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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 made for the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was designed and woven to demonstrate the design skills of Coventry's ribbon weaving industry. 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 commitment 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 was designed by Thomas Clack and woven by Thomas Robinson on a Jacquard loom involving an extremely complex process. The pattern required more than 10,000 cards and nine shuttles with various coloured silks were used. It has a plain background with a very elaborate brocaded floral design of roses, blue bells, morning glory, honeysuckle and other flowers with leaves and grasses. The design is in two halves where one is the reverse of the other and the ribbon has wide satin borders and a beaded edge.
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