Charles II stumpwork picture c.1700– Brecon Museum (Amgueddfa ac Oriel Gelf Brycheiniog)
Stumpwork, also known as raised embroidery uses an array of different materials and embroidery techniques to tell a contemporary story in stitch using three dimensional elements.
Techniques include silk work, goldwork, counted work, flat and raised stitching, bead work, padding and needlelace. This little picture, depicting the story of Charles II hiding in an oak tree, exhibits all of these techniques in a fine example of the type.
The stumpwork came into the studio for cleaning and some stabilisation work. A previous attempt to remove the tarnish from the metal thread had left white deposits on the surface, as you can see in the detail of the lion. Proprietary metal cleaning products are highly acidic and degrade the silk core around which the metal thread is wrapped.
The picture was surface cleaned with a micro-vacuum cleaner which is small enough to get into all the interstices of this complex embroidery, and then the loose and detaching threads were re-secured in place. The old metal cleaner deposits were removed with a solvent.