms is made up with pieces
of blue and red satin, the bearings heavily worked with gold thread, and
the ground also thickly studded with small straight pieces of guimp,
doubtless put there to insure the greater flatness of the satin. The
crown with which the coat-of-arms is ensigned is all worked in guimp,
and is without the usual cap. The ornaments on the rim are only
trefoils, and there are five arches.

The initials flanking the coat are worked in guimp, as are the corner
roses and leaves. The guimp used is apparently silver, and the cord used
for the outlines and stems is gold. The back has a gold line down the
middle and along the joints, with a wavy line of gold cord each side of

[Illustration: 29--Collection of Sixteenth-Century Tracts.]

_Collection of Sixteenth-Century Tracts._ Bound about 1610.

To Henry, Prince of Wales, we owe a great debt of gratitude, as he was
the first person of much consequence in our royal family to take any
real interest in the Old Royal Library.

Indeed it may be considered that the existence to-day of the splendid
'Old Royal' Library of the kings of England, which was presented to
the nation in 1759 by George II., is largely due to the
attention drawn to its interest and value by Prince Henry, who moreover
added considerably to it himself.

This Prince used as his favourite and personal badge the beautiful
design of three white ostrich feathers within a golden coronet, and with
the motto 'ICH DIEN' on a blue ribbon. With regard to the
origin of this badge there is unfortunately a good deal of obscurity.
The usual explanation is that it was the helmet-crest of the blind king
of Bohemia, who was killed at Crécy in 1346, and that in remembrance of
this it was adopted by the Black Prince as his badge. But, as a matter
of fact, the ostrich feather was used as a family badge by all the sons
of Edward III. and their descendants. It appears to have been
the cognisance of the province of Ostrevant, a district lying between
Artois and Hainault, and the appanage of the eldest sons of the house of
Hainault. In this way it may have been adopted by the family of Edward
III. by right of his wife, Philippa of Hainault.

An early notice of the ostrich feather as a royal badge occurs in a note
in one of the Harleian MSS. to the effect that 'Henrye, son to
the erle of Derby, fyrst duke of Lancaster, gave the red rose crowned,
whose ancestors gave the fox tayle in his proper cooler, and the ostrych
fether, the pen ermine,' the Henry here mentioned being the father of
Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt.

On the tomb of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII., at Worcester,
the feather is shown both singly and in plume, and it occurs in the
triple plume form within a coronet and a scroll with the words 'ICH
DIEN' upon it, on bindings made by Thomas Berthelet for Prince
Edward, son of Henry VIII., who never was Prince of Wales.

It really seems as if the first 'Prince of Wales' actually to use the
ostrich feather plumes as a personal badge of that dignity was Prince
Henry, and it occurs largely on such books belonging to his library as
he had rebound, and also on books that were specially bound for
presentation to him.

This is the case in one of the most decorative bindings he possessed,
enclosing a collection of tracts originally the property of Henry
VIII., but which somehow or other became the property of
Magdalen College, Cambridge, the governing body of which had it bound in
embroidered velvet and presented to Prince Henry.

[Illustration: 30--Bacon, Opera. Londini, 1623.]

The cover is of crimson velvet, the edges of which extend freely beyond
the edges of the book, bound all round with a fringe of gold cord. It
measures about 8 by 6 inches. The design is the same on each side. In
the centre is a large triple plume of ostrich feathers, thickly and
beautifully worked in small pearls, within a golden coronet, and having
below them the motto 'ICH DIEN' in gold upon a blue silk

The badge is enclosed in a rectangular panel of gold cords, in each
corner of which is an ornamental spray of gold cords, guimp, and a
flower in pearls. A broad border with a richly designed arabesque of
gold guimp or cord, with pearl flowers, encloses the central panel. The
design is filled in freely with small pearls enclosed in guimp circles
and small pearls alone.

The back has an ornamental design in gold cord and guimp. This cover is
a beautiful specimen of later decorative work on velvet, and the general
effect is extremely rich, the design and workmanship being equally well
chosen as regards the materials to which they are applied, and with
which they are worked.

Bacon, _Opera_. Londini, 1623.

A copy of the works of Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, printed in
London in 1623, is bound in rich purple velvet, and measures 13-1/4 by
8-3/4 inches. The design is a central panel with arabesque centre and
corners, surrounded by a deep border of close curves and arabesques, all
worked in gold cord and guimp. There are several gold spangles used,
kept down by a small piece of gold guimp. The front edges of each board
have only the marks left where two ties originally were, and the edges
of the book are simply gilt.

[Illustration: 31--Bacon, Essays. 1625.]

Bacon, _Essays_. 1625.

A copy of another work by the same author, the Essays printed in 1625,
was given by him to the Duke of Buckingham, and is now at the Bodleian
Library at Oxford. It is bound in dark green velvet, measuring about 7
by 5 inches, the same design being embroidered on each side. In the
centre is a small panel portrait of the Duke of Buckingham, with short
beard, and wearing the ribbon of the Garter. The portrait is mostly
worked with straight perpendicular stitches, except the hair and collar,
in which the stitches are differently arranged. The background merges
from nearly white just round the head to pink at the outer edge; the
coat is brownish. The framework of the portrait is solidly worked in
gold braids and silver guimp in relief, the design being of an
architectural character. Two columns, with floral capitals and
pediments, spring from a scroll-work base and support what may perhaps
be intended for a gothic arch with crockets. Immediately above the crown
of the arch is a ducal coronet, and a handsome border of elaborate
arabesques reaching far inwards is worked all round the edges. The
outlines of these arabesques, the stalks and curves, are all worked in
gold cords, the petals and leaves in silver guimp in relief. The back
is divided into eight panels by gold and silver cords, and in each of
these panels is a four-petalled flower with small circles. There are
several gilt spangles kept down by a small piece of guimp.

[Illustration: 32--Common Prayer. London, 1638.]

_Common Prayer._ London, 1638.

Among the few older royal books in the library at Windsor Castle is an
embroidered one that belonged to Prince Charles, afterwards Charles
II. It is a copy of the _Book of Common Prayer_, printed in
London in 1638, and is bound in blue velvet with embroidered work in
gold cord and silver guimp, similar in character to that on the copy of
Bacon's _Essays_ just described. It measures 8 by 6 inches. The design
is heraldic. In the centre is the triple plume of the Prince of Wales,
with coronet and label, no motto being apparent on the latter. The plume
is encircled by the Garter appliqué, on pale blue silk, the motto,
worked in silver cord, being nearly worn off. Resting on the top of the
Garter is a large princely coronet, flanking which are the letters
'C. P.' In the lower corners are a thistle and a rose. A broad border
with arabesques encloses the central panel. This book was exhibited by
Her Majesty at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1891. It is in very bad
condition, which is curious, as it is not so very old, and as it is
still among the royal possessions it might well have been imagined that
it would have been better preserved than other and older books of a like
kind which we know have been considerably moved about. The colour is
however very charming still, and books have rarely been bound in blue
velvet, black, green, or crimson being most usual.

After 1649, or thereabouts, there was a full stop for a time to any art
production in the matter of bookbinding. Indeed, for the embroidered
books as a class that is the end, but nevertheless a few examples are
found at a later date, but no regular production and no original

[Illustration: 33--Bible. Cambridge, 1674.]

_Bible._ Cambridge, 1674.

A large Bible printed at Cambridge in 1674, in two volumes, was bound in
crimson velvet for James II., presumably about 1685. The work
upon it, each volume being the same, is of a showy character, good and
strong, but utterly wanting in any of the artistic qualities either of
design or execution which characterised so many of the earlier examples.
In the centre are the initials 'J. R.' surmounted by a royal crown,
heavily worked in gold braid, guimp, and some coloured silks. Enclosing
the initials and crown are scrolls in thick gold twist; these again are
surrounded by a curving ribbon of gold, intertwined with roses and
leafy sprays. In each corner is a silver-faced cherub with beads for
eyes and gold wings, and at the top a small blue cloud with sun rays,
tears dropping from it. There are two broad silk ties to the front of
each board, heavily fringed with gold.

The back is divided into nine panels, each containing an arabesque
ornament worked in gold cord and thread, the first and last panels being
larger than the others and containing a more elaborate design. The edges
of the leaves are simply gilt, and the boards measure 18 by 12 inches
each, the largest size of any embroidered book known to me.



_Collection of Sixteenth-Century Tracts._ Bound probably about 1536.

[Illustration: 34--Collection of Sixteenth-Century Tracts.]

Perhaps the earliest existing English book bound in satin is a
collection of sixteenth-century tracts that belonged to Henry
VIII., and is now part of the Old Royal Library in the British
Museum. It is covered in red satin, measures 12 by 8 inches, and is
embroidered in an arabesque design, outlined with gold cord. On the
edges the words 'Rex in aeternum vive Neez' are written in gold. The
word 'Neez' or 'Nez,' as it is sometimes spelt, may mean Nebuchadnezzar,
as the other words were addressed to him. On books bound in leather by
Thomas Berthelet, royal binder to Henry VIII. and his immediate
successors, the motto often occurs, and as he is known to have bound
books in 'crymosyn satin,' this is most likely his work. The pattern is
worked irregularly all round the boards, and a sort of arabesque bridge
crosses the centres. The back is new, and of leather, but the boards
themselves are the original ones, and the embroidery is in a very fair

[Illustration: 35--New Testament in Greek. Leyden, 1570.]

_New Testament in Greek._ Leyden, 1576.

If early bindings in satin are rare, still rarer is the use of silk. One
example worked on white ribbed silk still remains that belonged to Queen
Elizabeth. It measures 4-3/4 by 2-3/4 inches, and in its time was no
doubt a very decorative and interesting piece of work, but it is now in
a very dilapidated state, largely due to improper repairing. The book
has actually been rebound in leather, and the old embroidered sides
stuck on. So it must be remembered that my illustration of it is
considerably restored. The design, alike on both sides, is all outlined
with gold cords and twists of different kinds and thicknesses, and the
colour is added in water-colours on the silk. In the centre is the royal
coat-of-arms within an oval garter ensigned with a royal crown, in the
adornment of which a few seed pearls are used, as they are also on the
ends of the garter.

Enclosing the coat-of-arms is an ornamental border of straight lines and
curves, worked with a thick gold twist, intertwined with graceful sprays
of double and single roses, outlined in gold and coloured red, with buds
and leaves. A few symmetrical arabesques, similarly outlined and
coloured, fill in some of the remaining spaces. The work on this book, a
_New Testament in Greek_, printed at Leyden in 1576, is like no other;
but the general idea of the design, rose-sprays cleverly intertwined, is
one that may be considered characteristic of the Elizabethan embroidered
books, as it frequently occurs on them. The use of water-colour with
embroidery is very rare, and it is never found on any but silk or satin
bindings, generally as an adjunct in support of coloured-silk work over
it, but in this single instance it is used alone.

_Seventeenth-Century Embroidered Books._

The books described hitherto have been specimens of rare early
instances, but in the seventeenth century there is a very large field to
choose from. Small books, mostly religious works, were bound in satin
from the beginning of the century until the time of the Commonwealth in
considerable numbers; so much so, in fact, that their value depends not
so much upon their designs or workmanship as upon their condition.

It is generally considered that embroidered books are extremely
delicate, but this is not so; they will stand far more wear than would
be imagined from their frail appearance. The embroidered work actually
protects the satin, and such signs of wear as are visible are often
found rather in the satin itself, where unprotected, than in the work
upon it. In many cases a peculiar appearance, which is often mistaken
for wear, is seen in the case of representations of insects,
caterpillars, or butterflies particularly. These creatures, or parts of
them, appear to consist only of slight stitches of plain thread,
suggesting either that the work has never been finished, or else that
the finished portions have worn away. The real fact is, however, that
these places have been originally worked with small bright pieces of
peacock's feather, which have either tumbled out or been eaten away by
minute insects, a fate to which it is well known peacocks' feathers are
particularly liable.

The late Lady Charlotte Schreiber, who was a great collector of pieces
of old embroidery, among a host of other curious things possessed the
only perfect instance of work of this kind of the seventeenth century I
have ever been fortunate enough to find. It was a very realistic
caterpillar, closely and completely worked with very small pieces of
peacocks' feathers, sewn on with small stitches, quite confirming the
opinion I had already formed as to the original filling in of the usual
'bald' spaces representing such objects.

_Bible._ London, 1619.

A copy of a Bible, printed in London in 1619, is bound in white satin,
and measures 6 by 3-1/2 inches. On each side is an emblematic figure
enclosed in an oval; the figures are different, but their surroundings
are alike. On the upper side a lady holding a palm branch in her right
hand is worked in shading-stitch. She is full length, and wears an
orange skirt with purple robe over it confined by a blue belt, and over
her shoulders a pink jacket--all these garments are outlined by a gold
cord. Her fair hair is covered by an ornamental cap of red and gold, and
her feet are bare.

The ground is worked with coloured silks and threads of fine wire
closely twisted round with coloured silks, and the sky, painted in
gradations of pink in water-colours, is worked sparsely with long
stitches of blue silk.

[Illustration: 36--Bible. London, 1619.]

The lower side shows a female figure worked in a similar way; in this
case she bears in her right hand some kind of wand or spray, which has
nearly worn off, and in her left a bunch of corn or grapes, or something
of that kind which has also badly worn away. If the first figure may be
considered to represent Peace, this one may perhaps be Plenty. She wears
a deep purplish skirt, with full over-garment and body of the same
colour, with an under-jacket of white and gold. On her dark hair she has
a blue flower with red leaves. Her feet are bare. The ground and sky are
both worked in the same way as the other side. Both figures are
enclosed in a flat oval border of gold thread, broad at the top and
narrowing towards the foot. In the corners are symmetrical arabesques
thickly worked in gold, and within the larger spaces in each
corner-piece are the 'remains' of feathered caterpillars, now skeleton
forms of threads only. The back of the book is particularly good, and
most beautifully worked. It is divided into five panels, within each of
which is a conventional flower, a cornflower alternating with a
carnation, and the colours of all of these are marvellously fresh and
effective. Among embroidered panelled backs it is probably the finest
specimen existing.

[Illustration: 37--Emblemes Chrestiens. MS 1624.]

_Emblemes Chrestiens_, par Georgette de Montenay. MS. à
Lislebourg. [Edinburgh] 1624.

Charles I., when he was Prince of Wales, often used the
book-stamps that had been cut for his brother Henry, and he also
particularly liked the triple plume of ostrich feathers. It occurs, as
has been shown, on one of Prince Henry's velvet-bound books, and it
forms the central design on the satin binding of an exquisite manuscript
written by Esther Inglis, a celebrated calligraphist, who lived in the
seventeenth century. It is a copy of the _Emblemes Chrestiens_, by
Georgette de Montenay, dedicated to Prince Charles, covered in red satin
embroidered with gold and silver threads, cords, and guimp, with a few
pearls, measuring 11-1/4 by 7-3/4 inches. In the centre is the triple
ostrich plume within a coronet, enclosed in an oval wreath of laurel
tied with a tasselled knot. A rectangular border closely filled with
arabesques runs parallel to the edges of the boards, and there is a
fleuron at each of the inner corners. In all cases the design is
outlined in gold cord, and the thick parts of the design are worked in
silver guimp. There are several spangles, and on the rim of the coronet
are three pearls.

_New Testament._ London, 1625.

One of the most curious embroidered satin bindings still left is now in
the Bodleian Library, and a slightly absurd tradition about it says that
the figure of David, which certainly is something like Charles
I., is clothed in a piece of a waistcoat that belonged to that king.

[Illustration: 38--New Testament. London, 1625.]

It is a New Testament, printed in London in 1625, and covered in white
satin, with a different design embroidered on each side. It measures
4-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches. On the upper board is David with a harp. He wears
a long red cloak lined with ermine, with a white collar, an
under-garment of pale brown, and high boots with spur-straps and red
tops. On his head is a royal crown of gold with red cap, and he is
playing upon a golden harp. The face of this figure resembles that of
Charles I. The red cloak is worked in needlepoint lace, and is
in deep folds in high relief. These folds are actually modelled in waxed
paper, the needlework being stretched over them, and probably fixed on
by a gentle heat. The other parts of the dress are worked in the same
way, but without the waxed paper, and the edges of the garments are in
some places marked with what might be called a metal fringe, made in a
small recurring pattern.

David is standing upon a grass plot, represented by small arches of
green purl, and before him is sitting a small dog with a blue collar.
Above the dog is a small yellow and black pansy, then a large blue
'lace' butterfly, on a chenille patch, and a brown flying bird. Behind
David there is a tall conventional lily and a flying bird. The sky is
overcast with heavy clouds of red and blue, but a golden sun with tinsel
rays is showing under the larger of them. On the lower board is a
representation of Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham is dressed
in a red under-garment on waxed paper, in heavy folds with a belt and
edge of stamped-out metal, a blue flowing cape and high boots, all
worked in needlepoint lace in coloured silks.

In his right hand he holds a sword, and his tall black hat is on the
ground beside him. On the ground towards the left is Isaac in an
attitude of prayer, his hands crossed, with two sheaves of firewood. He
wears a red coat with a small blue cape. The ground is green and brown
chenille. Above Isaac is a gourd, and above this a silver ram caught in
a bush, on a patch of grass indicated by green purl. The sky is occupied
by a large cloud, out of which leans an angel with wings, the hands
outstretched and restraining Abraham's sword.

On the back are four panels, containing respectively from the top a
butterfly, a rose, a bird, and a yellow tulip, all worked in needlepoint
and appliqué. The pieces that are in high relief all over the book are
edged with gold twist, and have moreover their counterparts under them
closely fastened down to the satin. There are several gold spangles in
the various spaces between the designs; the whole is edged with a strong
silver braid, and there are two clasps with silver attachments.

Considering the high relief in which much of this work is done, the
binding is in wonderful preservation, but many of the colours are badly
faded, as it has been exposed to the action of light in one of the
show-cases for many years. Although no doubt it is advisable to expose
many treasures in this way, it must be admitted that in the case of
embroidered books it is frequently, if not always, a cause of rapid
deterioration, so much so that I should almost think in these days of
good chromo-printing it would be worth the while of the ruling powers of
our great museums to consider whether it would not be wiser to exhibit
good colour prints to the light and keep the precious originals in safe
obscurity, to be brought out, of course, if required by students.

[Illustration: 39--New Testament and Psalms. London, 1630.]

_New Testament and Psalms._ London, 1630.

Several small English books of the seventeenth century were bound
'double,' _i.e._ two volumes side by side, so as to open different ways
(compare p. 38). Each of the books, which are always of the same size,
has a back and one board to itself, the other board, between them, being
common to both. As already stated, this form of book occurs rarely in
canvas bindings, and it is of commoner occurrence in satin.

A design which is frequently met with is well shown in the case of a
double specimen containing the New Testament and the Psalms, printed in
London in 1630, and covered in white satin, measuring 4-1/4 by 2 inches,
the ornamentation being the same on both sides. In the centre, in an
oval, is a delicately worked iris of many colours in feather-stitch, the
petals edged with fine silver cord. The oval is marked by a silver cord,
beyond which are ornamental arabesques outlined in cord and filled in
solidly, in high relief, with silver thread.

The backs are divided into five panels, containing alternately flowers
in red, blue, and green silks, and star shapes in silver thread in high
relief. Silver spangles have been freely used, but most of them have now
gone; the edges of the leaves are gilt and gauffred in a simple dotted
pattern. To the middle of the front edge of one of the boards is
attached a long green ribbon of silk which wraps round both volumes.

Henshaw, _Horæ Successivæ_. London, 1632.

[Illustration: 40--Henshaw, Horæ Successivæ. London, 1632.]

Henshaw's _Horæ Successivæ_, printed in London in 1632, is bound in
white satin, and measures 4-1/2 by 2 inches. It is very delicately and
prettily worked in a floral design, the same on both sides, and is
remarkable for its simplicity--a flower with stalk and leaves in the
centre, one in each corner, and an insect in the spaces between them.
The centre flower is a carnation, round it are pansy, rose, cornflower,
and strawberry, while between them are a caterpillar, snail, butterfly,
and moth. All of these are delicately worked in feather-stitch in the
proper colours, and edged all round with fine gold cord; the stalks are
of the same cord used double. On the strawberries there is some fine
knotted work.

The back is divided into four panels, containing a cornflower, rose,
pansy, and strawberry, worked exactly in the same way as their
prototypes on the sides. There were several gold spangles on sides and
back, but many of them have been broken off, and on the front edges of
each board are the remains of pale green ties of silk.

[Illustration: 41--Psalms. London, 1633.]

_Psalms._ London, 1633.

A copy of the Psalms, printed in London in 1633, is bound in white
satin, embroidered in coloured silks worked in satin-stitch, and
measures 3 by 2 inches. On the upper board is a gentleman dressed in the
style of the period, with trunk hose of red and yellow, a short jacket
of the same colouring, and a long, reddish cape. He has a broad-brimmed
hat with coloured feathers, a large white collar, and a sword in his
right hand. Near him is a beetle, and in the sky a blue cloud, and he is
standing upon a grass mound. On the lower board is the figure of a lady
in a deep pink dress, with white collar and cap. She holds a tall red
lily in her right hand, and in the upper left-hand corner is a small
cloud under which the sun is just appearing, and in the lower corner is
a small flower. The lady is standing upon a small green mound. The
outlines of both figures, as well as the inner divisions between the
various garments, are marked with a gold or silver thread.

The back is divided into four panels, in which are a fly, a rose, a
larger fly, and a blue flower. The outlines and legs of both the insects
were marked originally with small pieces of peacocks' feathers, but the
upper fly has lost most of these; the lower one, however, more
ornamental, shows them clearly, and has the thorax still in excellent
preservation, glittering with little points of green and gold. There is
one broad ribbon of striped silk attached to the lower board.

This little book, which is in a wonderful state of preservation, has
been always kept in the beautiful embroidered bag which I have described
already on p. 16.

_Psalms._ London, 1635.

One of the most finely embroidered bindings existing on satin occurs on
a small copy of the Psalms, printed in London in 1635, and measuring
3-1/2 by 3 inches. The design is one which has been repeated in other
sizes with small differences. There is a larger specimen at the
Bodleian, but the British Museum example is the finer altogether.

[Illustration: 42--Psalms. London, 1635.]

On each side there is an oval containing an elaborate design most
delicately worked in feather-stitch, the edges and outlines marked with
very fine gold twist. On the upper board there is a seated allegorical
figure with cornucopia, probably representing Plenty. Behind her is an
ornamental landscape with a piece of water, the bright lines of which
are feelingly rendered with small stitches of silver thread, hills with
trees, and a castle in the distance. The other side has a similarly
worked figure of Peace, a seated figure holding a palm branch; the
landscape is of a similar character to that on the upper board, but the
river or lake has a bridge over it. The work itself is of the same very
delicate kind, the edges and folds of the dress being marked with fine
gold twist.

Each of these ovals is marked by a solid framework with scrolls,
strongly made with silver threads, and in high relief; in each corner is
a very finely worked flower or fruit, pansy, strawberry, tulip, and
lily. The back is divided into four panels, a very decorative
conventional flower being worked in each, representing probably a red
lily, a tulip, a blue and yellow iris, and a daffodil. The edges of the
boards are bound with a broad silver braid, the edges of the leaves are
gilded and prettily gauffred, and there are remains of four silver ties.

_Psalms._ London, 1633.

There is often much speculation as to who can have worked the English
embroidered books, and it is very rarely that any reliable information
on this interesting point is available.

There is, however, a manuscript note in a copy of the Psalms, printed in
1633 and bound in embroidered white satin, that the work upon it was
done by 'Elizabeth, wife of Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely,' who was an
uncle of the architect. The volume still belongs to a member of the
family, Dr. W. T. Law of Portland Place, who has most kindly allowed me
to give an illustration of this beautiful book. It measures 4 by 3
inches. The design is different in details on each board, the central
design, however, being in each case contained within a strongly worked
gold border in high relief, widening out at each extremity into a
crownlike form, and richly augmented at intervals with clusters of seed
pearls. On the upper board within the oval is a double rose with curving
stem, leaves, and a bud; the petals are worked in needlepoint, with fine
gold twist at the edges, and a cluster of pearls in the centre. In the
upper corners are a butterfly, with needlepoint wings, and a bird, with
needlepoint wing and tail. In the lower corners are a unicorn and an
antlered stag, both recumbent, and in high relief.

[Illustration: 43--Psalms. London, 1633.]

On the lower board within the oval is a vine, with curving stem and two
large grape clusters, tendrils, and leaves, growing from a small green
mound. The edges of the petals are bound with a fine gold twist, as are
also the edges and outlines of the leaves, and most of these parts are
worked in coloured silks, mixed with fine metal threads, in needlepoint

A few hazel-nuts are scattered about outside the gold oval, and in each
corner is a further ornamentation: a reddish butterfly with wings of
needlepoint lace in relief and edged with a gold cord, a green parrot
with red wings and tail, are in the two top corners, and in the two
lower are a rabbit and a dog, each on a small green ground. Innumerable
gold spangles are all over the sides and back, each kept in place by a
small pearl stitched through.

The back is divided into five panels, by rows of pearls, and a
conventional flower is in each, except the centre one which has an
insect. These are all worked in needlepoint and edged with gold twist,
the stems of some of them strongly made by a kind of braid of gold

This little book is certainly one of the most ornamental specimens of
any of the smaller satin-bound books of the seventeenth century, and
although here and there some of the pearls are gone, altogether it is in
very good condition, and it is rarely that such a fine example can now
be met with in private hands.

_Bible._ London, 1638.

[Illustration: 44--Bible. London, 1638.]

Several of the embroidered books on satin are worked chiefly in metal
threads, and the designs on such books are not as a rule good. Whether
the knowledge that the work was to be executed in strong threads has
hampered the designer or not cannot be said, but certainly there is
often a tinselly effect about these bindings that is not altogether

In the case of a Bible printed in London in 1638, bound in white satin,
and measuring 6 by 3 inches, one of the chief ornaments is a cherub's
head, the face in silver and the hair and wings in gold. The working of
this head and wings seems to me wrong. The face is, possibly enough, as
well done as the material would allow, but the hair is made in small
curls of gold thread, and the feathers of the wings are rendered in a
naturalistic way with pieces of flat gold braid. This kind of realism is
out of place in embroidery, and it is unfortunately characteristic of
the English embroidered work of about this period, occurring generally
on boxes, mirror frames, or the like, but only rarely on book-covers.
The design is the same on both sides; a narrow arch of thick gold cord
reaches about three-quarters up the side, and interwoven with it is a
kind of cusped oval, with leaves, reaching up to the top of the book.
The lower half of the arch is enclosed in a rectangular band of silver
threads, broad and kept in place by transverse bars at regular
intervals, and beyond it another row, made of patches of red and blue
silk alternately. In the lower part of the oval is a ground of green
silk, on which grow two double roses made of red purl. In the space
enclosed between the top of the arch and the lower point of the oval
is a bird worked in high relief in gold with a touch of red silk on
his wings. Over the bird is a blue cloud, heavily worked in blue silk,
and beneath is a small grass plot. The cherub's head already described
is in the space between the top of the arch and the upper extremity of
the oval; it is flanked by two small red purl roses. The two upper
corners have undulating clouds in blue silk, and a red and yellow purl
rose between them. There are several gold spangles all about, and
innumerable small pieces of coloured purl.

The back is divided into four panels, in which are, alternately, a
rose-tree on which are two red roses with yellow centres and green
leaves, growing from a grass plot, and a blue rose with yellow centre
and green leaves under a red cloud with silver rays. There are several
spangles and some small pieces of coloured purl scattered about in the

The book is in excellent condition, owing, no doubt, to the fact that
most of it is in metal, but it is representative of the lowest level to
which the art of the embroidered book in England has ever fallen.

_Psalms._ London, 1639.

A charming little piece of delicate workmanship occurs in a copy of the
Psalms, printed in London in 1639, and bound in white satin. It measures
3 by 2 inches. The design on each side is the same, but the work is
slightly different. A tall rose-tree, with gold stem, grows from a small
chenille base, the rose petals beautifully worked in the finest of
stitches, as well as the leaves, all of which are outlined with fine
gold thread. From the lower branches of the rose-tree hang on one side a
violet, and on the other a pansy, each worked in the same way as the
rose, and edged with fine gold thread. The back is divided into four
panels, containing respectively a cornflower, a pomegranate, a fruit,
perhaps meant for an apple, and a honeysuckle, all conventionally
treated and very delicately worked. The edge is bound all round with a
strong braid, and there is one tie of broad, cherry-silk ribbon. With
this book is its canvas bag, embroidered in silver ground with
coloured-silk flowers and tassels of silver, the general design and
workmanship of which nearly resembles that of the finer bag already
described at page 16. The silver has turned nearly black, as is usually
the case with these bags.

[Illustration: 45--Psalms. London, 1639.]

[Illustration: 46--The Way to True Happiness. London, 1639.]

_The Way to True Happiness._ London, 1639.

A copy of _The Way to True Happiness_. printed in London in 1639, is
bound in white satin, and embroidered with figures of David and a Queen.
It is a little larger than the majority of the satin-embroidered books,
measuring 7 by 4-1/2 inches, and is, for its time, a very fine specimen.
Both figures stand under an archway with columns, all worked heavily in
silver cord, guimp, and thread. The columns have ornamental capitals and
a spiral running round their shafts, and the upper edge of the arch is
ornamented with crockets of a peculiar shape. Within this archway, on
the upper cover, is a full-length figure of a Queen, finely worked in
split-stitch with coloured silks. She wears a red dress with long,
falling sleeves, a purple body and gold collar. On her head is a golden
crown, with six points. She carries, in her left hand, a golden sceptre,
and has also a golden belt. The outlines are everywhere marked either
with a gold or silver twist. On the ground, which is in small hillocks,
grow a strawberry and two other small plants; a snail is also shown.
Scattered about the field are a 'skeleton' caterpillar--at one time
probably filled in with peacocks' feathers,--a conventional lily, a
butterfly, and the sun, with rays, just appearing from under a cloud. In
the two upper corners are flowers, a pansy and another, and smaller ones
down each side.

On the lower board, within the arch, is a figure of David. He wears a
short tunic of orange and silver, with vandyked edge, and a short skirt
of blue and silver, with a long cloak of cream, pink, and silver,
clasped with a silver brooch; on his head he wears a silver crown, with
a red cap and green and red feathers; on his feet are brown, high boots.
In his left hand is a silver harp of ornamental pattern, and in his
right a silver sceptre with a little gold about it. The ground, in
hillocks, has a few small flowers growing upon it, and a large tulip is
just in front of the King; on the field are also a moth and a snail. At
the top is a blue cloud. The upper corners have a red and yellow tulip
and a pansy with bud in them, and smaller flowers are worked down each
side. The back is very tastefully ornamented with an undulating scroll
of gold cord, widening out here and there into conventional leaves of
gold guimp in relief. On this scroll are sitting three birds, and there
are also a bunch of grapes, a tulip, daffodil, and other flowers with
leaves, conventionally treated, all worked in coloured silks.

There are the remains of two red and yellow silk ties on the front edges
of each board, and the edges of the leaves are gilded and gauffred. With
this book is a canvas bag, simply ornamented with a design worked in red

[Illustration: 47--New Testament. London, 1640.]

_New Testament._ London, 1640.

The curious little New Testament of 1625, now at Oxford, which I have
already described, is perhaps the earliest example left on which
needlepoint lace in coloured silks is much employed.

It occurs again largely on another small New Testament, printed in 1640,
bound in white satin, measuring 4-1/2 by 2-1/4 inches; now in the
British Museum. In this case the artist has not attempted the difficult
task of producing a satisfactory figure in needlework, but has very
properly limited her skill to the reproduction of flower and animal
forms. On the upper cover is a spray of columbine, the petals of which,
pink and blue, are each worked separately in needlepoint lace stitch,
and afterwards tacked on to a central rib. The stalks and leaves of this
spray are also worked in needlepoint, and on the top sits a bullfinch,
worked in many colours in the same way, but fastened down close to the
satin all round. In the corners are a beetle, a nondescript flower, a
bud, and a butterfly with coloured wings in needlepoint, with replicas
of them closely appliqués just underneath, on the satin. On the lower
board is a spray of a five-petalled blue flower, the petals of which
were originally worked in needlepoint and fastened on a central rib, but
they have now all gone except two, leaving the rib of thick pink braid.
The supporting replicas underneath are, however, perfect, showing what
the original upper petals were like. This spray has two leaves,
exquisitely worked in needlepoint, and fastened by a stitch at one end,
with the usual flat replicas underneath them, and there is also a bud.
The stem is a piece of green braid. Above the spray is a parrot in
needlepoint, most of him fastened down round the edges, but his wings
and tail left free. In the upper corner are two strawberries, and in the
lower a butterfly, with coloured wings, left free in needlepoint. There
are also two caterpillars on this side.

On the back are three large flowers heavily worked in silk and metal
threads, in needlepoint, and appliqués--a pansy, lily, and rose, with
stalks of green braid. The boards are edged all round with a gold braid,
and there are two green silk ties on each for the front edges. There are
several gold spangles all about, but many more have gone. The work on
both boards is very delicate, but that on the back is curiously coarse.
Such imitative work as the needlepoint, which is perhaps seen at its
best in the columbine, and the leaves on this book, is at all times a
dangerous thing to use, except when it is only used as appliqué, as in
the beautiful cover belonging to this book, which I have described on
page 18, and the work on which is very likely by the same skilled hand
as that on the book. I believe this use of the needlepoint, or
button-hole stitch, is only found in English work; it is exactly the same
as is used on the old Venetian and other so-called 'point' laces, but
executed in fine-coloured silk instead of linen thread, and without
open spaces.

[Illustration: 48--Psalms. London, 1641.]

_Psalms._ London, 1641.

Nicholas Ferrar's establishment at Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire is
often credited with having produced embroidered books, but there is
really no authority for the belief. All the authentic bindings which
came from Little Gidding have technical shortcomings from a bookbinding
point of view, none of which are found on any embroidered books.

In the _History of the Worthies of England_, by Thomas Fuller, there is
a short note about Little Gidding, and he says about the ladies there
that 'their own needles were emploied in learned and pious work to binde
Bibles.' This note and the mention of needles may have perhaps given the
start to the belief that embroidered work was intended, but in all
probability it only refers to the sewing of the leaves of the books upon
the bands of the back, which is done with needle and thread. Moreover,
the ladies of Little Gidding did actually sew the backs of their books
in a needlessly elaborate way, putting in ten or twelve bands where
three or four would have been ample. I also think that if embroidery had
been intended by the sentence above quoted, it would have been more
clearly mentioned. To 'emploie needles to bind Bibles' is hardly the
description one would expect if the meaning was that when bound the
Bibles were covered in embroidered work; but it may be safely
interpreted as it is written, the sewing being a most important part of
a bookbinding, and one likely to be much thought of by amateur binders,
as the nieces of Nicholas Ferrar were.

The attribution of embroidered bindings to Little Gidding may also have
been strengthened by the fact that many of the bindings made there are
in velvet, the ornamentation on which, though it is actually stamped in
gold and silver, does to some extent suggest embroidery. Indeed, I have
myself heard the remark, on showing one of these books, 'Oh, yes!

Again, a peculiarity of the Little Gidding books is, generally, their
large size, whereas the embroidered books, especially the satin ones,
are usually very small.

[Illustration: 49--Psalms. London, 1643.]

One of the embroidered books thus wrongly credited to Little Gidding is
a Psalter, printed in London in 1641. It is bound in white satin, very
tastefully embroidered, the same design being on each side, and measures
4 by 2 inches. In the centre is a large orange tulip, shading from
yellow to red, finely worked in silks in shading-stitch. The stem is
outlined in gold cord, and has also symmetrical curves and leaves, some
of which are filled in with silver guimp. The flower is enclosed in an
ornamental scroll and leaf border, all made with gold threads and
twists, and having leaf forms in relief at intervals in silver guimp.
The back has five panels, ornamented alternately with guimp scrolls and
small spheres of coloured silk. There have been spangles and small
pieces of guimp scattered about on the sides and back, but most of them
have gone. There are no ties, and the edges of the leaves are gilt, and
have a small gauffred pattern upon them.

The design of this book is extremely simple and effective; the fine
stitching on the tulip contrasts well with the strong metal border
enclosing it. It may be considered a favourable specimen of the
commonest type of satin embroidered books of the seventeenth century. It
is not in very good condition.

_Psalms._ London, 1643.

A very quaint design embroidered on white satin covers a copy of the
Psalms, printed in London in 1643, and measuring 4-1/4 by 3-1/4 inches.
On the upper side is a representation of Jacob wrestling with the angel,
flanked by two trees with large leaves; the angel has wings and long
petticoats. The lower board has a representation of Jacob's dream. The
patriarch is asleep on the grass, his head upon a white stone, his
staff and gourd by his side. He has pale hair and beard. Behind him is a
large tree, and in front a conventional flower with leaves and bud, and
from the clouds reaches a ladder on which are three small winged angels,
two coming down, and one between them going up. Through a break in the
clouds is seen a bright space, with rays of golden light proceeding from

The back is divided into five panels, in each of which is a flower.
These resemble, to some extent, a red tulip, a lily, a red dahlia, a
yellow tulip, and a red rose. The work here is not protected by any
strong or metal threads, and it is consequently much worn. There are no
signs of any tie ribbon, and the edges are plainly gilt.

_Psalms._ London, 1643.

[Illustration: 50--Psalms. London, 1643.]

Another copy of the Psalms, printed in London in 1643, bound in satin,
and measuring 3-1/4 by 2-1/4 inches, bears on each side, within a
circle, a miniature portrait of Charles I. worked in feather-stitch.
The king wears long hair, moustache, and small pointed beard. He is
crowned, and has a red cloak with miniver tippet, from under which
appears the blue ribbon of the Garter worn round the neck, as it
originally was, and having a small gold medallion attached to it.
The initials C. R. in gold guimp are at each side. The circle is
enclosed in a strong framework of silver cord and guimp in the form of
four thin long pointed ovals of leaf form arranged as a diamond. The
four triangular spaces between the diamond and the oval are filled with
small flowers or small pieces of guimp and spangles. Towards each corner
grows a flower, two pansies, and two others with regular petals. The
remaining spaces are filled variously with green leaves, small patches
of purl and gold spangles, and a strong gold cord encloses the whole.
The back is divided into three panels, in each of which is an ornamental
conventional flower, the upper and lower ones alike, and worked in
shades of red with guimp leaves in relief, and the centre one with six
petals worked in yellow and edged with a fine gold cord. There are no
signs of ties ever having existed, and the edges of the leaves are gilt
and slightly gauffred. It has been suggested that this little book may
have belonged to King Charles I.; but the fact of his portrait
being upon it is no proof of this, as portraits of this king are more
numerous upon the bindings of English books than those of any other

_Psalms._ London, 1646.

The value of 'purl' was recognised some few years back, when I had some
made, and explained its value and use to the Royal School of Art
Needlework at South Kensington, and I believe they used it considerably.

[Illustration: 51--Psalms. London, 1646.]

On books the use of purl is generally auxiliary, but one small book
bound in white satin, and measuring 4 by 2-1/2 inches, a copy of the
Psalms, printed in London in 1646, is entirely embroidered in this
material, helped with gold braid and cord. The design is approximately
the same on each side, a large flower with leaves in the centre, and a
smaller flower in each corner. On the upper cover the centre flower is
yellow and red, with two large green leaves, and the corner flowers are,
possibly, intended for a cornflower, a jonquil, a lily, and a rose, but
the material is so unwieldy that the forms are difficult to trace, and
flowers worked in it are likely to assume forms that are unrecognisable,
when finished, however well designed to start with. All the flowers and
leaves are made with the purl cut into short lengths, drawn together at
the ends by a thread run through, thus forming a succession of small
arches. The stalks are made in gold cord. The flowers on the other side
are, perhaps, a carnation in the centre, and round it a convolvulus,
lily, daffodil, and rose. The back is divided into five panels, in each
of which is a 'purl' flower, all worked in the same way, representing
successively a tulip, cornflower, carnation, lily, rose, or something
analogous to them; round the designs are straight pieces of brown purl,
and the edges are bound with a broad gold braid. There are no ties or
signs of any, and the edges are simply gilt. The purl is undoubtedly
very strong; I possess a small patch-box worked on white satin in a
similar way to this little book, and although it has been roughly used
for some two hundred and fifty years, the colour of the purl is still
good; the upper surfaces of the small spirals, however, show the copper
wire bare almost everywhere. The book, not having had anything like the
hard wear, is in very good condition, but it is too small for the proper
use of so much thick thread. The larger leaves and petals are made in
relief by being sewn on over a few pieces of purl laid underneath them
at right angles.

[Illustration: 52--Bible. London, 1646.]

_Bible._ London, 1646.

A Bible printed in London in 1646 is bound in white satin, and
embroidered in coloured silks and gold braid and cord, measuring 6 by
3-1/2 inches. The same design is on both sides. In the centre within an
oval of gold braid and cord is a spray of vine, with two bunches of
grapes, three leaves and a tendril, the fruit and leaves worked in silk,
and the stem in gold cord. Enclosing the oval is an arabesque design
worked in gold cord and guimp, and at each corner is an oval of thin
gold strips and gold cord; the gold strips are done in the manner known
as 'lizzarding,' and are kept down by small stitches at intervals.

The back has four panels, in each of which is an arabesque design in
coloured silks and gold cord or braid. Although this book is
comparatively late, it is in a bad condition, and shows much wear; the
design also is weak, and the workmanship inferior.



Appliqué work, remarks on, 24.

Arthur, Prince of Wales, ostrich feather badge used by, 73.

Bacon's 'Essays' (1625), 76;
  'Works' (1623), 75.

Bags for embroidered books, 16.

Berthelet, Thomas, bookbinder and printer, 74, 80.

Bible, 1543 ed., 54;
  1583 ed., 67;
  1590 ed., 70;
  1612 ed., 39;
  1619 ed., 84;
  1626 ed., 45;
  1638 ed., 96;
  1642 ed., 48;
  1646 ed., 109;
  1648 ed., 49;
  1674 ed., 78.

Bibliothèque Nationale, embroidered books in the, 20.

Bodleian Library, embroidered books in the, 25.

Brassington, Mr. W. Salt, 1.

Brion, Martin de, 'Très ample description de la Terre Sainte,' 52.

British Museum, embroidered books in the, 25, 27.

Broiderers, hints for, 21.

Buckingham, Duke of, portrait on 'Bacon's Essays, 1625,' 76.

Canvas bindings, 6, 7, 28-51.

Charles I., portrait on 'Psalms, 1643,' 106.

Charles II., badge on 'Common Prayer, 1638,' 77;
  'Emblemes Chrestiens, 1624,' 86.

'Christian Prayers,' 1570 ed., 59;
  1581 ed., 37;
  1584 ed., 65.

Christopherson, Bishop of Chichester, 'Historia Ecclesiastica' (1569), 57.

Collection of Sixteenth Century Tracts (1536), 80;
  (1610), 72.

'Common Prayer, 1638' (other editions are with 'Psalms'), 77.

Covers for embroidered books, 18.

'Daily Exercise of a Christian, 1623,' 44.

Day, John, printer, 61.

Derome le Jeune, French bookbinder, 12.

Dibdin's 'Bibliomania,' mention of Queen Elizabeth's embroidery in, 64.

'Double Books,' 38, 89.

Dutch embroidered books, 20.

Edges, ornamentally treated, 16.

Elizabeth, Queen, arms embroidered, 57, 72, 81;
  books embroidered by, 26, 32, 33, 35, 36.

Embroidered books, definition of, 3.

'Epistles of St. Paul, 1578,' 63.

'Felbrigge Psalter,' 26, 29.

Ferrar, Nicholas, 103.

Fitzhugh, heraldic supporter, 56.

Fletcher, Mr. W. Y., 1.

Floral designs, 5, 6;
  and on the following books: 'Miroir of the Soul' (1544), 32;
  'Prayers of Q. Kath. Parr' (1545), 33;
  Parker, 'De Antiq. Ecc. Britannicæ' (1572), 60;
  'Prayers' (1581), 37;
  'Prayers' (1584), 66;
  'Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio' (1583), 67;
  'Psalms,' etc. (1606), 38;
  'Bible' (1619), 85;
  'Daily Exercise of a Christian' (1623), 44;
  'Henshaw, 'Horæ Successivæ' (1632), 90;
  'Psalms' (1633), 94;
  'Bible' (1638), 96;
  'Psalms' (1639), 98;
  'Psalms' (1641), 104;
  'Psalms' (1646), 108.

Forwarding of embroidered books, 11.

French embroidered books, 20.

Fuller, Thomas, 103.

Gauffred edges, 16.

George II., gift of the Royal Library to the British Museum in 1757, 25.

George III., his books largely rebound, 5.

Grenville, Right Hon. Thomas, his books largely rebound, 5.

Guimp, description of, 9.

Headbands, 15.

Henry VIII., arms on embroidered book, 52.

Henry Benedict, Cardinal York, 19.

Henry, Prince of Wales, his use of the ostrich feather badge, 85;
  badge upon 'Tracts, 1610,' 73, 77, 86.

Henshaw's 'Horæ Successivæ,' 90.

Heraldic designs, 5, 6;
  _Arms_ of Henry VIII., 52;
  Katherine Parr, 55;
  Elizabeth, 57, 72, 81;
  _Badges_ of Queen Mary, 57;
  Prince of Wales, 73, 77, 86;
  _Crest_ of Vaughan, 59.

Inglis, Esther, calligraphist, 85.

Italian embroidered bindings, 19.

James II., initials on 'Bible, 1674,' 78.

Law, Dr. W. T., 94.

Little Gidding, 'Needlework' done at, 103.

Lizzarding, description of, 8.

Macray, Rev. W. D., 33, 64.

Magnus, of Amsterdam, bookbinder, 10.

Martyr, Peter, 'Commonplaces,' 69.

Mary, Queen, badge on 'Psalter,' 57.

Metal threads, 8, 29.

'Miroir of the Synneful Soul,' 32.

Montenay, Georgette, 'Emblemes Chrestiens,' 85.

New Testament, 1576 ed., 81;
  1625 ed., 42;
  1630 ed., 89;
  1640 ed., 101.

'Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio,' 1583, 67.

Ostrevant, badge of the province of, 73.

Ostrich feather badge of the Princes of Wales, origin of the, 73;
  on embroidered bindings, 73, 77, 86.

Parr, Queen Katherine, arms on 'Petrarcha, 1544,' 55;
  Prayers written by, 33.

Parker, Archbishop, 'De Antiquitate Ecclesiæ Britannicæ,' 60.

Peacocks' feathers used in embroideries, 82.

Pearls used in embroidered bindings: Brion (1540), 52;
  Christopherson (1569), 57;
  Parker (1572), 60;
  'New Testament' (1576), 81;
  'Bible' (1583), 67;
  'Bible' (1590), 70;
  'Tracts' (1610), 72;
  Montenay (1624), 85;
  'Psalms' (1633), 94;
  'Common Prayer' (1638), 77.

'Petrarcha, 1544,' 55.

Pomegranate badge on Queen Mary's 'Psalter,' 57.

Poncyn, of Amsterdam, bookbinder, 10.

Portraits on embroidered books, 5;
  Charles I., 106;
  Duke of Buckingham, 76.

'Psalms,' 1606 ed., 38; 1633 ed., 91, 94;
  1635 ed., 92;
  1639 ed., 98;
  1641 ed., 103;
  1643 ed., 105, 106;
  1646 ed., 108.

Purl, description of, 9, 10, 46;
  book embroidered alone with, 108.

Satin bindings, 7, 8, 80-110.

Schreiber, the Lady Charlotte, 83.

Scriptural designs and figures of saints used on embroidered books, 5, 6;
  Abraham and Isaac, 86;
  the Annunciation, 29;
  the Crucifixion, 29;
  David, 86, 99;
  Jacob's Dream,
  Jacob wrestling with the angel, 39, 106;
  St. Peter, 45;
  St. Paul, 45;
  Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, 39.

Silk bindings, 81.

South Kensington Museum, embroidered books in the, 20.

Spangles, 9, 28.

Stitches used on embroidered books:
  _Buttonhole_ or _Needlepoint lace_ stitch,
    'New Testament' (1625), 87;
    'Psalms' (1633), 95;
    'New Testament' (1640), 101;
    'Bible' (1642), 48;
    'Bible' (1648), 50.
  _Chain stitch_,
    'Daily Exercise of a Christian' (1623), 44.
  _Feather stitch_, sometimes called _Shading stitch_,
    'Bible' (1626), 45;
    'New Testament' (1630), 90;
    Henshaw (1632), 90;
    'Psalms' (1635), 92;
    'Psalms' (1641), 105;
    'Psalms' (1643), 106.
  _Satin stitch_,
    'Psalms' (1633), 91.
  _Split stitch_,
    'Felbrigge Psalter' (fourteenth century), 30;
    'Way to True Happiness' (1639), 99.
  _Tapestry_ or _Tent stitch_, 28;
    'Miroir of the Synneful Soul' (1544), 33;
    'Prayers' (1545), 34;
    'Prayers' (1581), 37;
    'Bible' (1612), 39;
    Ward (1626), 41.

Symbolical figures, 5, 6;
  Faith and Hope (1625, 1648), 42, 50;
  Peace and Plenty (1619, 1635), 84, 93.

Thompson, Mr. H. Yates, 41.

Udall's 'Sermons,' 71.

Vaughan crest, on 'Christian Prayers, 1570,' 59.

Velvet bindings, 6, 7, 52-79.

Victoria, Queen, embroidered book belonging to, 77.

Wales, ostrich plumes of the Prince of, 73, 77, 86.

Ward, Samuel, 'Sermons, 1626-7,' 41.

Water-colours used on embroidered bindings, 81-84.

'Way to True Happiness' (1639), 99.

Wheatley, Mr. H. B., 1.

Wilton, Countess of, 33, 35, 64.

Wren, Elizabeth, book embroidered by, 94.

York, Cardinal, 19.


=The English Bookman's Library=












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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.