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Saddle cover

Saddle cover

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1850c (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (designed and made by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    cotton yarn, silk thread, metal thread, weaving, embroidering, sewing.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Silk velvet embroidered with couched metal thread and silk in straight stitches, interlined with stiffened plain weave cotton and backed with paper; the embroidery has been worked through all the layers.
Formed of a rounded rectangle with a partial semi-circular addition. The velvet has been pieced and includes one selvedge with green and yellow warp threads. At the central edge of the semi-circular panel there is evidence of the end of a loom piece: there are two rows of black silk and two or more of white silk. The velvet was originally glued onto the interlining. The rounded rectangle is decorated with a banding of couched rosettes in silver metal thread; this is edged either side with a band of silver thread laid over the seams. A curved arch form with simple trefoil shapes, again in silver thread, interrupts this border on both side sections but the top section is left undecorated. The central space is decorated with a long, waisted V-shape edged in silver metal thread and infilled with a silver-gilt meander.
The partial semi-circular addition is similarly decorated over the seams with a thick leafy silver stem meander emerging from a centrally placed 'lotus' rosette framed in silver-gilt. The meander carries branches, leaves, palmettes and rosettes in silver-gilt with additional details in pink, purple, green and blue silk in straight stitches. A bird is shown in profile perched on the meander either side. Despite all this, the design is very flat and lifeless.
Embroidery Thread: Silk, 2S.
Metal Thread: [1] silver strip close S-wound on white silk thread; [2] silver-gilt strip close S-wound on beige silk.
Interlining: stiffened cotton.
Backing: thick paper, beige in tone.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


1850c (made)


Unknown (designed and made by)

Materials and Techniques

cotton yarn, silk thread, metal thread, weaving, embroidering, sewing.

Marks and inscriptions

paper label attached by thread, printed 'No. 2/1663 Reg. 11/12/85 On loan from S&A Department.'


Length: 70 cm maximum, Width: 85 cm maximum

Object history note

At time of acquisition this was said to have been made for the mother of the current Shah of Persia in c. 1850. Purchased for £3.5 in 1876 from Major Murdoch Smith

Descriptive line

embroidered velvet, 1850c, Persian

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

Published in 'Iranian Textiles' by Jennifer Wearden and Patricia L Baker (V&A Publishing, 2010) Plate 81.


Equestrian equipment; Transport


Middle East Section

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