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Tapestry - La Dame Aux Belles Plumes
  • La Dame Aux Belles Plumes
    Curran, Lynne, born 1954
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La Dame Aux Belles Plumes

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1987 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Curran, Lynne, born 1954 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tapestry woven in wool

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Lynne Curran trained in tapestry at the Edinburgh College of Art from 1973-77. Her work is influenced by her surroundings and is an expression of her thoughts and interests. Her tapestries do not begin life as paintings but rather with the first movement of the shuttle across the warp, having evolved from notes in her sketchbooks. Curran believes it is important for her ideas to take shape as she weaves, as the time involved in the process of making helps to refine the story she is telling. Natural yarns, such as linen, silk, fine wool and sewing cotton are employed by Curran when weaving. Due to the fact that natural fibres are better at absorbing dye, there is often a density to the colours in Curran's work. These intense colours help to evoke a sense of passion in the moment she is celebrating. La Dame Aux Belles Plumes is a fine example of Curran's great ability to translate story into art, it is a self portrait of life with her hens, Wendy, Bunty and Mary, and her cat Victoria. Despite the simplistic nature of the imagery there is a palpable sense of mystery and gracefulness in the work.

Physical description

Hand-woven wool tapestry with the image of a woman in a semi-transparent lilac dress in the act of throwing a black cat through the air by its tail. Surrounded by assorted chickens and eggs.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1987 (made)


Curran, Lynne, born 1954 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Tapestry woven in wool

Object history note

Registered File number 1987/2250.

The image depicted in the tapestry is based on Curran's habit of swinging her cats out of the room by their tails as a punishment for eating the butterflies that hibernate in her cupboard. Curran had a dream about a butterfly opening its wings to reveal itself 'just like people when you get to know them'. This is repeated when the figure is wearing a flimsy dress. Curran has been excited about the making of translucency since weaving 'Soap and Chartreuse' where the nude in the bath disappears under the surface of the water by plyng flesh tones and water tones together. The friends who reveal their characters are the hens who on first meeting are all alike, and gradually Curran is able to tell them apart by their behaviour. There is corn scattered to them, a nest of eggs in the nettles and maybe some buddliah which attracts butterflies.

Displayed at the Ruskin Gallery, Sheffield, 1993-1994.

Descriptive line

Hand-woven wool tapestry 'La Dame Aux Belles Plumes', made by Lynne Curran, Great Britain, 1987.

Production Note

Commissioned by the V&A Textiles Department

Reason For Production: Commission


Wool (textile)



Subjects depicted

Cats; Chicken; Woman


Images Online; Textiles; Tapestry; Wall coverings

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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