If there be one mechanical art of more universal application than all others, and therefore of more universal interest, it is that which is practised with the Needle. From the stateliest denizen of the proudest palace, to the humblest dweller in the poorest cottage, all more or less ply the busy needle; from the crying infant of a span long and an hour’s life, to the silent tenant of “the narrow house,” all need its practical services.
Yet have the Needle and its beautiful and useful creations hitherto remained without their due meed of praise and record, either in sober prose or sounding rhyme,—while their glittering antithesis, the scathing and destroying sword, has been the theme of admiring and exulting record, without limit and without end!
The progress of real civilization is rapidly putting an end to this false prestige in favour of the “Destructive” weapon, and as rapidly raising the “Conservative” one in public estimation; and the time seems at length arrived when that triumph of female ingenuity and industry, “The Art of Needlework” may be treated as a fitting subject of historical and social record—fitting at least for a female hand.
The chief aim of this volume is that of affording a comprehensive record of the most noticeable facts, and an entertaining and instructive gathering together of the most curious and pleasing associations, connected with “The Art of Needlework,” from the earliest ages to the present day; avoiding entirely the dry technicalities of the art, yet furnishing an acceptable accessory to every work-table—a fitting tenant of every boudoir.
The Authoress thinks thus much necessary in explanation of the objects of a work on what may be called a maiden topic, and she trusts that that leniency in criticism which is usually accorded to the adventurer on an unexplored track will not be withheld from her.
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