Embroidered mantel pelmet made by Catherine Dickens, 1853
This is a cross-stitch embroidered mantel pelmet made by Catherine Dickens around 1858. It is an example of berlin wool work in red lambrequin with a blue cloth backing. Catherine Dickens was an accomplished needlewoman but also knitted and did lacework. This mantel pelmet is similar to the one shown in the painting of her by Daniel Maclise (DH715). Victorian women, like Catherine, would have had access to magazines like 'The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine', 'The Young Ladies Journal' and 'The Lady’s Newspaper', all of which published patterns for berlin wool work, embroidery and lace work.
This mantel pelmet is composed of double linen canvas shaped with a series of 15 scallops on a 6cm heading. It uses a blue thread, worked in an arabesque pattern in ivory wool thread in cross stitch.The scallops each have a design of a single flower worked in coloured wool and silk threads on a brown ground in cross stitch. There are four different flower designs. The whole work is lined with a blue, even weave, glazed cotton and is edged with a silk covered, plied cord.