Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries

Embroidery Pattern

1800-1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
The tendency to simplify is visible in many designs made as patterns, such as this one. Simplicity is a characteristic which allows for the pattern to be followed in another medium. The pattern had to be worked out in pencil, pen and ink on paper first, where mistakes could easily be corrected before the design was worked in the less adaptable craft of embroidery. The pattern could then be copied by the embroiderer onto the material that was to be embroidered.

Materials & Making
The drawing is on tracing paper because the pattern had to be flexible enough to be stitched into position. There are numerous pinholes in the tracing paper. The pinholes are concentrated around the circumference of the circular border, with a few in the pattern itself. The pinholes are evidence that the pattern was used. They are likely to be pinholes made by a needle. The pattern was probably stitched, using tacking stitches, to the under-surface of a thin, transparent material, such as muslin. The stitches would hold the tracing paper in position while keeping it flexible. The pattern could then be traced by painting it onto the surface of the material ready to be embroidered.

Social Class
It was a sign of social status that a middle- or upper-class woman should be seen to have nothing to do. It was acceptable for such women to use patterns in preparation for embroidery.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pen and ink and pencil on tracing paper
Brief Description
Anonymous Embroidery Pattern

First half of the nineteenth century
Physical Description
Pen and ink and pencil drawing on tracing paper
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 8.7cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 01/12/1999 by KN
Gallery Label
British Galleries: NEEDLEWORKING SKILLS
Ladies in polite society were expected to be proficient in a wide range of needleworking skills. The graceful rhythm of techniques such as knotting or netting was thought to show off the elegance of a lady's hands. Embroidery, knitting and crochet are still current today. Knotting produced a decorative thread, with rows of little knots, that was sewn onto fabric. Fine net, made with thread from a decorative shuttle, was often further embroidered.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Made in Britain
Summary
Object Type
The tendency to simplify is visible in many designs made as patterns, such as this one. Simplicity is a characteristic which allows for the pattern to be followed in another medium. The pattern had to be worked out in pencil, pen and ink on paper first, where mistakes could easily be corrected before the design was worked in the less adaptable craft of embroidery. The pattern could then be copied by the embroiderer onto the material that was to be embroidered.

Materials & Making
The drawing is on tracing paper because the pattern had to be flexible enough to be stitched into position. There are numerous pinholes in the tracing paper. The pinholes are concentrated around the circumference of the circular border, with a few in the pattern itself. The pinholes are evidence that the pattern was used. They are likely to be pinholes made by a needle. The pattern was probably stitched, using tacking stitches, to the under-surface of a thin, transparent material, such as muslin. The stitches would hold the tracing paper in position while keeping it flexible. The pattern could then be traced by painting it onto the surface of the material ready to be embroidered.

Social Class
It was a sign of social status that a middle- or upper-class woman should be seen to have nothing to do. It was acceptable for such women to use patterns in preparation for embroidery.
Collection
Accession Number
D.2166-1885

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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