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Textile design

Textile design

  • Place of origin:

    Lyon (made)

  • Date:

    1763 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache and ink on printed paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case T, shelf 205

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 silk industry in Europe from the 1660s onwards. The partnership was called L. Galy, Gallien et cie from 1761 until 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.

This company was one of Lyon’s 400 manufacturing concerns mid century. It kept good records, noting on the back of the designs the company name, the number of the design, the date the design was made, 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 8 July 1763 and was no. 850 in the archive of L. Galy, Gallien et cie.

Physical description

The design is painted in gouache on to point paper (a kind of graph paper). The pattern consists of a heavy swag of fringed cloth draped from top left to bottom right. A garland of flowers weaves around it and there is a bunch of slightly stylised flowers on the right. The swag is spotted in red with yellow flowers, the fringe is red and the lining yellow. 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)


1763 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gouache and ink on printed paper

Marks and inscriptions

On the front: 8 en 12 Huilliot a Lion
On the back:
Du 8 juillet 1763 L. Galy, Gallien et compe.
G[ros de] tours en dorures et nuence de 8 en 11 45 dix[ain]es a repetition
Per lat le rouge et le blanc
2 le gride lin
3 le lila
4 le pourpre et le gros jaune
5 le vert clair
6 le vert second
7 le vert brun
8 le gris brun
9 le paille et le porcelaine
Also on the back, stamped in purple: Robert Ruepp, 7 rue Bergère, Paris.
Instructions for setting up loom


Height: 48 cm, Width: 51.8 cm

Descriptive line

for silk, 1763, French; Galy Gallien, cloth meander, flowers, polychrome

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. 250

Production Note

Date and place based on inscription on back of design; this firm was based in Lyon

Attribution note: Second stage of silk design; technical drawing to enable mounting of loom


Paper; Gouache; Ink


Painted; Handwritten; Printed



Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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