a 19th century framed folk art silk/ wool work flag styled as the regimental colours / flag of the 33rd West Riding Regiment.
Flag size approx 210mm x 210mm
Frame size approx 300mm x 300mm
in the uk prior to the reformation embroidery was a trade that employed both men and women. at this time english embroidery was one of the most sought after art forms in europe, it was associated with high society and expense. over the centuries embroidery became increasingly produced in the home and identified mainly with women and generally with those of the leisured middle and upper classes. it was not until the 19th century that the art form was re discovered by men, primarily by British seamen but also british soldiers as in this example of a flag. initially it was encouraged by naval and military officers to distract soldiers and sailors from gambling and drinking alcohol during long periods of inactivity. it is thought it was also used as a therapeutic aid in military field hospitals.
the decorative artworks were stitched onto a fabric backing using primarily wool but also silk for finework. the stitchwork was fairly limited to a long running stitch for maximum coverage, short darning stitches for texture and the occasional chain stitch. the results were often very impressive and had a naive air about them due to the nature of the medium and a lack of artistic training.yet the technical detail was very accurate due to the understanding of their subject. the art form eventually wained due in part to the invention of photography.