Study Day | 300 Years of Silk

Posted in conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on August 5, 2017

One of a pair of shoes, ca 1720; leather sole, with brocaded silk uppers with silk woven in Spitalfields
(London: V&A, T.446&A-1913)

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300 Years of Silk: A Study Day at Gainsborough’s House
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk, 26 September 2017

Join us for 300 Years of Silk, an exclusive Silk Study Day held at Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury, Suffolk. Hosted by textile specialists Mary Schoeser and Kate Wigley of the School of Textiles, Coggeshall, and Keeper of Art & Place Louisa Brouwer of Gainsborough’s House, this event will feature a series of informative lectures, interactive handling sessions and a curator-led tour of the current exhibition, Silk: From Spitalfields to Sudbury (17 June — 8 October 2017). The daylong programme will include opportunities to study a range of silk textiles from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries in close detail and will offer privileged access to the Sudbury silk mill Vanners Silk Weavers, with guided tours led around this vibrant working factory in the afternoon.

Organised to accompany the current exhibition Silk: From Spitalfields to Sudbury at Gainsborough’s House, this Study Day will explore the fascinating history of the English silk industry, focussing on the town of Sudbury, Suffolk—regarded today as Great Britain’s most important centre for silk manufacture. Sudbury now produces more woven silk textiles than anywhere else in the nation, with four working firms still in operation: Vanners Silk Weavers, The Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company, Stephen Walters & Sons, and The Humphries Weaving Company. Dating back to the early years of the nineteenth century, Sudbury’s nascent silk industry was facilitated by the town’s former history as a wool centre, to which many family members of the Sudbury-born artist Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (1727–1788) plied their trade.

Open to students, curators, and textile enthusiasts alike, this Study Day offers full access to Gainsborough’s House in the historic market town of Sudbury, located just 1 hour 20 minutes by train from London Liverpool Street. The day will run from 10am to 5pm and cost £80 per person (inc. VAT). Tickets will include tea, coffee, and biscuits upon arrival, followed by a light sandwich lunch in the afternoon. For further enquiries and to reserve your place, please contact louisa@gainsborough.org. Limited places are available so early booking is recommended.



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