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  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, designed)

  • Date:

    1782-1794 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, pen and ink on laid paper

  • Museum number:


  • 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 an apron which women wore over a gown as fashionable informal dress. The design repeated to the bottom of the textile but only part of the design is shown towards the bottom and right side indicating how the pattern repeats but remaining unfinished and leaving the bottom third and the right side blank

Physical description

There are no holes for pouncing. The design is of a thread drawn up into bows on which is draped a single, hanging leaf at intervals. The motif of the thread is repeated on a diagonal, one thread above the other. The design is unfinished at one end but the repeat is indicated and it could continue right to a borderless edge.

Place of Origin

London (probably, designed)


1782-1794 (designed)



Materials and Techniques

Pencil, pen and ink on laid paper

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 38.7 cm, Width: 24.1 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.

Attribution note: The design looks best in a vertical orientation. The design might be for a petticoat or an apron without a border. There is an apron in the Museum of London (MOL) which has sprigs all over it to the edge and which has only a narrow openwork border
MOL. NN8175. The way that the sprigs continue right to the edge is similar to this design which is why it could also be for an apron . There is another apron, in the same Museum, that has sprigs which continue to the edge. The border was made by gathering the muslin into a wide frill held by an embroidered seam MOL. Z.806.


Pencil; Ink; Laid paper




Designs; Embroidery; Textiles; Fashion


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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