Check out the needlework in this sixteenth-century portrait featured on the blog Needleprint. The intricacy of the work is astounding! I can only imagine the hours that went into embroidering the piece, as well as the patience of the portraitist in reproducing it.
The Needleprint blog has many interesting posts on early modern textiles. There are wonderful articles on seventeenth century embroidered gloves, textile and embroidered book bindings from time of Henry VIII, and fourteenth-century Florentine quilts. It's easy to lose yourself exploring and examining the photographs.
Sixteenth century blackwork