History of Bargello

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CHASTLETON HOUSE
OXFORDSHIRE

Between 1607 and 1612 Walter Jones, a wealthy wool merchant, built Chastelton House which was conceived as a lavish status symbol. As the house was still under construction at the time of his wedding to Anne Fettiplace, daughter of Sir Edmund Fettiplace and Ann Alford, the Fettiplace Coat of Arms were incorporated in the overmantle.

The Fettiplace family history dated from the 13th Century. Its curious and intriguing name was of Anglo-Norman French origin, derived from an occupational surname for an Usher, an attendant specifically employed to escort or direct people to the places prepared for them in a nobleman's house, or the court.

Chastleton House came to the National Trust in 1991 after 400 years of continuous ownership by this increasingly impoverished family. It is now open to visitors by appointment only.

CHASTLETON HOUSE
THE FETTIPLACE CLOSET
 
 
Of unique interest to Bargello Arts Stitching Retreat is the the Fettiplace Closet south-east corner of the first floor of Chastleton House.
 
The once grand country house remained virtually unchanged generation after generation due to the family's 'make do and mend ' philosophy, reflective of its decreasing wealth. Resulting from this its contents and features were remarkably untouched, making Chastleton House rare, if not unique, amongst such surviving examples.
 
The Fettiplace room, a bedroom and closet , therefore retained its original form. The Fettiplace Closet is an extremely rare example of walls decorated with a stitched textile in a design known as flame stitch/Florentine stitch.
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PARHAM HOUSE
WEST ROOM

An amazing early example of the flame stitch design, Italian, possibly late 16th century (1560 – 85), is a set of exquisite hangings in the West Room. Consisting of five lengths of linen scrim, with a flame stitch worked all-over in a chain-type stitch, its large scale zigzag design is in repeated shades of blue, brown, fawn, yellow, beige, red and orange in fine woolen wool.

The design is a very early example of the Flame or Lightning pattern, developed from the Hungarian Point stitch, supposedly created by Elisabeth of Hungary and further developed in Italy.

These sumptuous curtains came to Parham House from Quenby Hall in Leicestershire (where the rest of the set were made into chair seats), probably before 1590, making these panels amongst the earliest known examples of Flame stitch in England.
 

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PARHAM HOUSE
PULBOROUGH, WEST SUSSEX

Brought to Parham House from Wroxton Abbey, in the Great Chamber is the magnificent Great Bed whose bed curtains are stitched in Florentine Flame design, dating 1610-20, of English origin. Its canopy, headcloth and bedspread are of Italian or French workmanship, stitched in silks on satin, dating approximately 1585.

The bed curtains are decorated in the finest example of Flame Stitch needlework to be seen anywhere today. The two sets of curtains, pelmets and valances use coloured wools and floss silks. The traditional design is of double zigzags edged with a narrow border, embroidered in Hungarian Point. Typical of the classic antique style, its colours vary in a repetitive, rhythmic, regular pattern.

The fabric of the Great Bed was recently conserved by English Heritage.

ANTIQUE FOUR POSTER BEDS

Dating from the 16th century and earlier, four poster beds were highly ornate and made from oak, its bed curtains intended to keep out draughts.

Because of its traditional and luxurious appearance, many examples in England, Italy and France can be found with exquisite stitched bargello patterns, primarily using the Florentine Flame stitch.

The right example is from the Chateau de Talcy, 16th century in origin, in the Chambre IX room, stitched in the conventional Florentine Flame pattern. Still popular today, the left example represents an interior in the 17th century furniture style of a Louis XI bedroom, its fabric design taken from an antique flame pattern.

 

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ANTIQUE PATTERNS

BARGELLO ARM CHAIR
BARGELLO MUSEUM, FLORENCE
(photo upper left)
This Italian arm chair in the inventory of the Bargello Museum is listed as part of the “17th century chairs with backs and seats in punto unghero” (Hungarian Point), stitched with silk threads. It is believed that the name bargello originates from this series of chairs originally in the Bargello Palace. In the 18th century Queen Maria Teresa of Hungary stitched such bargello patterns, today preserved in the Hungarian National Museum.

DINING ROOM CHAIRS
(photo lower left)
Within the dining room of Chillingham Castle near the Scottish border, purchased in the 1970’s by Sir Humphry Wakefield, this set of chairs is covered in a contemporary fabric reflecting the traditional Florentine Flame pattern, a fine illustration that this antique style is still in fashion today.

ENGLISH WING CHAIRS
(photo upper right)
Belonging to an English country house, these two wing chairs have been newly stitched, the left chair in the traditional style of the Florentine Flame (a pattern known to exist before 1600), the right chair a version of the established intricate medallion pattern.

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
NEW YORK
(photo lower right)
American wing arm chair, dating from the 1720’s, is stitched in a classic pattern, with crewel embroidery on the back. The traditional pattern, with colour variation throughout, is intricate and complex in design.
 

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ANTIQUE FRAGMENTS

ENGLISH
ANTIQUE CHAIR FRAGMENT
(photo upper left)
A fragment example of the Carnation pattern, which appears to have evolved in the latter half of the 17th century, of which there are many variations..

ENGLISH
ANTIQUE CHAIR FRAGMENT
(photo lower left)
A fragment example of the traditional geometric Diamond pattern of which many variations can be found in both England and the United States.

ENGLISH
ANTIQUE CHAIR FRAGMENT
(photo upper right)
A second fragment example of the Carnation pattern, also originating from the latter half of the 17th century, of which many variations exist.

ENGLISH
ANTIQUE CHAIR FRAGMENT
(photo lower right)
A fragment example of intertwining curves, referred to as a bargello pattern, later than the Florentine Flame stitch, and connotes a more varied range of stitches, stitch usage and colour variation.