Different design eras collide with stunning results at Somerset’s stately museum with this exhibition of works by the present-day champion of Bargello needlework.
So-called after a collection of chairs found in the Florentine palace, Bargello is an elaborate form of needlepoint embroidery featuring recurring motifs and recognisable for its geometric, flame-like patterns. It is the life-long passion of Harvard-trained textile designer Joyce Petschek who is renowned for her use of vivid colours and complicated configurations.
Drawing on Tibetan meditation techniques to heighten her intuition for intense colour combinations, Petschek ensures that her visionary designs are realised to their full potential by using the finest silk threads. This serves to enhance the mystic quality that is often attributed to her work.
Celebrating the designer’s unique talent, this display brings together a series of visually arresting wall hangings and a global assortment of reupholstered antique furniture. From an Italian wing-backed armchair to a Moroccan recliner and upright Victorian English pieces, each exhibit can be seen to transcend geographic and temporal boundaries.
What’s more, the exhibition’s staging throughout the Manor House means that the modern qualities of Petschek’s work stand out when viewed against the historic textiles in the museum’s permanent collection. Of particular interest are the original 18th-century demonstrations of flame stitching.