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Bath towel

Bath towel

  • Place of origin:

    Turkey (made)

  • Date:

    1849-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered linen with silk and metal thread

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

At the end of the 18th century embroidery designs began to develop into rigid and heavily stylised borders for towels and napkins. The colours are strong and greater quantities of metal thread were used. The designs were consistently inventive. The colours in some 19th century embroideries were originally very bright but have faded to pleasing pastel shades.
Bath towels were woven with a looped pile. The idea was introduced into western Europe when it was copied by the Manchester firm of Christy and Sons about 1840. This towel was purchased from The Great Exhibition which was held in London in 1851.

Physical description

Bath towel of 2/2 linen twill with weft loops embroidered with silk in double darning and double running in a line and with metal thread in mushabak stitch, double running in a line and slanted satin stitch. The plate has been used for slanted satin stitch and satin stitch filling-squares.
The towel has a deep border at either end. It is densely packed with scrolls, flowers, vases of fruit and bunches of grapes. Below this is a narrow border of cypress trees and flowers.

Place of Origin

Turkey (made)


1849-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered linen with silk and metal thread


Length: 156 cm, Width: 89 cm, Length: 63 in, Width: 36 in

Descriptive line

Bath towel in embroidered linen with silk and metal thread, Turkey, 1849-1850

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Illustrated in 'Ottoman Embroidery' by Marianne Ellis and Jennifer Wearden (V&A Publications, 2001); plates 89 and 90


Linen; Silk; Metal thread


Weaving; Embroidering

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Vase; Grapes; Fruit; Cypress


Textiles; Embroidery


Middle East Section

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