Exquisite embroidery at Hardwick
Now situated in the entrance to the Audit Room, this fine example of embroidery was recorded in 1601 as a cushion cover in the Long Gallery.
The design was based closely on an engraving showing ‘the return from a bird hunt’ by Philips Galle after Johannes Stradanus and is referred to as 'The Fancie of a Fowler'. If you look closely, you’ll see a small shield hanging from the tallest tree with the initials ‘AC’ on it. These are thought to refer to Anne Keighley (Anne Cavendish), the first wife of William Cavendish. William was the Countess of Shrewsbury's son, the remarkable woman who owned Hardwick Hall.
The purple velvet long cushion cover is thought to celebrate the marriage of William Cavendish, the Countess' second son, with Anne Keighley in 1581. The cushion was probably a gift as it combines the coat of arms of Anne's father with her new name 'Anne Cavendish'.
You can see at the lower left are two seated figures, a finely dressed woman holding a spray of cherries in her hand and a bearded man on whom rests a rather old looking child. Before them stands a fowler with a basket of flowers in one arm and is seen placing a brace of birds onto a plate held by a servant. The background is filled with numerous trees birds and an assortment of buildings.
Look out for the fine example of exquisite embroidery next time you visit at Hardwick Hall.