[Needlework Stamping Patterns plus Circular issued by August Bernard of New York City, successor to Leon Cendrier, Designer, Manufacturer & Importer of Perforated French Stamping Patterns].
C.1880s Portfolio of 83 textile stencils with manufacturer’s trade circular and price list
Late Victorian portfolio of 83 French-styled stamping patterns or stencils used to facilitate the decoration of textiles with braiding, appliqué, and embroidery.
The patterns were possibly manufactured by August Bernard of New York City, “Successor to Leon Cendrier, Designer, Manufacturer & Importer of Perforated French Stamping Patterns.” Bernard’s c.1880s two-page trade circular and price list of patterns and textile stamping supplies accompany the patterns.
The patterns might also have been made by Mrs. T.G. Farnham. On the verso of one of the decorated initial patterns is the rubber stamp of “Mrs. T.G. Farnham, Art Needlework, Stamping, Embroidery, Etc., 16 West 14th St., N.Y. City.” In the 1880s, Farnham advertised perforated patterns etc. for sale in such magazines as Harper’s Bazar and The Youth’s Companion and was the author of Home Beautiful, a Descriptive Catalogue of Art Needle Work; with Illustrated Designs and Prices (New York, 1884).
Patterns found within the portfolio include flowers and leaves (19); decorated initials and monograms (33); and border and corner pieces, some combined (31). The patterns, as suggested by Bernard’s circular could be used to impose needlework designs on all kinds of textiles. The textiles to be decorated included handkerchiefs, slippers and stockings, shawl corners, pillow shams, bureau covers, scrap bags, night gowns, chemise yokes, table covers, lambrequins (mantling), cushions, and fire screens.
Bernard also sold various colored powders and fine felt pouncets, used to apply the powders to the patterns. A waxy blue powder is found on the rectos of most of the patterns in the portfolio. To make a pattern on a blank textile, one would hold the finely perforated pattern in place, apply powder to the pouncet and pounce or stamp the pattern over the fine perforations. Lifting the pattern would reveal its color outline which was then embroidered over. (This process is analogous to charcoal pounces used by artists to transfer an outline drawing to a freshly plastered wall in order to paint a fresco.)
Interesting among the patterns here is a large lotus blossom (7 x 7 inches); three large initials, six to seven inches tall; a wheat-decorated initial “V” with the perforated price “25 cts.”, and a floral border pattern with a perforated pattern number “2021”. One of the patterns bears a partial watermark “CO. DALTON MA”, suggesting that the vegetable parchment was made by Crane and Company.
This late Victorian French-styled stamping pattern outfit—with its contemporary American trade circular and price list for patterns and supplies—is an unusual survivor. Its active use and its careful keeping in a decorative portfolio give insight into women’s needlework and textile decorating practices.
Description: [Needlework Stamping Patterns plus Circular issued by August Bernard of New York City, successor to Leon Cendrier, Designer, Manufacturer & Importer of Perforated French Stamping Patterns].
[New York: August Bernard, c.1880s?]. pp. + 83 finely perforated, vegetable parchment paper patterns or stencils. Circular. 8½ x 11 inches. Circular and stencils contained within a contemporary portfolio. Portfolio: 11½ x9 inches; leather spine and paper covered boards; embossed, color label on upper cover. Folds and some creasing to circular. Some patterns folded or creased. Portfolio with wear at spine and to boards which are creased at the lower right corners, plus some losses to paper at gutter and with later paper reinforced edges. Overall, above-mentioned items range from fair to very good.