Furnishing Fabric thumbnail 1
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 1

Furnishing Fabric

1813 (woven)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The silk weaving industry in Sweden provided the royal family and nobility with the luxury fabrics needed to display their status in society. At the end of the 18th century the small industry flourished, adapting to changes in fashion by producing more plain fabrics and silk kerchiefs. Weavers often trained in Lyon, and Swedish silk weavers imitated French designs. The Napoleonic wars brought in a period of decline in the industry, when many mills closed.

Jean Pierre Mazer was active in Stockholm between 1796 and about 1820, and his sons continued the family business into the 19th century. The design of this length of silk incorporates emblems of a classical urn and incense burner and demonstrates the international reach of the neo-classical style, updated with the bright colours of the Empire period. The silk may have been woven to order as a wall hanging for a particular room, although it was never used. The pattern could easily have been adapted for seat upholstery.



object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Woven silk with a satin ground with the pattern bound in twill
Brief Description
Furnishing fabric of silk, woven by Jean Pierre Mazer, Stockholm, dated 1813
Physical Description
Furnishing fabric of woven silk. On a blue ground is a pattern of motifs in white with chocolate-brown shading. The shading changes direction across the pattern because of the point repeat. The design consists of two centrally placed motifs on a ground powdered with stylised six-leaf rosettes. The top motif, reappearing at the bottom, is a classical urn supported on scrolling acanthus leaves in a circular frame. The other motif, in the centre of this panel, is a classical incense-burner in a lozenge-shaped frame with acanthus leaves on each side.



The blue ground is satin with the pattern bound in twill.



At the bottom right corner a lead customs seal is attached. It is stamped 'STOCKHOLM HAL STE' and 'ANNO 1813'. Also associated with the piece is a printed customs docket: 'No 11 26 J [lost] / No 150 EH Stucke [illegible] Damask / af 20 [lost] tillwerkadt uti STOCKHOLM / hos [lost] / besigtigadt och besunnit [lost] / Stampladt och gar Zullsritt. / STOCKHOLM den 25 October Ur 1813 / G Holmerus E. Tornebohm'.



At the bottom of the panel woven into the back of the silk in red is the inscription 'IPM41'.



Pattern interrupted at each end.
Dimensions
  • Length: 2350mm (Measured by Conservation, 2012)
  • Width: 535mm (Measured by Conservation, 2012)
  • Pattern repeat length: 61.5in
  • Pattern repeat length: 156.3cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'STOCKHOLM HAL STE' and 'ANNO 1813' (Manufacturer's initials woven into bottom of fabric, and Swedish customs docket dated 1813.)
  • 'IPM41' (Woven in red into the back of the silk)
  • 'No 11 26 J [lost] / No 150 EH Stucke [illegible] Damask / af 20 [lost] tillwerkadt uti STOCKHOLM / hos [lost] / besigtigadt och besunnit [lost] / Stampladt och gar Zullsritt. / STOCKHOLM den 25 October Ur 1813 / G Holmerus E. Tornebohm' (Printed on a customs docket)
Gallery Label
'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900' This length of high quality furnishing silk is unusually well documented, since it has the manufacturer's initials woven into it at the bottom and carries a Swedish customs docket dated 1813. The interruption of the pattern at each end indicates that it was woven to order for a particular room, though it was never used. The pattern could have easily been adapted for en-suite seat upholstery similar to that on two armchairs displayed nearby.(1987-2006)
Object history
Purchased. Registered File number 1987/2175.



This length of high quality furnishing silk is unusually well documented, since it has the manufacturer's initials woven into it at the bottom and carries a Swedish customs docket dated 1813. The interruption of the pattern at each end indicates that it was woven to order for a particular room, though it was never used.



Originally thought to have been woven by Joseph Pavy (Davy?) in Lyon. According to Ursula Sjoberg, Associate Curator of the Royal Collections in Stockholm, this silk was woven by Jean Pierre Mazer who was active in Stockholm between 1796 and ca. 1820. This is indicated by the 'IPM41' inscription.
Subject depicted
Summary
The silk weaving industry in Sweden provided the royal family and nobility with the luxury fabrics needed to display their status in society. At the end of the 18th century the small industry flourished, adapting to changes in fashion by producing more plain fabrics and silk kerchiefs. Weavers often trained in Lyon, and Swedish silk weavers imitated French designs. The Napoleonic wars brought in a period of decline in the industry, when many mills closed.



Jean Pierre Mazer was active in Stockholm between 1796 and about 1820, and his sons continued the family business into the 19th century. The design of this length of silk incorporates emblems of a classical urn and incense burner and demonstrates the international reach of the neo-classical style, updated with the bright colours of the Empire period. The silk may have been woven to order as a wall hanging for a particular room, although it was never used. The pattern could easily have been adapted for seat upholstery.



Bibliographic Reference
Silk: Fibre, Fabric and Fashion, edited by Lesley Ellis Miller and Ana Cabrera Lafuente with Claire Allen-Johnstone, Thames and Hudson Ltd. in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom, 2021, p. 160-161
Collection
Accession Number
T.32-1988

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record createdMay 23, 2006
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