Victoria & Albert Museum : Textiles: Ancient to Modern : May 2nd-July 11th 2019
In our throw away world where dress and furnishings quickly go out of fashion and are easily replaced, they are often seen as transient accessories to our lives but throughout history textiles were the most obvious expression of our personal values.
Lustrous silk, crisp linen, soft wool and brightly coloured cotton clothe our bodies and decorate our homes. Although patterned textiles are the most intimate form of decorative art because we wear them next to our skin, how well do we know them?
Become familiar with textiles by learning about techniques and designs from around the world and exploring how they have been used in Europe to produce an infinite variety of fabrics and patterns. See the different ways in which textiles can be studied and learn about the many skills required to create the sumptuous textiles in the V&A, from enormous tapestries to webs of lace, from glittering embroidery to muted tweeds.
The final term goes back to the middle of the 18th century, beginning with the Industrial Revolution and the mass production of textiles and then considering how several influential
designers reacted against it, leading to the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau. A constant supply of new textile designs were required to meet the expectations of a growing consumer society and in their patterns we can trace how Europe was changing socially,
scientifically and politically up to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Against this background we see how ethnographic studies brought non European textile traditions to the attention of designers and how this influenced and enriched commercial and craft production. Modern manufacturing processes have favoured printing, but hand woven and embroidered textiles and supremely skilled craftsmen have ensured that some textiles remain true works of art.