Furnishing Fabric thumbnail 1
Furnishing Fabric thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 122

Furnishing Fabric

1650-1699 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is an expensive, high-quality Italian furnishing of the 17th century. When acquired by the Museum from an Italian source, this velvet was thought to have been woven in the 16th century, far closer to the Victorian ideal of late medieval design. Twentieth-century research on the silk industry in Genoa, however, suggests that the velvet was made in that city and at a later date.

At the time of acquisition William Morris (1834-1896) was acting as a referee to the Museum on the acquisition of textiles. This pattern is very similar to a number of his designs made at the time. One pattern in particular, called 'Wandle', is clearly influenced by this textile.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cut and uncut silk velvet on a ground covered with a continuous supplementary weft (gilded lame)
Brief Description
cut and uncut velvet, lame ground, Genoese
Physical Description
Furnishing fabric
Dimensions
  • Length: 163cm
  • Width: 53.3cm
Gallery Label
British Galleries: FURNISHING FABRIC and the velvet that inspired it
William Morris's design for a printed cotton was almost certainly inspired by this Italian brocaded velvet. The Museum purchased the velvet in 1883 at a time when Morris was acting as an advisor on textiles and he would certainly have seen it during one of his frequent visits. He has taken the strong diagonal pattern as the basis for his more elaborate pattern of formalised flowers.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Made in Genoa, Italy
Summary
This is an expensive, high-quality Italian furnishing of the 17th century. When acquired by the Museum from an Italian source, this velvet was thought to have been woven in the 16th century, far closer to the Victorian ideal of late medieval design. Twentieth-century research on the silk industry in Genoa, however, suggests that the velvet was made in that city and at a later date.



At the time of acquisition William Morris (1834-1896) was acting as a referee to the Museum on the acquisition of textiles. This pattern is very similar to a number of his designs made at the time. One pattern in particular, called 'Wandle', is clearly influenced by this textile.
Collection
Accession Number
442A-1883

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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