The signatures “BO’BRIEN” and “Lily YEATS” are stitched at the bottom corners of the embroidery. Brigid O'Brien is credited as the designer and Lily Yeats was the maker. Yeats had been involved in the Arts and Crafts movement for many years by the time she made this embroidery. She studied embroidery under May Morris, daughter of William Morris, starting in 1888. In 1902 Lily, along with her sister Elizabeth and friend Evelyn Gleeson, founded the Dun Emer guild in Dublin. Dun Emer focused primarily on tapestry and carpet making. In 1908, the group separated and Lily and her sister founded Cuala Industries which ran a printing press and an embroidery workshop. The embroidery that MTS conserved was created in the Cuala embroidery workshop around 1915.
The Boston College embroidery has several condition issues, including fading due to light exposure, an area of unidirectional loss to the right of the figures, and gummy adhesive tape holding the back of the mounted textile to an acidic paper mat. Stay tuned for our follow-up blog on the textile conservation treatment by Cara Jordan.
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