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Textile design - Textile design
  • Textile design
    Mitten, James, born 1812 - died 1854
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Textile design

  • Object:

    Textile design

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (painted)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mitten, James, born 1812 - died 1854 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on vellum

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case TOPIC, shelf DP1

This drawing is almost certainly a page from a manuscript herbal. We know that it was once part of a bound volume because three of the four edges of this sheet have been gilded. There are six companion pages in the V&A collection.

The drawing is fairly crude and oversimplified. You can see from the small drooping central leaf that the artist lacked the skill to represent foreshortening. Nevertheless, the detail of the plant's structure is very accurate. The textile designer James Mitten once owned this drawing. He probably used it as source material when designing floral and foliage patterns.

Physical description

Textile design

Place of Origin

Italy (painted)


19th century (made)


Mitten, James, born 1812 - died 1854 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache on vellum

Marks and inscriptions

i Cirorca erbiii
written in ink

Cirorca Chicoree
written in ink


Height: 27.5 cm, Width: 19 cm

Descriptive line

James Mitten; textile design, early 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Picturing Plants: an analytical history of botanical illustration' by Gill Saunders; Zwemmer in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum; 1995; no. 19, page 35
'Picturing Plants: an analytical history of botanical illustration' by Gill Saunders; KWS Publishers; 2009; no. 19, page 35

Labels and date

Unknown artist
Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.)
About 1475-1525

This drawing was probably made for a manuscript herbal. The image is rather crudely executed in a thick, dull pigment, and the foreshortening is unconvincing, but the subject is readily identifiable. The structure of the plant suggests that the artist has studied either a living specimen or a botanically accurate model.

Gouache on vellum
V&A: E.1045-1986 []



Subjects depicted



Illustration; Designs; Textiles

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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