Bradford Table Carpet thumbnail 1
Bradford Table Carpet thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 58, Bromley-by-Bow Room

Bradford Table Carpet

Table Carpet
1600-1615 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This embroidery is described as a carpet, but it was intended for laying on a table as a costly and highly decorative cover, rather than on the floor. Its pictorial border would hang down vertically from the table's edge. The carpet would be covered up or removed if the table was used. 'Foot carpets' occasionally appear in contemporary paintings, in which case they are intended to indicate the high social standing of the sitter who can afford to have such an object underfoot.

Makers & Making
This carpet was produced in a professional workshop, and the absence of heraldry suggests that it was made for sale on the open market rather than for a specific commission. The embroidery is exceptionally fine, with approximately 62 stitches to the square centimetre. The tension of the embroidery stitches has pulled the canvas from a rectangular into a parallelogram shape.

Design & Designing
The design of the carpet has sometimes been described as depicting humankind's progression from the wild state to civilisation. It can also be seen more simply as a celebration of country pursuits. There are scenes of hunting, fishing and shooting, as well as the rural occupations of shepherd, milkmaid and miller, with watermill and windmill. Rural scenes were very popular in embroidered furnishings in the later 16th and early 17th century.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen canvas, embroidered with silk thread in tent stitch
Brief Description
Table carpet, embroidered, English, 1600-15
Physical Description
Central field is a grid with scrolling vine stems and bunches of grapes. There is a deep border on each side showing a country landscape.

The canvas gound is in one piece, pulled out of shape by the tension of the embroidery stitches. About 400 stitches to the square inch.
Dimensions
  • Maximum, under tension height: 179.5cm
  • Maximum, under tension width: 422cm
Gallery Label
British Galleries: The range of luxury furnishings used in wealthy households included embroidered carpets. They were not used on the floor but as decorative table covers. The colourful and lively borders on this carpet were intended to hang down around the edges of the table and to be clearly visible. The absence of heraldry suggests that it was made for sale on the open market rather than as a specific commission.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support
Object history
Owned by the Earls of Bradford at Castle Bromwich Hall, West Midlands.
Summary
Object Type
This embroidery is described as a carpet, but it was intended for laying on a table as a costly and highly decorative cover, rather than on the floor. Its pictorial border would hang down vertically from the table's edge. The carpet would be covered up or removed if the table was used. 'Foot carpets' occasionally appear in contemporary paintings, in which case they are intended to indicate the high social standing of the sitter who can afford to have such an object underfoot.

Makers & Making
This carpet was produced in a professional workshop, and the absence of heraldry suggests that it was made for sale on the open market rather than for a specific commission. The embroidery is exceptionally fine, with approximately 62 stitches to the square centimetre. The tension of the embroidery stitches has pulled the canvas from a rectangular into a parallelogram shape.

Design & Designing
The design of the carpet has sometimes been described as depicting humankind's progression from the wild state to civilisation. It can also be seen more simply as a celebration of country pursuits. There are scenes of hunting, fishing and shooting, as well as the rural occupations of shepherd, milkmaid and miller, with watermill and windmill. Rural scenes were very popular in embroidered furnishings in the later 16th and early 17th century.
Bibliographic References
  • John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.7
  • Anthony Wells-Cole, Art and Decoration in Elizabethan England : The Influence of Continental Prints 1558-1625 (Yale University Press, 1997), p.244
Collection
Accession Number
T.134-1928

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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