The V&A Textiles and Fashion Collection

The Marwan tiraz, Compound twill with embroidery, Turkey, North Africa, Egypt, 684-750 CE (the earliest dated Islamic textile. Museum no. 1314-1888 and T.13-1960. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Marwan tiraz, Compound twill with embroidery, Turkey, North Africa, Egypt, 684-750 CE (the earliest dated Islamic textile). Museum no. 1314-1888 and T.13-1960. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A holds the national collection of Textiles and Fashion, which spans a period of more than 5000 years, from Predynastic Egypt to the present day. The collection is one of the world’s largest and the most wide-ranging. More than 75,000 individual objects or sets of objects are cared for jointly by the Asian Department and the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department, from a broad geographic area covering Europe, South, South East, East and Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Almost all textile techniques are represented in our collections, including woven, printed and embroidered textiles, lace, tapestries and carpets. Among the particularly rich areas are early woven silks from the Near East, European and Chinese tapestries, English medieval embroidery (opus anglicanum), Safavid carpets, Indian textiles, and Arts and Crafts textiles.

The fashion collection spans five centuries, with early pieces including rare 16th century children’s kaftans from the Ottoman Empire, and important examples of 17th century European men’s and women’s dress. It has particular strength from the 18th century onwards, with mainly European (predominantly English and French) fashionable clothes and accessories for both sexes, together with important items of dress for the elite in India, China and Japan which mainly date to the 19th century. The collection also includes a wide range of accessories from across the world, such as footwear and hats.

A gift in your will

You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.

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Iranian Textiles

Iranian Textiles

The Victoria and Albert Museum has an unrivalled collection of Iranian textiles from the first half of the nineteenth century. There are over 900 exam…

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Event - A Year at Clothworkers

Thu 23 October 2014 10:30

CONFERENCE: This one day conference celebrates a year at the V&A’s Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion, located at Blythe House in West London.

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