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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1707 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Spofforth, Robert (engraver (printmaker))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, printed from a metal engraved plate

  • Credit Line:

    Given by A. G. Munday

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case 13

Object Type
Silk handkerchiefs with designs printed from engraved plates were initially produced and sold by map and print sellers. They may have been intended for display, or to contain such specific information as routes to London or coach fares. Silk would have provided a convenient and easily foldable support, more permanent than paper. By the beginning of the 18th century commemorative designs were also being printed on silk, and by 1713 this type of object was being described as a 'printed handkerchief'.

Materials & Making
The design used here of arabesques with roundels containing coats of arms around the borders is known from other handkerchiefs. It must have been printed from a re-usable engraved metal plate that had a central space for inserting a topical design.

Subjects Depicted
The handkerchief gives 'An account of 5 most glorious victorys obtaind by the confederets in 3 succeding campains viz Schellenberg Hochstadt Barcelona Ramilly & Turin'. These victories were under the leadership of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), appointed Captain General of British Forces and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, following the French invasion of the Spanish Netherlands in 1701. Marlborough is considered one of the foremost strategists and military administrators in British history.

Physical description

Silk, printed from a metal plate engraved and signed

Place of Origin

England (made)


1707 (made)


Spofforth, Robert (engraver (printmaker))

Materials and Techniques

Silk, printed from a metal engraved plate

Marks and inscriptions

signed Robert Spofforth (engraver)
1) Signature


Height: 67 cm, Width: 67 cm

Object history note

Made in England

Descriptive line

HANDKERCHIEF commemorating victories

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Silk handkerchiefs, printed from engraved plates with non-washable printer's ink, were first produced in the 1650s. They often featured practical information, such as road maps. They could also carry political messages. This one commemorated British victories in Europe, and was produced while popular opinion still supported involvement in the war against France. [27/03/2003]


Accessories; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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