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Cushion cover

Cushion cover

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1603-25 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen canvas embroidered with silk, wool and metal thread

  • Museum number:

    816-1893

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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. Long cushion covers like this were specifically made to fit wooden benches and window seats.

We do not know the identity of Mary Hulton, whose name appears on the cushion. The quality of the embroidery, and the amount of metal thread worked into it, suggests that it was professional rather than domestic work, so it may have been commissioned by her. Heraldic motifs, like the Royal Arms incorporated here, were often included in 17th century embroidery, reflecting an overriding interest in family and social position.

Physical description

Linen canvas embroidered with silk, wool and metal thread, mainly in tent stitch, with some plaited and long-armed cross stitch. The stitches are minute, averaging 31 to 39 to the inch.

Letters MH once worked on either side of the shield have been filled in and replaced with stars.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1603-25 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Linen canvas embroidered with silk, wool and metal thread

Marks and inscriptions

MARY HVLTON
I R
IR for James Rex, King James I

Dimensions

Length: 52 cm, Width: 98 cm

Object history note

Made either by or for Mary Hulton, whose name appears beneath the Royal Arms.
Purchased by the Museum from Messrs J Sassoon & Co.

Descriptive line

embroidered, 1603-1625, English; "Mary Hulton" Royal Arms and IR

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.12

Labels and date

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

Cushion cover with royal arms
1603–25

In the 17th century decorated cushions were used because most chairs and stools were not upholstered. Long cushion covers like this were specifically made to fit wooden benches and window seats. Heraldic motifs were often part of the design, reflecting the social position of the family as well as their loyalty to the crown.

England
Made by or for Mary Hulton
Linen canvas, embroidered with silk, wool and metal thread
With royal arms and ‘IR’ for James Rex (James I)
V&A 816-1893 []

Techniques

Embroidering

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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