Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fine Italian Whitework

I wanted to tell you a little bit about some Whitework that I saw last year in Verona.

The Don Mazza Museum is very tiny, to pass by on the street, you wouldn't know it was there. Luckily a lady who lives in Verona had already phoned and arranged for a guided tour for us on my last day before going home.

Though the museum seems small there are actually many, many beautiful works to look at. I think we were there for over 3 hours.

Father Don Mazza
(1790 - 1865) started a women's institute in Verona in 1828 which was also a boarding school for needy children. Embroidery was part of the education program and the istitute cultivated its own silk worms and produced its own silk threads for its embroideries. Don Mazza was quite the perfectionist and the embroideries had to be of very high quality. In another post I will go into more detail about the incredible threadpainting and other embroideries that the students produced.

One of the pieces that we found very interesting was a Whitework handkerchief mounted on the wall in a frame.

I couldn't get it all in the picture without the glare of the lights but the top edge was the same as the bottom:

Here's a corner, notice all the flower centres are voided and filled with little needle lace designs:

The monogram was exquisitely done:

All four edges were the same designs, flawlessly executed and opposing corners were the same. Though all four corners had the same designs, the flowers were filled differently at diagonal opposite corners making it even more interesting to look at:

I was fascinated by every part of this amazing work, even the leaves were all filled with different stitches:

I stood in front of this work for a very long time. I wished for a magnifying glass. I may have left nose-prints on the glass... The linen was so fine, and the thread too. Each detail was a joy to behold. But for a bit of wear in the centre and some tiny holes here and there, the handkerchief was in great shape.


  1. Hi Jeanine,

    I would have put nose prints on the glass too! What exquisite embroidery! I'm really enjoying your blog.

    Thank you!


  2. Exquisite! I believe Ayrshire Embroidery has Italian roots - wonderful connection. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I wasn't aware of an Italian connection to Ayrshire, I'll have to break out the books!
    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Possibly of interest:

  5. Thank you for the link, I will investigate!