Stumpwork, a term coined in the 19th century, was known as raised or embosted work in the 17th century. It reached the height of its popularity between 1650 and 1690 when embellished caskets, pictures and mirror frames were fashionable amongst the wealthy. With the influence of the European ‘broderie en relief’, a highly padded and naturalistic form of ecclesiastical embroidery which can be traced back to the 15th century, raised work gradually became popular for domestic and decorative embroidery.
Although it was not until the mid-17th century that stumpwork reached its peak, during the Elizabethan period many of the popular stumpwork elements were found: plants of the day were worked in detached buttonhole; padding and metal work could often be found in gauntlets and expensive gloves. Alongside these similarities in technique, many of the same motifs used in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods can be identified on stumpwork pieces.