Beaded Basket Depicting a Couple

Object Name: 
Beaded Basket Depicting a Couple

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Object Name: 
Beaded Basket Depicting a Couple
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 12.7 cm, W: 59 cm, D: 12.7 cm
On Display
about 1660-1670
Web Description: 
As England moved from the medieval period into the Renaissance, needlework grew in popularity and began to move away from purely ecclesiastical decoration. The Protestant Reformation helped to usher in new forms of embroidery and embroiderers. Professional male embroiderers continued to work for the court and the nobility, but a growing amateur group of upper- and upper- middle-class women used embroidery as an appropriate form of leisure and ladylike behavior. Glass beads began to be incorporated into English embroidery in the 17th century. Elaborate beadwork baskets are thought to have been created as gifts in celebration of a child’s christening or a wedding, with their form based on types of silver baskets that are known to have been used in christening ceremonies. Whether these baskets were made by amateur women, crafted by the professional class of male embroiderers, or even made into kits is a matter of speculation. The baskets often show a couple (sometimes King Charles II and Catherine of Braganza) surrounded by fruit, flowers, foliage, castles, or allegorical figures, and this couple refers to the celebratory nature of the object for weddings or christenings. This basket depicts a lady and a gentleman, perhaps a cavalier, facing each other, with the man holding his hat in his hands. They are surrounded by an array of realistic fruits and flowers, which are associated with fertility. Unfortunately, both the man and the woman have lost their hair, because this object was damaged by the Corning flood of 1972. However, the object was saved and restored, with minimal losses.
Delomosne & Son Limited, Source
Primary Description: 
Beaded Basket Depicting a Couple. Opaque and transparent multicolored beads of small size form the decoration of the basket and are held together by a wire frame. The object has a roughly rectangular shape with flat bottom and flaring rim with four trefoil handles, the base is "scalloped". The center is occupied by a man and a woman in 17th century costumes, the other decoration consists of trees, leaves, flowers and berries framed by white bead "chains" to form upright panels; white bead chains at handles, the base has a leaf wreath, with leaves and flowers in the "scallops". This techniques was formerly know as "stumpwork" and is now referred to as "raised work".
Corning Museum of Glass 2013-05-18 through 2014-01-05
For 30,000 years, mankind has crafted beads from natural materials. With the discovery of glassmaking in the second millennium B.C., glass began to be used for this same purpose. Glass beads are universal. They have been produced throughout the 35 centuries of glass manufacturing, and by nearly every culture in the world. The glass beads and beaded objects on view in this exhibition are arranged thematically, comparing the manner in which diverse cultures have utilized beads, frequently for the same purposes, but sometimes for unique reasons. These themes explore how glass beads adorn the body and our possessions; how they convey messages about power and wealth, and identify the stages of human life; how they serve ritual purposes, as well as decorate clothing and objects used in rituals; and how they have been employed across the centuries as a means of exchange, both commercial and cultural. Through the centuries, beads have been made using a variety of processes. Understanding how beads were made has allowed scholars to follow the transmission of beads and beadmaking techniques across the globe. Across time and around the world, glass beads have become a common element of mankind. Through their manufacture and function, they are one of the strings that bind humanity together. “Life on a String” celebrates this common bond while also revealing the distinctiveness of different societies through their use of glass beads to celebrate their unique cultural heritage.
Glass Beads: Selections from The Corning Museum of Glass (2013) illustrated, pp. 26-27, no. 15; BIB# 134720
Treasures from the Corning Museum of Glass 2013 (2012-12) illustrated, Cover, page 1; BIB# 133170
Beaded Basket (family) (2011)BIB# 131689