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Design

05/10/1708 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This design is from an album that contains 104 designs for fine woven silk cloth and is dated October 5th 1708. 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.

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 reveals that it was commissioned by Mr Sandys, a mercer who commissioned three designs from Leman between 1707 and 1708.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper
Brief description
Design for woven silk from the 'Leman Album', pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper, by James Leman, Spitalfields, 1708
Physical description
Design for woven silk from the 'Leman Album', in pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper, in green and yellow, depicting a branch, which is laid across the sheet of paper in a diagonal, sprouting large leaves or seedpods and half a fruit like a pineapple or breadfruit at the bottom of the design. In the bottom right corner is a fruit like breadfruit. Behind this main design is a stylised architectural feature, with a semi-circular top resting on one column painted in pale yellow wash.



The design is squared up in pencil for cords and dezines, with dezines numbered in ink.
Dimensions
  • Height: 64.8cm
  • Width: 26.7cm
  • Height: 25.5in
  • Width: 10.5in
Dimensions taken from 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.
Marks and inscriptions
  • 'London Octr: 5th-1708 - / A Damask wth a flush for Mr Sandys- / 450 Cords No 8 & 10 - 140 Dezines - 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, on the fold.)
  • '4 Simples' (Handwritten text in pencil, on the back of the design, in the bottom left corner of the fold. This inscription is difficult to see because it is on the crease.)
  • 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.)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support and the National Heritage Memorial Fund
Object history
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.
Summary
This design is from an album that contains 104 designs for fine woven silk cloth and is dated October 5th 1708. 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.



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 reveals that it was commissioned by Mr Sandys, a mercer who commissioned three designs from Leman between 1707 and 1708.
Bibliographic reference
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.p. 100Full text of the entry is as follows: 'London Octr: 5th-1708 - A Damask wth a flush for Mr Sandys - 450 Cords No 8 & 10 - 140 Dezines - for my Father Peter Leman- by me James Leman 4 Simples [in pencil] Squared up in pencil for cords and dezines, with dezines numbered in ink. 25 1/2" (64.8) x 10 1/2" (26.7) HJ.613 VS74'
Other number
VS.74 - 'VS' stands for Vanners Silks which owned the album when Natalie Rothstein catalogued it for her publication <u>Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century</u>.
Collection
Accession number
E.1861:83-1991

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Record createdMay 7, 2002
Record URL
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