Tassels thumbnail 1
Tassels thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries

Tassels

1750-1800 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Knotting was a popular and widely practiced occupation for women in the 18th century. A length of linen or silk thread was wound onto a knotting shuttle, and with it a series of knots made at close intervals, to form a length of trimming. This could then be applied to a ground fabric decoratively as a type of embroidery, or made into fringes for trimming furnishings like bed hangings and covers.

Social Class
Requiring regular but undemanding manipulation of the thread, knotting was easy to take up and put down, to work on while travelling or conversing. Decorated knotting bags, containing shuttle and thread, were regularly carried around, even to theatres and assemblies. The Comtesse de Genlis, in her Dictionary of Court Etiquette, maintained that knotting had no other purpose than to enable a woman to appear composed when in company.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk and linen threads
Brief Description
Tassels and lengths of knotted silk and linen threads, Great Britain, 1750-1800
Physical Description
Tassels and lengths of knotted silk and linen threads. Six tassels formed of looped white knotted threads arranged along a single white knotted thread.
Dimensions
  • Height: 3.5cm
  • Width: 22.86cm
  • Width: 9in
Dimensions checked: Measured; 01/12/1999 by KN
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
Bequeathed by Miss M. E. Pleydell-Bouverie
Object history
Made in Britain
Summary
Object Type
Knotting was a popular and widely practiced occupation for women in the 18th century. A length of linen or silk thread was wound onto a knotting shuttle, and with it a series of knots made at close intervals, to form a length of trimming. This could then be applied to a ground fabric decoratively as a type of embroidery, or made into fringes for trimming furnishings like bed hangings and covers.

Social Class
Requiring regular but undemanding manipulation of the thread, knotting was easy to take up and put down, to work on while travelling or conversing. Decorated knotting bags, containing shuttle and thread, were regularly carried around, even to theatres and assemblies. The Comtesse de Genlis, in her Dictionary of Court Etiquette, maintained that knotting had no other purpose than to enable a woman to appear composed when in company.
Collection
Accession Number
T.353B-1965

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL