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Furnishing fabric. Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Place of origin: Bursa (city), Turkey (probably, made)

Date: late 16th century (made)
Artist/Maker: Unknown (production)
Materials and Techniques: Silk velvet
Museum number: 1357-1877

Gallery location: In Storage

Public access description
The ogival trellis motif on this silk velvet furnishing fabric is a direct imitation of an Italian design. However, the piece was made in the town of
Bursa, in north-west Anatolia.
In the period 1400-1500, the weavers of Florence and Venice were the main producers of velvet for the Middle Eastern market. The Ottoman
rulers established looms in Bursa in order to challenge Italian dominance. Over the following two centuries, weavers there produced velvets
exhibiting marked Italian influence. Some velvets, like this one, mimicked Italian designs in their entirety.

Descriptive line
Panel composed of two loom widths of crimson velvet, voided and brocaded in gold and silver on a yellow satin ground
Physical description
Velvet, large flower and scroll pattern in gold on crimson ground. Silk foundation with a cut silk pile and areas brocaded with metal threads;
two widths of fabric joined.

Museum number

Object history note
The following is from Tim Stanley, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London: V&A Publications, 2004, p.125:
"In the fifteenth century, the weavers of Florence and Venice were the main producers of velvet for both the European and Middle Eastern
markets [...]. At the Ottoman court it was eventually decided to mount a challenge to the Italian predominance in this field, and looms were
established at Bursa, a great silk-trading and manufacturing centre in north-west Anatolia. It is not known precisely when this occurred, but by
the end of the century Bursa's velvet-weavers were involved in disputes about a fall-off in quality, predicated on an earlier golden age when
standards were high. Bursa velvets continued to be produced over the following two centuries, and the influence of Italian models can be
observed over a good deal of this period.
"Some examples from Bursa mimic Italian patterns in their entirety.[1] Others display designs based on very similar principles, but with the
individual elements changed.[2] In others still, however, the native tradition has triumphed.[3]"
1 = this textile
2 = V&A: 100-1878
3 = V&A: 96-1878
The following is adapted from Lisa Monnas's entry for this textile in Renaissance Velvets, to be published by V&A Publishing in 2012
(catalogue no. 50):
"This velvet has a striking design, influenced by Italian velvets but expressed in a Turkish idiom, particularly the exuberantly looped
interlocking stems. The bold, symmetrical design has been executed with maximum economy of labour: although the reverse repeat only
measures half a loom width, the full design can only be appreciated across two adjacent widths. The comparatively coarse weave [...] and
monumental design suggest that this was always intended as a furnishing fabric, particularly suitable for large hangings.
"The V&A acquired this velvet in 1877 as 'Italian, sixteenth century', and in 1883 Bock pronounced it to be from Venice or Genoa, and dated it
to the middle or late sixteenth century.
[Note: Purchased, £30 from Monsieur Fulgence, Paris; information from V&A Register, including Bock’s Revise, 1883.]
"In his 1908 catalogue of the Kelekian collection Gaston Migeon, too, attributed an identical-looking fabric to Venice.
[Note: Migeon, Gaston, La collection Kelekian: Étoffes & tapis d’orient et Venise, Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1908, Pl. 80
(‘Imitation oriental’, Venetian, sixteenth century).]
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"By 1923, the V&A velvet was included in the Textile Department's Brief Guide to the Turkish Woven Fabrics, and from then on it has been
attributed to Ottoman Turkey. The technical details of this example [...] all support an attribution to Ottoman manufacture."
Monnas list these details as:
a) the slim Z-twisted main warp threads;
b) the 1/ 4 twill binding of the metal brocading weft;
c) the fact that the pile warp does not tie the brocading weft at the edges of the motifs;
d) the narrow, plain white selvedge at this (comparatively) late date.
Monnas concludes:
"This velvet (or another example of the same fabric) was eventually reproduced in England as a wallpaper: a fragment of flocked paper of
c.1910 from the King's Drawing Room in Kensington Palace (London), is in the V&A collection" [Museum no. E.859-1954].
[Note: "Oman and Hamilton suggest that although this wallpaper fragment dates from the refurbishment of Kensington Palace c.1910, the
design may have existed as a wallpaper as early as the seventeenth century: see Oman, Charles and Jean Hamilton, Wallpapers: A History
and Ilustrated Catalogue, Sotheby Publications in Association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1982, cat. no. 25, p. 97(ill.) and
cat. no. 476, p. 195.]
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