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Design

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, designed)

  • Date:

    1782-1786 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on wove paper

  • Museum number:

    E.257-1973

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case T, shelf 10, box A

This is a design for embroidery on muslin or gauze. It is probably for the border of a petticoat to a woman's open gown or for the border of the gown itself. Women wore gowns that were open in front to reveal the petticoat. This design is for the embroidery along the border above the bottom hem of a petticoat and also for such a border on the gown itself. The design repeated so that this pattern continued around the border.

The motif of bows with tassels appears to be generic and occurs on a length of mull (a light muslin) embroidered in coloured silks in a private collection and in a 'Pattern for a Train, Drawn by Mr Styart in Plate IV of The Fashionable Magazine published n London in 1786.

Physical description

The design consists of swags, tied, from which hang tassels. A seaweed-like plant hangs above between the bows. At the top is an undulating stem with pairs of leaves. The design is on a rectangular sheet of paper. There is no watermark. There are pinholes in all four corners along the top edge. The design has been folded into six at some time.

Place of Origin

London (probably, designed)

Date

1782-1786 (designed)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on wove paper

Dimensions

Height: 22.8 cm, Width: 39.3 cm

Object history note

The designs were bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1973 by Raymond Johnes who had 'enormous and miscellaneous collections'.* Johnes' collection included Japanese art, on which he published,** Indian and European material. He did not specialise in collecting textiles although he owned some examples. He was in contact with the Museum 1920s-1970 offering to sell objects from his collection. Johnes did not provide the Museum with information about the history of ownership of the designs.

*Mr B.W. Robinson, former Keeper of the Far Eastern Department, V&A, in a letter to Mr Ayres, Assistant- Keeper in the same Department, V&A Regsitry, nominal file, (MA/1/J479).

Descriptive line

Anonymous designs for embroidery, 18th century

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

The Fashionable Magazine. London: 1786, IV p., ill.

Production Note

The undulating stem, with leaves, is similar to 'Pattern for a Train, Drawn by Mr Styart' in Plate IV of The Fashionable Magazine. London, 1786. Perhaps Mr Styart was the pattern-drawer.

The design comes from a group of designs that were part of a retailer's archive which employed professional embroiderers. The names of the female clients inscribed on the designs were of the aristocracy, gentry or from wealthy families that moved in the upper reaches of society. They had homes in the country and came to London for the season. Retailers who sold such designs were linen drapers and lacemakers, both of which categories existed in London and were available to the clients. Many pattern drawers worked in London where their trade proved a lucrative business during the season. The similarity of some of the designs from this group to those by Styart, whose designs were published in London, does support the argument that these designs came from a retailer's archive based in London.

Materials

Ink; Wove paper

Techniques

Drawing

Categories

Embroidery; Designs; Textiles; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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