Collection Online

Mantlepiece valance and two matching curtains
(c. 1890)

silk, wool
123.0 × 210.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
Australian Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1988
Gallery location
Gallery 6
Level 2, NGV Australia
Physical description
Black satin embroidered with Tasmanian wildflowers in twisted silk and wool chenille. The mantelpiece valance and two curtains have a lined black silk sat in ground, each embroidered with a series of Australian native flora, using satin stitch, twisted silk and raised wool chenille thread, in green, pink, red and cream. The embroidery on the valance follows the line of the scalloped edge and on the two curtains decorates the bottom and outside edges. The outer edge of each of the three pieces are finished with a yellow and olive green twisted cord trim and the centre bottom edge of the valance is decorated with a simple olive green and yellow silk tassel.

This mantelpiece valance was purchased at auction by the NGV at a Sotheby’s sale in 1988. The accompanying catalogue attributed the work to Louisa Anne Meredith, the famous artist and illustrator. This claim has never been endorsed as it is very unlikely.

Attribution in the art world is a complicated business: there are many debates surrounding a great number of well-known works of art. Only by building biographies of artists, their techniques, their works and the contexts in which these works were created can we solve some of these mysteries.