Bed Valance

1600-1610 (made)
Bed Valance thumbnail 1
Bed Valance thumbnail 2
+19
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 58b
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This remarkable valance, virtually complete, cannot have seen much use since it is still in prime condition with unfaded colours. Many textiles of this age have been damaged by light so that their colours are now subdued and appear to be in a limited range of dyes. The valance is particularly important in demonstrating how very bright and vibrant the colours could be in the 16th century. It is the only known valance that might have been woven at the Sheldon tapestry workshop.

Use
The valance would have been hung around the top of a bed, together with curtains. Bed furnishings provided warmth and decoration. Many had lively narrative scenes or favourite motifs in bright colours.

Subjects Depicted
The idealised hunting and country scenes, separated by vases of fruit and flowers, show some of the favoured pursuits of 16th- and 17th-century England. The limited sense of perspective is still provided in much the same way as it had been in tapestries of the 15th century, with scenes in layers set on hilly slopes. The topmost layer showing small trees and castles gives a sketchy impression of the far distance.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Tapestry-woven in silk and wool, with some silver thread; 18-19 warp threads per in (7-8 per cm)
Brief Description
tapestry, 1590-1620, English; Sheldon. Rural and hunting scenes
Physical Description
The valance is composed of a narrow floral border above a long narrow strip with hunting scenes against a landscape background. The border is in three pieces, stitched together: 96.5; 193; 289.6 cm long respectively (the latter has an uncut division 96.5cm from the selvedge). The valance is in three pieces: 203.2; 143.5; 203.2cm long respectively.
Dimensions
  • Height: 25cm
  • Width: 534cm
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Valances were often made of tapestry, woven with flowers, fruit and scenes of rural life. They were hung around the top and bottom of a bed, usually with matching curtains, to provide warmth and decoration. The exceptionally bright, unfaded colours on this valance suggest that it has been little used. Green and yellow dyes were particularly vulnerable to fading.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support, and the assistance of Sir Frederick Richard, the Vallentin Bequest and an anonymous donor
Object history
Made at the Sheldon tapestry workshops at Bordesley, Worcestershire or Barcheston, Warwickshire. Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund, Sir Frederick Richard and an anonymous donor, in 1934 from the executors of Colonel Henry Howard (RP 3144/1934).

Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type

This remarkable valance, virtually complete, cannot have seen much use since it is still in prime condition with unfaded colours. Many textiles of this age have been damaged by light so that their colours are now subdued and appear to be in a limited range of dyes. The valance is particularly important in demonstrating how very bright and vibrant the colours could be in the 16th century. It is the only known valance that might have been woven at the Sheldon tapestry workshop.



Use

The valance would have been hung around the top of a bed, together with curtains. Bed furnishings provided warmth and decoration. Many had lively narrative scenes or favourite motifs in bright colours.



Subjects Depicted

The idealised hunting and country scenes, separated by vases of fruit and flowers, show some of the favoured pursuits of 16th- and 17th-century England. The limited sense of perspective is still provided in much the same way as it had been in tapestries of the 15th century, with scenes in layers set on hilly slopes. The topmost layer showing small trees and castles gives a sketchy impression of the far distance.
Collection
Accession Number
T.117-1934

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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