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Cushion cover

Cushion cover

  • Place of origin:

    Warwickshire (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1600-1620 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sheldon Tapestry Workshops (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk and wool, with silver and silver-gilt thread

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 57, case 3

Object Type
Cushions were important domestic furnishings. In an age when fixed upholstery did not exist, they made hard wooden seats more comfortable, as well as adding decoration and colour. Chairs were then unusual, but the cushions could be used on wooden stools and benches, on window seats and chapel stalls. They might be made of tapestry or other woven fabrics, or embroidered canvas, silk or velvet. Many embroidered cushions survive in historic houses and are therefore more familiar, but a small number of tapestry cushions are also known.

Conspicuous display of social and economic standing, once the privilege only of the aristocracy, was an important result of the increasing wealth of Elizabethan society. More and more people could afford luxury items which could be displayed inside their house, and some made use of coats of arms, names or initials on the fabric of the building itself. This cushion cover is modest and relatively simple in style. It shows the arms of a once influential provincial family, although it is not entirely certain which of them was the cushion’s first owner. There were several men in different branches of the family called Henry Sacheverell – represented by the H and S – to whom this cushion, and its twin in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, might have belonged.

Physical description

Cushion cover

Place of Origin

Warwickshire (possibly, made)


1600-1620 (made)


Sheldon Tapestry Workshops (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silk and wool, with silver and silver-gilt thread

Marks and inscriptions

Showing the arms of the Sacheverell family, and probably the initials of Henry Sacheverell (married 1638, birth and death dates unknown)


Height: 50.1 cm, Width: 51.5 cm

Object history note

Formerly at Wolles Hall, WorcestershireMade at the Sheldon tapestry workshops at Bordesley, Worcestershire or Barcheston, Warwickshire

Descriptive line

Cushion cover with arms of Sacheverell

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Please look at both sides

Tapestry weaving was used to make small items, such as this cushion cover, as well as large wall hangings.The loose threads on the back show where one area of colour in the pattern ends and another begins. The front has faded but the back shows the original bright colours. Each colour was woven as a separate block. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Made at the Sheldon tapestry workshops at Barcheston, Warwickshire


Tapestry; Household objects


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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