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

Tambour Needle

1800-1830 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Crochet is a type of needlework with an open, lacy appearance, which is formed with a hook and single length of thread making a series of loops, chains and knots. Tambouring is a type of embroidery in which chain stitches are worked with a hook through the surface of a fabric usually stretched taut in a frame ('tambour' is the French for drum). This hook has a sharp enough pointed end to have been used for tambour work, but would also have been suitable for fine crochet.

Ownership & Use
Tambouring and crochet were both needlework skills which were practised at home, although tambouring was also organised on a commercial scale in the late 18th century, taking advantage of the speed it could be worked to produce quantities of embroidered muslin. Crochet developed out of tambouring, as the tambour hook was used to create a series of loops, free from a ground fabric, which could then be used as a separate trimming, like lace. Crochet was thus added to the varieties of fancy needlework available to ladies, and instructions for making it can be found in manuals from the 1820s onwards.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Bone
Brief Description
Tambour needle made of bone, Great Britain, 1800-1830
Physical Description
Bone tambour needle. Made in a single piece and tapering from the rounded handle-end down to a fine hooked point. The point is sharp enough for tambour work but the needle could also have been used for making fine crochet.
Dimensions
  • Length: 10.8cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; by APS
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)
Credit line
Given by Mrs J. Taylor
Object history
Made in Britain
Summary
Object Type
Crochet is a type of needlework with an open, lacy appearance, which is formed with a hook and single length of thread making a series of loops, chains and knots. Tambouring is a type of embroidery in which chain stitches are worked with a hook through the surface of a fabric usually stretched taut in a frame ('tambour' is the French for drum). This hook has a sharp enough pointed end to have been used for tambour work, but would also have been suitable for fine crochet.

Ownership & Use
Tambouring and crochet were both needlework skills which were practised at home, although tambouring was also organised on a commercial scale in the late 18th century, taking advantage of the speed it could be worked to produce quantities of embroidered muslin. Crochet developed out of tambouring, as the tambour hook was used to create a series of loops, free from a ground fabric, which could then be used as a separate trimming, like lace. Crochet was thus added to the varieties of fancy needlework available to ladies, and instructions for making it can be found in manuals from the 1820s onwards.
Collection
Accession Number
T.288-1979

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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