Collection Online

Section of an apron

cotton (muslin, thread, braid)
91.5 × 121.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
stitched in white cotton u.l.: III II / 1711
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Mrs N. McLeish, 1978
Gallery location
Not on display

Muslin was one of the most popular fabrics imported into England from India in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. For embroidery, muslins were first stretched on a frame or attached to a paper backing. Designs were either taken from textile prototypes or printed sources, and could be drawn by the amateur embroiderer, an embroidery teacher or a trained designer. The outlandish birds embroidered on this apron show various sources, from the Indian peacock and Chinese phoenix to earlier English needlework bird motifs seen in seventeenth-century embroidery. The sinuous linear design recalls that of European ‘bizarre’ silk brocades.