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Esther and Ahasuerus
1650-1670
Linen fabric, silk threads, tent, satin, Rococo and knot stitches.
230 x 350 mm cloth size
249-1982
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Given 1982 by Mrs Mabel c Wachner of Invercargill.
This small embroidery celebrating ‘The Art of the Needle’ is based on engravings by either de Jode, Heemskerk or possibly Rubens. Scenes from the Old Testament featuring the bravery of women were a popular topic for these pictorial embroideries, in which the whole surface of the fabric is covered with fine stitches worked by a skilled practitioner. This example has cut edges and may once have been framed or placed in a panel covering a workbox.
Esther is kneeling before her husband, King Ahasuerus of Persia, who has raised his sceptre, giving her permission to speak.
She pleads for her people, the Jews living in the Persian Empire, to be released from probable death as demanded by Haman, the King’s minister. Her wish is granted and her uncle Mordecai, who had warned the King of a plot against him, is rewarded by being dressed in Ahasuerus’ clothes and being allowed to ride the King’s horse through the city. The evil Haman is hung on the gallows he had erected for Mordecai. The characters are all dressed in Jacobean style clothing. Buildings, a lion, a parrot, a squirrel in an oak tree and insects are faithfully incorporated into the design

not on view

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