Friday, 24 October 2014

Textile research at the V&A

‘A year at Clothworkers’ was a fascinating symposium about textile research at the V&A. Staff and researchers from the newly opened Clothworkers Centre, based at Blythe House, spoke about their work and their experiences over the past year. All the speakers were enthusiastic about their particular textile specialisms and we heard about radiographing seventeenth century clothing (image above); the use of historical textiles in contemporary fashion; Chinese, Indian, Moroccan and East Asian textiles; dragon robes; British Utility clothing; Persian carpets; and biography through clothing. We heard about the detective work required to link a lost portrait and a seventeenth century man’s costume and the serendipitous discovery of Kenneth Tynan’s driving licence in one of his jacket pockets. We were told how to access the collections and reminded that the online catalogue is the place to find accession numbers when requesting items for study. One of the advantages of the new facilities is that it allows space for several items to be studied and compared at the same time – not generally a problem with lace, but useful if you are researching carpets.  

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