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Pin cushion

Pin cushion

  • Place of origin:

    Warwickshire (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1600-1629 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sheldon Tapestry Workshops (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tapestry woven in silk and metal thread on woollen warps; 26 warp threads per inch (10-11 per cm)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58b, case 6

Object Type
Small tapestry-woven objects for domestic use, such as this pin cushion, must have been quite common in the 17th century, in both great and more modest houses. Many would have been made in all-wool tapestry which, like canvaswork, was hard wearing. Few were precious enough to be passed from generation to generation. This pin cushion, however, is made of more valuable materials, silk and metal thread, and has been preserved with care.

In the 17th century shops in London provided a direct retail outlet to the customer and small objects, including tapestry-woven items, could be bought in this way. Prior to this, it had been the custom to buy directly from the maker or workshop, or from a travelling merchant who took the manufactured wares to the customer or set up a stall at a fair. The existence of shops made available a wider range of 'consumer' goods, albeit to a relatively small percentage of the population.

Physical description

Rectangular pincushion

Place of Origin

Warwickshire (possibly, made)


1600-1629 (made)


Sheldon Tapestry Workshops (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Tapestry woven in silk and metal thread on woollen warps; 26 warp threads per inch (10-11 per cm)


Height: 17 cm including tassels, Width: 22 cm, Depth: 5 cm maximum

Object history note

Possibly made at the Sheldon tapestry workshops at Bordersley, Worcestershire or Barcheston, Warwickshire

Labels and date

British Galleries:

In the early 17th century, small tapestry articles such as book covers, pin cushions, sweet bags and gloves could be bought from London shops. Such items were luxuries since the silk and gold thread was so expensive. These three pieces are decorated with popular motifs of the time, including fruit, flowers and animals. The Bible cover also has scenes of Moses on the front and Jonah and the Whale on the back. [27/03/2003]


Household objects


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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