A Hidden Gem

Last week, I forgot to mention that when we were finished looking at the embroidered bindings on the Douce Bible, (https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/db9330ae-0b61-413a-8751-cdc31235d898/) I asked to have a glance inside at the illuminated title page. It is vibrantly coloured with cherubs, Elizabeth’s cipher, crowned Tudor rose and fleur-de-lis but it paled beside the discovery of more embroidery… Attached to the inside of the front cover was a red silk book mark.  It was about 4 inches wide and embroidered with file twist, spangles and purl.  Because it was attached, it was impossible to see the reverse.  The design is laid out with a single length of file twist and all the metal threads including the purl and spangles are stitched down with red silk to match the tabby woven silk.  One corner is trimmed with a fine lace in file thread.   The embroidery is much less complex than the binding but it may have been made to accompany the bible at the same time as the embroidered bindings.  Unfortunately, by then I was well into the second hour of my two hour visit and it was time to move on to the next embroidered treasure. More study to be done in the future…

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