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Cushion cover

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk satin embroidered with silk, metal thread and metal strip

  • Museum number:

    T.21-1923

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58, case 1

In the 17th century the majority of wooden chairs and stools were not upholstered, and in more prosperous homes, decorated cushions were widely used both for comfort and for the attractiveness of their appearance.

This cushion is embroidered with wild and garden flowers and plants, an exquisite example of the English taste for this sort of floral decoration. Illustrated botanical books were used frequently as design inspiration, and the flowers here are recognisable species, although their form has been stylised to fit the design of the embroidery. Each heart-shaped compartment has a different flower or plant, which include borage, cornflower, oak, rose, berry, pea, marigold, lily, honeysuckle, bluebell, columbine, heartsease, daffodil, currant and fern.

Physical description

Silk satin embroidered with silk, metal thread and metal strip in satin stitch and couched work. Red satin back. Three tassels attached. Edged with silver-gilt bobbin lace, with some spangles attached. Design of three horizontal rows of a coiling stem pattern, forming inverted heart-shaped compartments alternately reversed; from the lower centre of each rises a symetrical floral sprig.
Flowers and plants include borage, cornflower, oak, rose, berry, pea, marigold, lily, honeysuckle, bluebell, columbine, heartsease, daffodil, currant and fern.
Some of the gilt outline threads, originally couched in black, have been resewn in green.

Place of Origin

London (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1600 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silk satin embroidered with silk, metal thread and metal strip

Dimensions

Height: 53.5 cm, Width: 51 cm

Object history note

Purchased from the Spanish Art Gallery, Conduit Street, London W1.

Bought at Messrs Sotheby's sale (effects of General the Hon R Stuart Waverley, formerly the property of Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford), 9 February 1923, lot 8.

The cover has a manuscript label sewn to its reverse : "Louisa Marchioness of Waterford, Cushion, 16th cent., history unknown".

Descriptive line

embroidered, about 1600, English; Metal threads and strip on red satin

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

John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.13

Labels and date

Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars label text:

Cushion cover with flowers
About 1600

This cushion is embroidered with wild and garden flowers and plants. Illustrated botanical books were used as sources for design. The flowers here are recognisable species although their form has been
stylised to fit.

England
Silk satin embroidered with silk and metal thread, edged with gilded
bobbin lace and tassels
V&A T.21-1923 []
British Galleries label text:

CUSHION COVER
About 1600

Richly embroidered cushion covers were considerably more valuable than the wooden chairs they were used with. The patterns here are typical of the English taste for floral decoration. Sources for design were found in illustrated botanical books.

Silk satin embroidered with silk and metal thread, edged with gilded bobbin lace and tassels
Embroidered in England

Museum no. T.21-1923 [10/06/2014]

Materials

Silk

Techniques

Embroidering

Subjects depicted

Peas; Lily; Oak; Marigolds; Roses; Heartsease; Daffodil; Columbine; Honeysuckle; Borage; Cornflower; Bluebell; Fern

Categories

Textiles; Embroidery; British Galleries; Interiors

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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