The Feller Textile Collection was the result of a lifelong interest in antique textiles, ranging from tapestries and embroidery to lace and costume, by Michael and Elizabeth Feller. Their collection included some of the finest examples of British hand embroidery, as documented in the books of Michael & Elizabeth Feller: The Needlework Collection by Elizabeth Feller, Jacqueline Holdsworth, and Mary M. Brooks.
In 2021, Michael and Elizabeth Feller sold many items from the collection at their home Upper Slaughter Manor in the Cotswolds, including some 300 samplers and textile embroideries, dating from Charles I to the time of Queen Victoria.
One of the highlights of the sale was a 17th century silkwork mirror frame, which Phillipa and Laura purchased for the purposes of study and replication and to allow embroidery enthusiasts to share in the wonders of this incredible collection. We immediately set about organising an extended course for those wishing to focus on silk embroidery.
We are delighted that Kate Barlow took up the challenge, and is currently teaching the first students during a year long course. If you are interested in this course, it will be repeated in 2025. You can read more about the course here.
Although the mirror frame was catalogued by the auction house as depicting Charles II and Catherine of Braganza, suggestions have been made by our current students that the King and his Queen could be a different royal couple – Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria.
The king in the frame has a beard and hairstyle similar to Charles I, and not at all like the extravagant curls that his son, Charles II, became known for.
Henrietta Maria was often depicted in artwork of the time with orange trees, which were used as a device to pay visual homage to her powerful Florentine ancestors as well as represent the family’s own renowned citrus tree collection. A symbol of purity, chastity, and generosity, the orange tree was also associated with the Virgin Mary, Henrietta Maria’s patron saint.
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The Feller Bird – 3-day class with Kate Barlow
During our Lady Anne’s Festival this year, we will be offering a one-off 3-day course with Kate Barlow, who is taking a brief interlude from the extended course to bring students of the festival a one-off taster of the wonderful Feller Mirror.
Offered in two time zones beginning on 11th and 14th May respectively, Kate will teach the Bird shown perched in an Orange tree which sits proudly in a central position at the top of the frame. This design is one of twelve individual motifs arranged and embroidered around the glass. Students will learn historic Elizabethan silk embroidery techniques such as natural and tapestry shading using long and short stitch.
Sign up now to be part of this unique opportunity to experience this incredible silkwork frame. Book now