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

Ball

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 thread
Brief Description
Ball of silk thread with plain knots, England, 1750-1800
Physical Description
Ball of pale eau-de-nil silk thread with plain knots.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 4.5cm
  • Length: 1.75in
  • Width: 1.5in
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
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.353C-1965

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record createdMay 15, 2003
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