1850s Victorian beadwork on velvet tea cosy
The raised beadwork on this c1950 Victorian tea cosy is quite extraordinary and beautifully detailed. The two sides are different, one with a spray of 5-petaled flowers, the reverse a spray of thistles. The surrounding border is similar on both. Only colors of glass seed beads were used: a silver-lined clear, a flat, opaque white and a translucent “greasy” greyish white plus large glass pearls in the flower centers. I don’t see any flaws or missing beads in either flower spray; there are a couple slightly loose strings but the ends are still securely anchored. Overall, the cosy is quite large at 11″ high and 16″ high.
The backing fabric is a rich red-purple velvet that shifts with light, sometimes appearing burgundy, other times purple. It’s in excellent condition with only a small spot near the bottom left of the floral side where the pile seems lightly worn. The quilted silk lining is a brighter red and in good condition with a little shattering beginning to occur. The padding makes each side about an inch thick. There is some slight soiling or staining on the padded lining near the bottom where it would have sat on the table. The finial on top is wired and has a few loose strands of beads.
There is some bead loss along the edging that covers the joining seam, all white opaque beads (about size 10/0, most likely of Czech manufacture). I’ve shown close-ups of these areas in the photos; about 2 inches on the joined seam on the left side plus about an inch more extending at the bottom on either side of the join, plus a 2-1/2″ section on the upper right side seam.
Shipping is included in the price, and a signature will be required at delivery.