Design for Moresque ornament
Museum no. 19009
In 1548 Thomas Geminus, a French artist working in London, published the first pattern-book to appear in England, entitled Morysse and Damashin [Moresque and Damascene] renewed and encreased Very profitable for Goldsmythes and Embroiderars. The title reveals the particular popularity of these Renaissance versions of Islamic ornament on inlaid metalwork and embroidered textiles, though they were used on a wide range of objects made throughout Europe during the first half of the 16th century.
Moresque was popular at the English court of Henry VIII (reigned 1509–47) and is seen in many examples of clothing and hangings in royal portraits. The word 'damascening' is derived from the city of Damascus, from where Mamluk inlaid metalwork was probably exported to Europe.