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Embroidered Book Cover

for 16th-Century Book of Music

This cover was inspired by the velvet books popular with the Tudor royalty. The images of the four embroidered flowers on the cover were taken from the first page of the music book of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and the couching pattern is a combination of a few exemplars seen below. The flowers were embroidered in silk on linen, and then transferred as appliqué to the silk velvet used for the cover. The background design was couched using gold-colored thread, and then freshwater pearls were used to embellish the decoration. Silk was used to make the tie for the book.

About the Book and Cover

This is the cover of a book of music in the style of early 16th century.  The contents of the book can be seen here, and the process of making which can be seen here.

To read about the entire process in detail, you can read the documentation here.
This book was a huge learning process for me, and one of the most important things that I learned is to know my materials better! It was my first attempt at silk painting, and my first attempt at couching on velvet, as well as my first time making a book. I could have spent months and months on just the flowers, but the deadline demanded that I allow my efforts to be what they were. Most frustrating to me was that w hen completed on the frame, the couching on this cover was nice and straight and tight (see below), but the canvas with which the velvet was backed - despite washing in hot water and drying on high - shrank when the glue bonding it to the book was drying. Nevertheless, I am pleased overall with this first effort at a project like this, and am excited to delve back in to embroidery and bookmaking at some point.

This book project was made with much help from my husband, Lord Dunstan Stonehill. For the book, he built several tools such as a Moxon vise that I used as a press, and the frame for me to sew the pages. He also built the slate frame so that I could embroider the entire cover at once. 

Exemplars and Process

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