Collection Online
silk (satin, thread), gilt-metal (thread)
131.0 × 127.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Cornwall, England
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through the NGV Foundation by Mrs Jessica Taylor (née Durnford) and family, Member, 2001
Gallery location
Not on display
White silk coverlet with embroidery in coloured silk and metal threads applied to a border featuring stylised flowers and floating repeat of stems from a flowering tree. The central motif features a woman in a pastoral scene, the corner motifs are of a tree flowering from the earth and a bird.

This coverlet demonstrates the cross-cultural sources embroiders drew upon in their designs. The border with its pale colours and floral scrolling design is reminiscent of the Rococo style adopted in France at the beginning of the 1700s. Yet the introduction of textiles from India and China to England was also a major influence. The central medallion and corners feature distinctly Chinese motifs with exotic trees and multicoloured phoenix-like birds. Exhibiting a range of needlework techniques, the coverlet features satin, long and short stitch and French knots, executed in colourful twisted silks and gold and metal threads.

For Kids

This beautiful coverlet would have been used to cover a small bed. Around the edges are flowers and in the corners are special birds named phoenixes. The phoenix is an imaginary bird that appears in Chinese stories, as well as in stories from India and Japan. This bedcover shows the way patterns and pictures from all over the world were used in English embroidery. In the very middle of the bedcover is a lady feeding a small deer. What is she feeding it?

—text from Exquisite Threads (Apr 2015)