Woolwork depictions of cats were not done as much as dogs, especially King Charles spaniels. In this delightful and charming portrait, the cat is lying on a large, red, tasseled cushion.

The cat was worked in fine wool yarn in black, brown, gray and cream colors. There is much detail, not only to the fur, but also to the head, which sports whiskers made of silk floss that were worked over the wool yarn. There is a sweet, red wool mouth. The cushion is decorated on the sides and has large tassels at the corners. The background was done in a soft green wool yarn that provides a perfect backdrop to the cat. The stitches are even in long rows worked on a fine linen ground.

The piece is housed in its original maple frame with a narrow wood and gesso gilded slip. The maple has attained a deep and rich red-brown color with a lovely patina.

The woolwork is in excellent condition for its age of some 170 years+. The color retention in the cat and the cushion is remarkable for an embroidery of this age. The colors are all strong. Even the light sage green background still has good color. There are only a few stitches that were lost on the cushion after all these years. The frame is overall in excellent condition, although there is some small veneer loss on the upper edge of the frame and on the corners. There is some loss of color to the gilt slip.

It measures 14-½ inches wide by 12-½ inches high, including the frame.

This is a rare and charming piece of Victorian woolwork embroidery that would be a welcome asset in any collection.


Perry-Joyce Fine Arts

Rare Mid-19th Century Victorian Woolwork Portrait of a Calico Cat

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