The question of what to call the high relief embroidery currently enjoying a resurgence is a pertinant one. We often get lost in a sea of words that confound our imaginations and thus our understanding. I felt the following authoritative referenced excerpts might be helpful. Stumpwork was in its heyday during the baroque period, from about 1580 to 1650. The baroque period began in 1600 and lasted through 1750, wherein the classic period began. The baroque period was actually the more regal in design. The change from the more simple embroideries and patterns after about 1620 is quite revealing. It is currently being revived under several terms: three dimensional, dimensional, stumpwork, raised work, and includes both 17th century techniques as well as the more modern Brazilian.
P. Clabburn Dictionary 1976
Brazilian: No entry
Elizabethan: The age of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) produced the finest embroideries ever worked in England. This was partly due to the introduction of fine steel needles, but also to the spirit of the Renaissance, the love of finery and rich fabrics of the court and nobility, the emergence of pattern books and aids for the home embroiderer, and the rise in power and wealth of the trading classes.
Emboss: 1. Term used more in America than in England which implies needlework in relief. The relief can be formed either by padding or by making layers of stitches underneath the motif, such as chain stitch underneath satin stitch, or satin stitch worked in the opposite direction underneath satin stitch. 2. Method of stitchery used in Romanian embroideries in which the material is puckered or raised and is more like smocking than an embroidery design in relief. The embossing is usually worked in either white or off-white silk threads. (ref. Harkness 1959)
Raised embroidery: Type of 19th cent. embroidery consisting of flowers and buds worked in satin stitches over a pad of cotton wool which was carefully cut to shape and fastened to the ground with a large cross stitch.
Raised work: aka embossed work, stump work, cut canvas work, embroidery on the stamp
Embroidery with a 3-dimensional effect made by using small wooden molds or pads of cotton wool and by adding loosely attached details in lace stitches. Favorite work in the 17th century when it was called: raised or embossed work, but later it became known as embroidery on the stamp and later still (19th century) stump work, though why is unclear. Raised work was the culmination of a girl’s training.
Stump work: See raised work
Batsford Encyclopedia 1984
Brazilian: No Entry
Raised applique: Areas of fabric or embroidered surfaces which are either stitched over padding or padded before applied.
Usually it is the stitchery which is supported, but some traditional techniques such as stump work [sic] where it is characteristic that both applied fabric and stitchery should be raised.
Raised work: a term applicable to all embroidery having three-dimensional qualities as distinct from that consisting wholly of flat stitchery combined with the ground. The stitchery itself may be padded or supported by some foundation construction, applied fabrics may be wadded or stiffened or the stitchery may be looped or cut into a raised pile. The term applies specifically to embroidery widely produced in “metal thread work” in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Stump work: embroidery on the stamp – 17th century belonging to Britain. Raised embroidery was practised widely on the continent.
Jane Nicholas 1995
Book Title: Stumpwork Embroidery [ed. note the one word] . . . for contemporary Raised Embroidery
Stumpwork . . . . The term is a contemporary one being in use only from the end of the 19th century. In the 17th century the technique was known as raised or embossed embroidery.
Dorothy Clarke 1996
Coloured silk embroidery of the style of Elizabethan period.
Ed note: From digesting the contents of the book, the embroidery employs the techniques of raised embroidery, including padding, but the embroidery was used on clothing and household items as opposed to caskets or other wood boxes which sported stump work with wooden padding (molds) beneath the stitchery. The author notes she is not duplicating the period but is a contemporary view of the art form from patterns and pieces garnered from the period.
Stump work is more akin to scenic views such as meadows, or a box wherein figures are on one side, birds on another, without regard to proportion. For instance, a bee could be half the size of a human. Elizabethan embroidery is more akin to the flowing Renaissance designs used in the period.
It would appear that between continents and between designers, the term stump work is both two words and one, and the choice of terminology is split between raised embroidery (or raised work), stump work, and occasionally Elizabethan embroidery because it was in the middle of her reign from which this high relief embroidery originated. Whether this settles down over time is unclear, since the choice of words for this technique has changed through the centuries, from metal and thread to padded whitework to embossed work. Raised embroidery, raised work and stump work all mean the same: high relief embroidery. Keep in mind that raised work historically also has to do with other forms of plush embroideries, including canvas work.
I invite anyone who has other respected resources to add to this discussion.