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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1530-70 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered in wools in tent stitch on canvas ground

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This embroidery is described as a carpet, but it was intended for laying on a table as a costly and highly decorative cover, rather than on the floor. Its border would hang down vertically from the table's edge. The carpet would be covered up or removed if the table was used. 'Foot carpets' occasionally appear in contemporary paintings, in which case they are intended to indicate the high social standing of the sitter who can afford to have such an object underfoot.

Although embroidered furnishings were sometimes made in the home in this period, this carpet would have been produced in a professional workshop. It contains the initials NA, GG and GP, worked discretely at the ends, which may be those of the embroiderers.The tension of the embroidery stitches has pulled the canvas from a rectangular into a parallelogram shape.

Physical description

Central field with small geometric motifs, and three centred cartouches; the middle one with coat of arms, probably of Gifford, the left hand a deer grazing under an oak tree, and the right a deer drinking at a stream, under an oak tree. Each cartouche is surrounded with a wreath of carnations and acorns, and has a tudor rose at the top.

There is a wide border filled with a floral trellis, consisting of green stems with pink and white flowers on a yellow ground, and on either side of this border is a narrow border of blue and white.

The field is covered with a formal lozenge diaper of interlaced ornament in red and blue on a yellow ground.

The central medallion contains the achievement of the arms of Gifford of Steeple Claydon (gules three lions passant in pale argent armed and langued azure, two bearing a crescent for difference). At the top of the medallion is a crest consisting of a hand holding stag's horns, which may allude to the Rangership of Whaddon.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1530-70 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered in wools in tent stitch on canvas ground

Marks and inscriptions

In marquis at one end.

'G.G. / G.P.'
In marquis at one end. Presumably initials of professional embroiderers.


Width: 5535 mm Top edge, Width: 5515 mm Bottom edge, Length: 1410 mm Proper right, Length: 1380 mm Proper left, Weight: 22 kg Weight including roller

Object history note

Purchased. Registered File number 1930/8879. Traditionally associated with Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond (1443-1509), mother of Henry VII, but is probably not earlier than 1550.

Descriptive line

Carpet, embroidered, with probable Arms of Gifford; English; 1530-1569.

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

A.F.Kendrick, in Connoisseur, LXXVII, p.133
King, D., ed. British Textile Design in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Tokyo: 1980. Vol. I, b&w pl. 4.
Macquoid, Percy, and Ralph Edwards. Dictionary of English Furniture. Vol. I, pp. 183, 188.


Wool yarn; Canvas



Subjects depicted

Lions (heraldic); Carnations; Stags; Acorns




Textiles and Fashion Collection

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