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Slip - Mulberry


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered canvas with silks

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58, case 5

Object Type
This slip, one of a small group, depicts a mulberry tree.

Materials and Making
Slips were small, usually floral motifs drawn onto canvas, then embroidered and cut out. They would be applied to a rich backing fabric such as velvet or satin. They were used in various types of furnishing, particularly bed hangings. It was more manageable for the domestic embroiderer to work a small piece of canvas that could be held in the hand than to tackle a large embroidery in a single piece. It was also easier, if necessary, to detach the slips and reapply them to another backing.

Two manuscript notes in the V&A relate to the commissioning of these slips. They were apparently written by Anne Sydney, daughter of Sir William Sydney of Penshurst, Kent, who married Sir William Fitzwilliam (1526-1599). They seem to indicate that the slips were worked to commission, but almost certainly by household servants, Mrs Fisher and Mrs Lyell, rather than in a workshop.

Physical description

Slip of embroidered canvas with silks in shades of mauve, green, yellow, brown, pink, red, blue, black and cream in tent stitch. The ground is unworked. The edges are turned and hemmed. The slip depicts a sprig of mulberry with stylised roots. The embroidery does not follow the pencilled lines of the design very closely as they are clearly visible around the roots and part of the stem and leaves.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered canvas with silks


Length: 10.25 in, Length: 26 cm, Width: 7.875 cm, Width: 20 cm

Object history note

Made in England

Descriptive line

Slip 'Mulberry' of embroidered canvas with silks, England, ca. 1600

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The coat of arms represents the marriage of Anne Sidney to Sir William Fitzwilliam (1526-1599). Slips were small motifs that were embroidered onto canvas, then cut out and stitched onto larger pieces of fabric. Floral motifs were particularly popular for domestic embroidery. A manuscript records that these slips were intended for hangings, probably for a bed. [27/03/2003]


Embroidery; Textiles; Interiors


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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