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woven silk ribbon
The Coventry Ribbon
Clack, Thomas; Robinson, Thomas
1851
textile, silk ribbon
SH.1989.169.1
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
A piece of the Coventry Ribbon meant for the Great Exhibition of 1851 which was designed and woven to demonstrate the design skills of the ribbon weaving industry. After the Great Exhibition, art and design schools were founded to teach and promote good design. In 1849, Prince Albert visited Coventry inviting the town to show that it was the leading centre for ribbon manufacture. There was initial interest in taking on the task. However, there was little actual committment to make the ribbon and without the enthusiasm and drive of the manufacturer Charles Bray, it might not have succeeded. The brief to design a ribbon for the Great Exhibition was given to the Coventry School of Design which had been founded in 1843. The ribbon design was by Thomas Clack and woven by Thomas Robinson on a Jacquard loom involving extremely complex process. The pattern required more than 10,000 cards and nine shuttles with various coloured silks were used.
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