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Textile conservator, Gwen Spicer of Spicer Art Conservation at work

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Embroidered Danish Heritage

Our intern, Olivia Frechette, shares her insights on a recent project.

Spicer Art Conservation, LLC recently received an intriguing and pretty cool counted cross stitch embroidery for treatment. An embroidered map of Funen County in Denmark (made up of Funen, Langeland, Æro, Tåsinge, and accompanying smaller islands) was handmade by a client's grandmother in 1959. It is clear she was a skilled embroiderer. The map has spent most of its life inlaid into a table top. While the map is looking great for 62 years old, it has been taken out of its table-home for a bit of care before both map and table are passed on to the client's son. 

Surface of the embroidery map. There is some water staining with tide-lines along the edges of the map fabric.

The main city of Odense, famous as the birthplace of well-known fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen, is labelled and marked with a red square.

Close-up of the island of Funen, Denmark. All roads lead to Odense, Funen County's main city.

The level of detail on this map is exquisite. Individual manor houses and landmarks are faithfully represented with neat and tiny petti-point stitches in a rainbow of colors.  

A detail of the map showing buildings in south-west Funen

A detail of the map showing buildings and orchards in north-west Funen

A ship is even bobbing in the Belt Straits, flying the Danish flag of course, with seabirds flying overhead.

Close-up of the embroidered ship

Detail of embroidered birds above Funen

Funen's Danish name "FYN" and the map's date are surrounded by an elaborate wreath. Isn't it pretty?

The map is titled in Danish "FYN" and dated 1959

When the map was unglued from its backing board, a 'ghost map' was discovered on the wooden board! Over the years, the sun snuck through the open weave of the support fabric and oxidized the map design into the wood. The denser embroidered areas was more able to block the light. Read and earlier blog post on other effects of long-term light exposure.

The removed backing board of the map, where the sun bleached the embroidery image onto the wood.

Perhaps the map wanted to start celebrating Halloween early with its 'ghost' double. Spooky!

1 comment:

  1. Thank to Olivia Frechette for the overview on this embroidered map of Funen County... This is best of embroidery digitizing one can do. Thank you very much.