Embroidered cushion cover
Canvaswork applied to silk satin
Museum no. T.79-1946
In the 17th century the majority of wooden chairs and stools were not upholstered, and in more prosperous homes, decorated cushions were widely used both for comfort and for the attractiveness of their appearance. Long cushion covers like this were specifically made to fit wooden benches.
It is possible that this cushion was worked in a household rather than a professional workshop. More than one woman or young girl might have been involved in making the separate motifs, which were then applied to the silk ground. These individual motifs were known as slips, like the plant cuttings taken by gardeners. Such household furnishings often depicted scenes from rural life, and as well as the noblemen shown here hunting with hawks, we can also see gardeners at their work, gathering fruit and training vines in an orchard of apples, cherries and quinces.