Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery

Towel or Napkin

1830-1870 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

At the end of the 18th century embroidery designs began to develop into rigid and heavily stylised borders for towels and napkins. The colours of 18th and 19th century embroideries were originally very bright but many have faded to pleasing pastel shades; often great quantities of metal thread were used. Napkins were mainly used to clean fingers during meals, but were also used as decoration and as covers. Their designs were consistently inventive.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cotton, embroidered with silk in double darning, double running in a line and musabak stitch, with metal thread in double darning and satin stitch, and with plate in satin stitch
Physical Description
Towel/Napkin, cotton embroidered with silk in double darning, double running in a line, and musabak stitch, metal thread in double darning and satin stitch and plate in satin stitch.

There is a narrow border of trees, small buildings and large flowering stems. Above this is a solid band of metal thread edged at the front with a row of small pink flowers. Above the band are two motifs: 1) a well filled with blue water and with a bucket suspended from a roller 2) a substantial building in blue with pink windows set against tree-lined hills.One side has been cut and hemmed
Dimensions
  • Length: 245cm
  • Width: 35cm
Style
Gallery Label
Jameel Gallery 7, 8 Embroidered napkins Turkey 1830–70 Embroidery was a popular form of decoration in the Ottoman home. Items such as napkins were embroidered with great quantities of colourful silk and metal thread in inventive designs. Images of ornate houses and gardens (the ideal Ottoman home) were fashionable in the 19th century. These napkins are embroidered with various stitches including muşabak, meaning ‘netted’, a type of openwork found only on Ottoman embroidery. This can be seen most clearly in the green walls of the buildings in the napkin on the left. Cotton embroidered with silk and metal thread Museum nos. T.458, 460-1950 Given by Prof. R.M. Dawkins(20/09/2012)
Credit line
Given by Prof. R. M. Dawkins
Subjects depicted
Summary
At the end of the 18th century embroidery designs began to develop into rigid and heavily stylised borders for towels and napkins. The colours of 18th and 19th century embroideries were originally very bright but many have faded to pleasing pastel shades; often great quantities of metal thread were used. Napkins were mainly used to clean fingers during meals, but were also used as decoration and as covers. Their designs were consistently inventive.
Bibliographic Reference
Illustrated in 'Ottoman Embroidery' by Marianne Ellis and Jennifer Wearden (V&A Publication, 2001); plate 102
Collection
Accession Number
T.460-1950

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 9, 2001
Record URL