Nine Orders of Angels 1899 embroidery

Contributed by The Nicholson Gallery

Nine Orders of Angels 1899 embroidery

The drawings of angels on which this embroidery is based were produced by George Y Wardle in 1864; they are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. He took inspiration from rood screens in East Anglian churches. 'Principalities' and 'Angels' are taken from the Nine Order of Angels. As the angels closest to humankind they act as guardians and messengers. They typically have double wings, jewelled belts, crowns and humanlike faces, as in this image. Variations of the angels can be found on a number of ecclesiastical embroideries in Staffordshire churches. Wardle's sister Elizabeth Wardle started and managed the Leek Embroidery Society in 1879. She was an expert needlewoman who developed a distinctive style of stitching using Indian wild silks, which became a characteristic of the Society.

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