late 16th century
Linen; lace, needlepoint (Reticella and Cutwork)
Average: 182.9 x 129.6 cm (72 x 51 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness in memory of Mrs. Stephen V. Harkness 1930.656
Consisting of more than 80 squares of cutwork (a cut and embellished linen ground) and rectangles of reticella (needle lace), this luxurious cover could have been made by a single person or several people who divided the work. Close looking reveals that the cloth is made with threads of two very slightly different colors: bleached and unbleached linen. Together the sections resemble snowflakes, which are of similar shape and size but vary subtly from one another. The perplexing dark stitches in the upper left corner do not repair damage, and might be the maker’s signature.
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