Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hand Embroidered Fire Screen

When living in a small cottage it can be hard to protect the complexion from a large open fire. It would easy to just leave the room or move away, but one still wants to keep warm, just not on the face. It could just be my own personal issue, but after an evening of sitting by the fire I find that my face is reddened, my skin feels more taunt and dryer. The solution is a wonderful birthday gift from my husband. While he was on a recent archaeological dig in Launceston, Tasmania, he stumbled across this beautiful hand embroidered personal fire screen in an antique shop. He believes that it dates back to the early to mid Victorian period.

 The fire screen where it is stored (high above where my kittens can not get at it) next to the portrait of the amazing General Garibaldi. The front of the screen is made of blue silk velvet with silk embroidery and silk fringing.

 The screen itself sits on a brass cross that is highly decorated with a section at the bottom made of ivory. The back of the screen is a plain silk taffeta.

The base is very heavy and beautifully decorated.

 When it is placed on a side table in front of the fire place it only shields the heat that radiates upwards, thereby protecting your head from the heat of the flames.

Finally a close up of the embroidery. The screen has been decorated using cross stitch to create a floral design (unfortunately it does not photograph very well). The crosses are actually quite large in size and are definitely hand sewn by someone with developing skills as the stitches are not quite even in all places.

I love this screen and have only seen one other like it and it was in no where near as nice a condition as this one is. I am very grateful to my husband Nic for being so considerate of my needs in this lovely gift. If anyone has any further information to add about the dating or history of fire screens please let me know as I have only just started learning about them. And now I should stop procrastinating over my gifts and get back to my studies.

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