Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Textile design

Textile design

  • Place of origin:

    Lyon (made)

  • Date:

    1762 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on engraved paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case T, shelf 204

This design is a preparatory technical drawing for a patterned silk. It acted as instructions for the weaver about how to tie up the threads on the loom and then weave in the pattern. It is one of a group of 1577 such designs commissioned by a silk manufacturing partnership active in Lyon, the most prestigious centre of the silk industry in Europe from the 1660s onwards.

The partnership was called L. Galy, Gallien et cie from 1761 until the beginning of 1771 when the senior partner Louis Galy retired. Louis Gallien continued the business under the name L. Gallien et cie into the late 1780s, by which time he was specialising in plain rather than patterned silks. It was one of Lyon’s 400 manufacturing concerns mid century and it kept good records, noting on the back of the designs the company name, the number of the design, the date, and minimal instructions on how it should be woven. Such information allowed the manufacturers to go back to the original design work if they received requests for a reweave of the design.

The inscription on the back reveals that this design was completed on 10 February 1762 and was no. 668 in the archive of L. Galy, Gallien et cie. The stamp reveals that it belonged to an early 20th-century designer who may have used it as inspiration for his own designs. The curvaceous pattern is typical of this decade in French silk production, and according to the instructions on the back would have been woven in a monochrome or cameo effect and contained metal threads.

Physical description

The design is painted in gouache on to point paper (a kind of graph paper). The pattern comprises a ribbon meander in two shades of blue, pink and white, crossed by a spray of roses in shades of green. There is a bouquet of diverse flowers in the same colours on the left of the meander. On the front the name of the printer of the paper is engraved along with the type of paper. On the back is inscribed in handwriting in ink the name of the manufacturer, the date of the design, its number, the type of the fabric and some instructions for weaving.

Place of Origin

Lyon (made)


1762 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gouache on engraved paper

Marks and inscriptions

On the front: 8 en 10 Huilliot a Lion.
On the back:
Du 10 fevrier 1762 L. Galy Gallien et compe.
No. 668 Satin en camayeu en dorures et soye 40 dix[ain]es a re[petition]
Per lat le blanc
2 le vert second
3 le vert clair
4 le vert brun et le paille
5 le gris brun
6 le porcelaine
Also on the back stamped in purple: Robert Ruepp, 7 rue Bergere, Paris.


Height: 17.5 in, Width: 21.25 in

Descriptive line

Design for brocaded silk, 1762, French; L. Galy Gallien et compe., ribbon meander, flowers, blue, green

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

L. E. Miller. 'Mysterious Manufacturers: Identifying L. Galy, Gallien et Cie. and their Contribution to the 18th Century Lyon Silk Industry'. Studies in the Decorative Arts, Vol. IX. No. 2 (2002), pp. 87-131
L.E. Miller. 'Between Engraving and Silk Manufacture in Late Eighteenth-Century Lyons: Marie-Anne Brenier and Other Point Papermakers'. Studies in the Decorative Arts, Vol. III, No. 2, 1996, pp. 52-77
N. Rothstein. Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990, p. 249.

Production Note

Date and place of making attributed on basic of inscription on back of design.

Attribution note: The second stage of silk design; the technical drawing that allowed the loom to be mounted.


Paper; Gouache; Ink


Painted; Handwritten



Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.