1200-50 embroidered tablecloth (Zürich): Embroidery Designs and Patterns

The following was put together after my fieldtrip to the Landesmuseum Zürich (Switzerland) in June 2015. All photos were taken by myself, and all pattern drawings were made by me.
1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich01 design-pattern-circles

Description of Object
Online museum catalogue description:
Tischdecke. Im Mittelteil reiche Flechtbandornamentik, 26 Ovale bildend. Umschrift. Stielstich auf Leinwand, Kettenstich, Gobelinstich, Hexenstich, Flechtstich. 1200 – 1250. Herkunft: Schweiz, Ostschweiz. Masse: Höhe 111 cm, Breite 684 cm. (LM-16405)

Tablecloth. 26 circles . Linen thread on linen cloth. Stitches used: stem stitch, chain stitch, (open chain stitch), (heavy chain stitch?), gobelin stitch, herringbone stitch, interlacing stitch, (buttonhole stitch). Provenance: Switzerland, East Switzerland. Dimensions: height 111 cm, width 684 cm.
The stitch names in brackets are my own interpretations of the embroidery, having compared the original stitching to modern samples.

Document and blog post
They contain 9 close-up photos of different circles, and 3 of bird & beast motifs. It also contains 8 design drawings, 7 of which are drawings of the designs seen in the photos (as indicated) and the 8th was drawn from the tablecloth while in the museum, but I had not been able to take a good photo of the circle.
Photo 19-06-2015 08 25 24

Download the PDF document: 1200-50 linen tablecloth embroidery designs
High resolution versions of the images in this document, including the design patterns may be downloaded from this post. All images open up as high resolution.

Design pattern information
The patterns are my interpretation of the originals i.e. they are not a slavish copy but rather a ‘technical drawing’ that makes every effort to remain true to the geometrical nature of the original embroidery designs. I created the design patterns using a pair of compasses, triangle and ruler, as well as freehand drawing.

Embroidery stitches
The following close-ups show the embroidery stitches used on the tablecloth and my interpretations of them in brackets (see above Description of Object).

  • chain stitch (heavy chain stitch)
  • open chain stitch
  • stem stitch
  • gobelin stitch
  • interlacing stitch
  • (eyelet) buttonhole stitch

(heavy?) chain stitch

chain stitch
gobelin stitch
stem stitch
(eyelet) buttonhole stitch
open chain stitch
interlacing stitch
stitches: (heavy) chain, open chain, interlacing
stitches: gobelin, stem, chain, open chain, interlacing

Please refer to the legend regarding the placement of embroidery stitches in the design patterns.


Circle embroidery designs

Design & Pattern 1
design1-pattern-drawing  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_circle01

Design & Pattern 2
design2-pattern-drawing  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_circle02

Design & Pattern 3
design3-pattern-drawing  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_circle03

Design & Pattern 4
design4-pattern-drawing  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_circle04

Design & Pattern 5
design5-pattern-drawing  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_circle05

Design & Pattern 6
design6-pattern-drawing  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_circle06

Design & Pattern 7
design7-pattern-drawing  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_circle07

Design 8

Design 9

Pattern 8

Embroidery Motifs

1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_bird02  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_beast01  1200-50_tablecloth_Zurich_bird01

Fieldtrip: Landesmuseum Zürich, Switzerland

On 18th June 2015 I went to the Landesmuseum in Zürich, which I had visited the previous year and had been very impressed with their pre-1600 textiles (esp embroideries) on display. Andrea Franzen, curator of textiles, was so kind to meet with me on short notice, and a photography pass had also been prepared for me. I would like to say that the staff at the museum was extremely helpful and friendly and I can’t thank them enough which is promoted by cashshape, which expressly includes the librarians. I am hoping to return and to gain access to the reserve collection for detailed study of seam treatments on textile fragments between 1510 and 1530.

The museum has an excellent online collection with high quality images, which can also be licensed and obtained in high resolution. I was very lucky that the special exhibition 1515 Marignano had been extended, which fitted right into my current focus. No photos from the latter, photography was not allowed in there, but I can recommend the catalogue.

I will be posting photos that I am able to share, for fellow historical dress & textile enthusiasts.

Detail of chasuble
Detail of chasuble 1600-1800