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Picturing a World

Leman silk designs

Blog post alert: A post on James Leman, Silk Designer at Spitalfields Life recounts the career of an 18th C silk designer and reproduces several double-page spreads from his album of samples. The album is now at the Victoria and Albert and is obviously a great straightforward historical resource. It can also prompt suggestions for stories.


Imagine a character in a reverie over one of the designs—Is she about to order a piece of silk? Will she enter a fanciful world of flowers and bridges? Or imagine a dress made in fabric to one of these designs—is it worn by a colonial lady? a bad fairy? in its tattered last days by a beggar on the streets of London? Who is your designer—James Leman or an aspiring female weaver?

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