The inside lid shows an Elizabethan Scene based on Parsonage Hall.
The front panel shows Lord Burleigh,
Walsingham and Gresham
The underside of the central lid bears the cross stitch inscription:
This box was planned and worked by Osyth Wood of Bures Essex
for her own pleasure and to show her gratitude to all those English
needlewomen who made a great tradition. July 1934 to June 1939.
The images on the box are
based on historical themes, particularly of the Tudor period, but it
also contains many personal allusions.
The lid of the box and all four sides have embroidered insets of dark
red velvet, and a goldwork border with goldwork cartouches on cream
silk containing embroidered portraits of wellknown 16th-century Elizabethans,
all copies of painted portraits.
The red velvet and cream damask are the same fabrics used for the academic
robes of Exeter College, Oxford - Dr Wood's alma mater. The embroidered
portraits are in silk with metal thread details in long and short, satin,
and chain stitches with areas of detached buttonhole stitch. The cartouches
are couched metal thread with various gold purls and twists outlined
with red thread matching the velvet.
Depicted on the lid, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn
are all copies of portraits in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The likeness to the original portrait of Mary,Queen of Scots is very
striking, right down to the stitched blackwork detail on the chemise
(see page 16). Perhaps it was this 'royal' connection that caught the
eye of one of Queen Mary's ladies-in-waiting who saw Mrs Wood's work
in an arts and crafts exhibition in Blakeney, Norfolk in the 1950s.
Queen Mary subsequently invited her to lunch at Sandringham and she
was requested to bring her embroidery. It is thought that she may have
worked an embroidery similar to the portrait of Elizabeth I for Queen
Using similar techniques to those for the portraits on the lid, the
front of the box shows three Elizabethan statesmen, Sir Thomas Gresham
(1519-79), merchant & financier, founder of Gresham College and
the Royal Exchange; William Cecil, Lord Burghley
(1521-98), Lord High Treasurer; and Sir Francis Walsingham
Other figures represented are courtiers Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester,
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Walter Raleigh, Philip Sidney, William
Shakespeare, Francis Drake and Richard Grenville, whose images are also
accurate depictions of portraits.