In the 18th and 19th centuries, pole screens were important pieces of furniture designed to display ladies’ intricate embroideries. Sometimes they were quite large and had a definite function, such as to hide an empty corner or a not-so-attractive window view. Others were small and made to display a favorite subject matter. They were always custom made to fit these wool or silk embroideries. The embroidered panels that went on the pole were usually height-adjustable.

In this piece, which dates to around 1840, the subject matter is that of a classical Victorian scene of a young squire out with his two companion dogs. One is an enthusiastic hound and the other is a more sedate, perhaps overfed King Charles spaniel. The young man is dressed in a traditional costume consisting of a long red jacket with a wide shirt collar, long blue trousers and high-buckled boots with spurs. He is sporting a tall, brimmed hat with feathers. He is also wearing large gloves, and on his large buckled belt hangs a hunting knife. His hair is in the style of the landed class; long and with ringlets.

The panel was worked in wool yarn on a fine linen ground. The woolwork was done entirely in counted cross stitch and tent stitch. The stitcher was very accomplished in embroidery as her rows are even and the changes of colored yarn were carried out well in a complicated pattern. There is much detail in the picture that help make it an exceptional piece of woolwork. The traditional color palette used is pleasing, with the colors of the landscape harmonizing well with the squire’s costume.

The needlework is housed in its beautiful, original, crested rosewood frame. There are delicately carved leaves, a single hanging flower and twining twigs that go elaborately around each other to create the crests above the arched frame. The stand is wonderfully carved in a traditional design with legs that scroll toward a central section. The carved base sits on top of the stand, tapering up to a point from which the pole rises behind the needlework panel. The filial, carved like an arrow point, finishes the handsome piece. The old glass is bubbled and wavy.

The condition of the needlework is excellent. There is some slight age toning in the back of the section of the panel that was not behind the wood backing. There is no insect damage or staining. The condition of the rosewood pole stand is excellent. I have had it professionally restored and polished. It has a deep, rich color and pretty and glowing patina.

The needlework inside the arched panel measures 13-1/4 inches wide by 17-1/4 inches high. The pole stand is 63 inches high.

This piece is a companion to another pole screen listed elsewhere in my shop. (See final photo.)


Perry-Joyce Fine Arts

Early Victorian Woolwork Pole Screen of a Young Squire, His Hound and a King Charles Spaniel Dog

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