Exhibitions/ Art Object
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Bedcover

Date:
1752
Geography:
Made in Surrey, Wallington, England
Culture:
England (Wallington, Surrey)
Medium:
Cotton (block printed and painted)
Dimensions:
105 x 99 in (266.7 x 251.5 cm)
Classification:
Textiles
Credit Line:
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of A. S. W. Rosenbach and Philip H. Rosenbach, 1951
Not on view
George Ormerod produced this block-printed masterpiece in 1752. The bedcover—dedicated to an English East India Company merchant and his wife—is the earliest example of an English printed cotton attributed to a specific printer. The level of detail and the application of multiple colors belie the notion that European printed textile designs were crude before the spread of copperplate printing technology a few years later. Ormerod clearly modeled his design on imported Indian armorial palampores. The individual motifs are a combination of the classical and the exotic, including the Roman god Mercury, elephants, lions, and Chinese archers who appear in the border and the central field.
Inscription: To John Vandermersch, Esqr. East-India Merchant of LONDON, and to Rebecca his Virtuous Spouse, this is Dedicated by their most Humble and Obedient Servant GEORGE ORMEROD, Senr. of Wallington, Surrey. / ANNO DOMINI / 1752. / ON VIRTUE. / The Companion of Arts, and Mother of Fame / No cloud whats’ever can / obscure her Light. / Virtue’s a Glow-worm, and / will shine by Night.