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Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
A stumpwork casket with two doors and brass drop handles and interior fitted with mirror and small drawers.Top decorated with sheperdess wearing a hat with four sheep, a lamb and a dog, sitting under an oak tree.
Embroidered caskets decorated with raised or stumpwork were produced in England in considerable numbers in the period 1660-90 by young girls, almost invariably amateurs, practising their needlework skills. This casket, which is of exceptional quality, includes a rare pastoral ‘tableau’ on its lid of a shepherdess sitting beneath trees with her flock and dog and depicts popular Old Testament subjects including that of David and Bathsheba.
The casket appears in an issue of Country Life (Ovenden, Kent, 8 May 1920), where H. Avray Tipping writes that 'It is a typical box of the mid-seventeenth century, retaining its original gilt-metal lock plate and handles, but untypical in that it is particularly elaborate. The scenes on the main panels are at least partly Biblical (eg The Sacrifice of Isaac), while the frieze contains depictions of animals, insects, birds and flowers. What is most extraordinary is the top, which is arranged as a landscape with a shepherdess and her flock among trees created by wires sustaining the needlework.' He also writes that it is 'from a house in Hampshire, the name of which it is desired should not be given.'