Sample of a design for painted velvet, made by H.H. Henry, Great Britain, 1820s.
Height: 34.29 cm, Width: 28.26 cm
British Galleries, room 120
Made in Britain by H.H. Henry
PAINTING ON VELVET
The new technique of painting onto silk velvet provided amateur artists with a decorative effect that was quite different from the crispness and delicacy of painted taffeta and satin, which had been popular from the late 18th century. Once painted, pieces of velvet like the bag panel here, could be made up into decorative objects and accessories. [27/03/2003]
Painted on paper with watercolour is a sample of design for painted velvet. The centre of the design shows a poppy, convolulus painted in details, a large purple flower and green leaf. The design stands in an oval of graded ivy leaves, crossed at the top.
The practice of painting designs onto silk velvet was an outlet for the amateur artist, to create panels that she could then make into decorative objects with her needle. She might compose the design herself, or buy it, like this one. The effect of the paint colours on the pile of the velvet gave the pattern a density and texture quite different from the crispness and delicacy of painted taffeta and satin, popular from the later 18th century.
This watercolour design came to the V&A in a collection of designs and examples of painted velvet, with a trade card inscribed 'Mr. Henry, Artist. Miniature Profile. Velvet. Ornament Painter'. The design is signed 'H.H. Henry', but nothing further is known about him. His designs can be compared to those illustrated by Nathaniel Whittock in The Art of Drawing and Colouring from Nature; Flowers, Fruit, and Shells: To Which is Added, Correct Directions for Preparing the Most Brilliant Colours for Painting on Velvet, with the Mode of UsingThem: Also the New Method of Oriental Tinting, published in London in 1829.