Table scarf



Table scarf


Ida Florence Ellwood


1902 (ca.)


14 1/2 x 87 1/2 inches


Linen, silk thread

Object No.



Purchased by Stickley during his trip abroad in late 1902 and early 1903, the design of this table scarf reflects the restrained Art Nouveau aesthetic of English work of the period. Despite the debates regarding the movement’s merits in the pages of The Craftsman, Stickley was drawn to the lyrical lines of the movement and purchased a number of works reflecting this aesthetic while abroad. In keeping with the advice of English manuals of the time, the design is conventionalized rather than naturalistic. As W.G. Paulson Townsend, Design Master at the Royal School of Art-Needlework, noted in 1899: “One of the saddest mistakes of the embroiderer is to attempt pictorial representations of flowers, to force the light and shade, and give the effect of relief.”

Period photographs of the textile bear witness to the changes caused by time and UV light exposure. Initially, the three appliqué panels and central flower stood out more prominently against a darker background. The ends of the textile were a slightly lighter solid color, while the main portion seems to have been a natural linen tone, much as it appears today. In contrast to the sedate effect of blended whites and lighter tones that dominate the present-day look of the runner, the original effect was more dramatically contrasted.

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