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Cushion cover

Cushion cover

  • Place of origin:

    England (embroidered)

  • Date:

    ca. 1540 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen canvas, embroidered with silk in tent stitch

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Nina Cotton, in memory of Capt. Francis Cotton RIM

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
Many long cushion covers, specifically made to size to go on hard wooden benches, survive from the 16th and 17th centuries. The significance of this example lies in the quality of its design and the heraldry denoting ownership.

Materials & Making
The survival of so many embroideries worked in wool or silk on linen canvas reflects the popularity of such work in the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was used extensively for furnishings. It is likely that many pieces of this type also survived because, unlike richer embroideries with metal thread, those made of less valuable materials were not dismantled. Little information is available about the relative roles of professional and amateur embroiderers. Large quantities of domestic and probably amateur work survive and this cushion cover falls into that category. Well-to-do women were frequently skilled embroiderers and could produce work of a high standard.

Design & Designing
Heraldic motifs such as those on this cushion cover were used extensively in canvas work, which was particularly well suited to bold patterns and motifs. The flowers, foliage and insects in the pattern reflect the great interest in the natural world at this time.

Physical description

Cushion cover

Place of Origin

England (embroidered)


ca. 1540 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen canvas, embroidered with silk in tent stitch


Height: 58.4 cm, Width: 113 cm, Depth: 2.5 cm mounted with slight convex surface

Descriptive line

Arms of Warneford-Yates

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The arms at the centre of this cushion cover are of John Warneford (left) joined with those of his wife, Susanna, daughter of John Yates (right). Her arms included a gate, a pun on the family name Yates. Cushions were a popular means of displaying arms in domestic settings. [27/03/2003]


Textiles; Heraldry


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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