Fabric for Compton Verney
We were asked to design a fabric for a new exhibition at Compton Verney called 'Unsilencing the Library'. This is based in the newly restored library that Georgiana Verney had built in the 1860's at Compton Verney. We looked at many aspects of her life and focused in on her support of the ribbon weavers of Coventry.
‘Let us not take for granted’, Virginia Woolf wrote, ‘that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small’. The curators had this in mind when we began to think about the details of this exhibition.
The fabric which has been created to upholster the furniture in this room has been inspired by Georgiana Verney, the 17th Lady Willoughby de Broke, and her work in the local community.
Warwickshire in the 1860s was in crisis. Cheap imports of French ribbons meant that the Coventry ribbon weavers were crushed. Thousands were destitute. Georgiana joined with her friends highlighting the crisis, raising money for those in need by holding ‘Ribbon Quadrilles’ as fundraisers. The textile designers, Rapture and Wright have designed a special fabric – Quadrille Pink – in honour of the Coventry Ribbon Weavers, and Georgiana’s support for them. (We know that Georgiana wore pink ribbons to the Ribbon Quadrilles). The pattern of the fabric has been modelled on an original Coventry Ribbon dating from the 1850s or 60s from the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum archives.