Friday, 9 September 2016

Commemorative lace and silk panels

I was interested to see this ‘Stevengraph’ at Macclesfield Silk Museum as it reminded me of the commemorative lace panels I’ve been looking at recently. Both the lace panels and these silk panels were used to commemorate and advertise events. According to the information at Macclesfield, Thomas Stevens of Coventry began making woven bookmarks in the 1860s. They proved so popular that in 1879 he started producing silk pictures as well. The one in the image shows the venue of an exhibition held in Chicago in 1893 and appears to have been woven during the exhibition presumably as a souvenir for the audience to purchase. During a recent visit to the Newstead Abbey lace collection I saw a larger panel celebrating the 1862 International Exhibition held in London. That one, about 60 x 40 cm in size, could have been available to purchase or, more likely, was used as advertising on a lace manufacturer’s stand to show the skill and versatility of the lace machines. The patterns on both the silk and lace panels would have been produced using Jacquard cards.

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