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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (known, designed)
    London (made)

  • Date:

    2010 (designed)
    2010 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Saunders, Nina (designer)
    Saunders, Nina (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wooden box upholstered in pink silk, with plastic

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Nina Saunders works with a variety of media, including textiles, furniture and found objects. Subverting any notion of the pastoral, domestic idyll, her work is emotionally challenging and often provocative. Her primary technique is upholstery, carefully stretching fabric to radically subvert notions of the everyday.

Saunders' inspiration for this piece is based on the stories of maternal love and loss within the context of the Foundling Museum. She was particularly moved by the trinkets and pieces of fabric pinned to babies - tokens of recognition should the mother ever be financially able to reclaim and support her child. Saunders explores this tension within the context of the Victorian class structure. As a starting point for this piece she has taken the concept of the nineteenth century workbox. Saunders challenges the original function of the workbox, which would have traditionally contained precious tools, possession, secrets and keepsakes. Here the workbox ceases to be a symbol of Victorian middle class feminine virtue, expressed through the act of stitching. Instead, it acts as a vehicle for remembrance, the tiny baby fists act as a memorial to a lost childhood both physically and mentally.

Physical description

Wooden sewing box, upholstered in pink silk. Plastic baby limbs protrude from the interior of the box, some with clenched fists.

Place of Origin

London (known, designed)
London (made)


2010 (designed)
2010 (made)


Saunders, Nina (designer)
Saunders, Nina (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wooden box upholstered in pink silk, with plastic


Height: 63 cm, Length: 131 cm

Descriptive line

Installation, found early 20th century sewing box, silk upholstery, plastic baby limbs, entitled 'Whispers' designed and made by Nina Saunders, Danish, 2010.


Wood; Silk; Plastic




Dolls & Toys; Installation art; Needlework accessories; Textiles

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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