Victorian Craft: Tiger Embroidery
By the mid-19th century, Berlin patterns contributed more towards the general advancement of decorative needlework, than any improvement that had been introduced into the art. Their value was not simply from the assistance they yielded the needle-worker, but because of their mass demand they brought about improved and superior embroidery materials.
The beautiful wools that came in every variety of color and shade would probably never have been manufactured, had they not been imperatively called for by the invention and mass distribution of these patterns, especially in ladies’ magazines. Berlin patterns became an article of considerable commerce in Germany. They were copied either from renowned paintings, or, as was more frequently the case, from the many favorite engravings published in England, France, or Germany. In addition, countless designs, such as flowers and Arabesques, were created for the purpose of Berlin work and distributed monthly in publications.
From these paintings or drawings, an engraving or etching was made on a copper-plate that had been previously ruled in squares of the required size, corresponding to the threads of a canvas. Various marks and hieroglyphics were engraved on each check or square, to serve as guides for those who afterwards colored the impressions on paper; the part for each color, or separate shade of color, being marked with a different figure. All Berlin patterns were equally adapted for working either in cross or tent stitch.
The “Tiger” Berlin pattern was distributed in an 1861 ladies’ magazine. This embroidery pattern is for a piano stool or footstool that can be worked in cloth or velvet, with chenille or wool. As well, the design can be done on canvas, the ground filled up with a color to highlight the figures. Download pattern here.