Carpet

ca. 1530-70 (made)
Carpet thumbnail 1
Carpet thumbnail 2
+16
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This embroidery is described as a carpet, but it was intended for laying on a table as a costly and highly decorative cover, rather than on the floor. Its border would hang down vertically from the table's edge. The carpet would be covered up or removed if the table was used. 'Foot carpets' occasionally appear in contemporary paintings, in which case they are intended to indicate the high social standing of the sitter who can afford to have such an object underfoot.

Although embroidered furnishings were sometimes made in the home in this period, this carpet would have been produced in a professional workshop. It contains the initials NA, GG and GP, worked discretely at the ends, which may be those of the embroiderers.The tension of the embroidery stitches has pulled the canvas from a rectangular into a parallelogram shape.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered in wools in tent stitch on canvas ground
Brief Description
Carpet, embroidered, with probable Arms of Gifford; English; 1530-1569.
Physical Description
Central field with small geometric motifs, and three centred cartouches; the middle one with coat of arms, probably of Gifford, the left hand a deer grazing under an oak tree, and the right a deer drinking at a stream, under an oak tree. Each cartouche is surrounded with a wreath of carnations and acorns, and has a tudor rose at the top.



There is a wide border filled with a floral trellis, consisting of green stems with pink and white flowers on a yellow ground, and on either side of this border is a narrow border of blue and white.



The field is covered with a formal lozenge diaper of interlaced ornament in red and blue on a yellow ground.



The central medallion contains the achievement of the arms of Gifford of Steeple Claydon (gules three lions passant in pale argent armed and langued azure, two bearing a crescent for difference). At the top of the medallion is a crest consisting of a hand holding stag's horns, which may allude to the Rangership of Whaddon.
Dimensions
  • Top edge width: 5535mm
  • Bottom edge width: 5515mm
  • Proper right length: 1410mm
  • Proper left length: 1380mm
  • Weight including roller weight: 22kg
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'N.A.' (In marquis at one end.)
  • 'G.G. / G.P.' (In marquis at one end. Presumably initials of professional embroiderers.)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support
Object history
Purchased. Registered File number 1930/8879. Traditionally associated with Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond (1443-1509), mother of Henry VII, but is probably not earlier than 1550.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This embroidery is described as a carpet, but it was intended for laying on a table as a costly and highly decorative cover, rather than on the floor. Its border would hang down vertically from the table's edge. The carpet would be covered up or removed if the table was used. 'Foot carpets' occasionally appear in contemporary paintings, in which case they are intended to indicate the high social standing of the sitter who can afford to have such an object underfoot.



Although embroidered furnishings were sometimes made in the home in this period, this carpet would have been produced in a professional workshop. It contains the initials NA, GG and GP, worked discretely at the ends, which may be those of the embroiderers.The tension of the embroidery stitches has pulled the canvas from a rectangular into a parallelogram shape.
Bibliographic References
  • A.F.Kendrick, in Connoisseur, LXXVII, p.133
  • King, D., ed. British Textile Design in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Tokyo: 1980. Vol. I, b&w pl. 4.
  • Macquoid, Percy, and Ralph Edwards. Dictionary of English Furniture. Vol. I, pp. 183, 188.
Collection
Accession Number
T.151-1930

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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