Not currently on display at the V&A

Stevengraph

1886-1902 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This 'stevengraph' is one of a series of inexpensive pictures woven in Coventry by Thomas Stevens. On the reverse of the card is a label printed with the date 1902. Thomas Stevens learned the art of ribbon weaving with the Coventry firm of Pears & Franklin. In 1854 he set up his own business in Queen Street, Coventry. He began weaving plain and fancy ribbons, but was soon experimenting with the development of the jacquard loom to produce pictures. With a general collapse in the British silk trade in the 1860s Stevens continued to produce pictures (which he called 'stevengraphs'). However, although he took out a number of patents, none of these was for a picture.

Stevengraphs were woven to suit a wide audience. They ranged from small examples selling at 6d to large ones that sold for much as 15s. In no time Stevens had created an entirely new market through booksellers and stationers, as opposed to selling to the drapery trade, as most producers in Coventry had always done.

Stevengraphs depict many subjects, including portraits, local scenes, British and foreign royalty, famous buildings, historical events, classical subjects, sports scenes, nursery rhymes and locomotion. This example shows the exterior of the Crystal Palace building after its move to Sydenham.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Jacquard-woven silk, mounted on card
Brief description
Stevengraph picture Jacquard-woven in silk and mounted on card, made by Thomas Stevens, Coventry, 1886-1902
Physical description
Stevengraph picture Jacquard-woven in silk and mounted on card. With an exterior view of the Crystal Palace shown on its side in Sydenham with the ornamental gardens and the two additional towers. Woven mainly in shades of green silk. On the front of the green mount is inscribed 'The Crystal Palace'. On the reverse is a trade label printed in 1902. The original card mounts show the title of the Stevengraphs plus details of materials and manufacturer.
Dimensions
  • Sight height: 13.7cm
  • Sight width: 6cm
  • Mount height: 8.125in
  • Mount height: 20.9cm
  • Mount width: 5.125in
  • Mount width: 13cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 19/01/1999 by sf
Marks and inscriptions
'The Crystal Palace' (Inscribed on the front of the green mount)
Gallery label
British Galleries: THREE 'STEVENGRAPHS'
Stevengraphs are woven pictures produced by the jacquard weaving technology. They illustrate the abillity of a jacquard loom to execute complex pictorial designs. Such pictures were developed by Thomas Stevens and sold as souvenirs or mementoes in a similar way to engravings.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Woven in Coventry, West Midlands, by Thomas Stevens (born in Foleshill, near Coventry, West Midlands, 1829, died in London, 1888)
Summary
This 'stevengraph' is one of a series of inexpensive pictures woven in Coventry by Thomas Stevens. On the reverse of the card is a label printed with the date 1902. Thomas Stevens learned the art of ribbon weaving with the Coventry firm of Pears & Franklin. In 1854 he set up his own business in Queen Street, Coventry. He began weaving plain and fancy ribbons, but was soon experimenting with the development of the jacquard loom to produce pictures. With a general collapse in the British silk trade in the 1860s Stevens continued to produce pictures (which he called 'stevengraphs'). However, although he took out a number of patents, none of these was for a picture.

Stevengraphs were woven to suit a wide audience. They ranged from small examples selling at 6d to large ones that sold for much as 15s. In no time Stevens had created an entirely new market through booksellers and stationers, as opposed to selling to the drapery trade, as most producers in Coventry had always done.

Stevengraphs depict many subjects, including portraits, local scenes, British and foreign royalty, famous buildings, historical events, classical subjects, sports scenes, nursery rhymes and locomotion. This example shows the exterior of the Crystal Palace building after its move to Sydenham.
Collection
Accession number
CIRC.348-1976

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Record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL
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