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Not currently on display at the V&A

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18th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This small piece of embroidery was probably part of a bed valance. Pholegandros is an island in the Cyclades group of Greek Islands. As an example of the work carried out by the women there, which included the dyeing of the silk threads as well as the embroidery, this is particularly skilled both in its design and workmanship.

These qualities presumably made it attractive to to the designer William Morris, who owned it in the 19th century and whose daughter May Morris bequeathed it to the Museum. It may have been acquired by Morris at the same time as two pieces of Cretan embroidery 'brought back by the English consul' which Morris sent to Thomas Wardle in 1876 stating 'Mrs Wardle will find some stitches in them worth looking at'. Wardle, was one of the leading British textile manufacturers of the later 19th century, and his wife a noted embroiderer.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Linen, embroidered in silks in satin, darning, cross, long-armed cross and chain stitches
Brief description
Border, linen embroidered in coloured silks, 18th century, Greek Islands, Cyclades
Physical description
Embroidered in coloured silks (red, blue, green, yellow and brown) on fine linen with a band of coarser linen at one long edge. Turned in with central loop fastening at one short edge, the other short edge cut. Design of flowers and pots, with geometrical patterns.
Dimensions
  • Height: 200mm (includes plain linen extension)
  • Width: 360mm (plus an additional 10mm buttonhole)
Measured by Conservation, 2012.
Credit line
Bequeathed by May Morris
Summary
This small piece of embroidery was probably part of a bed valance. Pholegandros is an island in the Cyclades group of Greek Islands. As an example of the work carried out by the women there, which included the dyeing of the silk threads as well as the embroidery, this is particularly skilled both in its design and workmanship.



These qualities presumably made it attractive to to the designer William Morris, who owned it in the 19th century and whose daughter May Morris bequeathed it to the Museum. It may have been acquired by Morris at the same time as two pieces of Cretan embroidery 'brought back by the English consul' which Morris sent to Thomas Wardle in 1876 stating 'Mrs Wardle will find some stitches in them worth looking at'. Wardle, was one of the leading British textile manufacturers of the later 19th century, and his wife a noted embroiderer.
Bibliographic references
  • Parry, Linda, ed. William Morris. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Limited, 1996. 384 p., ill. ISBN 0856674419; cat. no. M2. Linda Parry notes that this may have been acquired by William Morris at the same time as two pieces of Cretan embroidery 'brought back by the English consul' which Morris sent to Thomas Wardle in 1876 stating 'Mrs Wardle will find some stitches in them worth looking at'.
  • Pauline Johnstone, Victoria and Albert Museum : A Guide to Greek Island Embroidery, HMSO, 1972, pl.54.
  • Tatiana Ioannou-Yannara, Greek Embroidery 17th-19th Century. Works of Art from the Collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Angeliki Hatzimihali Foundation, 2007, cat. 64, p. 269
Collection
Accession number
T.121-1939

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Record createdJanuary 13, 2004
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