The word "STEVENGRAPH" is nowadays used very loosely to refer to all woven silk pictures and bookmarks, no matter who made them or to which period they belong. This was not always the case though.
STEVENGRAPH as a title was invented by Thomas Stevens and first appears on the backing paper for his bookmarks in 1876. He called his factory "The Stevengraph Works", and later referred to his woven silk pictures in the same way when they first appeared in 1879. It is evident Stevens intended this title to include all his woven silk bookmarks, pictures and portraits and silk postcards too.
In more modern times, the Stevengraph title (sometimes written as Stevensgraph, or Stevenograph) started to be applied to all the silks of this period produced by other weavers such as Grant, Dalton & Barton, Welch & Lenton etc.. It is perhaps though only in the last two decades that the use of this title has been extended to include all woven silk items, no matter who made them or when.
In the late 1800's, the silk ribbon weavers of Coventry, England, were experiencing very difficult trading conditions due to changing fashions and cheap imports from abroad. Several weavers had already diversified into related activities, and Thomas Stevens was one of these. His modification of the Jacquard loom enabled him to produce multi-coloured Stevengraphs, and his ability to market these so succesfully ensured his domination of the woven silk market right up until the destruction of his factory in 1940.
The objective of this web site is to be an educational resource where Collectors, Antiques dealers and anyone interested generally in Stevengraph silks can identify them, and gain an awareness and understanding of all the Victorian silks woven in England.
More than 60% of the Stevens bookmark titles now have images, and nearly 70% of picture titles have images. Similarly, over half the Grant bookmark titles also have images.
The purpose of this site . . . .
The most comprehensive of these books was Geoffrey Godden's Stevengraphs and other Victorian silk pictures, published in 1971. The book itself though is now very scarce.
Our knowledge of all the Victorian silks has increased beyond Godden, and this web site now replaces all the books as the definitive list and catalogue of Stevengraph portraits, pictures, bookmarks and silk postcards, no matter who made them. The site has also been extended to include various weavers and manufacturers of the post-Victorian era, up to modern times.
This comprehensive catalogue of Stevens silks, together with those made by other manufacturers such as W.H. Grant and Brocklehurst Whiston, is fully supported by scanned images. For instance, more than 60% of the Stevens bookmark titles now have images, as to do nearly 70% of the picture titles. Similarly, over half the Grant, Bollans and Welch & Lenton silk bookmark titles also have images.
Whilst some areas, such as Brocklehurst Whiston (BWA), are fully catalogued with images of every known woven picture, there are nevertheless previously unrecorded silks yet to be recorded successfully. This site will hence inherently grow, both as new titles are discovered, and with contributions of images from a number of different sources.
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