Early 19th century: 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 (39.4 x 39.4 cm)
Whitework sampler floral design with scalloped edges. See detail here: Link


1550–1599: Brocaded Panel Fragment, Ottoman Turkish; Made in Brusa, Turkey. Silk; 49 1/2 x 26 1/8 in. (125.7 x 66.4 cm)
The ogival lattice pattern of this luxury fabric is quite typical of Ottoman Turkish taste, as is the profusion of finely drawn tulips, rosebuds, irises, narcissi, and carnations adorning each gold-ground compartment. The gold bands forming the lattice hold scrolling vines and tulips. The purple ground of the fabric is uncommon, probably because of the costly nature of the purple dye, which was derived from murex shells. Link


17th century: Mughal period (1526–1858) Islamic; Attributed to India. Silk and cotton; L. 125 in. (317.5 cm) W. 27.00 in. (68.6 cm)
One of the key elements of dress at the Mughal court was the patka, a sash or girdle tied around the waist with the ends hanging loose in front. The sash's end panels were usually decorated, since they were visible. Less elaborate decoration or even plain ground was used for the broad expanse of fabric in between, the area customarily gathered and hence concealed. To the sash were attached various accessories such as daggers and thumb rings.

Here, the decoration, applied mostly in a chain stitch, is confined to a narrow border of blossoms and reciprocal vines that outlines the piece and to the end panels, where eight delicate identical flowers gently twist and sway. Both the use of flowers in profile and the colors (red, white, yellow, and mint green) hark back to the style made popular under Shah Jahan. Link


1951: Joseph Cornell diary describing and illustrating the constellation Cassiopeia. Link

Ossabaw Island dead tree

1964: 1 photographic print, b&w ; 13 x 9 cm., on card 21 x 13 cm.
Photograph of a tree on Ossabaw Island Strengell used as part of [Marianne Strengell] her sources material for her textile designs. Identification (handwritten): #1 This is my favorite "Old age". Please treat it kindley. Link

Toying with Japan

"1877-1942: The Ningyo-Do Bunko Database has released a collection of more than 100 albums of late 19th to early 20th century watercolour sketches of toy designs. All the images of the toy designs can be found from the sixty albums in the Kyosen Guangucho section of the website." Link

(Link and info via BibliOdyssey)


"2008: This nautical doorstop is based on a 'Monkey's Fist' knot, which was tradtionally used to throw the moaring rope from ship to shore. Individually crafted from 18mm Manila rope by a knotting enthusiast in Suffolk." Link


"Egypt, Akhmin, Graeco-Roman period, 3th/4th century: Linen and wool, slit tapestry weave. 31.8 x 15.2 cm (12 1/2 x 6 in.)" Link

The Warping Room

"1862-1963: The Warping Room of a Textile Mill at Columbia, South Carolina" Link

Steamer taking on ice, in Taku Bay

"1895: Wilson, Veazie. Photograph album of Alaskan views." Link

Ice Falling from a Lofty Berg

"1862: After icebergs with a painter : a summer voyage to Labrador and around Newfoundland / by Louis L. Noble." Link

Battle Illustrated

"1613: Iroquois fort and battle. 1 plate, folded." Link

Embroidered Boa

"1802: Written on border: "Boa phrigia (East Indies)." Link


"undated: Linen bedsheet with embroidered initials, made by Esther Stoddard Edwards, accompanied by 19th century note about the sheet." Link


" 1600-1630: Linen, embroidered with silks, bordered with bobbin lace worked in silver and silver-gilt thread. Handkerchiefs made of plain linen served the same function they do today, but if they were decorated they could also be carried purely as fashionable accessories and given as gifts. Amongst the textiles listed in the inventory taken on Henry VIII's death in 1547 were 15 dozen 'handkerchers garnished with golde and siluer and gold [sic] of all sortes'." Link


"3rd to the 4th century AD: This fragment is probably the muscle of an unidentified animal. Its original use is unclear but it is likely to have been intended for sinew stitching on leather items. It was recovered from the site of Loulan, which dates from the 3rd to the 4th century AD. The site of Loulan is remarkable for the carved wooden capitals, beams and balustrades that show clear affinities with western Classical decoration that filtered through Iran and Northwest India." Link


" 1755: This print is an etching, made by using acid to burn lines into a metal plate that are then filled with ink. The plate is then pressed onto paper, which transfers the image.

Ever since the various East India Companies had begun to introduce porcelain and other exotic oriental goods to Europe in the 17th century, East Asia had fascinated Europeans.This print is the title-page to A New Book of Chinese Ornaments (1755), the first pattern book of Chinoiserie designs by the French painter and designer Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728-1808). This print demonstrates how Pillement adapted traditional French Rococo ornament to his own idea of Chinese patterns suited to British taste. The curving foliage ladder is a typically French Rococo shape and recalls so-called Grotesques (decorative patterns full of sinuous lines, cloudy foliage, monkeys, sphinxes and other fancies) by the French master Jean Bérain (1639-1711). The wispy pavilion seemingly suspended in space, the monkey and cup of tea balanced on a branch, a Chinese man teetering on a C-shaped scroll, these are all characteristic of Pillement's work and suggest a fantastic, airy world, one that the artist delighted in portraying." Link


" 1763: John Kelly was a Norwich textiles manufacturer. This book is his 'counter-part', or matching copy, of a pattern book sent to Portugal and Spain, where customers could choose from the numbered samples and have their orders prepared back in Norwich. The book shows the range of patterns and colours thought likely to appeal to the Spanish and Portuguese market in 1763, the date it was sent, and the colourful names given by manufacturers to convey fashionable or exotic novelty, like martinique, harlequin, floretta and diamantine." Link


The History of Colour Systems

"350BC": Link


"1491: The inclusion of places from Biblical history, classical times, and mythology emphasize that the function of the map was not to provide a picture of the world as it was in 1475. Rather the map presented an interesting view of the world with some essential things that a beginning student should know about it. The time did not matter. Thus places from different eras, real and mythological, were placed side by side. The map, like most of the other illustrations in the book, was a teaching aide, presenting basic information in graphic form.

Each of the details, the place names and the illustrations as well, was meant to tell a particular tale or to serve as a reminder of some aspect of a particular place. Unfortunately no explanation accompanies the map, and we are often forced to guess at the meaning of individual details. Thus the two men talking with one another in the Garden of Eden have been explained as either a teacher and his student (school is paradise?) or a Jew and a Christian seeking together the road of wisdom." Link and Link

Nature Mort

"2002: (Sam) Taylor-Wood updates traditional still life imagery. What seems at first to be a quiet arrangement of a dead hare and peach on a table starts to decompose before our eyes. Rather than attempting to capture a moment in time, the viewer is put face to face with a speeded up decomposition of the subject matter. Taylor-Wood brings home the transience of biological life, and the viewer's mortality. This work explores the issue of temporality, an idea which permeates the artist's oeuvre, where a course of action can change radically even within the space of a few seconds." Link


" 1600-1650: Lace-making developed in England during the 16th century in response to the growth in personal wealth and to changes in fashionable dress. Needle lace, still then seen as a branch of embroidery, was made in professional workshops in London. But through the teaching of embroidery as a domestic skill with needle lace stitches in the repertoire, lace was also made at home, for the decoration of household linen, clothing and other objects. This piece appears to have been made without a practical purpose, but as a demonstration of the embroiderer's skill." Link and Link

Society of Blue and White Needlework

"The emphasis in the Society of Blue and White Needlework was on hand production in a home as opposed to mass production in a factory setting. The Society, founded in 1896, eventually employed as many as thirty women annually. The New York Evening Post reported in 1897 that, "the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework is in perfect harmony with its environment: it is colonial and puritan, it is artistic, it is loyal to its traditions, patriotic, and there is not another like it." Link


"8th century: This ball of two-ply blue wool yarn was recovered from the site of Miran Fort on the eastern verge of the Taklamakan desert. At this site material was discovered in the remains of a fort held by the Tibetans during their domination of the southern Taklamakan in the 8th century AD." Link