[Design for textile by Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1732, Spitalfields, England. Now in the V & A's collection.]
This month marks the 250th anniversary of textile designer Anna Maria Garthwaite's death. That's right, textile designer. In the 18th century. Remarkably, nature-loving Garthwaite not only supported herself as a prolific designer of English silks at a time when it was rare for a woman to do so, but she rose to the top of her field.
[Design for textile by Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1752, Spitalfields, England. Now in the V & A's collection.]
Maybe even more remarkably, her work endures. Examples of her exuberant yet naturalistic take on flowers can be found today at The Met and at The V & A. (The latter has more than 800 of her original watercolor designs for fabric.) Along with her skill as a painter, Garthwaite seemed to have in-depth knowledge of weaving techniques, notes The Met.
[Brocaded silk by Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1740, Spitalfields, England. Now in the V & A's collection.]
More often than not, when 18th-century textiles appear on this blog they're handpainted cottons from India -- the fresh chintzes that inadvertently became competitors with Spitalfields Silks and sparked a revolution in Britain. (Cotton is a major interest of mine.) Still, from time to time I like to mix things up and look at the luxe English wovens. In step with the Garthwaite-related celebrations taking place next week in London, I've pulled three florals from her expansive body of work.
Related reading: V & A Pattern:Spitalfields Silks.