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Not currently on display at the V&A

The Musicians

Panel
ca. 1879 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The design for The Musicians was previously thought to be a combination of Edward Burne-Jones' figures and William Morris's decorative details, but has recently been reattributed to Selwyn Image. Like other popular figurative designs Musica and Poesea, the design was available either in complex multicoloured silk versions or worked in monochrome wools in outline. This example was worked at the Royal School of Needlework.

The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872 with the aims of 'restoring Ornamental Needlework for secular purposes, to the high place it once held amongst decorative arts, and to supply suitable employment for poor gentlewomen'. The school commissioned designs from the leading architects and designers of the day.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen embroidered with wool thread
Brief Description
Panel hanging 'The Musicians' of embroidered linen with wool thread, designed by Selwyn Image, embroidered at the School of Art Needlework, England, ca. 1875
Physical Description
Panel hanging of embroidered linen with wools. With a linen ground embroidered in wool in shades of light brown in outline, chain, stem and satin stitches and French knots. With a design within a narrow floral border of four female figures and a winged boy playing musical instruments among trees and birds.
Dimensions
  • Height: 107.4cm
  • Width: 140.3cm
  • Weight: 1.16kg
  • Length: 43.25in
  • Width: 55.25in
Credit line
Given by P. J. Schryver, Esq., in memory of Miss R. M. Schryver
Object history
This panel was formerly attributed to Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. The attribution to Selwyn Image can be found in the facsimile edition of The Royal School of Needlework Handbook of Embroidery, 1880 (East Molesey, Royal School of Needlework, 2010) in Lynn Hulse's introductory essay on. p. 66, note 235. The Musicians panel was designed by Image for the RSN in c. 1879 (Image's association with the School began in the late 1870s; for more information see Lynn Hulse's essay, pp. 45-46). The panel is discussed by E W Godwin in an article on the RSN's 1879 winter exhibition entitled 'A note on needlework' printed in The British Architect, 12 December 1879, p. 229: '...we have to congratulate to Rev. S. IMAGE on his very excellent figure composition, in illustration of music. The subject is a wood, in which are four damsels and two or three small angels, all in outline; the wing of one of the angels is so nervously good in drawing, that it makes us regret more time was not spent over the angel's face.' The panel is illustrated in an article on Image published in The Ladies Field, 4 November 1899, pp. 380-82. In the RSN archive there is a design card (sent out to customers on 24-hour approval) of The Musicians, attributed to S. Image and described as a piano back (D1/509). Another version of the embroidery was sold through Paul Reeves in 2011.
Subject depicted
Summary
The design for The Musicians was previously thought to be a combination of Edward Burne-Jones' figures and William Morris's decorative details, but has recently been reattributed to Selwyn Image. Like other popular figurative designs Musica and Poesea, the design was available either in complex multicoloured silk versions or worked in monochrome wools in outline. This example was worked at the Royal School of Needlework.



The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872 with the aims of 'restoring Ornamental Needlework for secular purposes, to the high place it once held amongst decorative arts, and to supply suitable employment for poor gentlewomen'. The school commissioned designs from the leading architects and designers of the day.
Bibliographic Reference
Parry, Linda, ed. William Morris. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Limited, 1996. 384 p., ill. ISBN 0856674419 Lynn Hulse, ed., Royal School of Needlework Handbook of Embroidery, (1880), Royal School of Needlework, East Molesey, 2010, Introduction, note 235.
Collection
Accession Number
T.121-1953

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record createdJanuary 13, 2004
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