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Ribbon - Coventry Town Ribbon

Coventry Town Ribbon

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Coventry (made)

  • Date:

    1850-1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Clack, M. (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jacquard-woven silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122c, case 1

Although in the style of a traditional dress or bonnet ribbon, this silk ribbon was woven to demonstrate the technical skills of the manufacturer rather than for actual use. The minute detail and realism of the floral design made this a veritable tour de forceof jacquard weaving, fully exploiting the potential of the process.

The Coventry manufacturer of the ribbon is not known, but it is said to have been designed by M. Clack, a pupil of Coventry School of Art, and the pattern drafted (transferred on to a working technical graph, or point paper) by R. Barton. Its successful appearance at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was a great honour for Coventry, which had a large and successful local industry famous for woven silk ribbons, trimmings, small pictures, bookmarks and other keepsakes.

This ribbon was selected for illustration in the Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue of the Great Exhibition (page 13).

Physical description

Jacquard-woven silk ribbon in black and with a floral pattern.

Place of Origin

Coventry (made)


1850-1851 (made)


Clack, M. (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Jacquard-woven silk


Length: 30.5 cm, Width: 17.5 cm

Object history note

Designed and made by M. Clack in Coventry, West Midlands

Shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851

Descriptive line

Jacquard-woven silk ribbon 'Coventry Town Ribbon', designed by M. Clack, Coventry, 1850-1851

Labels and date

British Galleries:
These ribbons were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 to demonstrate the complexity of design that could be woven by the jacquard process. The Exhibition catalogue boasted that 10,000 jacquard cards had to be cut and 24,000 cords lifted during weaving. Here, the threads on the reverse of one ribbon can be compared with the surface pattern on another. The ribbons were judged so successful that the type became known as the Coventry 'Town Ribbon'. [27/03/2003]


Textiles; British Galleries; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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