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Furnishing fabric - Peacock Feathers
  • Peacock Feathers
    Silver, Arthur, born 1853 - died 1896
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Peacock Feathers

  • Object:

    Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1887 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Silver, Arthur, born 1853 - died 1896 (designer)
    Liberty & Co. Ltd. (made for)
    Rossendale Printing Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Roller-printed cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Rex Silver, Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fabric is a roller-printed cotton used for furnishings as curtains or upholstery. The tail feathers of peacocks were very popular motifs with designers of the Aesthetic Movement. This textile is one of the most recognisable examples of this style. Used in patterns and for many different types of decorative work, peacock feathers were also used in their natural form for fans and dress accessories as well as hung on walls and displayed in vases in the home.

This pattern is one of a large number of commercial designs drawn by Arthur Silver who set up the Silver Studio at Brook Green in 1880, later moving to Haarlem Road, Hammersmith, London. The Silver Studio produced and sold designs to a range of commercial customers.

This textile was originally sold through Liberty's shop in Regent Street, London, which helped proliferate the Aesthetic style in England. It was revived and reprinted for the V&A's Liberty exhibition in 1975 and since then has become almost a trademark for the company. The production of artistic textiles in the late 19th century usually involved specialist techniques such as hand-block printing. Surprisingly, Liberty's had this pattern printed by roller, the quickest and cheapest commercial techniques available.

Physical description

Furnishing fabric of roller-printed cotton. On a dark blue ground with a design of peacock feathers in green, brown, yellow and white.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1887 (made)


Silver, Arthur, born 1853 - died 1896 (designer)
Liberty & Co. Ltd. (made for)
Rossendale Printing Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Roller-printed cotton

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 71.1 cm, Width: 79 cm, Length: 28 in, Width: 31 in

Object history note

Designed by Arthur Silver of the Silver Studio (born in Reading, Berkshire, 1853, died in London, 1896)
Printed by the Rossendale Printing Co., Rossendale, Lancashire for Liberty & Co. Ltd., Regent Street, London

Descriptive line

Furnishing fabric 'Peacock Feathers' of roller-printed cotton, designed by Arthur Silver, made by Rossendale Printing Co. for Liberty & Co. Ltd., London, 1887

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The peacock feather, previously thought to be a symbol of bad luck, became an icon of the Aesthetic style. It was used in all forms of decoration and symbolised the movement's reputation for decadence. This printed cotton helped to establish Liberty & Co. as one of the leading suppliers of artistic furnishings. [27/03/2003]


Textiles; Interiors


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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