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Design

Design

  • Place of origin:

    Spitalfields (designed)

  • Date:

    23/05/1710 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Leman, James, born 1688 - died 1745 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and bodycolour on laid paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support and the National Heritage Memorial Fund

  • Museum number:

    E.1861:80-1991

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This design is from an album that contains 104 designs for fine woven silk cloth and is dated May 23rd 1710. A constant supply of fashionable new designs from which to create new lines was required, so patternmakers and master weavers like James Leman supplied a wide range of designs for different weavers. The album contains some of his work from the period 1706-1716, as well as five designs from the 1730s. There is a silk woven from this design in the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

James Leman was born in 1688 into a weaving family of Huguenot descent. In 1702 he was apprenticed to his father, Peter, and lived with his family in Stewart Street, Spitalfields in London. Leman's inscription on the design states that it was made for his father Peter Leman, showing that he drew it while still an apprentice. It was commissioned by Mr Wittington, a mercer who bought 33 of Leman's designs between 1708 and 1721.

Physical description

Design for woven silk from the 'Leman Album', in pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and bodycolour on laid paper, in yellow ochre, orange, red, blue and black, depicting a central, semi-circular motif decorated internally with six cylinders, over and under which is a spray of red foliage and berries. Below this motif is an orange with leaves and above the semi-circular top of the motif is a diagonal pile of oranges. Covering the rest of the design are architectural, decorative, floral and foliate motifs.

The design is squared up in pencil for cords and dezines, with dezines numbered in ink.

Place of Origin

Spitalfields (designed)

Date

23/05/1710 (designed)

Artist/maker

Leman, James, born 1688 - died 1745 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and bodycolour on laid paper

Marks and inscriptions

'London May 23d/1710 - / This pattern for an Italian Damask Brocad: with Frost & plain / Gold, frost Silver & Silk of two colours or more / For Mr Wittington & Comp / 450 cords No [crossed through] 8 & 10 - 115 Dezines in 5 Simples'
Handwritten text in ink including the designer's signature and date, on the back of the design, on the fold.

'for my Father Peter Leman - / by me James Leman-'
Handwritten text in ink including the designer's signature and date, on the back of the design, under the fold.

Squared up in pencil for cords and dezines, with dezines numbered in ink.
Handwritten makers' and designer's marks in pencil and ink, on the front of the design.

Dimensions

Height: 54.3 cm, Width: 26.4 cm, Height: 21.375 in, Width: 10.375 in

Object history note

This is a design from the so-called 'Leman album' which was bought from Vanners Silks Ltd. in 1991. Natalie Rothstein catalogued the designs before the album was bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum. She gave each design a VS number (for Vanners Silks) in her catalogue Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century. The designs have been subsequently numbered by the Prints, Drawings and Paintings Department, however, a concordance exists.

Historical significance: The designs collected in the album are, with the exception of some fragmentary medieval examples in Italian collections, the earliest silk designs known to exist.

This design was taken out of the album and mounted for exhibition. It is shown back in its original position in the album with E.1861.79-1991 (VS.70) on the opposite page.

Descriptive line

Design for woven silk from the 'Leman Album', pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and bodycolour on laid paper, by James Leman, Spitalfields, 1710

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

p. 103, pl. 18
Rothstein, Natalie. Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century in the Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London with a Complete Catalogue with 473 Illustrations, 371 in Colour. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990. 351p., ill. ISBN 0500235899.

Production Note

Natalie Rothstein stated in her book, Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century that 'there is a silk woven from this design in the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (AA.486) (illus. p. 39)'.

Materials

Pencil; Ink; Watercolour; Bodycolour; Laid paper

Techniques

Painting; Drawing

Categories

Designs; Textiles

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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