Sunday, May 2, 2010

Il Ricamo Illustrato - an antique Italian needlework publication

Ines Tamburi of Sarzana, Italy was the director of a bi-monthly embroidery publication called Il Ricamo Illustrato [Embroidery Illustrated] in the early twentieth century. She also ran an embroidery school in Sarzana between 1910 and 1920 and published at least one book on Cutwork (Nuovo Ricamo Doppio Intaglio, 1918) with the Sonzogno publishing house of Milan. I can find no other information at present on this lady.

Check out this elaborately decorated masthead!

There is a particular issue of Il Ricamo Illustrato that I'd like to have but it is quite pricey. The issue is dated April 1, 1929 and is full of delightful designs based on the Italian fable The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.

The bi-monthly publication of Il Ricamo Illustrato was printed on newsprint paper, a huge single sheet, folded – surviving copies are very fragile. The Masthead says that copies were available on the 1st and 15th of every month.

At the bottom of this cover from a September 1927 issue it says: "Something new in embroidery: Il Punto a Macchia, easy and enjoyable work explained inside this issue". The Italian verb 'macchiare' means 'to mark' so Punto a Macchia might be Marking Stitch? That can't be it, Marking Stitch wasn't new in the late 20s... was it? The cover pattern looks more like a design for Broccatello Stitch (see the first two stitch pictures on the linked page).

This cover is from August 1935 and the design has changed with the times. I cannot make out if Ines Tamburi is still the director or not.

There are two issues from 1926 in the "Free Downloads" section of Italian Needlecrafts – more will be added gradually as time permits. While you're there, check out the other lovely things that are on the website.


  1. Hi Jeanine, "macchiare" means "to stain, to spot".
    "to mark" is "marchiare".
    Perhaps "punto a macchia" brings to mind that one has to embroider large areas like spots?

  2. I don't know! I got this photo from an ebay auction... perhaps I'll have to buy it just to find out!!