Sunday, June 29, 2014

An early 17th C Beaded Basket

The Colors! 
 Not many things make my hands tremble these days, but this basket is one of them that does. I hate to even touch it, its so fragile, yet so absolutely beautiful. Glass beads do not fade over time like silks do~ the color it is today, is the same as it was when made.  It was brought to my attention last year, from a Rhode Island estate of a deceased glass collector. That is all I know if its history~ it could certainly be Continental,  and just as equally English.  What brought me to tears, literally, is the wrapping of the frame~ nearly identical to the basket at the Corning Museum in NY, and as well, one in the collection of the Holburne. It is simply superb in form~ absolutely Grande~ one can only speculate what momentous occasion it was made for~ a new home???? A presentation gift of some sort....a prize for a worthy competition?   I have left the photos large~ so please do click on them as study the details!
 The basket in itself is a unique form, I have not seen another of its type or shape, nor has any of the Museum's I have asked. It stands a gracious 13" tall and 14.5" from bow to stern of the basket itself. It 's shape rather reminds me of a boat~ very classical in form. All of the beads strung on very fine wire, with stems wrapped in filament silk~ ah! just like how I made mine last year
 There are all sorts of flowers~ roses, the most wonderfully  detailed rosebuds, fuchsia,  daisies, trailing vines~ all sorts of flowers I haven't even begun to look up yet~ every time one looks at it, one sees something new and fabulous. There are even flowers and leaves around the base
 The techniques are mixed, I have seen some similar to on the Braganza Basket at the Met. It has been kept fairly dust free, tho there are spots that should be cleaned and will be in the near future

  The orange buds are worked over forms of a natural wadded material~ could be wool or cotton or linen
 The basket is made of a wired net in blue beads which is quite transparent~ one can see thru to the flowers on the inside~ yes, the inside too!
 At first glance, the handle and body of the basket look to be the same~ they are both wrapped in a netting of opal and silver metal beads...but upon closer inspection,:: enter a huge gasp here from me::...the handle is wrapped first in a silver metal tape that has now tarnished to black.
 While the body of the basket is wrapped in a narrow linen ribbon first before the beads went on. When new it must have been absolutely the epitome of 17th c sparkly 'Bling!'
 The flowers are made in four separate bouquets~ two large ones and two smaller ones that fit to the middle of the basket
  They can be taken out and arranged how one feels fit, tho I have kept them as close to the original arrangement that I first saw in Rhode Island as possible
I hope you enjoy it as much as I , and thank you for being so patient waiting for me to post it


Caren said...

This is stunning! What a find! What features define it as 17th century?

Rachael Kinnison said...

Hi Caren~
Thankyou for your interest and taking the time to ask. Tho the body shape is unique to itself, the construction of the frame is typical 17th c, a heavy gage wire wrapped in fabric then covered in beads. The beads themselves, the techniques used in the flowers and the construction of the bouquets and how they are attached to the basket are all in keeping with 17th c methods.

Lone Pierette said...

Hi Rachael. This is just soo wonderful !!!
hugs Lone