Collection Online

Bible cover
(early 17th century)

Medium
linen, silk (thread)
Measurements
26.0 × 45.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
(England)
Inscription
none
Accession Number
D10-1974
Department
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by the National Gallery Women's Association, 1974
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Professor AGL Shaw AO Bequest
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
Linen embroidered with polychrome silk in cross stitch. Left side illustrated with Angel, Hagar and Ishmael. Right side illustrated with the prophet Elijah being fed by ravens. Fruits in surrounding border.

The connection between religious subject matter and devotional function is emphasised in this needlework Bible-cover from around 1625. The stories depicted – Elijah fed by ravens sent by the Lord, and Hagar and Ishmael saved from death by an angel who leads them to a well – both impart the message (emphasised by Protestantism) that the way to salvation is through faith in God alone. Both images are derived from illustrations by Matthäus Merian in his Icones Biblicae published in Frankfurt before 1630. Compilations of illustrations such as this were an important source of pictorial designs for embroiderers.