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  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, designed)

  • Date:

    1782-1794 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2D, shelf DR111, box T184

This is a design for embroidery on muslin or gauze. It is possibly for an apron which women wore over gowns as a form of fashionable informal dress. This design extends down each side. It is unfinished on the right side with a suggestion of how the pattern repeats. There are sprigs in the centre. The pattern down the sides could be for the sides and the sprigs could decorate the central part of the apron.

Physical description

The design depicts baskets containing leaves alternating with bows and leaves between two borders of a looping line with a leaf by each loop. The design is the same on the other side but is unfinished. There is a central sprig of a bow with leaves in the centre. The design has the same motifs as E.236-1973. The design is in pen and ink on a large, rectangular sheet of wove paper. There are no holes for pouncing. There is smudging. There are pinholes all over the sheet but especially in the corners of the finished side. The sheet of paper has been folded numerous times but it is flattened out.

Place of Origin

London (probably, designed)


1782-1794 (designed)



Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

A letter 'B' in the centre of the sheet which is the same watermark as that in the design E.268-1973.


Height: 33 cm, Width: 43.2 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).

**Johnes, Raymond. Japanese Art London: Spring Books, 1961.

Descriptive line

Anonymous designs for embroidery, 18th century

Production Note

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.


Ink; Paper




Designs; Embroidery; Textiles; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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