This amazing early needlework is a naive interpretation of the story of Abraham and Isaac, in which God tests the loyalty of Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The needleworker has gathered together various elements of the biblical tale showing, on the upper right, Abraham preparing for the sacrifice of his son, who kneels next to his father; on the bottom left we see Abraham's servant waiting with an ass; at the top of the image The Angel of the Lord appears in a wondrous cloud, stretching out his hand to stop Abraham from sacrificing his son; beneath the angel we see the ram caught in a bush, with the sacrificial fire lit below; finally, at the bottom right there is a small creature, surrounded by an inscription, "Abraham forbear the angel cried they faith is know they love is tryd thy son shall live and in thy seed shall the whole earth be bless indeed". The whole picture is worked in a wonderfully vivid and lively manner in polychrome silks, using a wide variety of stitches. Costumes are worked in a fantastic range of bright colours; charming details, such as the red, white and green angel's wings, the rather grouchy looking sun and the geometric design of the verdant landscape enliven the needlework, and are also a touching expression of the imagination of the person who worked it. English, circa 1700 (possibly earlier). Height 16 1/4" (41cm) Width 11 1/4" (28.5cm) - excluding frame.