Voided Work

Voided work, more commonly referred to these days as Assisi work (following a resurgence of interest in the style spurred on by its appearance in Assisi-area shops in the 20th century), features an embroidered background, with the main design left unstitched.

This style of embroidery is monochromatic, and usually involves some form of linear stitch (generally backstitch) and a cross stitch (sometimes long-armed cross stitch or Italian cross stitch). Unless otherwise referenced, all examples below are from Italy, and are done in silk thread on linen cloth.

For more information, see these links; additional examples can be found in this appendix.


  • LACMA M.88.127.1, an embroidered band with mermaids, cherubs, putti, animals, and monsters, Spain or Portugal, late 15th or early 16th century
  • Two 16th century samplers from Italy or Spain, at the Fundación Lázaro Galdiano: 11476 and 11477
  • LACMA M.63.33.3, an embroidered band with a vine, Italy, 16th century
  • Apron (Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire 20048516?), 16th century
  • Met 38.19.8, an apron, Italy, 16th century-17th century
  • AIC 1969.191 an altar cloth with embroidered bands of boys and flowers, Italy, 17th century
  • LACMA M.84.248.1, a length of needlework with a vine pattern, Italy, 17th century
  • V&A 747-1892, an altar frontal with lacis and embroidered bands of mermaids and abstract patterns, Italy, 17th century
  • AIC 1976.332, an apron embroidered with bands of grapevines, 17th century
  • AIC 1969.193, a border with grotesques (lions?) and urns, 17th century; notice similarity to MFA 90.38
  • V&A 1023-1901, a border with the labors of the months, March through October, 17th century
  • Various borders & fragments at the Cleveland Musem of Art:
    Various borders & fragments at the MFA: